Friday, 29 June 2012

Home School Dyslexia Therapy

I'd like to share this link with parents of students with dyslexia looking for a better solution to their education needs...

Here, parents can choose from a wide variety of  modifications that allow students to work at their own pace and achieve success.

This is the leading K-12 Online School which specializes in providing customized curriculum for students with Dyslexia and the whole range of differences in learning styles special needs students experience.  Their staff is fully qualified and  licensed to assist parents in obtaining professional guidance on identifying and working with these learning differences and making informed decisions about meeting their student's individual educational needs in a way that far exceeds anything currently available in public or private schools.

Their Staff OT, Christina Bremm has extensive experience in working with special needs children in clinical settings. They will set you an immediate appointment for an online IEP (by WebEx video conference) after enrolling. They also take care of all 504 documentation that your student may need for the rest of their lives - particularly in college and work place settings.  Tuition is extremely affordable and may be discounted under certain circumstances.

The current Director of this school created and administered a public school program of Dyslexia Therapy (the first of it's kind) in East Texas for 4 years.  Then he got fed up with the limitations imposed on special needs kids by public school regulations and left to set up this schoolSee the article below.

Visit this page then take a moment to view their video demonstrations of classes on their home page:

Why homeschool?
By offering an alternative with homeschooling across the Internet, I have been blessed to observe many dramatic interventions in the lives of young people who became lost in the maze of their public or private school phenomenology. Although I hope to do more to promote homeschooling in the future, I am satisfied that several thousands of homeschooler’s lives have been affected and relieved from the physical, emotional and psychological stress of the institutional setting.
We recognize that many families use our service to homeschool as a matter of convenience for reasons pertaining to travel, child employment and world-wide location. We have created a program that assimilates a public school classroom in your home. However, as a former public school teacher, administrator and professor of Teacher Education AND as a homeschooling advocate, I don’t feel over-the-top by promoting this thesis. There are two main reasons why no one should permanently institutionalize their kids in public or private schools. The first is the influence of “Other People’s Kid’s” on your child and the general sociology of the school on the child-side. The second is the malfunction of the organizational structure of the school and the consequences of bad theory in the setup of the institution. This second reason is also the source of all reasons pertaining to disability issues and civil rights (see below).
The history and evolution of American schooling is of epic proportion. Like all epics, the hero starts out in a state of grace but is suddenly confronted by a stark contradiction to his value system. The hero revolts and struggles against the contradiction and ultimately wins or dies. The hero in our story is American Education.
The one-room school house began in America when the first settlers began to live in communities in the 18th and 19th Centuries. From the beginning, the paradigm of teachers and students meeting in a central location to have school was effective in its mission to impart reading, writing and arithmetic. By the late 19th Century, a standardized scope and sequence began to emerge in the presentation of curriculum that was incremental and challenging. This “standardization” included specific elements of citizenship peppered with Christian ethics but was not the result of any attempts by groups or individuals to promote a common curriculum.
The first appearance of a standardized curriculum was not planned. It was rather, a psycho-social phenomenon that emerged from the influence of the church and the family on the classroom. Teachers brought to the classroom a repertoire of instructional methodologies and their own personal value systems that they had gleaned from their own experience of American home, school and church. There were few teacher colleges and the majority of teachers had only a high school education – or less. The experience of teaching was largely a learn-as-you- go affair which theoretically led to master teacher status as time passed.
Between the years 1880-1950, students graduating from American schools were both literate and interesting and generally equipped to enter college. They also possessed a system of moral values that respected the family, God and country. The “whole student” concept was thus born from the combined teachings received from the home, the church and the school. And it was these “whole students” who went off to World War 1 and World War 2 and gave their lives selflessly to preserve their way of life – for home, God and country. It is interesting to note that today, the only way to achieve the same sort of “whole studentness” is through private Christian school or homeschooling.
There were no anti-establishment biases against any of the symbols that the three central entities (home, school and church) embodied. The teacher’s modeled behavior was key to the continued growth of the student intellectually and morally. The day opened with a prayer. Many times it was the Lord’s Prayer, then the Pledge of Allegiance; there was also a blessing of the meal before lunch. My personal experience of this in the mid-1950s was somewhat watered down but added a “good morning” song. The moral fabric of the teacher was closely monitored by community leaders and no variations were permitted.
Today, things are quite different. We see an acceleration of the decline in American moral values generated largely by the mass media and their promotion of an array of decadent ideologies. By “decadent” we mean being in a state of decline or decay marked by or providing unrestrained gratification; self-indulgence, moral relativism and secular humanism. Anyone over the age of fifty (circa 2006), can attest to their observations of this phenomenology of change with specific reference points in their memories which corroborate their experience of "when schools went south."
Modern public and private schools generate a wide array of influences pertaining to violence, crime and social values promoted by various elements of our society. However, public and private schools are not as culpable in promoting bad moral values as the families of the children who come to school. The students, who dressed up in combat gear and took weapons into the Colorado high school, did not gravitate to paramilitarism as a hobby all-by-themselves. These two chaps met each other AT SCHOOL! They came from families with poor supervision and (obviously) poorer moral values. Psychologists have speculated in that case and others that separately, neither could have committed the crimes alone. Together, they created a new and distinct personality that fed upon itself and was capable of anything.
By the way, if you are worried about your child getting shot at school, the odds are relatively low. But somebody’s kids get shot in every school-shooting event. And every time there is such an event, thousands of families consider homeschooling.
Research shows that variable degrees of violence in adolescents are predicated by what they have seen on TV. According to the American Psychiatric Association, "The debate is over… For the last three decades, the one predominant finding in research on the mass media is that exposure to media portrayals of violence increases aggressive behavior in children."
