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Interesting article on therapies and interventions


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I also personally think splitting kids into left/right brained is far too simplistic - but I have wondered how much some of the kids who are doing OG for years and years (vs. those who go through the levels at a reasonable speed) are really just benefiting from getting older (neurons connecting - or being pruned as the case may be :tongue_smilie:) to be able to pass to the next level rather than actually being "taught" by the method.

 

What I find too simplistic is WTM's insistence that ANY kid, whatever the learning orientation or issues, can learn -- not only well, but best -- through following an extremely left-brained, linear-sequential, heavily text-based, systematic curriculum. This is not even recognizing the existence of other modes of learning and processing or realizing that a lot of actual damage can be done by putting an extreme VSL kid, for instance, or a global learner, through this type of program. This is not to say it doesn't work brilliantly well for left-brained kids with a high attunement to and strengths in language and text-based learning, nor is it to say that a RB kid can't benefit from any of the suggestions, or that RB kids can't study the classics -- which is clearly not the case AT ALL. But they might need to approach them differently, and they probably won't be doing the enormous amount of repetitive writing tasks that WTM is structured around.

 

From what it looks like on the table of contents excerpt now on her blog, Cindy's book is going to take on different aspects and "types" of right-brained learning profiles. She's pulling together a lot of profiles that seem to be very different: ADHD, dyslexics, Aspies, among others. The idea is that there is some powerful underlying common ground in the way these kids learn, in the patterns of activity and preferences that characterize them at different ages, and in the common way they do not fit into, nor even always benefit from, standard school curricula and/or methods.

 

To my mind, this doesn't try to diminish the differences among sub-groups, nor does it necessarily argue that there is not a huge middle ground of mixed brain profiles. It is simply making visible and legitimate the traits these different kids do share -- which is not all their traits, clearly -- and trying to undo the invisible assumptions underlying educational philosophies that LB structures of schooling work for all kids, and that if the kids struggle or fail, it's always and necessarily because they're deficient in some way or other.

 

My dd looks very different from Cindy's kids, and different in fact from her own Aspie dad. This doesn't diminish the fact that she also has more in common with them, in the specific terms of how she acquires and integrates and learns, and much less with LB norms as those norms are set up in schools and define the "best" way to learn.

 

Brain science is still very much in its early days. Right-brained learning patterns have been given short shrift in all kinds of ways, and bringing them in a general way to the table as valid and effective ways of interacting with the world and with academic material is a huge step forward. I'd expect refinements, complications, and modifications of all the ways we currently think about learning as time goes by.

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I can see the RB norm in her and also see the deficits and problems that are not RB normal and needed intervention. Neither cancels out the other. [/QUOTE]

 

The bolded is what I'm not seeing in Ms. Gaddis' posts here and the ones I've read at her blog. From what I've read, she seems to have a big problem with overgeneralization and denying that there can be LD's not accounted for by a VSL thinking style.

 

Is there a real issue with VSL's getting misdiagnosed with LD's because they are square pegs getting stuffed into round holes? Absolutely! But VSL's can also have true LD's, and interventions that Ms. Gaddis pooh-poohs like VT, nutritional support, etc. can lead to significant improvements. It is so UNhelpful to overgeneralize. :glare:

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While various therapies have been criticized in this discussion?

What really needs to be critically evaluated, is this 'fiction' of left/ right brain thinkers?

Which is basically just a lot of rubbish.

What it appeals to, is the stigma of a 'disability' diagnosis.

Where reframing it as left or right brain thinking, doesn't carry this stigma.

 

But the problem with this, is that it gives a totally wrong understanding of how the brain operates.

Given that the cognitive thinking processes of auditory, visual and spacial. Equally involve the parietal, temporal and visual lobes/ cortexes, on both sides of the brain. So that both sides are always working in combination.

So that the only real meaning of 'left/right brain thinkers', is where their is damage to one hemisphere.

Yet this is almost always limited to a specific lobe or lobes, within a hemisphere.

Where the only functional difference between these opposing lobes, is with the temporal lobes, which have differentiated functions on each side, to cope with complexity of processing language.

So that it is only with the temporal lobes and the processing of language, that left/right brain dominant thinking distinction has any relevance. Where their appears to be a differentiated development, based on gender.

 

But the major problem with using left/right brain thinking, to conceptualise thinking as a duality?

Is that, we have 3 distinct cognitive thinking processes: auditory, visual and spacial.

So that it really creates more confusion than understanding?

 

I'm not an expert on brains by any means, but this description makes the most sense to me based on the things I have read over the years and also my own experience.

Edited by NJKelli
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Except that for many of the biomedical approaches, the scientific evidence is piling up in favor of them being helpful, at least for a subset of autistic patients.

 

My youngest DD is currently participating in a clinical research study at UC San Francisco of methyl B12 shots. The study has been going on for a while and DD is one of the very last participants (there were only 2 openings left after she got accepted). The study is controlled, double-blind, etc. and they are testing the kids extensively prior to and after the experimental period.

 

The psychiatry professor who is running the study has told me that based on the preliminary results, they are seeing about a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 split on the effectiveness of the mB12. The first third is seeing dramatic improvement (these are the folks who would be the testimonials). Another third is seeing slight improvement or mixed results (e.g. significant improvement but also major side effects). The final third is seeing no results (these would be the ones skeptics point to).

 

The researchers have been taking blood samples from the participants to see if they can figure out whether there are any genetic or other biological markers to distinguish responders from non-responders. Hopefully this research will lead to the development of a test that doctors can run to see which patients are good candidates for mB12.

 

Are there fads in biomedical treatment for autism? Sure, but there is also starting to be a lot of real science to back up certain things. Skeptics who dismiss the whole field as quackery are doing a real disservice IMHO.

 

This fits in with what I've learned from the UC Davis Mind institute, which holds public lectures in my city periodically. They are thinking there are going to be distinct sub-groups across the autism spectrum, depending on which particular genes are triggered and involved.

 

One major group of kids on the spectrum suffers from GI issues; others do not. The book George and Sam by Charlotte Moore is fascinating in this respect, as she has two quite seriously autistic sons with totally different manifestations. Sam had terrible GI problems and is on a gluten-free diet; George did not have any of those symptoms. She has pursued some overlapping treatments and therapies for them, but the only one she thinks really benefitted both was ABA. Otherwise their needs are almost totally different. Her sons are now adults, so reading about what different paths their adulthood holds is also interesting.

 

Anyway, shold the fact that biomedical treatments can help some kids (1/3, according to the statistics you quoted) on the spectrum mean that all parents with autistic kids should be sent directly to that route?

 

Dd needs the computer - sorry to stop in mid-thought.

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From what I've read, she seems to have a big problem with overgeneralization and denying that there can be LD's not accounted for by a VSL thinking style.

 

Being right-brained does not = a visual spatial learning style.

 

I have three right-brained children, only one of is a VSL learner.

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Anyway, should the fact that biomedical treatments can help some kids (1/3, according to the statistics you quoted) on the spectrum mean that all parents with autistic kids should be sent directly to that route?

 

But that's 1/3 for just one particular biomed treatment, the methyl B12 injections. The 2/3 who are not seeing much improvement (or for whom the side effects outweigh the improvement) with mB12 may very well respond to some other biomed treatment.

 

The big problem right now is that doctors (even experienced DAN practitioners like the one at UCSF who referred DD to the mB12 study) don't have a good understanding of which kids will respond to which treatments. So there is a lot of trial-and-error going on, which can really start costing big bucks when insurance isn't picking up the tab. This is why the research into biomed is so important, so that scientists can figure out which kids are likely to respond to a treatment ahead of time.

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Being right-brained does not = a visual spatial learning style.

