The ULTIMATE Resource for Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner

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At Yellow Wood, we are PASSIONATE about helping families find success in their homeschool. Educating your own children can be challenging enough without adding learning difficulties and special needs into the mix! That’s why our mission is to provide the support you need to homeschool and feel confident in doing so!

Over the month of June, we’ll be announcing some pretty stinkin’ exciting new resources for our homeschool families! We’re compiling the very best resources for struggling learners so that you’ll know exactly what curricula and options are best for you! You can rest assured that the resources we share are truly awesome for struggling learners, because many of them are what we use in our cottage school in Lexington, KY! This month you’ll get an insider’s look at how we do what we do. Here’s the plan:

First we’ll go through our favorite curriculum for each subject! You can see a few posts below, and we’ll be adding to them throughout the month!

Then, We’ll talk about how to integrate social skills, life skills, and executive functioning into your homeschool day. These skills are VITAL to success and often parents feel overwhelmed on how to make them a priority! We’ve got you covered.

Another important piece of the puzzle is cognitive skills! Since this is our wheelhouse, we’ll share how we can support you in building up brain skills. We’ll also show you some awesome techniques to try for strengthening math and reading while also strengthening the brain! Here are a few suggestions for math to get you started! 

Possibly the most exciting part, we are going to help you put all the pieces together! Our goal is to provide you a roadmap for creating a homeschool experience that supports your struggling learner!

Can’t wait? A great starting place with us is our Jump start and Trail Guide programs! We do all the above, plus provide a super individualized experience. We walk with you through choosing curriculum, deciding on the best techniques for teaching your child, and what cognitive exercises to focus on each month so that you can ensure SUCCESS for your child!

Jump start gives you a “snapshot” of your child’s skills and some basic suggestions on curriculum. Trail Guide goes a step further by offering detailed plans and suggestions on a monthly basis, with monthly support meetings to keep you on track and moving forward!

I’m SO excited to walk through all our curriculum and resources at Yellow Wood with you! Don’t miss a thing by signing up for our email list!

Enroll Now!
from 250.00

The first step for all Schoolhouse options!

Pay this evaluation fee, then click HERE to schedule your evaluation!
 

Jump Start is a great starting point for all new Yellow Wood families! We begin with an in-depth evaluation of cognitive skills, academic skills, primitive reflexes, social/behavioral needs, and executive functioning. This evaluation is completed through parent questionnaires, placement tests, and an evaluation with the student (either in person or online) in which we play games, do some exercises and movement to gauge the skills listed above.

Have other questions before committing? Just email us at info@ywsuccess.com and we'd be happy to chat with you! You can also schedule a free phone consultation here.

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Trail Guide
from 250.00

The “DIY” version of our Schoolhouse program

Pay this evaluation fee, then click HERE to schedule your evaluation!
 

This option includes everything listed in our Jump Start program, PLUS...

Parents have coaching sessions with a Yellow Wood tutor every 4 weeks. During these sessions, you’ll discuss goals, troubleshoot challenges you’re facing in your homeschool, discuss progress and next steps. We then create a 4-week “goal plan” that includes lessons for Success Training and a general outline of work to be completed in your classes too. These lessons are NOT scripted lesson plans, but instead are daily, weekly, or monthly goals to complete for each subject.

Have other questions before committing? Just email us at info@ywsuccess.com and we'd be happy to chat with you! You can also schedule a free phone consultation here.

Courses:
Quantity:
Add To Cart

Inspiration for Your Best Homeschool Year Yet.

 
 

Whether you’re a veteran homeschool mom or just getting started, we can all use some encouragement and new ideas! June 4-10, the Homeschool Moms Conference is a fantastic resource for you! The best part is the conference is ONLINE, so you can watch sessions, shop the vendor hall, and more, all from the comfort of your couch! Even better, you’ll have lifetime access to the sessions, so there’s no rush or time frame to watch them!

There are over 65 speakers, so it can be a tad overwhelming to decide what sessions to watch! No worries. I dug through the list and chose my absolute favorite sessions that I can’t wait to watch myself! And yes, this list is LONG. There are seriously SO many amazing sessions that it was hard to choose!!

Since my passion is helping families with struggling learners find SUCCESS in homeschooling and education, I’ve chosen sessions with these specific topics in mind:

  • Homeschooling struggling learners

  • Homeschooling teens

  • Learning strategies

  • Life and Social skills

Here are my FAVORITE sessions from the conference! Sign up now for early bird pricing (through 7:59am on June 4th!).