But in our consideration of homeschooling and moral decadence in America, let’s look at the realities. Your kids, my kids, everybody’s kids come to school (both public and private) with a remarkable repertoire of moral, social and sexual ideas – gleaned from the media, mass entertainment, their parents, relatives and neighborhood friends. Most children have observed or participated in some kind of sexual contact before the age of 16.
In and of itself, the risk of sexual harassment is not the only reason to home school. Many other biological, psycho-social or bureaucrat malfunctions at school can be cause for flight. However, we don’t want to underplay the significance of the sex factor. Next to being killed at school, the most damaging effects to the very structure of the family’s being are manifest by a sexual assault on a child – by another child or adult. Although we do not discount the risk of other types of undesirable behavior, the risk to the average child of being affected in some way by sex-based “acting out” of other children is much higher than being assaulted and it is the second leading reason homeschoolers report for why they are homeschooling.
Nevertheless, violence perpetrated by children against children at school is the first leading reason cited. As any parent knows, violent assaults are neither the only nor the most frequent event in this category. Violence perpetrated by children against other children, includes accidents caused by thrown objects and other playground mishaps resulting in emergency room visits – most frequently involving stitches to the scalp and face. I personally observed a child deliberately capsize a child-laden jungle gym on the playground of an elementary school. One of the little boys at the top jumped free of the falling aluminum framework but was not nimble enough to avoid being smashed on the hand by one of the upper rungs of the structure as it crashed to the ground. Multiple reconstructive surgeries followed.
Accident-related deaths are rare but not unknown. At 3:05 p.m. on March 18, 1937, a massive natural gas explosion ripped through the school building in New London, Texas, a Rusk County town in the East Texas oil fields. The blast lifted the school off its foundations and sent it crashing back to earth, the entire structure collapsing in a huge pile of brick, steel, and concrete. Despite a frantic rescue effort, more than one half of the students and teachers – some 298 people -- were killed.
Sexual abuse and personal safety issues are important things when considering whether or not to homeschool your child. But there’s more. In 2005, we are faced with the threat of numerous contagious diseases, acts of terrorism and environmental hazards. The bird flu pandemic which was recently predicted will not enter your home unless you or your child brings it in. Other contagion exists, as well. From 1976 to 1984, we lost 8 students at schools in which I was associated - to encephalitis (4), meningitis (2) and E. Coli bacteria (2). One student suffered permanent facial scarring from a particularly virulent strain of chicken pox. In the E. Coli cases, one of the student was very young and might have recovered as most children do, but developed complications which led to kidney failure. In all of the cases, except the chicken pox, the infection was traced to poor food handling. Does your child eat lunch at school?
In the past, parents who advocate for schools with walls have said that safety concerns are paranoiac and we can’t be concerned with all of these "far-fetched" possibilities. I tend to agree with that to some degree. I personally have always placed a lot of faith in God to protect my family. But the families, who have lost children in the manners I've described, have little consolation in that practical approach. As I mentioned earlier, somebody’s child is always a fatality in ALL school-related deaths.
Debilitating illness, psychological trauma, and death are all possible within school walls. I do not propose that these are reasons enough to homeschool. I cite them here as a preface – a foundation for creating a structure in logic which accepts the homeschool paradigm as a viable option. Public schools are held “harmless” by state legislation in all 50 states. Thus, if an unruly classmate chooses to plunge a pencil in your child's eye, not only will the offense go unpunished, but guess who will pay the doctor bills?
I hope the principles that follow in the ensuing entries will add to the ontological framework in which society will move to install the homeschool as the primary (not the alternate) source for elementary, secondary and post secondary studies.
The Fear Factor of Public Schools
Have you experienced some problem with your public school? Almost everyone knows someone who has had a nightmarish experience with their school, both public and private. In your negotiation of that problem did you deal with an administrator? Was there an attempt to manipulate your decision to accept their decision? Was the outcome satisfactory? Did you sense that he or she was motivated by something other than your child’s well-being that you couldn’t quite put your finger on? There is an underlying fear factor at work in public and private schools.
There are inherent flaws in the organizational structure of schools – particularly in public schools – which lend themselves to catastrophic consequences to the psychological, emotional , academic and career futures of every student. Ironically, it is the career futures of the faculty and staff that are the real focal point of school activity. Introduced in the 1980s , the concept of “accountability” - has replaced the original student-centered goals of the school with a morbid evaluation system that is teacher/administrator centered.
What is this accountability all about? Who is accountable and to whom are they accountable? Why are they accountable and what does accountability have to do with your child? The answer is not so complicated but how this accountability phenom made its way into our schools is. Accountability is simply the concept whereby schools are answerable to the public for student outcomes. Outcomes are measured by standardized tests and standardized tests are derived from the set of learner objectives (written curriculum) that are adopted by school districts, collectively in each state. The adoption of the learning standards in every state is an attempt to totally quantify what should be taught and learned by every student who attends both public and private schools. Is that a good idea? Well, the simple answer is yes but because the states must then create a test to test all knowledge in all students, the idea breaks down and ultimately becomes a personnel evaluation tool instead of an effort to impart a complete and balanced curriculum.
I will pose an assertion here that you will need to retain in your consideration of the homeschool choice: Standardized testing is the single most damaging influence on your child’s getting a complete and balanced education. And here is the best of all reasons to consider homeschooling as your primary mode of getting an education for your child.
ALL standardized tests measure subject-based knowledge on the cognitive level (fact retention). Because this testing is a mass-population endeavor and because grading individual answers is impossible, objective testing is required (multiple choice and matching). There may be a little reading comprehension measurement on some tests, as well but that too uses the objective answers format. All curriculum coordinators, writers and supervisors use Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy of educational objectives as their “go-by” for selecting what your child will learn. Bloom breaks down levels of learning into 5 levels with “evaluation” somehow becoming a sixth way children learn. Here’s the breakdown of Bloom’s schema :

