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Online Professional Course: Teaching Seeing My Time Review by Laura Delgado

Marydee Sklar
Seeing My Time – Visual Tools for Executive Functioning Success
7743 SW Capitol Hwy
Portland, OR 97219

The Online Professional Course: Teaching Seeing My Time from Marydee Sklar’s Seeing My Time – Visual Tools for Executive Functioning Success program is very, very cool. It is not a course that a homeschool mom would likely ever think to enroll herself in, nor is it a course that would even probably ever cross most homeschool moms’ radars. However, it is, for many homeschool moms, almost essential. The Seeing My Time program is the result of author/creator Marydee Sklar’s own struggles with time management and executive-functioning deficits. The term executive-functioning deficits refers to struggles that some people have with being on time, being organized, being unable to meet goals, etc. Quite simply, some people’s brains just don’t work that way. In order to compensate for her brain’s deficits, Marydee figured out ways to work with her brain’s strengths. The end result was Seeing My Time.

The Online Professional Course: Teaching Seeing My Time is an eight-week online course designed to teach professionals (typically ADHD coaches, life coaches, psychologists, educational therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, behavioral therapists, etc.) how to teach Marydee’s Seeing My Time program to their students/clients. Through a series of eight live 75-minute webinars, discussion with other students in an online interactive classroom, and practicum sessions with a real client of your own choosing, students learn how to teach Seeing My Time to others. For many of Marydee’s students, this means that they will go on to incorporate her own work into their practices using her Seeing My Time Instructor’s Manual (for themselves) and the Seeing My Time workbook (for their students). The webinars are recorded in case you have to miss one (or if you want to go back to one for reference), and you have access to the recordings for six months after the course ends. The platform used to access the webinars live is Zoom. Everything is very “plug and play.” If you have a computer that has a camera and a microphone, you have pretty much everything you need to take the course.

The bulk of the time that Marydee spends in the webinars is used taking her students through the process of how one would go through the workbook with a client—in other words, what the goal of each chapter, indeed each page, is: what she had in mind when she created them and what kinds of “answers” should be considered acceptable. The Instructor’s Manual does much the same thing, walking you through the process step by step so you know Marydee’s own thought process. After all, this is not a plug-and-play time-management program. Seeing My Time is much more than time management; it is a whole-brain approach to coping with executive-functioning deficits. What’s especially gratifying about taking the course, which costs $395, is that once you have taken it, you will be able to teach Marydee’s method over and over. All you will need to do is purchase the Seeing My Time workbook to use with each new client. When you register for the course, you qualify for 10% off the workbooks in Marydee’s online store. The Seeing My Time Individual Package comes with one Instructor’s Manual and one Student Workbook and costs $85. The Seeing My Time Professional Package comes with one Instructor’s Manual and three student workbooks and costs $125. Individual student workbooks cost $20 each.

So, what exactly is Seeing My Time, and what business does a homeschooling mom have in a course filled with professionals (defined in the pure sense as people who get paid for their time)? Seeing My Time is a highly visual approach to teaching the brain how to approach time and time management. Much of what a student (or client) will do in the workbook is drawing based (stick figures are fine!), and time is represented by little pie charts so that time-challenged individuals learn to recognize what time actually looks like. They learn to identify how long things actually take. Marydee emphasizes the need for analog clocks and timers to be present and in use in all rooms of the house where task-oriented activities occur. She also teaches her students (who can then teach their own students/clients) about the brain itself and how it functions. One of the most important things she does is to destigmatize executive-functioning deficits. When you watch (and participate in) her webinars, you experience firsthand her sympathy for those who live with these particular deficits. She knows what it’s like. Not only has she been there, she is there. However, because she has learned to work with her brain, she also accepts no excuses, and that, too, is a valuable lesson, especially for a homeschooling mom of a child with executive-functioning deficits. And this is where I come in.