 

Except that there is no good evidence from a neurobiological standpoint to support a claim as to the existence of "right-brained" vs. "left-brained" (as mentioned earlier in the thread). What people are calling "right-brained" is a visio-spatial "gestalt" thinking style, and what people are calling "left-brained" is an auditory-sequential thinking style. Yes, spatial reasoning tends to activate the right hemisphere, and verbal reasoning the left. But everyone uses both sides, even if one type of reasoning comes easier than the other.

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I also personally think splitting kids into left/right brained is far too simplistic

 

Let me clarify this statement that I made - I believe it is too simplistic a model because there are people who fit into both "right" and "left" brain model as described - how does the right/left brain model define those people, how would they learn best? Case in point, myself again, mostly right brained charateristics (as described on the side bar from The Right Side of Normal), yet managed to read fluently before going to school (way before I should have apparently) and never looked back. Also I don't believe science supports the notion of the brains as "mirrors" to each other.

 

OTH I agree that the WTM is very literary/reading focused (although I don't agree it is very "left brained") and not the best choice for all children. I also believe that school in general in our day and age is very reading focused as well. And I believe that does a number of children a huge disservice.

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Total ignorance speaking here, but: Was the 3-D drawing stuff done on computer? Do current computer programs that do things in 3-D help you, or not really make a difference?

 

The piping isos were both hand-drawn and done by CAD. I had trouble with reading them either way. Thank goodness I never had to generate any 3D stuff of my own at work either by hand or by computer - I only did flat diagrams. I only had to create 3D drawing in college and that was all by hand. I doubt a computer would have helped at all because the lines in those drawing just don't make sense to me. When I look at them I have a very hard time seeing a 3D object. If there is color or at least shading, it is fine. But when it is just lines of one color on a background of one color, I just don't see the 3D objects. So I may have a visual processing issue of my own.

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Let me clarify this statement that I made - I believe it is too simplistic a model because there are people who fit into both "right" and "left" brain model as described - how does the right/left brain model define those people, how would they learn best? Case in point, myself again, mostly right brained charateristics (as described on the side bar from The Right Side of Normal), yet managed to read fluently before going to school (way before I should have apparently) and never looked back. Also I don't believe science supports the notion of the brains as "mirrors" to each other.

 

OTH I agree that the WTM is very literary/reading focused (although I don't agree it is very "left brained") and not the best choice for all children. I also believe that school in general in our day and age is very reading focused as well. And I believe that does a number of children a huge disservice.

 

Of course there are people who aren't extremely dominant in one hemisphere vs. the other, in the pattern described. The book is written to identify and help those people whose kids DO fall into the heavily RB dominant pattern, because they are the people most ill-served by the school system in general as it is currently set up.

 

And of course not every RB person is going to hit every single category at the ages and in the way the generalized overview chart lays out, just as WTM is not going to appeal to every kid in every single recommendation or method.

 

I would be very interested -- truly, this is not snark -- in knowing how you think WTM is not LB'd. Here's what I see: teacher-directed in the extreme, even to scripted conversations; parts-to-whole learning set up as the only really effective way to go about things; early emphasis on formal grammar; equally early emphasis on early reading, taught through phonics-intensive methods; incremental, linear procedures across the board; chronological ordering of history as compared to thematic approaches allowing interconnections across time; subjects clearly separated; an insistence that kids need to learn things even when not engaged, if the parents think it important (of course engagement is seen as ideal, but not always attainable); little attention paid to the arts; a rejection, an explicit rejection, of most visual materials (besides maps) and "image-based learning."

 

If you deliberately tried to set up a curriculum and a methodology more directly opposed to what Cindy proposes as the hallmarks and needs of RB kids, you couldn't find anything more uncongenial. At least that's how it appears to me right now. I'm open to argument, though, because I'm curious to what extent you'd have to tweak WTM to get it to engage a kid like mine: resistant to direct instruction, has all kinds of creative ideas that cross disciplines and time periods, learns from images and artistic formats equally as well as with texts, and needs both, learns globally -- whole to parts -- and thrives on interconnective topics or questions, needs the arts to be central to education, did not learn to read or to spell phonetically, must be engaged for learning to be embraced and retained, etc. In my experience, the whole thing went FAR beyond tweaking, to WTM being radically inappropriate for my dd's whole way of learning. She probably COULD have been made to fit into its general way of operating, but the result would have been a loss of curiosity and eagerness, a huge daily battle between the two of us, and I'd be willing to bet, a feeling that she was inadequate and stupid. A kid with milder RB tendencies and without the dysgraphia that dd had as a young child might find TWM perfectly acceptable.

 

As I said, now, in mid-adolescence, it's a different matter as her timeline and development has reached the integrative stage, but in her own way and at her own pace.

 

Now that she's in high school and has gone through what Cindy labels the integrative stage, where studies show (she quotes a recent Stanford study) that most kids develop beyond a heavy reliance on one hemisphere's preferences alone and become more balanced learners, she's doing things that look very WTM: reading lots of classics, studying Latin of her own accord, using textbooks for math and science (plus other materials though). She's also continuing to do things that look nothing like WTM, which fill her need for connections across disciplines (way beyond just aligning history with the reading of classics, chronologically) and for the integration of the arts as a central part of her learning (not just adding an art class as a separate subject).

 

Now I do realize that it's a rare kid who's going to be a total, perfect WTM fit. But I do wonder how WTM looks to someone who doesn't see it as not only LB, but LB in the extreme. Would you mind explaining? You can PM me if you don't want to lay it all out here.

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My youngest DD is currently participating in a clinical research study at UC San Francisco of methyl B12 shots. The study has been going on for a while and DD is one of the very last participants (there were only 2 openings left after she got accepted). The study is controlled, double-blind, etc. and they are testing the kids extensively prior to and after the experimental period.

 

That is very interesting. How does mB12 work? By preventing genes from expressing or is it something else?

 

Functional MRIs show that even highly-functioning autistic children have very active amygdala when looking at faces, especially the eye area where true emotion appears, and this causes fear, even terror. The autistic children cope by averting their gaze. However, averting their gaze prevents their fusiform gyrus from *growing* and that leads to difficulty with reading other people's emotions. If the amygdala can be calmed -- or buffered by the left prefrontal cortex -- then that could be very helpful in getting autistic children to look at faces and read emotions better. Btw, gaze aversion is often present in the siblings of autistic children but to a lesser extent. Getting those kids to beef up their left prefrontal cortex so that they can buffer the signals from the amygdala could be helpful to them, too. (Mindfulness techniques are effective in accomplishing this.)

 

This is in the neuroscientist Richard Davidson's book The Emotional Life of Your Brain if anyone is interested.

 

I hope your daughter sees good results, CW.

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DS loves history. Of all of SWBs recommendations, the one we follow most is history, and we do it a la Pandia Press Lev 2 Ancients. We read books together from whatever the lesson happens to be. I'm not really married to the lessons. Ancient megaliths were exciting, and we used the Internet to explore the Hypogeum and bits of Turkey. Google Earth is great for looking at Mesopotamia and the Nile River delta.

 

We watch PBS and History Channel documentaries. He keeps a timeline using software. Summaries are kept in a Word file and are appended. DS uses atlases and fills in maps...We actually have two enormous maps hanging on one office wall. We travel and visit museums. He reads books and watches videos about ancient weapons.

 

I scribe for him when he summarizes. He takes those summaries and types them up. Sometimes I dictate the sentences and he types. He summarizes and types alone too. I review everything, and we discuss capitalization and sentence structure. He listens to books on tape. We listen to Greek myth audio books. We look at colorful coffee table books. I expect an ancient Sumerian and Egyptian music CD to arrive tomorrow. Hands down, my sons favorite subject is history. The discussion, the connections, the looking forward and back,,,I love it too.