Skills Demonstrated
  • observation and recall of information
  • knowledge of dates, events, places
  • knowledge of major ideas
  • mastery of subject matter
  • Question Cues:
    list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, where, etc.
  • understanding information
  • grasp meaning
  • translate knowledge into new context
  • interpret facts, compare, contrast
  • order, group, infer causes
  • predict consequences
  • Question Cues:
    summarize, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend
  • use information
  • use methods, concepts, theories in new situations
  • solve problems using required skills or knowledge
  • Questions Cues:
    apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover
  • seeing patterns
  • organization of parts
  • recognition of hidden meanings
  • identification of components
  • Question Cues:
    analyze, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer
  • use old ideas to create new ones
  • generalize from given facts
  • relate knowledge from several areas
  • predict, draw conclusions
  • Question Cues:
    combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalize, rewrite
  • compare and discriminate between ideas
  • assess value of theories, presentations
  • make choices based on reasoned argument
  • verify value of evidence
  • recognize subjectivity
  • Question Cues
    assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarize
* From Benjamin S. Bloom Taxonomy of educational objectives.
Published by Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA. Copyright (c) 1984 by Pearson Education.
As I said before, your public school’s annual standardized tests measure what your child can remember of facts on the most superficial level of consciousness - knowledge. The child’s ability to demonstrate reading comprehension can also be demonstrated on paper-and-pencil tests. However, there is no way to test for the higher learning levels of application, analysis and synthesis on paper and pencil tests - without extensive personal interview or essays. So, if the student can extrapolate causal relationships between say World War 1 and World War 2, there is no way to measure that nor the corresponding success of the U.S. History teacher’s ability to impart that information which is what the standardized test is designed for in the first place! And that is what accountability is all about, except the results of your student's standardized achievement test prove neither the success of the student nor the teacher.
Thus, we have some very bad learning theory driving our public schools. There are several inherent flaws in the concept of standardized testing:
  1. There can be no quantification of all learning
  2. If it could be quantified, it would be impossible to test.
  3. Testing only random samples of the learner objectives renders the quantification useless.
  4. Inordinate amounts of time are required to “study” or prepare for the tests.
  5. As the tests are indisputably designed to measure what children have learned, studying for them undermines the integrity of the tests.
  6. Besides degrading the delivery of a complete and balanced curriculum, schools that partition months of the academic year for test practice and the teaching of test taking skills at the expense of fine arts, honors studies and other vicarious learning activities, simultaneously undermines the integrity of the tests AND the entire reason for going to school in the first place!

