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How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning Review by Cindy West

Carol Barnier
Emerald Books
PO Box 635
Lynnwood, WA 98046

I have an active child--well, two to be exact. Both are boys, imagine that! I've come to think that most boys are just naturally more active, hands-on, and fast-paced creatures. Even though I've already changed many of my teaching styles to meet their needs over the years, I was utterly excited to review How to Get Your Child off the Refrigerator and on to Learning: Homeschooling Highly Distractible ADHD, or Just Plain Fidgety Kids.

Carol Barnier has an especially active son for whom she had to develop teaching strategies in order to homeschool him without losing her mind and without making him feel like he could never do anything right. In this book, she shares her many of her strategies and gives the reader tons of encouragement to embrace the uniqueness and giftedness of active children.

As the mom, you are challenged to rethink what, when, where, and how learning should take place. Does your child learn better standing up? Then let him! Does he enjoy dancing around the room when memorizing math facts? Then encourage the movement! Does he respond well to games vs. worksheets? Then add more games to your curriculum!

Ms. Barnier supplies you with practical ideas for gaining your child's attention and keeping it. She teaches you how to incorporate manipulatives into workbooks pages, use note cards to spice up a boring lesson, turn phonics into a game, and much more! Several of the suggested game templates are included in the back of the book too. There's even an entire chapter dedicated to keeping your little ball of energy contained in social situations like field trips and church.

Chapter titles include:

  1. Life with the Spirited Child
  2. The Learning Environment
  3. Put Motion in Everything You Can!
  4. Make Many Manipulatives
  5. There's a Game in There Somewhere
  6. Phind the Phun in Phonics
  7. It's Monday Morning, How Do I Teach?
  8. I Can't Take Him Anywhere!
  9. What About Spanking?
  10. See the Gift in This Child

Even with 112 pages, this is a quick and easy book to read. I found myself ready and able to implement several of the ideas right away, and I put down the book feeling so encouraged. I especially appreciated the reminder to see everything about my children as gifts from God--even the fidgety, whirlwind parts.

Product review by Cindy West, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August 2010