 

ETA: DS types 40 wpm...Today we covered the centralized gov't of the ancient Egyptians. DS suggested that the nomarchs were the Pharaoh's propagandists and brought up the former Soviet Union. Needless to say, we had a very interesting discussion.

Edited by Heathermomster
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DS loves history. Of all of SWBs recommendations, the one we follow most is history, and we do it a la Pandia Press Lev 2 Ancients. We read books together from whatever the lesson happens to be. I'm not really married to the lessons. Ancient megaliths were exciting, and we used the Internet to explore the Hypogeum and bits of Turkey. Google Earth is great for looking at Mesopotamia and the Nile River delta.

 

We watch PBS and History Channel documentaries. He keeps a timeline using software. Summaries are kept in a Word file and are appended. DS uses atlases and fills in maps...We actually have two enormous maps hanging on one office wall. We travel and visit museums. He reads books and watches videos about ancient weapons.

 

I scribe for him when he summarizes. He takes those summaries and types them up. Sometimes I dictate the sentences and he types. He summarizes and types alone too. I review everything, and we discuss capitalization and sentence structure. He listens to books on tape. We listen to Greek myth audio books. We look at colorful coffee table books. I expect an ancient Sumerian and Egyptian music CD to arrive tomorrow. Hands down, my sons favorite subject is history. The discussion, the connections, the looking forward and back,,,I love it too.

 

ETA: DS types 40 wpm...Today we covered the centralized gov't of the ancient Egyptians. DS suggested that the nomarchs were the Pharaoh's propagandists and brought up the former Soviet Union. Needless to say, we had a very interesting discussion.

 

Wow, I love that last way your ds connected Egypt and the Soviet Union. This is the kind of thing my dd does as well.

 

Our approach to history is quite like yours. The way I see this differing from WTM is that WTM is overwhelmingly text-based: text as spine, texts as spin-offs, anything visual as a supplement. The hands-on projects for very young kids kind of dry up with advancing grade level.

 

Dd loathes the ancients, and gets to them backwards, usually through a literary parody or spoof that intrigues her about what the original was actually like; sometimes she gets to them through a play (we're seeing a play called An Iliad this week). Not only are visual materials the foundation of how she approaches history, but they are often fictional in nature: more plays, dealing with a variety of time periods; BBC mini-series like Garrow's Law (18th-century legal reform) or The Hour (1950s British TV news cast).

 

With Garrow's Law and The Hour, she went on to do quite a lot of pretty conventional research including reading biographies and online court records from centuries past, and doing a mini-project on the Suez Canal crisis, researching and summarizing different national stances on the way it played out. But for many things, our central issue has turned out to be: what is the relationship between historic and artistic truth? How can we assign a value to each, or should we? Does one have different effects than the other? How does each define and value the past?

 

These are obviously huge questions and we're not looking to answer them definitively. But this kind of thing, which spans multiple disciplines and many different types of media, characterizes nearly all of the things dd does. And this is light-years removed from WTM.

 

I think WTM is a rigorous, serious, totally wonderful way to approach history and literature -- for a LB kid. There is a point in my mind where no matter how many other ways in which we might overlap the methods, we personally depart from WTM. I used to think that point was marked by the shift in foundational materials (from textual to visual) and with separating history from the arts -- I'm not talking artist study here. But now I think it's more a matter of the kinds of questions we bring to history, the things we ask from it and the things dd takes from it. Neither way, to my mind, is better or worse. They're just different. And I think one way (certainly not the only one) to characterize that difference is to talk in terms of LB and RB learning.

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So, I was curious as a side topic to know how people were applying the WTM information to their right-brained children, or special needs children.

 

DS loves history. Of all of SWBs recommendations, the one we follow most is history...

 

:iagree:Us too. History is all that works and that is only because ds can read additional books, and create or build projects, including learning spatial languages like hieroglyphs and Chinese characters. Well, that and math but there are multiple recommendations in WTM for that. We've ditched the writing, grammar, reading, and narrating. This conversation might explain the thread we had awhile back where nearly every dyslexic parent had commented that SWB LA materials were a terrible fit for their kid.

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This conversation might explain the thread we had awhile back where nearly every dyslexic parent had commented that SWB LA materials were a terrible fit for their kid.

 

For LA instruction, I've turned to direct, explicit, and multisensory (if I can figure a way to teach it) instruction. Slow and steady is currently the way we run the LA race, and I do not follow SWB's LA materials. I wanted to, but this list showed me the true path.

 

I think SWB is brilliant and believe she wants parents to teach to their child's needs, even if we don't follow her recs. Homeschooling isn't about being a slave to some nebulous stranger's curriculum.

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Crimson, that was interesting to read about the methyl b12 study, in relation to Autism?

While B12 has been identified as playing a critical role 'nerve function', as a transmitter.

Where a deficiency has been identified as a causation of 'Peripheral Neuropathy', that effects the control and sensory feedback from the hands and feet. Where the initial indicator, is a tingling/numbness in the hands and feet.

Yet the studies so far, have really only so far, looked into peripheral nerve function.

Where it seems that this study is looking at its possible role neural pathway function?

I do have a particular interest in B12 in relation to recovery from 'acquired brain injury', where 'peripheral neuropathy' is often a symptom. Where I am an advocate of methyl B12 in brain injury recovery.

Specifically methyl B12, as common forms of B12, are very difficult to metabolize through the digestive tract.

But it hasn't really been looked at, in relation to neural pathway function.

Where the connection between brain cells, is basically a bio-chemical nutrient chain.

But if a nutrient, such as B12 is missing, or not adequately supplied? Then fully operational neural pathways can't be formed.

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Crimson, that was interesting to read about the methyl b12 study, in relation to Autism?

While B12 has been identified as playing a critical role 'nerve function', as a transmitter.

Where a deficiency has been identified as a causation of 'Peripheral Neuropathy', that effects the control and sensory feedback from the hands and feet. Where the initial indicator, is a tingling/numbness in the hands and feet.

Yet the studies so far, have really only so far, looked into peripheral nerve function.

Where it seems that this study is looking at its possible role neural pathway function?

I do have a particular interest in B12 in relation to recovery from 'acquired brain injury', where 'peripheral neuropathy' is often a symptom. Where I am an advocate of methyl B12 in brain injury recovery.

Specifically methyl B12, as common forms of B12, are very difficult to metabolize through the digestive tract.

But it hasn't really been looked at, in relation to neural pathway function.

Where the connection between brain cells, is basically a bio-chemical nutrient chain.

But if a nutrient, such as B12 is missing, or not adequately supplied? Then fully operational neural pathways can't be formed.

 

Please, please, someone do research on this!!!!

 

I was found to have a B12 deficiency at a rather young age, despite eating animal protein. I have two kids with significant sensory issues, specifically including appropriate nerve signals to the hands and feet. One of them had a spinal problem that may have been caused by my B12 problem. The cause of my deficiency has never been identified so I don't know if my dc could have inherited the "cause" or have simply been impacted by my deficiency while in utero, or if there's a way to help them.

 

So glad to know someone is thinking about this.

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I have been reading this thread with interest, and at one point even wrote a long post and then deleted it. There is one nagging thought that I want to interject, though. There seems to be an assumption that any non-typical learner is a RB learner, but this is not true. Dyslexia is caused by weaknesses in the language centers in the left hemisphere of the brain. Some dyslexics have RB strengths that may compensate for these weaknesses, but some of them don't. For ex, my middle, mildly dyslexic dd fits rather neatly into the RB/VSL learner profile. OTOH, my dd11 is severely dyslexic, but she also has RB weaknesses. Without therapies and interventions, I feel pretty confident in saying that she would never have become a reader, at least not beyond a very minimal literacy standard. It wasn't a matter of waiting for her timeline to develop; it was essential to remediate multiple weaknesses so that she could begin to learn.