Homeschooling Struggling Learners

#1 Strengthen the Brain! presented by Laurie Geary–  Learn how to improve cognitive skills like working memory, visual and auditory processing, visualization, and more through games and exercises. You’ll gain understanding and tools for improving these skills and guiding your student to academic success. Geared toward teaching students ages 5-18, parents will leave with practical and actionable steps to strengthening the brain while still having fun!

#2 You Can Homeschool Your Child With Dyslexia presented by Marianne Sunderland– Dyslexia affects 20% of our kids. Research shows that dyslexic kids become dyslexic adults. Early intervention with researched-based teaching methods can help your child avoid many of the struggles with school caused by poor reading skills. This session will help parents understand what dyslexia is and what it isn’t, provide practical help to understand learning styles and how to choose teaching methods that are more effective. The session will also include encouragement for the day to day struggles, both academic and emotional, and conclude with learning the advantages to the dyslexic way of thinking.

#3 Homeschooling a Child with a Mental Illness presented by Michelle Cannon– The challenges of both educating your child and managing health issues can be daunting, and caring for a child with mental illness can be exhausting physically and mentally. The good news is, it can be done and you are the perfect person to do it. Michelle will be sharing tips and encouragement based on personal experience with raising kids who have bipolar and borderline personality disorder.

#4 How to do Therapy at Home for Special Needs Children presented by Penny Rogers- Do you spend too much time going back and forth to various therapies? Is your child needing a break from the frantic pace? Do you need to supplement therapy at home to make greater progress? In this workshop Penny shares how to put together an at home speech, occupational, physical, or sensory therapy program at home for your child with special needs.

#5 Homeschooling Gifted and Twice- Exceptional Kids and Teens presented by Jennifer Duncan – Homeschooling in and of itself can be quite the challenge. Homeschooling gifted and 2E students adds its own ups and downs! Find out how to navigate this journey, keep up with your kids, and provide them with the resources and opportunities they need.

Learning STrategies

#1 The Brain-Based Homeschool Day presented by Laurie Geary– Are you exhausted from struggling to homeschool? Get tools and resources to help remedy some common homeschool battles through brain based approaches! You’ll hear ideas for time management, scheduling, movement, study techniques for visual and auditory learners, how to make math fun and successful, and more! These tips are tried and true methods for making your homeschool day more productive while also strengthening cognitive skills!

#2 What is Your Child's Learning and Thinking Style? presented by Katie Glennon– Based on the Gregorc Mind Styles, we will explore what is the best way to present information to your child, so he/she can effectively take in new information, process it, and make it his/her own. We will have fun looking at the different characteristics of the Concrete Sequential, Concrete Random, Abstract Random, and Abstract Sequential mind styles.

#3 Early Reading and Writing Strategies presented by Jennifer Merckling– Discover strategies and become confident in your ability to teach reading and writing to your primary (K-3) aged students! You will learn simple tools to implement right away—regardless of what curriculum you use! Topics include: Shared reading, Guided Reading, Shared Writing, Beginning Spelling, and Phonics-Based Lessons.

#4 Teaching Math with Manipulatives presented by Jennifer Merckling– Make math more fun! Discover strategies for teaching primary math (grades K-3) with an emphasis on using manipulatives! Walk away with fresh ideas that will compliment any curriculum!

#5 Teaching Students to Embrace Hardwork presented by Kimberly Garcia– Have you ever encouraged your children to fail? If you haven’t before, you might consider doing so. Often the deterrent to embracing the hard work required to conquer a difficult task is fear of failure. That fear can be so overwhelming that it paralyzes children, causing them to stare at one math problem for an hour without ever touching a pencil. To help her own children overcome that paralysis, she had to encourage them to fail. That change has allowed them to approach their school work with more confidence, enabling them to accomplish more work in a shorter period of time and to achieve greater academic success. Join Kimberly in this session as she discusses how important it is that our children learn to overcome fear and embrace the hard work required to be academically successful–a skill they will need throughout their adult lives.

Homeschooling Teens

#1 Eliminate the Study Struggle presented by Laurie Geary–  Come learn all about executive functioning and study skills for your teen! Prepare your teen for success in high school, college, and life by helping then strengthen their executive functioning skills, such as time management, organization, impulse control, and more! We’ll discuss practical and actionable ideas for helping your teen master these skills!