I never would have found this course had I not been given the opportunity to review it. It is not marketed to homeschooling parents. In fact, you can actually take the course for graduate credit from Portland State University. The course is marketed to the kind of professionals I enumerated above. Those kinds of individuals have heard of Marydee Sklar and her method. Many of them have already met her at professional conferences and find her course that way. I imagine some of them need continuing education credits in their fields and take the course to fulfill that requirement. As homeschool parents, though, we have no such official requirements, and if material is not written by and to homeschoolers, we often miss it. How glad I am that I didn’t miss this one!

It turns out that what we in the homeschool world know primarily as ADHD evinces itself primarily as executive-functioning deficits—those hindrances I listed previously. If you have a child diagnosed with ADHD, they should have sounded familiar: lacking an internal sense of time, disorganization, being chronically late, and struggling to get things done. I know it sounds just like my 14-year-old son. I also know that just making my son schedules and having him try to use a planner has not really helped him as much as I might have hoped. With him entering high school in the fall, I have become acutely aware of the fact that my time with him is rapidly nearing its end. I won’t always be there to tailor assignments to him, to give him extra time, to be understanding, to decode what the material “is really saying,” etc. For those reasons alone, Marydee’s course has been an answered prayer. By taking her course, and using my son as my practice client, I have been able to teach him with her method. I have been able to begin to help him to understand better how his brain works and how to work with his brain, compensating for its deficits. The tools that Marydee has given me, that I, in turn, can give my son, will enable him to be successful when he takes classes outside of our home, when he gets a job, and even when he later engages in family life.

On one level, you could argue that Marydee’s methods are common sense, but I don’t think that they are. I have never thought to do things the way that she recommends before. I don’t struggle (much) with executive-functioning deficits (apart from disorganization), so I don’t understand how my son’s brain works. She does. She knows what goes on in his head. Thus, she is able to find the right solutions. Since she is an educator, she is able to teach them. Through her course, I was able to see places where my expectations of my son have been unreasonable. At the same time, she makes it clear that there are no excuses to be made for people with executive-functioning deficits. There are just course corrections. In our homeschool parlance, we can’t just say, “Well, he has ADHD, so, you know . . .” Marydee offers solutions.

There are a couple of things that I wish were slightly different with this course. First, I would prefer a non-live option. In an “in-person” class, I have no problem participating, but online classes make me feel uncomfortable. I don’t like leaving my camera on since I am in my home during the class, and as a homeschool mom, life happens in the background. I feel conspicuous with the camera off, though, when the majority of the other participants have theirs on. Because there is not a lot of back-and-forth between Marydee and her students (at least in the course I was in), I think the course would be just as effective in a recorded format. I would choose that option.

Second, for the “interactive classroom” portion of the course, I was never sure what to post. In general, people just posted about their experience with their clients. I would have appreciated a “prompt” or something like that each week to guide the posting. I’ll confess that I was not a faithful poster, because I was never sure what to post. Even something like, “Discuss one challenge you faced with a client this week and how you overcame it,” would have given me the necessary direction to feel comfortable posting. Otherwise, I would have just felt like I was rambling about my son in a forum in which others were having meaningful conversation about their businesses (life coaches, etc., remember?). Overall, this is a minor critique, but it would have drawn me out (and maybe other reluctant posters as well).

I’m sure it’s obvious, but I am an enthusiastic fan of Seeing My Time. I am very grateful to have been introduced to it, and I think it has such potential in the homeschool market. It offers solutions to parents who struggle with ADHD kids, but who don’t have access to the resources that public school kids and their parents sometimes take for granted. Taking Marydee’s course allows a parent to become their own child’s ADHD coach, which I think is an amazing thing. On its face, the price may put some parents off, which is completely understandable, but when I compare that price to something like a psychiatrist’s bill (another necessary service in our own home), I find it to be eminently reasonable. The skills and knowledge Marydee imparts will stay with you forever, and for just the cost of another workbook, you can work with as many people in your life who have ADHD (or other executive functioning deficits) who need you. I find that idea very encouraging.

-Product review by Laura Delgado, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, July 2017