You can test these tenets at home – on your own child by asking any of the following questions. A correct response would have generally required a fairly thorough coverage of not only the facts of the course content but also a synthesis of the facts into higher order reasoning levels – again equipping the learner to continue their pursuit of the subject area, independently, when necessary. Try these out for size on your 9th grade or above student. If they are able to answer any of the following, then some higher order learning is taking place in your child’s school (see answers at the end):

1. Name one modern technology that can be seen as having derived from the ancient

2. Name any of the Greek wars and tell the basic reason for the conflict .

3. Who wrote A Christmas Carol? or... Name any character in A Christmas Carol.

4. What is a Soviet Union?

5. Edgar Allen Poe wrote a poem about a Raven who was always repeating the same ...phrase. .What was the phrase?

6. What was the first cause of the outbreak of the Civil War? (not slavery)

7. On what continents would we find Mexico and Australia?

8. Name any two American novels form the 20th Century and/or any two American 20th ..Century novelists.

9. Who was Mao Tse Tung?

10. When is the longest day of the year?

11. Why did Communism collapse in Russia?

12. What is Auschwitz?

13. Who said, "Give me liberty or give me death!"?

14. If Jack Sprat could eat no fat, what could his wife also not eat?

15. What was the proper name of the first person from Earth who was first launched into outer space?

16. Why was Ophelia upset in Macbeth?

17. Who had Jesus Christ executed?

18. Which President of the United States was impeached for lying to congress?

19. What's the capital of Ohio (for non-Ohio residents).

20. Who was president of the United States during World War II.

(Answers: 1. running water, cement, domes - 2. Most notably, the Trojan War as 9th graders were once required to read Iliad and Odyssey - 3. Charles Dickens, Tiny Tim, Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Marley et al. - 4. Former Russian Communist regime - 5. "Nevermore." - 6. Secession (not slavery) - 7. North America - Australia - 8. Answers will vary - 9. Founder of Communist regime in China - 10. Summer or June - 11. Capitalism infiltrating their economy - other reasons may apply - 12. WW2 German concentration camp used to exterminate the Jews - 13. Patrick Henry - 14. Lean meat - 15. Yuri Gagarin - 16. Ophelia cannot cope with the loss of her father and her lover. 17.Pontius Pilot - 18. William Clinton 19. Columbus - 20. Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Jack Spratt question is not intended to make light of the failure of public schools, but rather to reinforce the fact that about 20 years ago, Mother Goose nursery rhymes were determined by some "thinkers" in the public school hierarchy to be “politically incorrect.” Political Correctness and Secular Humanism are topics we will explore in the future (I hope). Of course, the main idea here is that Mother Goose has not been taught to children for years. Does that matter to you?