#2 Time Blocking for Teens presented by Melissa Langford– Teach your middle and high school students how to balance their time in a way that will allow them to get more done and accomplish their goals.

#3 Creating and Implementing a Plan for Your Homeschooled High School presented by Pat Fenner – Many parents are a bit intimidated at the thought of homeschooling through high school. They may be surprised to know that not only are they better prepared than they might think, but there are tools they can use that makes homeschooling high school not only doable, but also a rich time for the whole family.

#4 Post-graduation Alternatives to College presented by Pat Fenner – “Back in the day” college was a given next step for most high school graduates. But times have certainly changed! While college is still an option many young adults choose, the rapidly increasing cost doesn't always make it viable for others. Discover options that you and your teen can consider after their high school years are wrapped up – and what they can do to prepare for them.

#5 How to Homeschool Teens Without Losing Your Mind presented by Meryl van der Merwe– Why is it so hard to homeschool teens? Do you feel like you're the only one experiencing problems? This session will address some of the reasons why “the struggle is real” and then offer 7 practical ideas to help you navigate the high school years.

Life and Social Skills

#1 Teaching Social Skills to Homeschooled Children with Autism presented by Penny Rogers- If typical families deal with the socialization question, how much more do autism families hear it? Children with autism need to be taught social skills on a consistent basis with peers at their developmental level as opposed to their chronological age. Penny shows you how to do add social skills to your curriculum frugally as well as how to use everyday outings to work on socialization.

#2 Raising Tiny Entrepreneurs presented by Lindsey Stomberg – Lindsey will show parents how to train their children from a young age to develop a skill that interests them, create a product, market that product, provide great customer service, and sustain a business. She also shares specific ideas and tracks for families to consider for their children with a business building guide for parents. She has done this with her own kids and it has been such an amazing part of their homeschooling journey!

#3 Why Academics Are Only Half The Story presented by Team Skill Trek– Academics are important, in fact, standardized tests are often the standard to determine if a homeschooler is learning enough. Parents are often under so much pressure to ensure their children are academically prepared, that the importance of teaching well-rounded youngsters is forgotten. Andrew and Sara Elizabeth speak not only from their hearts as parents but also as employers and what the pattern they see among recent graduates.

 

Learn more about the speakers and see a FULL list of sessions HERE! 

Dyslexia: What You Need to Know!

 
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I’m so excited to be chatting with you today about Dyslexia, because this learning disability is what began my journey toward creating Yellow Wood. It was my first experience with a learning disability that directly affected me. I have 3 younger siblings who are a good bit younger than me. When I was in college, my two youngest sibs were in elementary school and were diagnosed with Dyslexia. Since I had been homeschooled through high school and had my heart set on being a teacher, I was so excited and determined to help my mom navigate the waters of teaching kids with Dyslexia. It soon became my passion, though at the time I really was just stabbing in the dark trying now things that may help. Through this process eventually I found cognitive therapy and received training.

The first summer after my training, I worked with my sister, who was 12 years old at the time, intensively. When she was younger, she struggled to learn the alphabet, did not read fluently, and had a very strong tendency to switch letters when writing and reading. When we began working on cognitive skills at age 12, her working memory was extremely weak. She had low confidence in her ability to read and was struggling to keep up with her school work despite a desire to do well and learn! She hated to read. It stressed her out, and rightfully so! When cognitive skills are weak, tasks like reading and math are extra daunting because the brain has to work 5x as hard!

The first thing we noticed was she stopped switching her letters as much. Her confidence grew and her retention of reading skills skyrocketed. Fast forward a few years and she is an avid reader who LOVES reading for fun. She is much more confident in her academic skills and works hard to be a great student. The difference is phenomenal.

So, if you’re reading this and have a struggling learner at home, you may be wondering, “How do I help my OWN child overcoming challenges like Dyslexia?” I’ll tell you! First, you’ve GOT to find the underlying causes! Every child is different. There are a variety of factors that affect the ability to learn to read. Some include working memory, visual processing and tracking, visualization, and developmental aspects like crossing the midline and primitive reflex integration. Today we’ll walk through what Dyslexia is, and then talk about a few of these factors and how they can cause symptoms of Dyslexia!

What is Dyslexia?

First, I think it’s important to mention that Dyslexia is an umbrella term that simply means the student struggles with reading. There are many symptoms and reasons for this learning disability, and no two students are alike. Some symptoms include:

  • Difficulty with phonemic awareness. Decoding words, or matching the sounds with written letter combinations can be extremely difficult.