 

I can't remember which book I was reading at the time, but I read something about the myth of the late bloomer. The latest research shows that most students who struggle with reading in first grade continue to struggle with reading; therefore, there is no benefit gained from waiting to begin intervention. The earlier intervention begins, the better most students do over the long term. This goes hand in hand with my experience of talking to moms of teens who deeply regret not remediating their students when they were young because their friends told them that all kids will read eventually. Even with my 11 yo, people have said, "See, they all get it in their own time." No, some don't. It's not fear, it's fact. My dd began reading in the magic 8-10 yo window, but it wasn't because her brain suddenly matured and became ready. It happened because of the foundation laid by therapies and interventions that began when she was 3 yo.

 

More recently, she took a year off from OT, and dh and I separately noticed some stagnation back in Jan-Feb. I purposely didn't say anything to dh until he brought it up, because I wanted to see if he would notice it, or if it was just my impatience or imagination. DD re-started OT a month ago and has already made another academic jump. Would it have happened anyway without therapy? Maybe. But otoh, it's probably not a coincidence that during the 5-6 months that we waited before starting therapy, we didn't see the jump, and in the 1 month that she's been back in therapy, it finally happened. And the really cool thing is that the jump isn't just academic; she's suddenly started understanding how to count the beat in her Irish dance class and she experienced that feeling of being suspended and floating in air during jumps.

Edited by LizzyBee
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In this article http://www.therightsideofnormal.com/2012/03/12/is-aspergers-left-or-right-brained/ Cindy discusses how one can be right-brained yet struggle with right-brained areas. The same would be true for those who are left-brained dominant.

 

This is the situation with my oldest and youngest, although my oldest is ADHD and my youngest PDD-NOS with Aspergers traits.

 

I don't think that any non-typical learner is a RB learner.

 

I do feel the WTM and traditional schools are set up for the LB learner. I also think sometimes you have a kid in the middle who can function with accommodations to LB methods and having one or two subjects tweaked or an art/craft/project added. I also know from experience that some buck at all aspects of left brained approaches, but taking school outside the box enables them to learn. They may take a different route, but reach the same destination. Perhaps those are the right-brained learners.

 

Not directed to you Lizzy, but an overall comment -

 

We each need to be in tune with our children and trust our own instincts. Parenting is hard, our children do not come with instruction manuals, we each want are kids to be safe, happy, healthy, and educated. The best approach is the one that fits that child's situation. I know emotions run high when you've invested a lot of time, money, and research in things. Just because something isn't your experience, doesn't mean it wasn't that of someone else's. It is challenging enough raising a non traditional learner, let alone not having a support system. This board is a place to support each other, not judge.

 

I keep coming back to this forum because I love reading about others out of the box approaches to dovetailing traditional subjects with their child's interests and strengths. I would love to see more members share how they are helping their child pull together studies on a topic of interest and further develop their strengths beyond traditional subjects and sequences.

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See, I can't even relate to these discussions, because the dyslexic, right-brained learners in my house are also the self-starters, the auto-didacts. They are curious, willing to work, analytical, and see and explore the world in ways I wouldn't even notice. When left to their own devices they choose educational, instructional TV; they choose from the non-fiction section of the library. I couldn't stop them from learning, only facilitate their interests, and also include things they might not naturally choose. When they do approach something they might not choose, like literature, they bring so much real world experience to it. So the idea that they would just never learn is foreign to my limited experience. However, making sure they can read and write, trying to help them better communicate with more correct grammar and spelling, just helps them succeed with their strengths. That's just our experience, though.

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See, I can't even relate to these discussions, because the dyslexic, right-brained learners in my house are also the self-starters, the auto-didacts. They are curious, willing to work, analytical, and see and explore the world in ways I wouldn't even notice. When left to their own devices they choose educational, instructional TV; they choose from the non-fiction section of the library. I couldn't stop them from learning, only facilitate their interests, and also include things they might not naturally choose. When they do approach something they might not choose, like literature, they bring so much real world experience to it. So the idea that they would just never learn is foreign to my limited experience. However, making sure they can read and write, trying to help them better communicate with more correct grammar and spelling, just helps them succeed with their strengths. That's just our experience, though.

 

Kathy, that's my middle dd. But my youngest had so many weaknesses that she will choose a video game over any other activity because learning is just so hard for her, but she's made incredible progress and she will get "there."

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In this article http://www.therightsideofnormal.com/2012/03/12/is-aspergers-left-or-right-brained/ Cindy discusses how one can be right-brained yet struggle with right-brained areas. The same would be true for those who are left-brained dominant.

 

This is the situation with my oldest and youngest, although my oldest is ADHD and my youngest PDD-NOS with Aspergers traits.

 

I don't think that any non-typical learner is a RB learner.

 

I do feel the WTM and traditional schools are set up for the LB learner. I also think sometimes you have a kid in the middle who can function with accommodations to LB methods and having one or two subjects tweaked or an art/craft/project added. I also know from experience that some buck at all aspects of left brained approaches, but taking school outside the box enables them to learn. They may take a different route, but reach the same destination. Perhaps those are the right-brained learners.

 

Not directed to you Lizzy, but an overall comment -

 

We each need to be in tune with our children and trust our own instincts. Parenting is hard, our children do not come with instruction manuals, we each want are kids to be safe, happy, healthy, and educated. The best approach is the one that fits that child's situation. I know emotions run high when you've invested a lot of time, money, and research in things. Just because something isn't your experience, doesn't mean it wasn't that of someone else's. It is challenging enough raising a non traditional learner, let alone not having a support system. This board is a place to support each other, not judge.

 

I keep coming back to this forum because I love reading about others out of the box approaches to dovetailing traditional subjects with their child's interests and strengths. I would love to see more members share how they are helping their child pull together studies on a topic of interest and further develop their strengths beyond traditional subjects and sequences.

 

No worries, I completely agree with you. I don't want to be judged for choosing therapy, just as no-one here wants to be judged for not choosing therapy. One of the most valuable things I've heard during my homeschool journey is from one of Cindy's CDs: Let your children tell you how they learn.

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I guess I am a little late to the party on this thread but just read all of it, and it sure is an interesting discussion. I have been aware of Cindy's web site through a yahoo group I belong to, and I've found it interesting and useful. I guess I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to therapies and interventions. My DS7 is dyslexic and dysgraphic, with visual processing issues. The 2 interventions we've pursued are vision therapy and the Davis Dyslexia method. We've been very happy with both. I would also consider the visual correction he needed to be a medical issue that needed attention.

 

I am curious how others view their children's dyslexia - I personally don't see it as a learning disability, but as a learning difference. Cindy I am curious if you would view the non phonics approach of Davis as an intervention? I did not view it that way. We chose it because we felt it honored DS's visual and 3D strengths, so I looked it as helping him access a right-brained curriculum if you will. He is also a much happier child as he really really wanted to read.

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I can't remember which book I was reading at the time, but I read something about the myth of the late bloomer. The latest research shows that most students who struggle with reading in first grade continue to struggle with reading; therefore, there is no benefit gained from waiting to begin intervention. The earlier intervention begins, the better most students do over the long term.

 

I too have read this research; but I have to wonder whether the continuing struggle is due to inappropriate methods being used for intervention/remediation at too early an age. For my visual reader and speller, If intervention had taken the form of direct and heavily phonetic instruction, it would have messed with her natural and quite good visual learning patterns. In fact the phonics I did try with spelling not only did not accomplish anything, but made her more confused because she couldn't hear fine differences in soft vowel sounds. Did that mean she needed intensive remediation in vowel sounds and more phonics? For this particular child, that would have been a learning method based in weakness or deficits.

 

When we began using a visual method she took off and soared. That isn't "intervention." That's an alternate way of learning that is not widely understood or practiced in schools, and I certainly wasn't aware of it until I was deep in dealing with dd's needs. If she was a struggling speller and continued to struggle, it was due to inappropriate methods.

