Processing Issues from Preschool to High School
October 13, 2021
Grief comes. Newly married, before children, we had lofty dreams of what our upcoming life would be: a perfect marriage, well-behaved children, a household that ran like clockwork, curtains gently flowing in and out with the breeze from spotless, pristine open windows.
We were so clueless.
Then, life happened. Children arrived. They were not perfect. We learned the real meaning of “sadness” and recognized further our great need for our Savior. We cannot control things like we thought we could. News alert: your precious little ones have sin natures. She lied! He was sneaky! They deliberately withheld information or hid their toys from anyone threatening to come near them.
Mama, we live in a fallen world. And the Lord works through imperfect, fallen, ugly hearts for His greater purpose: His children are being made to be ever more like Christ as we grow in Him. Why else would we need a Savior? He knows our frailties. He knew before the foundations of the earth. He knew your name.
As a parent, we have to deal with a lot. You probably already have realized that if you have been a Mama for any length of time. It’s not easy. Some days are downright awful. Straight to your face, he or she boldly declared an untruth. Lied!
“But we don’t lie in this family! We love the Lord. What on earth were you thinking, child?” But the stone-face stare, the glazed-over eyes . . . It’s like your words go in one ear and out the other. It feels grievous to know that even though you’ve spoken directly to your child’s heart, you’re getting absolutely nowhere.
I’ve been there, too, Mama . . .
. . . and I’m here to share encouragement from these articles in The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Remember, Mama . . .
Take heart. I know story after story—beautiful testimonies—of families with children who went through very dark seasons. Their parents prayed over them. They were faithful shepherds, speaking truth in love, hoping that truth would prevail and a softening would occur. That repentance would finally come. Sometimes it was years later, but God answers prayer. He is the Giver of hope.
It’s easy to just give up. Some parents have done exactly that. Into public school, you go! I’m done, they determine. Or they drop the bar, the standard. God’s Word is the standard but they lose sight of that. Never mind all this pain, dropping the bar is easier. I want my child to be my friend! But that’s the wrong answer, Mama; those are lies from the pit. NEVER drop the standard; hold to it even tighter. Never abandon God’s Word and His plan for your children. Don’t go down that road. It’s what the enemy wants, not our Lord. Keep the standard, His Word. He is wiser than us. Lean not unto your own understanding . . .
Parenting is hard. It involves difficult work. It wears you down and keeps you on your knees. Isn’t that where we are supposed to be though, Mama? On our knees?
He is sufficient and His Word is not going to return void. Pour His Word into their hearts.
Life is short and there is way too much at stake (your children’s souls) to drop the bar which is to throw in the towel—ever. Please realize, we are going to have troubles and trials, regularly. If you love our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, guess what—you’re a target. And your children are right in the enemy’s cross hairs. He wants them because if he succeeds, he’s just brought you down low in spirit. Stay close to the Lord. He wins. You win.
Keep praying without ceasing. Do not give up. Persevere, sweet Mama.
“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).
When Nothing Works
Maureen sat across my desk. The homeschool mom of five smiled tenuously. Tears welled in her kind eyes, then trickled down her cheeks.
“I don’t know what to do. My second child, Terry, tries so hard. No matter what I do, he struggles. His younger siblings are passing him. He thinks he’s dumb; he’s not! What am I going to do?”
Maureen listed a few of Terry’s problems: careless mistakes, delayed reading, sloppy handwriting, frustrations.
“Sounds like processing problems, Maureen,” I advised. “The only sure way to know is a psycho-educational assessment. The results will identify the specific problems and how they affect Terry’s learning. Then, we can manage them by formulating solutions.”
Maureen counseled with her husband. They agreed: an assessment was necessary to secure Terry’s long-term learning achievement. Terry’s results affirmed specific auditory and visual processing difficulties and revealed surprising areas of high intellectual ability!
Based on the results, Maureen and I devised a strategic plan to utilize his abilities, improve disabilities, and pave the way for his success. I also told Terry the truth about his smarts and why he couldn’t use them. He grinned and sat taller.
With hard work and patience, Terry exceeded all expectations.