  • Struggles with sight words.

  • Trouble sequencing or memorizing the alphabet

  • Difficulty learning to read or put sounds together to make words

  • Tendency to switch letters like b and d, n and u, while reading and/or writing

  • Difficulty with left and right

Ok, so now let’s chat about the underlying issues for the symptoms listed above. Like I said, it can be a variety of things that cause the difficulty. But, we’ll mention a few main weaknesses!

Working Memory

Working Memory is the post is for your brain. In order to learn new sounds, new sight words, and hold onto the story line in your head, you HAVE to have a good working memory. Kids at kindergarten age should be able to hold onto 2-3 items in their working memory. As they age, this number should increase to 7 or so by age 18! So, if working memory is weak, students will struggle with learning more complex words, sequencing words or decoding words, all because they cannot hold onto all the steps and pieces in their working memory! You can learn more about working memory and grab a free activity at the button below!

Visualization

Visualization is the ability to see images and symbols in your mind. It is crucial to learning the alphabet and also for spelling skills!!

Primitive Reflexes

There is a specific primitive reflex, the Asymmetrical Tonic Neck Reflex, that is connected with Dyslexia. Symptoms of this retained reflex include switching letters, trouble copying from the board, difficulty with visual tracking, and more! You can learn more at this blog post all about it!

The best news about all this is that the skills listed above can be STRENGTHENED! At Yellow Wood we are passionate about helping kids OVERCOME learning challenges. Reach out to us. We'd love to help!

 

Want to learn more about how to OVERCOME Dyslexia? Catch the re-play of our chat about Dyslexia in the "Inspiring Struggling Learners" facebook group! 

Help! My Child Can't Remember Anything!

 
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4 Reasons why your child

may be struggling with

long term memory!

As a mom guiding your child’s education, whether at home or in school, helping them memorize for projects, presentations, and tests can be quite a feat. Teaching young children to read and understand math facts can also be a daunting task. When you run into roadblocks as your child struggles to memorize and use information, it’s easy to become frustrated or overwhelmed!

 Sometimes the struggle is remembering things from one day to the next. Other times students will study and study, just to draw a blank when they get to the test! Aside from just not being able to remember things, there are several potential causes for memory difficulties and memorizing for tests. If your student is driving you nuts with their inability to recall spelling, sight words, memory work, or concepts, here are a few potential things that may be stirring up trouble behind the scenes:

  1. Anxiety

  2. Visualization

  3. Working Memory

  4. Long term memory recall

1. Anxiety

Have you ever gotten super nervous and totally blanked? When I was a child, this was a serious issue for me. I would forget lines in a play, lines of a solo, terms for a test… etc. It led me to be extremely nervous about situations that required me to have something memorized or where I was under the spotlight.

Fast forward to adulthood, I’ve come along way with this type of anxiety. I believe the main reason why is that my Moro reflex was not integrated, which causes, anxiety and other “fight or flight” symptoms in response to stress! When I began Yellow Wood, I received training in primitive reflex integration and it literally changed my life. I went from being a nervous person in almost every aspect to being able to speak in public confidently. Isn’t that awesome?

Curious what these primitive reflexes are? This is a topic I’m super passionate about and you’ll find more info at these blog posts:

So, memory recall when under pressure can be majorly affected by anxiety! If this sound like your child, I encourage you to look into primitive reflex integration or another anxiety reducing techniques like yoga!

2. Visualization

Visualization is the ability to see images and stories in your mind. Many times when a child struggles with memorization, it could because they are not able to see a picture of what they are trying to remember! ABCs are MUCH easier to memorize if your child can picture each letter in their order rather than relying solely on auditory (singing the song!). When visualization is weak, kids may also struggle with memorizing and utilizing sight words, or memorizing math facts. Visualization is also a key component to reading comprehension - the ability to make movies in your mind of what is being read. When trying to memorize something and put it in your long term memory, it will be much easier to do so if you have a picture or image associated with it.

3. Working memory

Yet another key component to great memorization skills. This is actually a different type of memory that can cause difficulties that “look” like long term memory issues. I have seen many students who struggle with learning to read, keeping up in class, and other difficulties due to working memory deficiencies. You can check out this blog post all about working memory to learn more!