 

This is not to say this is always the case with every kid. But it was very true of my dd.

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I too have read this research; but I have to wonder whether the continuing struggle is due to inappropriate methods being used for intervention/remediation at too early an age. For my visual reader and speller, If intervention had taken the form of direct and heavily phonetic instruction, it would have messed with her natural and quite good visual learning patterns. In fact the phonics I did try with spelling not only did not accomplish anything, but made her more confused because she couldn't hear fine differences in soft vowel sounds. Did that mean she needed intensive remediation in vowel sounds and more phonics? For this particular child, that would have been a learning method based in weakness or deficits.

 

When we began using a visual method she took off and soared. That isn't "intervention." That's an alternate way of learning that is not widely understood or practiced in schools, and I certainly wasn't aware of it until I was deep in dealing with dd's needs. If she was a struggling speller and continued to struggle, it was due to inappropriate methods.

 

This is not to say this is always the case with every kid. But it was very true of my dd.

 

If all of the studies are done using ps kids where "intervention" = more of the same ineffective methods, the results of the studies will be skewed, no doubt. Also, for purposes of interpreting the studies, changing the learning method is considered an intervention. I found out when my middle dd failed to thrive in ps kindergarten that there's a lot of talk in ps about learning styles and teaching all students using multiple modalities, but it's mostly just talk. That's how we ended up becoming homeschoolers.

 

I've personally tried to use a combination of therapies and methods that remediate weaknesses while capitalizing on strengths. I am so extremely left brained that it's difficult for me to implement right-brained methods, but I have really tried to give my kids what they need. For my youngest, we use an OG based reading program to build new neural pathways in her brain's language centers, but we also play games to make learning natural and fun. She is currently using Calvert math, but we also play the Right Start and Muggins math games.

 

I just remembered that someone mentioned earlier in this thread how different schools would be if we valued right brained strengths more than left brained strengths. Without a doubt, I would have been diagnosed with LDs and eligible for services. After we began homeschooling and I learned more about learning styles, I WISHED someone had explained that there's more than one kind of smart and remediated my weaknesses. I would be a better-rounded adult if that had happened. That's the gift I hope I am giving my kids - appreciating their strengths while remediating their weaknesses. I don't have it all figured out by any means, but this is my goal.

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It had been after my right-brained session, and I saw some people from my workshop in this one. I listened. It was even more left-brained than I had suspected. I learned an important lesson, though, as I sat. The daughter had excelled with the WTM methods, and here and there, the mother alluded to her son, who appeared to have been highly resistant to the method. The more I sat and listened, the more I became uncomfortable. After advocating for the right-brained learner for SO long, I actually can become a bit physically ill when a method is too one-sided (left-brained in this case), but being shared as good for everyone. I ended up getting up and leaving halfway through, and one of my attendees whispered, "Apparently she doesn't have a right-brained learner." My response was, "Yes she does; it's probably her son, the one she's not talking about."

 

 

You see, this is what I don't get though. I can see that the WTM approach does not agree with your approach, and having visual/ tactile learners, the WTM approach does not seem to fit my learners exactly either, without major tweaking. Bringing into the conversation Dr. Bauer's child and the way she chooses to educate/ parent him though, when she is not even participating in this conversation, I feel, is uncalled for. But that's just me!

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Um, hiya, guys.

 

You see, this is what I don't get though. I can see that the WTM approach does not agree with your approach, and having visual/ tactile learners, the WTM approach does not seem to fit my learners exactly either, without major tweaking. Bringing into the conversation Dr. Bauer's child and the way she chooses to educate/ parent him though, when she is not even participating in this conversation, I feel, is uncalled for. But that's just me!

 

Yeah, me too.

 

I'm here, by the way, because a couple of forum members asked me to drop in and comment.

 

I have always believed that a method or book that's sound can hold up to plenty of opposition, and can only get better with criticism. That's why we allow forum members to say whatever they please about our materials.

 

However, I have to say that I find this both puzzling and inaccurate:

 

In all fairness, I decided to attend a workshop session by the authors at a homeschooling conference I attended where they were speaking as a mother/daughter team in order to hear for myself from the source.

 

It had been after my right-brained session, and I saw some people from my workshop in this one. I listened. It was even more left-brained than I had suspected. I learned an important lesson, though, as I sat. The daughter had excelled with the WTM methods, and here and there, the mother alluded to her son, who appeared to have been highly resistant to the method. The more I sat and listened, the more I became uncomfortable. After advocating for the right-brained learner for SO long, I actually can become a bit physically ill when a method is too one-sided (left-brained in this case), but being shared as good for everyone. I ended up getting up and leaving halfway through, and one of my attendees whispered, "Apparently she doesn't have a right-brained learner." My response was, "Yes she does; it's probably her son, the one she's not talking about."

 

Huh?

 

Does she mean me and *my* mother, in which case I excelled and my brother resisted? Because my brother excelled with the method. Or is she talking about some other home school speaker? Because the only time my mother and I team-speak (and it's been six or seven years) is about parenting and life as a homeschooling family. Or is she talking about me and my kids? Because although I've been very open about the various difficulties I've had with my own kids, in the belief that this would help others teach, "highly resistant" doesn't describe any of my kids. This is a really inaccurate report of something that the poster seems to have entirely misunderstood, and since it's here for all to see, I will take the liberty of jumping in and saying so. It is not a fair criticism of our methods.

 

Since I'm here, can I also say something about this board? We always welcome home schoolers of all persuasions, but I'm a little confused about why parents who seem determined to oppose *everything* about our methods would post so frequently here. It seems out of place to come to a board run by classical educators in order to issue blanket criticisms of their methods. I would hope that this board would, among other things, help parents tweak classical methods to suit different learning styles. Not pitch them out completely.

 

SWB

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Since I'm here, can I also say something about this board? We always welcome home schoolers of all persuasions, but I'm a little confused about why parents who seem determined to oppose *everything* about our methods would post so frequently here. It seems out of place to come to a board run by classical educators in order to issue blanket criticisms of their methods. I would hope that this board would, among other things, help parents tweak classical methods to suit different learning styles. Not pitch them out completely.

 

SWB

 

I'll bite . . .

 

I initially came to the WTM forums 8 years ago because I wanted to learn more about homeschooling and it was the largest and most active group. I have owned two editions of the WTM, FLL 1 & 2, FLL 3, WWE 1, 2, 3 & 4, SOTW 1 in hardback and the activity guide, SOTW audio versions of 1 & 2, and Writing Without Fear. I became puzzled and frustrated because they didn't fit my children as written. I tried to tweak them and it still didn't go very well. That doesn't mean that the WTM doesn't work for many and even some with special needs. It simply didn't work for my family.

 

I have recommended products here that seem like they may fit someone else's situation, even though they didn't fit here. When others have slammed a program for it not working, I have suggested that just maybe it could have been the timing, not a good fit for that child's learning style, the wrong level, or just not a good mesh with the instructor. That doesn't make it garbage.

 

When I read about other children struggling with classical educational methods, I remember how it felt to want it to be the magical answer, but it just not fitting my kid. This is the reason I hang out on the SN's board, to encourage others with whom the WTM is not working, that there are other options and it's okay to have a different path.

 

Sometimes what our children have is not just a matter of a different learning style that can easily be accommodated by adding more visuals, more audiobooks, more projects, and altering the assignments. There are times when the student is developmentally in a completely different sequence than the WTM suggests.

 

So why do I come to the SN's board you have provided? Because it is the most active and diverse board. SN's parents need to brainstorm with others what options are out there and find one that reaches their child. For these students, it's not just a classical method being tossed out completely, but a traditional mindset. It's nothing against you personally, it's just the way it is and we have to do what we have to do to help our kids be the best them they can be.