The assessment process worked for Maureen and Terry. It will work for you, too. No matter the struggle, you can find hope, solutions, and freedom.
Find hope and solutions with SailAway’s Online Assessments. SailAway’s psycho-educational assessments deliver the kind of understanding that produces better learning outcomes. Knowing how your children learn or why they excel (or not) can radically change their educational path. All assessments are administered by a licensed school psychologist and interpreted by an educational psychologist. To find out more, visit us at www.sailawaylearning.com/academic-assessments/.
Raising Real Men
Homeschooling: The Best Option for Struggling Learners
We’d homeschooled several kids before we hit a bump so steep it felt like a brick wall. When one of our boys started school, nothing stuck. I couldn’t understand it! He was such a bright little kid. How could he be struggling at what his brothers had found so easy? We didn’t find out why until much later: he had severe dyslexia, dysgraphia, slow processing speed, and so much more.
Listen, though, struggling learners can still be really bright kids and be successful in life, too. That little boy is now a grown man who graduated from college with a double major and university awards. He’s married to a lovely young woman and works as a financial analyst for an international corporation. There is hope! Here are some things we learned along the way:
Don’t be afraid of testing.
We were worried about our son being labeled, but that’s a problem in institutional schools where labels can get them sidelined. When you homeschool, it’s just a diagnosis that you don’t have to share with anyone unless it benefits your child. And lots of times, knowing what you are dealing with really does help.
Homeschoolers want to prepare kids for the “real world”; so we’re afraid we’ll be too easy on them. In the real world, though, we all use accommodations. Eyeglasses are an accommodation. Spell check is an accommodation. Using accommodations in your homeschool will actually help them to get accommodations later on the SAT, ACT, and in college. You’ll be asked what accommodations they normally receive.
The point is the learning, not how they got there.
Don’t drive your child (or yourself) crazy trying to create a pile of worksheets and documents that no one is ever going to look at again – even you! Instead, use audiobooks, do things orally, find hands-on ways to learn things. Do WHATEVER it takes for them to learn, and don’t worry a bit about whether that looks like the ways other kids learn.
Homeschooling allows us to meet our kids where they are and help them however they need help, while letting them run ahead in the areas they are able. It’s a GREAT way to educate struggling learners. You’ve got this!
Hal & Melanie
Not the “Loading Wheel” Again!
Grrrrrrrrrr! You’re inputting data into your computer, and you hit the enter button. The dreaded rainbow spinny-thing pops up. You must wait until your computer processes the information. If this scenario plays out repeatedly, you’ll probably unload your frustration onto the unfeeling computer. Kids with processing difficulties seem to have a loading wheel spinning constantly. This slow uploading of information can be frustrating for you and your child.
How can you help?
God gave us five senses to take in information: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. Each one of these senses requires the brain to process details so one can respond. Learning challenges emerge when this process derails.
Not all processing problems deserve a diagnosis. A child’s nervous system is not insulated (or myelinated) until adulthood! What does that mean? Consider a frayed electrical cord without a plastic coating around it. It will not conduct electricity at full power, or it may spark. Fully insulated wires conduct faster and more safely. It’s the same with your child’s nervous system. Children process information slower.
How do you know if your child has a processing disorder or is simply immature? First, get a complete medical exam to rule out sight/hearing/sensory issues.
Second, observe your student. Does the “loading wheel” appear when they’re tired, hungry, or haven’t received enough sleep. Does your child shut down because of family stress or unrealistic expectations? When do your child’s “ah-ha” moments happen? Be a student of your student and record your findings.
Your superpower? Building neuro pathways! How? Patient repetition is the cornerstone, followed by delivering information through as many different senses as the subject will allow. (One of my children discovered you could “taste” math facts if you write them on a graham cracker using chocolate syrup!) Also, deliver small and frequent lessons, which build stronger learning connections. Above all, the spinning “loading wheel” in your child requires your loving tenacity. No matter how many times or ways you need to implement a lesson, teach like it’s the first time you ever presented the concept to your child.
