Parker is a tough kid to teach.Â It’s not that he isn’t teachable.Â Oh, no.Â He loves to learn.
It’s the other stuff that can trip a homeschooling Mama up.
Like the surgeries.Â Did you know that each time a kid like is put under general anesthesia it can take WEEKS for him to regain all that he previously learned?
Or how often Parker gets sick.Â He’s fighting a cold right now.Â High heart rate and all.Â And how many of us really feel like doing lessons when we feel like yuck?
So, we’ve had to switch it up over here.Â Fast tracking the alphabet and numeral recognition.
And, it’s working beautifully.
Parker is a tactile learner.Â Oh, his eyes work fine, and so do his ears.Â But the way that he acquires knowledge, knowledge that doesn’t leak out his ears by the next day, is by making his lessons tactile experiences.Â Â Fun. Fast. Tactile.Â That’s how Parker (and MANY kids with special needs) learn the best.
Here’s how one recent alphabet lesson looked:
These alphabet letters have been done with yarn on those plastic forms that they sell.Â You can see they’ve been well loved.Â But as soon as I win from Publisher’s Clearing House I’m ordering some of these alphabet letters and numbers made from felt.
Are they not gorgeous? And tactile? She even has a set that have magnets added to the back.
Anyway, I started this lesson my having Parker use his finger (or his toe!) to trace each letter one at a time. As he did this I gave the following verbal cues:
- Uppercase A: “Down, Down, Across” “A says ‘a’” As I’m doing this I am also signing the letter A
Prompt for lower case a is: “Around, down, a.”
- Uppercase B: “Down, Bump, Bump” “B says ‘buh'” As I’m doing this I am also signing the letter B.
Prompt for lower case b is: “Down, up, around, b”
- Uppercase C: “Around, Open, C” “C says ‘cuh'” As I’m doing this I am also signing the letter C.
Prompt for lower case C is the same.
We do this several times, quickly. This part of the lesson stays the same every day, regardless of how I may change up other parts of the lesson.
Then we move on to the next part of the lesson. This I kinda change up every day.
On this day I had Parker use his alphabet stamps and had him stamp the uppercase letters on one side of a piece of paper and the lower case letters on the other side.
I even had him use his finger on the stamp pad and then draw the letters. Tactile, remember?
As he worked, I repeated the prompts above.
Then came the sugar tracing. This part of the lesson is repeated every day, regardless of how I may change up other parts of the lesson.
You’ll notice we have Parker’s left hand pinned, and we are shadowing his right hand. That’s because sugar and trachs can be nervous making. Parker loves to grab and throw. He’s still doing the work on his own though. We are just preventing him from snorting up a big ‘ol handful of sugar.
During the sugar tracing I repeat the prompts from above.
Parker LOVES this method. It suits his fast moving, don’t even think about boring me, personality.
Several times throughout the day I’ll grab the tracing letters (the ones made from yarn and a plastic form) and review. 5 minutes max. I’ll do the same thing with the alphabet signs. I hand over hand those if our Hero is being a lazy signer.
The combination of lots and lots of repetition and the TACTILE activities is winning combination for Parker. It’s fast paced, fun, and the repetition (think Brain Gym) really sets this firmly in Parker’s brain.
What type of learner is your child? How do you adapt your lessons to your child’s learning style?