 

Michele

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I have been careful to say I think WTM works very, very well for many kids who are text-oriented and who process in LB ways. I am left-brained, and I was attracted to WTM many years ago for that very reason; it fit with my learning and processing modes. I wanted it to work, I wanted that kind of structure, and I shared many of the goals of the book and whole philosophy.

 

Yet it hasn't worked for my dd, and it would kill her off to try to impose it. This is not a "blanket criticism."

 

I'm trying to understand whether people who know how differently some right-brained kids need to be worked with can possibly manage the general overarching methods of WTM. I'm trying to fit it in with what I have learned about current neuroscience and learning, from lectures given by highly respected scientists, from books, from studies in which my dd has participated, from our neuropsych evaluation experiences. And the truth is it doesn't fit.

 

That is NOT an attack on everything WTM stands for, or for its use for huge numbers of people. I'm trying to clarify in my own mind at what point it becomes a disservice to my child and others who share her learning profile to try to approach learning in this way, a way I have long valued and long assumed to be universally valid. My dd has shattered the views I've held in common with WTM, not about goals but about particular methods and assumptions, and I'm dealing with the task of trying to build something new from the remnants, something which keeps some of the old goals intact but recognizes we must go a radically different way to get there. What I'm saying only becomes a perceived attack if someone insists on claiming that one single approach is so incredibly flexible and perfect that it works for every single child, at every single stage, in every single way.

 

I have worked hard to try to express myself respectfully. If I haven't, I apologize. I would like to see others take the same care to read what I have actually said -- including my praise of WTM for many families -- and to show the same respect to others with whom they disagree.

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Those are both good answers. Thanks.

 

I have to say that the "physically ill" quote got on my nerves. Particularly since I have never, and would never, suggest that TWTM should be followed by everyone letter-by-letter as written. In fact, I've spent over a decade telling parents to adapt the methods and do what works.

 

SWB

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Since I'm here, can I also say something about this board? We always welcome home schoolers of all persuasions, but I'm a little confused about why parents who seem determined to oppose *everything* about our methods would post so frequently here. It seems out of place to come to a board run by classical educators in order to issue blanket criticisms of their methods. I would hope that this board would, among other things, help parents tweak classical methods to suit different learning styles. Not pitch them out completely.

 

SWB

 

I'm someone who has to tweak classical methods, less so for my oldest and more so for my second. I find your book to be incredibly inspiring as an overall philosophy :D even if many of the specific curricula recommended in its pages may not be the best for my particular kids.

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I'm trying to understand whether people who know how differently some right-brained kids need to be worked with can possibly manage the general overarching methods of WTM.

 

There's a wise old saying to "begin with the end in mind". To me personally, the goal of classical education is to expose my kids to the greatest achievements of Western Civilization so that they can participate in what Mortimer J. Adler calls "the Great Conversation". In achieving that goal, I don't think it matters so much whether a child learns to read & write using the methods described in TWTM vs. a more "right-brained" way. That's what I mean about loving the philosophy of TWTM (at least as how I read the philosophy).

 

I'm a "big picture" kind of girl, however, so someone who tends to "miss the forest for the trees" could very well get caught up in the specific details of TWTM, find them problematic, and reject the whole philosophy.

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With all respect, SWB, I think you're not understanding that we're going beyond the need to "adapt." We're talking about a much more fundamental mis-match in which WTM's philosophies of parts-to-whole, systematic learning, history-centered curriculum, an emphasis on phonics as key to reading and writing, privileging text over image, hierarchical and authoritative teacher-student relationship, explicit instruction, incremental linear methods... all these fundamental aspects of classical education collide with a child who is resistant to direct instruction, truly needs to figure things out for herself (referencing the "You broke all my joy" story I told earlier); has a whole-to-parts learning style, is a visual, Gestalt-type reader and speller, who has an absolute need for engagement in a topic before learning and retention can take place (there are many, many professional scientific and psychological articles about this need in some people), and who displays an interdisciplinary and inter-connected web-like mental organizational style... on and on. It all goes WAY beyond adapting.

 

This is like a clash of universes for me. I never imagined my dd's schooling looking like it has turned out; I imagined it as a tweaked version of WTM when we set out many years ago.

 

The right-brained developmental timetable posits, based on recent studies from Stanford, that the brain moves away from an earlier more extreme tendency (in some people) toward one hemisphere's processing needs over the others, and comes to look more even-handed by mid to late adolescence. At this time left-brained kids begin to also incorporate more right-brained connections in their learning -- the "original expression" aspect of the rhetoric stage as you describe it.

 

So although my daughter's schooling still is quite different, it's starting to ALSO look more like classical learning at this point. She's studying Latin by choice, has separated out science and math for approaching through a conventional, directed learning method (this didn't happen until 8th or 9th grade though), and writing essays. If I'd had more information on a general right-brained learning profile, I would have been able to relax about the gradual way in which I could move closer to the kinds of things that characterize the rhetoric stage in WTM after the early and middle years being radically unsuited to such an approach.

 

This is what I mean by saying that it's not dismissing WTM in entirety to say that it does not necessarily fit every single kid, at every single stage -- no matter how much adapting or tweaking you do, there's something in the foundational assumptions and attitudes that is profoundly inappropriate for a group of kids, many of whom we might characterize as right-brained learners.

 

I understand the model you propose is flexible and adaptable, that it's a template or general model rather than something to be laboriously followed in every specific. I get that; I really do. But as Michele said, some of us have found that we have to put aside the underlying traditional ... I don't know exactly how to phrase it. Structures of thought, maybe, about how kids learn and process, and even more, what the relationship between kid, parent/teacher, and knowledge or skills looks like. I'm not proposing a competing alternate theory about all education or all kids. I'm struggling to figure out and understand why what works for so many doesn't work for mine, marveling at what she's accomplished in a very, very different way, and constantly revising how I envision a life-long education and my role in it.

 

It's taken me a long time to get to this point, and I know that what has held me back in great part has been some assumptions about how learning supposedly universally takes place and what its structures ought to look like. My goals are still the same, and I continue to share many of them with the WTM philosophy. But I can't get to them, or I couldn't until my dd reached mid-adolescence and had a very apparent global leap forward which enabled her to do work in traditionally left-brained ways as well as her own unique ways, in that old framework of thought. That's what Michele and I have been struggling to get to: a place where we can sort out and untangle exactly what in WTM doesn't work for our right-brained children, and why. I used to think it was just the kind of materials or the writing workload; now I see it more as those underlying thought structures about how learning works. It simply did not work that way in my child.

 

That's as close as I can get to explaining why "adapting" isn't the issue for some kids. I truly wish I could help you see the difference as some of us have come to see it.

 

We're reaching a point now in our onw individual homeschool where some kind of return to that WTM model might be possible. My job is to figure out whether, and when, to go there, with my dd. What would be gained, what would be lost at this point? Discussing and blundering my way through teasing it all out is the only way I know how to do this.

 

Precisely because WTM works for so many families on this board, it's a very isolating position to be in when you have read it and feel drawn toward it through your own way of learning, but when your child puts you at odds with all of that. If I were an unschooler or something more radical than what I am, I'd find my community in a different forum. It's here I find people who share my original pull toward classical education but who have found it not only a struggle with their kids, but in opposition to the way their kids learn best.

 

Like Michele, in other posts I've also encouraged people to use WTM approaches to writing or reading or to looking at a child's topic of interest through a historical lens. You're seeing one part of the kinds of things we post here, seeing only the questioning and the parts where we don't fit or where we have come to see a need to do things in a hugely different way. Not all our posts are on this level. I know you can't read the entire boards, but I just wanted to tell you that I have also said good things about WTM and I share many of your attitudes toward reading and literary criticism and history in particular.