4. Memory Recall

The last potential cause for poor long term memory I’d like to discuss is poor memory recall. This happens when you have something filed in your long term memory, but you aren’t able to access it quickly or efficiently. For example, you know that your child probably knows quite a few animal names. But, when asked to list as many as they can in a minute, what happens? Many students who struggle with recall will have great difficulty with this activity. You ought be be able to list 30 or more animals in a minute with ease if your memory recall is working the way it should be!

Ready to build up your student’s Long Term Memory? First, choose which area listed above sounds most like your student:

Is it anxiety, working memory, or visualization that is causing the memory hangups for your child? We've got an amazing workshop series just for YOU! Learn more about this unique parent workshop program to give you the TOOLS to guide your student towards success.

Or, do you think memory recall is the culprit? I’ve got a free activity for you so you can start on your journey to SUCCESS today! Just fill out the form below and you'll receive the activity in your inbox!

30 Day Challenge - Preschool Success Training

 
 

As you may know, I am a mother of three amazing kids, ages 4 and under. My oldest has some special needs, so my weeks are typically sprinkled with therapy appointments, specialist appointments, etc… not to mention my other two kids and running a business! You might think that since I run a business and write a blog about strengthening brain skills, that my son has the most amazing mom and I do all sorts of brain training with him each day. Ha! Let me tell ya, I am down in the trenches right alongside the moms I work with. It is not easy to stay on top of life AND Success Training.

So, as a way to motivate myself and my fellow moms, I have created a 4 week preschool Success Training challenge. I’m excited to try this out with my 2 and 4 year olds, and I’m SO thrilled to have you join me on the ride. If you have a child from ages 2-6, this challenge is for you!

During this challenge, we’ll tackle some key skills for school readiness with a movement and game based approach! You won’t find worksheets in this challenge! Instead you’ll find instructions for movement, games, and activities to encourage brain development and skills like:

  • Midline, primitive reflex, and vestibular integration
  • Sensory integration
  • Core strength
  • Handwriting skills
  • Attention skills
  • Working memory and long term memory
  • Visual and auditory processing
  • Letter and number visualization
  • Sequencing
  • And more!!

This is NOT an academic skills challenge. It’s a way to introduce play based learning and brain development into your day in a unique way! The skills taught in this course are meant to help build academic skills by strengthening the underlying skills needed in order to be successful in school.

How do the skills listed above help with academic success? In SO many ways! Here are a few examples:

Beginning readers need to be able to…

  • sound out words (phonemic awareness and auditory processing)
  • read the words correctly (visual processing and tracking)
  • hold the sounds together to make a word (sequencing and working memory)
  • remember the word when they come across it again later on the page (working memory)
  • stay focused through the page (attention skills)
  • remember what they read so they can put the story together (working memory and comprehension)
  • create a movie in their mind of what they are reading (visualization)

Wow, that’s a LOT of brain skills for beginning readers! Can you see it’s so important to make sure your child has a strong foundation in these skills?

So, if you have a child just getting started with academics, or if your child is struggling in math or reading, don’t delay!

What's New in 2018?

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It’s my birthday! Reflecting on the last year I decided it was time to update our community on what God has done the past two years since I wrote my last “life” post! Wanna read the original post? Click here!

Anyways, a LOT has happened since 2016 when I wrote that! Wow! Here are a few highlights:

Yellow Wood moved into a twice as large building in Lexington, KY! This move has blessed us in many ways, including a great facility large enough to house our schoolhouse and tutoring programs!

In August 2017 our family welcomed our newest addition, Ezra Maxwell! Our oldest two kids lovingly call him “Maxie poopy” at all times. He’s the sweetest baby and smiles all the time! He’s ornery already and decided to arrive a whole 14 days late (and just 2 days before the start of the school year). Thanks, bud! It’s been a wild ride, but totally worth it!

You may remember our Zeke has some special needs. We’ve had a quite a journey during the past couple years. When he was 5 months old he was diagnosed with Cerebral palsy and strabismus. When he was around two it became clear he likely had speech apraxia. The past year we’ve seen some amazing specialists who took the time to figure out what is going on, and gave us a new diagnosis and we’re in the process of genetic testing! It’s not necessarily answered all our questions, but we’re so glad to have doctors digging deep and not giving up. Zeke is 4.5 years old now and doing very well! He’s a busy, hardworking guy, going to therapies 4 times a week and practicing new skills at home. Zeke’s new diagnosis, Cerebellar Ataxia, is not one you can find much information on with a quick google search. We do know that it affects his speech, balance and coordination, and his eye coordination. This makes so much sense and are the three big struggles for him! He’s looking at more testing and an eye surgery in the next couple months, as well as looking into an AAC to help him communicate in school and in new settings!

