The Super Planner

The Planner for your Unorganized Learner!

Looking for the perfect student planner for your unorganized learner? We’ve got just the thing for you! If you’ve followed us for a while, you probably know that we have a cottage school at Yellow Wood in Lexington, KY. Over the years we’ve tried out quite a few different ways to assign homeschool work for our students. Many of our students struggle with organization, task initiation, time management… sound like executive functioning weakness? So, we have found that just writing down home assignments, or expecting students to write them down and remember all the pieces, is a bit unrealistic. We strive for our students to feel confident and successful in their home assignments, while being challenged in their work. This can be difficult to accomplish if a student feels overwhelmed or confused before they’ve even started the assignment!

This year we may have landed on our best planner yet! And you know what’s even better? We are selling this assignment planner it in our PRE-SALE at an amazing price. Head over to the store by clicking below to get this amazing tool at the special price!

You can use it to help your school student organize their homework, or for your homeschooled student to organize the day’s plan. It is versatile and breaks down the information into bite sized chunks so the burn out over reading homework won’t take over!

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Here are some important aspects of the planner that make it so functional and approachable:

1. Set goals like a pro!

One aspect we didn’t want to miss on our planner is the idea of goal planning. As an adult I’ve learned a lot in the past couple years about the importance of setting goals, whether you reach all of them or not. Many times setting goals is very overwhelming for a student, especially if they struggle with executive functioning. We break it down and ask students to set and monitor goals throughout the week. They don’t have to be big goals. Small goals for the day, like “I’ll work for an hour before taking a break”, “I’ll try out the pomodoro method”, “I’ll do math first to get it over with”, or even “I’ll practice riding my scooter for 15 minutes as a break” - They don’t have to lofty. In fact, we remind students that these goals should be S.M.A.R.T! Goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Keeping these things in mind will help students find a bite sized goal to start with, and then begin to dream big and meet those goals! Goal planning is an extremely important skill for adulthood, college planning, and career goals. Knowing what you want to accomplish and how to get there will fuel your students to reach the goals they make.

2. Where did that book go?

Another aspect that may overwhelm students when looking at homework is trying to figure out what they need to complete the assignment. “Where did I put that?”, “What worksheet??”, “oh, I need glue and scissors… where did I put those?”... the list goes on. By listing out next to the assignment exactly what is needed to complete the assignment, students can grab what they need an get to the real work!

3. This is taking FOREVER!

We also have a slot for noting how long an assignment took. Students who do not have a good sense of time will feel like they’ve worked on something FOREVER when in fact it was maybe 10 minutes. Or, they are anxious to make it just right, so they’ll focus all their time on one task and get behind in others. By tracking their time, students, parents, and teachers can all stay on the same page with how long something took so that they can make adjustments and help the student spend an appropriate amount of time on each task. It’ll also help students begin to take ownership of their time and build up an internal sense of time.

4. Mooooom! I Need Help!

Another important feature of our planner is the section for “parent help”. Here, students can mark of they needed help, so that rather than getting stuck and waiting on mom or dad to be free to help, they can move onto the next task. When mom or dad become free, than can quickly glance and see what needs to be worked on together. See how that can help?

5. Mark that homework complete!

It is incredibly satisfying to mark something completed. Students or parents can use this section, depending on the maturity of the student. We often ask our parents to check over homework and mark it completed themselves.

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! 

Fun Ways to Integrate Snacks & More into Your Math Lessons!

Fun Ways to Integrate Snacks & More into Your Math Lessons!

Math often has a bad rap, and is thought of as boring and mundane.  If we can catch younger students early, or catch the attention of our older students, to see that snack time and play time can fit into math time, we can turn their minds around about math! When the students find math fun, everyone is winning! Here are a few ideas to get you started! ...

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Quick recap: I noted the struggles my children were having after using the help aid in the Brain Based Movements course.  We started the exercises, and I was stunned!  I had no idea that these seemingly very easy exercises would challenge my children like they did!  My kids have no problems running around, playing, riding bikes, doing...

Math U See Review!

Math U See Review!

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So, Math curriculum! What are your favorites? At Yellow Wood, we’ve been long time fans of Math U See. In this post I’ll share with you 7 reasons why we love it!

Math U See

This curriculum is just awesome! We’ve found it works for 95% of our students - whether gifted or struggling… or somewhere in between! Here’s why...

Reading Success!

Reading Success!

Today, we’ll start with reading! In the past few years at Yellow Wood, teaching kids to read and building reading skills in older children has exposed me to some great and not so great reading curriculum! The thing to remember is this: There’s more than one great option!!

(note - this post contains affiliate links! I only recommend products that I’ve personally found to be amazing! I promise!)

All About Reading

This past school year I taught our Pioneers class at Yellow Wood - 6-8 year olds and we used All About Reading Level 1. Our older elementary students used All About Reading Level 3 and 4 with another teacher. Here few things I LOVE about this program:

1. It’s scripted and methodical!

This program is seriously SO easy to use for parents and teachers. It is designed to be...

Before You Throw the Book at 'em...

Before You Throw the Book at 'em...

But really, though… do you ever feel like starting from scratch with your curriculum choices?

Today I’m excited to start a new blog series- Before You Throw the Book at ‘em - all about our favorite curricula at Yellow Wood! Curious what programs we use and why? Keep reading!

If you know me in real life, you probably know I am a bit of a curriculum junkie. I LOVE curriculum. Even when I was in high school and being home schooled myself, my absolute favorite part was picking curriculum. I gained a good amount of exposure and experience to different curricula while working at cottage schools and tutoring home school student, especially to classical curricula. So when I began Yellow Wood in 2013, I had so much fun choosing what books...

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It helps to make a plan of what works for your family and stick to it for consistency! If everyone gets into the routine, your days will start to go smoother. Here are some ideas you might want to implement into your homeschool day! 

1. Pick a spot for all your stuff! 

This is especially helpful for those kids who tend to procrastinate by looking for school supplies all day instead of working on that math worksheet! Put all your basic supplies in...