 

There is truly a need in the SN community to probe the limits of ANY one single method or approach in relation to our kids. There are huge disagreements and different experiences here all the time: with vision therapy, dyslexia interventions, medication, evaluations. Our kids are DIFFERENT, from the norm and from one another. We are always trying to figure out if there's some kind of identifiable pattern or category they actually "fit" into, so we can sign with relief and recognition. Usually that isn't the case.

 

I found a pattern with the right-brained developmental learning profile that more closely matches my dd than anything I've seen in over ten years of reading and research. I'm in the process of figuring this out, looking at it from all angles, and one angle is definitely to see it in contrast to left-brained patterns and assumptions. It's not a criticism of the validity of WTM for a big population of people to say that I now see it as immersed in left-brained thinking. For many, that's not only fine but a huge benefit, something that works really well. For others, like my dd, it's a problem. Again, that doesn't mean a total and utter rejection of every single aspect. It DOES mean sustained and direct questioning of those assumptions, as they apply to my own child and to others who share some of her learning characteristics and neurology. It does mean some of the answers might be that WTM isn't appropriate for the way I now understand her to learn and understand.

 

I'm sorry this is so rambly; something I've struggled with for a decade is in the final stages of really falling into place for me, but I can't yet articulate it all with perfect clarity. If at this point I'm using WTM to play off, as a kind of opposite of what my child has done and needed up to this point where things are changing, that doesn't mean that's all it has ever been to me or all it continues to be for so many people on these forums.

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We're talking about a much more fundamental mis-match in which WTM's philosophies of parts-to-whole, systematic learning, history-centered curriculum, an emphasis on phonics as key to reading and writing, privileging text over image, hierarchical and authoritative teacher-student relationship, explicit instruction, incremental linear methods... all these fundamental aspects of classical education

 

See, this is the kind of thing I was referring to earlier as missing the forest for the trees.

 

Except for the history-centered curriculum, I see these things as methods rather than being central to classical education. The part-to-whole, phonics, step-by-step-by-step instruction, etc. AREN'T fundamental to classical education. Learning about the history, language, and literature of our culture is what classical education is really all about. And that can definitely be done via more "right-brained" methods.

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I've become a passionate advocate for right-brained learners because of the responses I receive from others who have benefited from what I've learned about the natural learning path for right-brained children. The response from my information isn't usually just "oh, that's a good new piece of information," but instead is an emotional, life-changing level of information.

 

This has been exactly the response I had to your writing, which I've just found lately, Cindy. I've ended up doing much of what you talk about over the years, but I felt perpetually anxious and isolated because it was so different from what almost everybody else I knew was doing, and there was no clearinghouse about right-brained learners, which is what you are providing.

 

To say that WTM is left-brained in its orientation and assumptions is not a sweeping dismissal of those things. It's a description of its underlying philosophical stance and thought structures.

 

That those do not fit my child or many other right-brained kids is not a criticism of anybody who is left-brained or of kids who thrive in that setting! Equally, nor is it a criticism of my dd because LB education does not fit her. And finally, it is a rejection of the idea that I have simply not tweaked enough or that I view WTM too rigidly. The whole idea is that no one is at fault, no one view is wrong-minded... but equally, no one view is best for all of our kids, without exception. It is a rejection of the idea that if your child doesn't fit into left-brained models and thought structures or ways of understanding and developing, that child is therefore SN and needs "accommodations," or must necessarily have an LD.

 

I've tried really hard to make these distinctions clear, to make it clear that if WTM works for any given child, that's great, but its LB bent might make it inappropriate for very RB kids; that yes, there is a distinction between right-brained normal and actual LDs or processing glitches or malfunctions -- some of which my dd also had/has. I don't think I can make it any more clear. I'm sure it is not perfectly said or described. But equally, I don't think that because someone else doesn't see these distinctions in their own child, or because someone might still be operating within the framework of a LB worldview and assuming that everybody else shares it, that makes what I'm seeing and describing, or how my dd has needed to learn, invalid or misguided or mistaken. (I'm not referring to anyone specific here -- I'm making general remarks.)

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I'm sorry my impression did not sit well with you. I can only share my legitimate responses to what I heard and where I was at in my journey at the time. I know it's been some years since I remember sitting in on the workshop, so I went to look to see if I could confirm my memories. It was the InHome Conference in Chicago, and from what I can determine from my handouts I kept, it may have been the 2004 conference, so I'm going from an 8 year memory and response. It lists only your mother being there, so maybe my impression that you were both there is a false one, though I could swear you were, so maybe you spoke there again later?

 

 

What is not "sitting well" with me is the implication that this teaching method didn't work well for a member of my family, but that we chose to somehow gloss over/ignore this in order to make our presentation more convincing. That's not a legitimate response, since that never happened. So I do continue to find your post both troubling and inaccurate.

 

To those of you who have posted your struggles with classical education methods, thank you. As always, I continue to be educated and informed by this board.

 

SWB

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Except for the history-centered curriculum, I see these things as methods rather than being central to classical education. The part-to-whole, phonics, step-by-step-by-step instruction, etc. AREN'T fundamental to classical education. Learning about the history, language, and literature of our culture is what classical education is really all about. And that can definitely be done via more "right-brained" methods.

 

Very well said. You should write a book. :001_smile:

 

SWB

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With all respect, SWB, I think you're not understanding that we're going beyond the need to "adapt." We're talking about a much more fundamental mis-match in which WTM's philosophies of parts-to-whole, systematic learning, history-centered curriculum, an emphasis on phonics as key to reading and writing, privileging text over image, hierarchical and authoritative teacher-student relationship, explicit instruction, incremental linear methods... all these fundamental aspects of classical education collide with a child who is resistant to direct instruction, truly needs to figure things out for herself (referencing the "You broke all my joy" story I told earlier); has a whole-to-parts learning style, is a visual, Gestalt-type reader and speller, who has an absolute need for engagement in a topic before learning and retention can take place (there are many, many professional scientific and psychological articles about this need in some people), and who displays an interdisciplinary and inter-connected web-like mental organizational style... on and on. It all goes WAY beyond adapting.

 

Fair enough.

 

I would love to send you a couple of audio lectures I've done recently--and I'd also love to hear your reaction to them. If you're interested, of course. If you'd drop a note to my executive assistant, pattie AT welltrainedmind.com, I will send them along.

 

SWB

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See, this is the kind of thing I was referring to earlier as missing the forest for the trees.

 

Except for the history-centered curriculum, I see these things as methods rather than being central to classical education. The part-to-whole, phonics, step-by-step-by-step instruction, etc. AREN'T fundamental to classical education. Learning about the history, language, and literature of our culture is what classical education is really all about. And that can definitely be done via more "right-brained" methods.

 

Many children with Aspergers, ADHD, Dyslexia, etc. also have a parent with similar traits. So you are going to see those missing the forest for the trees and taking things literally, feeling like if they aren't doing it to a the letter they aren't doing in classically at all. It's also what some die hard WTM'ers imply.

 

Susan, Do you have articles specifically on how you would recommend tweaking a classical education for those with right-brained learners or those on a different developmental timeline altogether?

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There's a wise old saying to "begin with the end in mind". To me personally, the goal of classical education is to expose my kids to the greatest achievements of Western Civilization so that they can participate in what Mortimer J. Adler calls "the Great Conversation". In achieving that goal, I don't think it matters so much whether a child learns to read & write using the methods described in TWTM vs. a more "right-brained" way. That's what I mean about loving the philosophy of TWTM (at least as how I read the philosophy).

 

I'm a "big picture" kind of girl, however, so someone who tends to "miss the forest for the trees" could very well get caught up in the specific details of TWTM, find them problematic, and reject the whole philosophy.