Looking ahead, I’m so excited that Zeke will be attending Yellow Wood for Pre-K next year. It still amazes me how God paved a way for him to get the best care and education he could have. He’ll continue to grow and thrive while learning school skills in a safe environment.

At Yellow Wood, we’ve been blessed to work with even more families this year! Our students are the best and keep us on our toes at all times. We’ve had the privilege to work with students with a range of needs from anxiety, autism, down syndrome, ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing disorder, PANDAS, and other difficulties… all with the goal of helping these students accomplish goals and gain confidence while also building up cognitive and academic skills. It’s tough work, but we’ve seen some amazing progress this year and are SO excited to see what’s in store for the future. We're working hard to reach students in KY and around the US with our unique and life changing homeschool support services!

Since we’ve been talking about Zeke, I have some exciting plans for this blog over the next couple weeks. Watch for a “Preschool Brain Games Challenge” coming your way next week, and some other great ideas and help for ages 2-6!

Before You Say, "Sit still!"... 6 New Ways to Look at Weak Attention Skills

 
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One of the most common problems we hear about from new families at Yellow Wood is attention issues. Whether it’s that their child has an ADHD diagnosis, is fidgety, or can’t seem to focus on something for more than a few seconds, these issues can be addressed when the underlying problem is found!

 

At Yellow Wood we combat attention issues in a few ways. I’ll mention I am not a medical professional, but I am certified in cognitive therapy and have worked with learning disabilities and special needs for the past 6 years!  Here are a few factors that can affect focus:

 

#1 Primitive Reflexes

Man, if you’ve read our blogs for a while, you are probably either really tired of hearing this term, or really curious! The reason primitive reflexes are SO important for attention skills is this: reflex integration allows you to use your WHOLE brain effectively, rather than just the lower centers of the brain. The areas of the brain responsible for attention and focus are found in higher centers of the brain that need to be used, and used well, in order for a child to be able to sit still and concentrate for a reasonable amount of time. So if your child is struggling with this, it’s very likely that he or she has an immature brain from retained reflexes.

#2 Midline

Crossing the midline easily is an absolute necessity for attention skills. If it takes your brain extra effort to cross the midline (for example, keeping up in a conversation requires you to process auditorily, produce an answer, and verbalize that answer, all while keeping up with what others are saying), or if you avoid crossing the midline, you won’t be able to maintain focus when doing tasks that require multiple parts of your brain!

#3 Processing Speed

This is a can of worms! If you are slow to process information visually or auditorily, you’ll have trouble keeping focused or keeping up. You have to be able to process quickly to keep up in lectures, conversations, maintain focus on reading, writing… and a gazillion other tasks!

#4 Working Memory

Working memory is the like the post it in your brain. You use it when keeping a tally at the grocery store of how much you’ve spent so far. When you get directions from someone, or a phone number. When you’re completing math word problems, taking notes in a lecture, learning to read… the list goes on and on. Children should be able to hold onto about 5 items in their working memory by age 12. If you look up ADHD, you’ll see poor working memory is a main symptom! We see this often with kids who can only handle 2-3 items in their working memory before they get overloaded. The amazing news is this skill can be strengthened!!

#5 Proprioceptive Sense

The proprioceptive sense gives you a sense of where your body is in relation to the world. If it is under active, you’ll see kids tapping their foot, fidgeting, touching EVERYTHING, getting in others’ space, all while not realizing there’s an issue. The reason is this: the brain is literally unable to tell where the body is! So, the child will tap their foot and the brain says, “oh, there’s my foot! Awesome!” While this is a simplified explanation, its true! Many kids are told to “sit still”, or adults assume because the child is moving or tapping that they aren’t paying attention. But the opposite may be true! Many kids with a weak proprioceptive sense NEED that movement so the brain can stop asking “where’s my foot?” and focus on what they need to be doing!

#6 Sensory Processing

Similar to the proprioceptive sense, if a child has an overactive or underactive sensory system, this can be incredibly distracting for them! Tags on clothes, bright lights, weird smells, noises in the room… all can be incredibly distracting for a child with a sensitive sensory system.