About the author
Beth Mora, creator/teacher-on-camera for Here to Help Learning’s Homeschool Writing Program (grades 1-6) and homeschool conference and women’s events speaker, loves blog at Home to Home. She serves up HTHL’s Writing Tip of the Week for those teaching their kiddos to write. Everything she does, whether laughable or heart gripping, is done to honor One. God’s grace is the salve that has healed her own life and is what she offers liberally to others.
Pillar of Knowledge
Roger Smith – Don’t Be Offended!
Children can hurt us in many ways, but sometimes they are not trying to hurt. They simply are being themselves and would gladly change themselves if they could.
Processing difficulties can cause children to appear lazy, uninterested, unwilling, or mad, and that can produce a tense relationship with parents. At the same time, parents often do not understand what is going on beneath the surface and may take offense at the resistance, irresponsibility, or disrespect they see.
HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON! If this sounds familiar, your child could have a processing problem, and the most important job you have is to KNOW YOUR CHILD and to understand him.
It is a complex process to see, hear, or feel things, decode, interpret, and translate it, and then to plan and execute a response. When a child cannot easily complete the process in the same time others can, he wonders what is wrong with him. But he can know this—that you do not think he is a reject!
Educate yourself to understand the specific challenges your child faces. Learn to communicate understanding and hope, rather than frustration. Find ways to make them feel loved, accepted, and understood, and get permission from him to find help.
About the author
Dr. Roger Smith is a family doctor in rural Louisiana, where he and his wife, Jan, raised four adventurous children who are all grown, making their own mark in the world. He speaks and writes on parenting issues and produces brief videos that can be found on Facebook @ParentingMattersNow.
Look What’s Happening!
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for the month of October
The Rhyme and Reason Series: Exodus
The Rhyme and Reason Series by Catherine Zoller takes a unique approach to helping children understand the story that God has placed in each of the books of the Bible. Using rhyme and humor to retell the stories from the books of the Bible, Catherine Zoller reveals God’s plan throughout each of the stories.
Each of the books in this series is a colorful, hardcover book that is about 8×8 inches. They are all about 45 pages in length. The pages are illustrated by Mr. Sketches with vivid, bright images that help show the story of God’s love. When combined with the rhyming text of Mrs. Zoller, the stories of God’s plan and His love jump to life.
Each book covers one of the books of the Bible.
All of the text is rhyming. There is an introduction at the beginning that gives an overview of the entire book. Then the details of the main stories and themes of the book are covered over the remainder of the pages. Each page or two also includes a citation from the Bible so that parents and children alike can open their Bible and read the story as God wrote it down. This tie-back to God’s true Word is so important and takes these from good books to great resources.
The books on Genesis and Exodus cover all of the main ideas and stories – Creation, Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, Moses, the 10 plagues, and the 10 Commandments.
Since each page of the book contains a reference back to God’s Word, the reader can use these books to strengthen their beliefs and understanding of God and His plan. They all are accurate biblically, and the rhyming text really helps younger readers get to know more of God. That is a wonderful thing. I have enjoyed reading these and will be using them to study with my children and with my Bible classes as they are bold and colorful and true.
Go to the contest page of our site where you can ENTER TO WIN the Exodus book from The Rhyme and Reason Series.
Triangle Education Assessments
Triangle Education Assessments is your One-Stop Test Shop! We provide year-round testing, group discounts, practice materials, and more. Online versions are available for some tests. Sample reports are on our website. Our Resources page lists videos and other useful articles that are free.
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Have you ever had days when your 8-year-old doesn’t “get” the math problem you’ve just explained three times? Do you sometimes forget that with prayer we can be at peace during these times, and that we can walk through it all in victory? What does continual prayer mean and how can we practically do this? Grasp the many facets of prayer and reinvigorate your prayer life as you read the WeE-book™ . . . Homeschooling: A Prayerful Journey by Deborah Wuehler.
Do you need some more ideas on how to pray with and for your children? In this WeE-book™ you will find great ideas for how to pray for your children and your homeschool . . . Homeschooling: A Prayerful Journey – The Old Schoolhouse®
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