 

While I know perfectly well that WTM is a template and not a specific instruction list, I find enough emphasis on parts-to-whole learning and "systematic" instruction (there's a whole long part in the book where teaching is compared to house building, and you start with the materials, their characteristics, etc. -- in other words, the parts, and only gradually move on to wholes), where systematic is defined in a very particular way; on formal grammatical instruction; on linear and incremental thinking/instruction; and on an authoritarian teacher-student relationship; to say pretty confidently that these are indeed fundamental aspects.

 

Yes, there are frequent comments about adapting, and how no one is meant to follow the book in every detail. However, to take outlining as an example that comes radily to mind: only one way to outline is described in WTM, in enormous detail. Now it may be that the classical method would be amenable to a whole variety of different ways of outlining and note-taking, including pictorial, mind-mapping, spider webs, etc. But there are no examples of other styles, no references, no resources listed. How is a parent relying on WTM as a major resource going to locate all these other methods, much less feel that using them fits with classical goals and methods, if they're not discussed? There are a lot of people on these forums who rely on WTM almost exclusively for their materials and pretty detailed teaching information.

 

And one more time: no one is tossing the whole caboodle. Both Cindy and I, at least, have been talking about how our kids' RB development is now becoming more even and they are acquiring academic skills, in their own ways, that put them more on a par with WTM in high school. I've talked about how my goals still have a lot in common with the original ones I started out with, when I thought WTM was going to be my guidebook. Cindy even describes what she does with her older kids as a mix of classical and unschooling.

 

ETA: Removing slight snark; sorry. Removing also myself from the conversation, as I am tired of what I say being oversimplified and mischaracterized.

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Home_Mom, bottom line is that it was disrespectful to come on a forum that you were invited by some members to explain your article, take the opportunity to promote your book, but then criticize the family of those that have given you this opportunity through a forum that they pay for.

 

Just to clarify that I was not the one that invited Susan to comment, but I am truly glad that she is here. You see, you may not realize it, but your comment is actually implying that in order to support her approach, Susan was willing to sacrifice her child's well being by not using what may have been a better approach. This is how I saw your comments and why I posted. Had you not posted that, I had nothing further to say in this thread.

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Home_Mom,

 

Your story about the workshop was inaccurate.

 

I did not give such a workshop, my mother did not give such a workshop, and if you did receive such an impression, it was based on a completely false understanding of what was being said. That negates its value.

 

I would appreciate a retraction.

 

SWB

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I've been around the forum/e-mail group block many times now. I understand that I'm considered "the enemy" when I came on to join the discussion about my article. My oldest son advised me not to do it, but I told him I really wanted to take at least this one opportunity to learn from the dissenting side what they might be able to teach me. Quite frankly, I know there's not going to be a lot I can say to change the dynamic of my "enemy" status, at least on this thread, if not the whole forum. But I have learned a lot, and met some pretty cool people, so I'm glad I came on.

 

That said, it's interesting that you're defending the site authors (as would be expected) for my supposed implication that they sacrificed a child for their system, when one of the first accusations directed at me when joining this forum was my doing the same thing with my 11-year-old. Why didn't you get offended by that?

 

So, to clarify, in NO WAY do I think they were doing any sacrificing of anyone, let alone do I think the hundreds of thousands of public school parents are doing that as they support the left-brained school system methods of educating a right-brained child. When we believe something to be good and true, we're going to pursue it. Only if or when we discover differently do we do different. It's where the saying comes that says, "When I know better, I do better." I always, ALWAYS believe that parents are doing what they feel to be best and true for their families.

 

FYI, it was her brother I was referring to, not her child.

 

Now this is amusing :001_huh:! I suggest you go back and read my posts in this thread. At no point did I imply that you were the enemy. I even mentioned that I was going to keep your book in mind. Needless to say, now, I am no longer interested! I quickly lose respect for those that are disrespectful to others.

 

Going back and reading my posts, I think you will find that I objected to all the bashing and attacking going on in this thread, from either side. Perhaps it was not clear to you! Speaking for myself, I think I was very respectful towards you, which is more than I can say about your behavior right now. I think you made yourself the enemy by putting down the means and methods that others have sacrificed time and money for, in order to help their kids. That was entirely your doing, not mine. As for me, I still don't see you as the enemy, but I do now see you as rude, condescending, and very presumptuous.

 

So then, the fact that you were implying this about Susan's mother, not her, makes it ok :confused:? How is it ever ok, regardless of your impressions, which are unclear to even you given how long ago this was, for you to judge how others raise and educate their kids? I felt bad when you were being attacked about your son, yet it appears you did not let that teach you not to do that to others. Wow... I am in total shock :001_huh:!

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Yes, there are frequent comments about adapting, and how no one is meant to follow the book in every detail. However, to take outlining as an example that comes radily to mind: only one way to outline is described in WTM, in enormous detail. Now it may be that the classical method would be amenable to a whole variety of different ways of outlining and note-taking, including pictorial, mind-mapping, spider webs, etc. But there are no examples of other styles, no references, no resources listed. How is a parent relying on WTM as a major resource going to locate all these other methods, much less feel that using them fits with classical goals and methods, if they're not discussed?

 

TWTM is an enormous book as it is, how much larger do you want it to be?

 

Only one type of outlining is described because SWB only has so much space in the book to devote to the topic, and presumably she's going to talk about the method she (and most of us parents) know best.

 

What is so important about outlining? Is it the specific format, or its purpose?

 

Whenever there is a particular method in TWTM that isn't a good "fit" for one of my students, I take a step back and figure out where that method fits in the "big picture" of classical education, and what alternatives would suit a similar purpose. Just because a particular program isn't mentioned by name in TWTM does not mean that it can't fit into a classical homeschool.

 

Forest, not the trees. :001_smile:

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As I said, I'm probably not going to be understood in the manner in which I intend to be taken at this point. This has been a long thread, and unfortunately, I didn't remember your contribution to the conversation near the beginning. I apologize for that. But it was your assumption that it was my intention to say they were sacrificing a child to their system. In no way did I intend that and I shared why I wrote that story based on what I learned from it.

 

I really don't see how I was being disrespectful or rude. I do acknowledge bringing up specifics in the story is too personal and not appropriate. I apologize for that. I didn't judge how they raised or educated their children. I didn't put down TWTM. I said I didn't think it was a fit for the right-brained child because it's more of a left-brained system. In my book, I clearly state over and over again that the left-brained way of learning is perfectly legitimate! I just want the system to make room for the right-brained way of learning to be considered legitimate, too. It's sometimes hard for me, as an advocate for right-brained learners, to see so many systems for left-brained children and rarely any for right-brained learners. It just so happens to continue to make the left-brained way appear right and the right-brained way appear wrong. It's no fault of TWTM, of course, and those whom it works for should be happy and glad of it. I just wish more people understood and knew about the left-brained/right-brained difference as it pertains to various systems is all.

 

I conveyed how I understood your words, just as you did with the speech you remember having attended. The only difference is that your words are here for everyone to see and judge for themselves, where as whatever you heard from that speech is not available for us to see/ hear.

 

Your reaction gave the impression that you were attacking me for putting emphasis on that particular part of your post. I don't know if it was my comments that made people contact Susan, but if it was, so be it. Your comments would have otherwise left false impressions in people's minds. I was not prepared to live with that.

 

I have no objection to your cause. I think you lost your focus somewhere along the way though and started considering everyone as the enemy. I think you will find a lot more allies if you try not to alienate them. Just my thoughts anyway.

 

Good luck to you.

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I concede that I don't have knowledge of how any of your family was raised or educated except for what I heard at that workshop, which I only scarcely remember details of, so I should not have brought it up. I apologize for that offense.

 

Thank you, I appreciate that.

 

SWB

 

P.S. This is my brother: http://www.linkedin.com/in/bobwise

(He ended up pretty well-educated, IMO.)

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