So, what does it look like when a child is “overloaded” or their brain is processing slowly? Fight or flight! If it’s a constant battle, or your child seems to always be avoiding something… think about this: it might not be entirely their fault. I know, being goofy, asking for 16 snacks, or having a meltdown are all behavioral choices. BUT, they can also be signs that a child is too stressed to cope with the situation, or that their attention skills (or other brain skills) aren’t strong enough to handle the task so their fight or flight response kicks in. It’s so very important to find the root of the issue and help build from there. When you come at a difficult moment with this view, you can start to see the behavior in a new light and help your child work through it without it becoming a power struggle.

Of course, we’d love to help you pinpoint exactly what might be causing attention issues! It's our mission at Yellow Wood to equip parents and kids with the tools they need for success. You can get started with our “jump start” evaluation process! We look at cognitive and academic skills to get a picture of what is weak and causing learning struggles!

If you're ready to get started TODAY, check out our Brain Based Movements course to get you started with the first step - Primitive Reflex Integration!

 

Brain Games to Boost Math Skills

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Did you know that many difficulties with math can be remedied by targeting weak cognitive skills? How cool is that? I know so many families who have seen some major gains and accomplishments in their students' abilities to do math with confidence. So how can you do this for your student at home? While the games I'll show you below aren't the silver bullet, they will help strengthen specific cognitive skills associated with math sense and give your child the confidence and ability they need to soar!

Before we get to the games, let's talk in a little more detail about cognitive skills and how they connect with math skills. In this post I'll lay out some main cognitive skills and what symptoms you might see in your child or students if it's weak. Then we'll talk about games you can play, and HOW to play them, so that you can start boosting these skills today!

Visual Processing

The ability to process what you take in visually quickly and accurately.

Symptoms of poor visual processing causing math difficulties

  • Reads numbers backwards or switched around

  • Trouble with math problems if they are horizontal instead of vertical, or vice versa

  • Needs large print or spread out problems

Visual memory

Being able to retain and recall information that was presented visually.

Symptoms:

  • Difficulty memorizing flashcards
  • Forgets facts from one problem to the next, especially when learning a new fact or concept.

Visual motor skills

writing and fine motor skills

Symptoms:

  • trouble lining up numbers when writing math
  • Hates to write out math work

  • Writes numbers backwards, flips them around

Auditory processing

Processing what you hear quickly and accurately.

Symptoms of a weak auditory processing

  • trouble remembering/repeating facts orally
  • Can’t answer math problems orally

Working memory

The post it in your brain! The ability to hold onto several pieces of information while completing a task that uses those pieces. Learn more here!

Symptoms:

  • trouble keeping track of steps in multi-step equations like long division
  • Trouble remembering facts from one problem to the next, especially new concepts or facts

  • Word problems! Holding onto the information long enough to work through the problem

  • Mental math

 

Long term memory

Ability to retain and recall information long term.

Symptoms:

  • Trouble memorizing facts and steps

  • Trouble being able to consistently use what has been memorized

  • Answering facts quickly

Attention

Learn more here!

Symptoms:

  • Difficulty focusing for long amounts of time - long enough to complete the task

  • Overwhelmed or distracted easily by lots on the page or lots of color

Visualization

The ability to picture numbers, letters, stories, etc. in your mind.

Symptoms:

  • Not able to see the number line or visualize which numbers come before, after, skip counting, etc.
  • Doesn't understand the pattern in addition facts, multiplication facts, for example, doesn't understand that 5+3 is similar to 25+3.
  • Difficulty with mental math

  • Difficulty visualizing word problems

Logic and reasoning

Symptoms:

  • Struggles to follow logical sequence in algebra

  • Struggles to understand abstract concepts like negative integers


So now that you understand how these skills can seriously impact math learning if they are weak, we can move forward with how to give these skills a boost!

Blink!

Use this game to boost visual processing. A great game for all ages! Play it as instructed. To learn more ways to play this game, check out our Working Memory Workshop! 

Spot It!

Spot it, especially this version with numbers and shapes, is AMAZING for visual processing and math. This is a great game particularly for younger children or those who struggle with number recognition.

Super Genius!

These Super Genius math games are SO much better than flash cards!! Get those math facts in your long term memory with this fun series. They also offer lots of ways to play, so it won't get boring quick, and is a great option for young and older kids alike!

 

Since we're on a roll, here are a couple other amazing ways to practice brain skills and math sense that we've already written about!

Ready for a major boost in skills? Check out our Working Memory and Attention skills DUO Course to get a huge leg up in math skills and more!