Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Davis Dyslexia Therapy

So, last week we went to Stuttgart for Indy's dyslexia therapy.  I researched for a long time to find something that I thought would work for him and after reading The Gift of Dyslexia, I decided the Davis method was the way to go.  Finding a provider in Germany proved a bit more difficult, but we were fortunate enough to find someone who offers it in English (very important) and who could fit us in.  Actually, we could only get 3 days this time and will finish it up in Sept.  In just 3 days though, we saw amazing results.

One of the big things for picture thinking dyslexics (which both Indy and Mr. HH James Bond are) is that letters don't really mean much and "trigger" words like a, the, and, in, with, etc. have no no meaning to them.  Think about it, can you picture "the?"  Part of the therapy involves making the alphabet out of clay so he can hold the letter, flip it over, and see it in 3D.  Here he is making his upper case letters.

After making both upper and lower case, he starts to work on making models of trigger words.  The idea is that they look up the word to get a definition, then make something in clay that to them represents the definition (for children we simplify the definition).  The word "make" is defined as creating or building something from other materials.  He then has to come up with at least 5 sentences using the word.  Once the model is built, the word is then made out of clay and an arrow points from the word to the model.  Here is Indy's MAKE:

It's 2 boys making a wall out of blocks.  He points to the model and says "You are MAKE, meaning something created or built from other materials."  He then points to the word and says "You say MAKE."  He spells the word, touching each letter, then closes his eyes and spells is forwards and backwards (again touching each letter) and describes the model.

Here is MADE:

He used the same original model, but put a thought bubble around it with a person thinking about MAKE in the past tense.

Here is MAKES:

The idea here is that two figures talk about someone else, as in "He makes a good wall."

 There was more to the therapy, including setting the "mind's eye" which I did not get at all, but James Bond totally understood.  Indy really got the most out of defining trigger words with pictures.  He was reading the first night of his own volitionReading!  I almost cried.  The next day he begged to bring the book he had been reading to lunch.  Sure it was a Spongebob graphic novel (like a comic, but in book form and longer), but still, he was reading the word bubbles! Out loud to me and James Bond.  It was amazing.  This is an expensive therapy, but thus far it has been worth every penny.
We have exercises to do every day and he's super excited about reading now.  I can't tell you what a relief this is.  Hopefully this will make school a whole lot easier.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

2010-2011 Curriculum

We're gearing up for next year!  School starts August 9.  I can't believe it.  Didn't we just finish?  Oh, wait, we did.  It was the middle of June.  Sigh.  We don't take long summer breaks because we take lots of breaks during the school year, which is nice because we can vacation while everyone else is still in school.  Indy starts 3rd grade this year!  Third!  He'll be 8 in a week and a half!  Where has the time gone? 

This year we're going back on the Trivium cycle, but because we went off it last year we're now a year behind.  D'oh!  That's okay though, we'll catch up.  This year we'll be studying the Middle Ages!  Indy is very excited.  Knights and castles, what could be better?

Here are the programs we're using:

History Odyssey-The Middle Ages, level 1  What I really like about this is that it covers not only medieval Europe, but also the East, Africa, South America, North America and the Pacific Islands. 

The main books that go along with the program are:

A Child's History of the World
Days of Knights and Damsels

The other books (readers and read alouds) that go along with this are fantastic:

Robin Hood
King Aurthur and the Knights of the Round Table
The Sword in the Tree
The Door in the Wall
The Samurai's Tale
Margerite Makes a Book
The Marvelous Blue Mouse
The Great and Terrible Quest
The Making of a Knight
Beowulf: A new telling for children
The Minstrel in the Tower
Son of Charlemagne
The Red Keep: The Story of Burgundy in 1165
Meet Christopher Columbus
The Trolley To Yesterday (Constantinople)
Stories of the Caliphs: The Early Rulers of Islam
Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
Viking Ships at Sunrise
The Smashing Saxons
Joan of Arc
Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page
Canterbury Tales for Children
Richard III (Shakespeare Children's Series)
Ghingis Kahn
Prince Ivan and the Firebird
El Cid
Good Morning Gorillas
Lions at Lunch Time
Tales From India
Silent Lotus
The Master Swordsman and the Magic Doorway
The Travels of Marco Polo
The Singing Snake (Aboriginal Folk Tales)
Arctic People
Coyote and the Fire Stick
Arrow to the Sun
Lost Temple of the Aztec
The Boy Who Wouldn't Obey: A Mayan Tale
Lost City: The Discovery of Machu Pichu
Suleyman the Magnificent and the Ottoman Empire
Fine Print: The Story of Gutenberg
Forgotten Voyager: The Story of Amerigo Vaspuci
Explorers of North America
Explorers Who Got Lost
The Mughal Empire
The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, and The Bard
Elizabeth I

That's a lot of books!  Some of them are simple chapter books and others are books that we will only read part of.

R.E.A.L. Science Odyssey-Chemistry-level 1

Teaching Textbooks Math-3

First Language Lessons-level 3

Minimus:  Starting Out In Latin

Instant Immersion German

Map Trek: Medieval World Geography

We are going to have a fun and busy year.  Only 3 weeks until it start!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


School is on summer break!  Hurrah!  I'm not sure who's more excited, Indy or me (probably me).  One of the good things about homeschooling is that as a parent, I get to see what works, what doesn't and what, if any problems there might be with Indy's learning.  For a while I suspected Indy had a reading problem.  He wanted to read so badly, but it just wasn't coming together for him.  He struggled, he cried, I cried.  It was awful.  At first It thought there might be a problem with his eyes, so we went to the eye doctor for a check up.  His eyes were perfect.  I then started taking note of the specific issues and took to the internet to research what they could mean.  Over and over I came up with dyslexia.  It shouldn't have been  a surprise really, as Mr. HH is dyslexic. I did not want Indy to struggle the way Mr. HH has and started researching methods to help.  We went to his ped for advice (she verified the dyslexia, even though I already knew) and finally found the Davis Method.  Mr. Davis is dyslexic himself and devised this method on his own.  I picked up a copy of his book, The Gift of Dyslexia, which, if you're not dyslexic is a fascinating read.  I had no idea how it worked.  After reading this book, I knew this was the method that would work best for Indy.  On the main page of the website, they list the Davis Providers in the US and around the world.  There happens to be one about an hour and a half from us that works in English.  I contacted her and set up a consultation.  We spent a few hours with her so she could evaluate Indy and see if she thought this would work for him.  I already knew it would (I'm a mom, I know these kinds of things), and she agreed.  Of course our insurance won't pay for it, but we decided that any amount of money was worth it to help Indy read.  Mr. HH, who still struggles, would have paid twice the fee if it meant Indy wouldn't have the same issues he had while growing up.  We are going to Stuttgart in 2 weeks for Indy's therapy sessions.  I so hope this works.  Indy is crazy excited because he too is convinced (he concluded this all on his own) that he will be able to read better afterward.  Cross your fingers.  I'll let you know how it goes.