Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Home Schooling

Home Schooling with Karen Patrick

I don't know about you, but when I read that over 1.1 million kids were being homeschooled, I wondered what all of this was about. Was this all religious fundamentalists who were against the school system, andlooked at it as corrupt and evil? Well, regular people are opting to home school their children for a variety of reasons, including the needs of their family, and it provides the flexibility to customize your child's education in a way that simply can't be done in a public school environment.

Home Schooling is not for everyone- I'm not sure I would be good at it, myself, but I have always wondered about it. Karen Patrick is the mother of two children, both schooled at home. Her husband, Dr. Mike Patrick Jr., is a pediatrician, and host of Pediacast- a great podcast that addresses all those little questions you want answered by your own pediatrician, but never have time for in the office. (Dr. Mike was kind enough to be interviewed on Show #19 of the LD Podcast). Karen and Mike decided to homeschool both of their children for many reasons, and have really enjoyed the closeness it has helped develop in their family. I think you'll enjoy Karen's perspective on education and schooling, and how it works for their family!

As always, you can contact us by email at, call the voicemail line at (206) 666-2343, or leave a comment on the blog.

Click Here to Download Show # 32- Homeschooling

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Show 31: A Parent's Guide to Developmental Delays

Laurie LeComer is a parent of three children, and a special educator. She has written a wonderful book, “A Parent’s Guide to Developmental Delays: Recognizing and Coping with Missed Milestones in Speech, Movement, Learning, and Other Areas.” It is a must read for all parents worried about their children and for teachers and day care providers, who suspect something might be wrong or different about a child, but can’t seem to pinpoint the source or the cause. It is the book I wish I had when my children were young, and I know you’ll find the early warning signs of developmental problems helpful, as well as her pointers on how to have happy and less stressful holidays!

Let us know what you think! Leave comments here, or send us email at You can also call us at (206) 666-2343 with any comments or questions!

Click here to listen to Show # 31

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Monday, November 13, 2006

Show # 30- Why Handwriting Matters

Click Here to download Show #30- Handwriting

Why Handwriting Matters and What To Do To Help
What's wrong with this picture?

The picture to the right might seem like a typical picture of a cute kid working at school. Having children who struggle with poor handwriting, I see a child who has a bad pencil grip, writing up near her shoulders-definitely not a recipe for legible handwriting.

Why should we care about handwriting? When I was in school, "penmanship" was formally taught, but little time is spent in today's classrooms on penmanship, although we are spending more and more time on writing. Weird, huh? We expect kids to have the mechanics of handwriting down, without giving them much instruction in it, despite the fact that the ease of the act of handwriting has a big impact on the actual composition process.

Kids who have a hard time physically writing, or who are constantly criticized for the legibility of their writing start to avoid writing, and write as little as possible when called upon to do so- they become the great literary minimalists. They use short, concrete sentences, which while fine in early elementary school, becomes more frowned upon as the years advance. Eventually, a child with handwriting issues begins to have serious problems in english and other subjects where alot of writing is required. Teachers ask them to redo work because they simply can't read what the child is trying to express, and the child feels punished in the process, not a way to encourage them to do more writing!

Sure, many kids begin to learn to type early on, but our classrooms and standardized testing still require an awful lot of writing- worksheets, spelling tests, standardized tests- all require a child to handwrite essays and more, and keyboards are simply not allowed unless a child has a special education plan in place that includes this as an accommodation. the simple truth is why can't avoid the handwriting issue when we look at improving a child's writing ability and ability to communicate and think through the written word.

In today's show, I interview Michelle Jones, a pediatric occupational therapist who sees alot of kids with handwriting issues. The handwriting is often the tip of the iceberg, a tip off of larger problems with fine motor coordination- and something that can easily be addressed through therapy and at home. If you have a child with less than perfect handwriting- this is the show for you!

Look for our page on handwriting helpers by clicking here

As always, we love to hear from our listeners! Please email us by clicking here, or call our voicemail line at (206) 666-2343, or leave comments on our blog by clicking here.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Show # 29 Lessons 9 & 10 and Wrap Up

Show # 29: Lessons 9 & 10 to Maximize Your Child's Cognitive Abilities and Wrap Up of Series

In today's show, we talk about the last 2 lessons in our ten lesson series on Maximizing Your Child's Cognitive Abilities. Less on 9 is about teaching your children to be able to see things from another point of view, and understanding that criticism is often something they should consider and use as a learning opportunity, not as a badge of failure or short coming. Lesson 10 is about how it's not the money you spend on your kids that matters, but the quality of their experiences. The Ten Lessons are adapted from a chapter by Williams and Sternberg in Volume 5 of The Handbook of Parenting, a five volume set of books digesting the research on parenting and raising children. It is edited by Marc Bornstein from the National Institutes of Health, and is probably the most complete digest of research into children and parents available. (It also the most expensive, as each volume retails for over $150.00).

The take home message from the series is that parents can be very influential in helping their kids maximize their intellectual potential, but it requires that parents get involved and stay involved in their child's intellectual development, rather than passing this off as the job solely of school.

Today's show includes 2 songs- Libery Jones by The Shakes, and Black Coffee by Chaz, available on the Podsafe Music Network.

We'd love to hear from you- you can click the email link at the bottom of this page, or go to the blog, and leave comments! Or even better, call (206) 666-2343 and leave us a voice message!

Click here to download Show # 29- Lessons 9 & 10

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Show # 28 Academy in Manayunk Pt. 2 Reading and Self Esteem

Welcome to all our new iLearn Radio Listeners!

In the second part of my interview with Nancy Blair of the Academy in Manayunk, we talk about how important self esteem is to a child''s success in school. So many very talented people have learning disabilities and have struggled in school but my learning how to maximize their strengths, they have really been able to shine. Whether it's designers like Tommy Hilfiger, or Businessmen like Charles Schwab, or Actors like Henry Winkler (who now writes books about what it was like to grow up with learning problems) many kids are both smart and LD, and we need to be able to let their strengths shine while helping them overcome their weaknesses.

Please call our comment line at (206) 666-2343 or email us at with any and all comments!

Click here to listen to show #28

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