Online Home Schooling can soundly defeat the best efforts of political agendas, state and local officials and technocrats to heard your child into a barnyard of disparate ideologies. The real goal of education is to provide a working world-view that is sound and connected and provides the learner with the ability to self-educate in all of the disciplines, if necessary.

Disabilities and Civil Rights

I mentioned earlier that everybody knows somebody who has had some nightmarish experience with their public school. You may be surprised to know that there are some families who have the same nightmare over and over - year-after-year. These are the families of students with disabilities.

I'm going to make another gross generalization here that only these families will understand. I will attempt to prove it's validity in what follows. Virtually ALL public school districts in the United States stand in open defiance of the two federal laws that were passes to protect your child from being singled-out, harassed or punished at school - on the basis of their disability. These two laws are the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

I was recently asked on radio talk show how a school district could gain a conviction of a parent in city court and assess six months probation and a $233 fine for her son's 19 days of absenteeism due to chronic respiratory problems. I answered that they couldn't, legally. But they did and neither the Texas Attorney General nor the United States Attorney would act to correct the city court's error. In fact, there can be no punishment assessed in any case involving a sick child. However, in this case the parent was simply "relieved" that the ordeal was over and the incident was forgotten. Following my rambling reply wherein I tried to explain that these incidents are common across the U.S. and are basically attempts to improve the local district's attendance and conversely their pay-per-student from the state, the show host was still perplexed. I remain perplexed, myself!

In 1990, I was involved in a case where 12 families organized a federal lawsuit against a school district for just the kind of activity described above. The federal district judge in the case ordered the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to investigate the school district. A team of 6 investigators were dispatched and took deposition from school personnel, parents and students. Being a newly hired administrator and not a party to any of the alleged discrimination, I was assigned by the Department of Education investigative team to write a plan for the district to come into compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. It was an enormous task taking over 18 months but once completed, I was told that our district was one of two in the State of Texas that was in full compliance with the two federal laws. My plan included a detailed guide for parents, teachers and administrators to deal with chronic illness, learning disabilities and all other handicapping conditions - in a fair and just manner. It also included the establishment of a program of Dyslexia Therapy and a means by which students suspected of having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) could be fairly assessed using evaluation techniques that did not also discriminate on the basis of the disability.

Sixteen years later, I am told that the district where all that occurred no longer retains any copies of my plan. And furthermore, the staff at the Dallas office of the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights has more-than-doubled to receive a continuous avalanche of parental complaints against school districts from Texas to Mississippi.

Since we began online homeschooling in 1995, I have received thousands of families wishing to escape the intolerable treatment of their disabled children. I always offer them the benefit of my experience with the process of filing an OCR complaint. However, in most cases - by the time parents have reached the point of enrolling in an online Internet-based homeschool, they have had enough of being at war with the school and simply wish to move on with their child's education. Occasionally a family will take me up on my offer and we have experienced moderate success in gaining compensation for families in meeting the additional expense of homeschooling. In once case, a federal district judge ordered a California school district to pay their child's Red Oak Academy tuition for 3 years.

So back to my original assertion. If you wish to know if your local school district is in compliance with these two laws, call the district's central office and ask them for a free copy of their "504 Plan." According to the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, a detailed written document outlining all procedures for addressing the needs of students with disabilities should be available over-the-counter at each campus and the district's central office. This document must include provisions for students with non-specific learning disabilities, contingencies for home schooling for the chronically ill and the details for dyslexia diagnosing and therapy - through the school. Also, ask to speak with the district's Dyslexia therapist and or 504 coordinator. Odds are you will get a nebulous response from the school secretary - something on the order of, "I'm sorry. I spoke with Mr. Johnson and he says we don't do that here."

[Last Entry: July 01, 2012]