I have a big mix of friends that read this blog; some homeschoolers, some public schoolers, some private schoolers…some dudes, even…of course, all are awesome. One thing I know is that if you have a 2e kid–creative, right brained, divergent thinking, gifted with significant learning differences–regardless of where they go to school, you are a homeschooler. You have to take their homework and then reteach it so they understand. You have to work, hard, with them to help it make sense and stay relevant. They may go to school every day, but the real learning probably only starts once they’re one on one with you.
With that in mind, here are my favorite resources for learning with this particular learning style. All these have been tried and tested chez Child’s Play, and all are in continual use…some for the last 5 years pretty solidly. Even though we don’t divide our day or ‘homeschool’ into sections (thus, we are unschoolers!), I will here for some clarity, and to help out those that do!
English and writing:
probably one of the most stressful things for a 2e kid and parent to work through–writing for a visual thinker is torture. I love the following resources because it allows kids to think in visual mind maps, type it out, and then with a press of a button it will take the mind map and put it into an outline. With another press of a button, it will take that and form it into a paragraph! These programs can be used across every subject. I started out with this when Naturalist was still in public school (3rd grade) and even though we don’t do ‘school’ anymore, my kids still use this program…it’s that fun!
elementary and middle school:
The visual way to explore and understand words, numbers and concepts. For K-5 learners, Kidspiration develops thinking, literacy and numeracy skills using proven visual learning principles. In reading and writing, Kidspiration strengthens word recognition, vocabulary, comprehension and written expression. With visual math tools, students build reasoning and problem solving skills. Across the curriculum, students express their creativity and thinking with pictures, words and numbers.
for middle school and up:
Inspiration® 8 is the essential tool students and adults rely on to plan, research and complete projects successfully. With the integrated Diagram and Outline Views, they create graphic organizers, develop ideas and expand topics into writing. As a result, students gain and retain a better understanding of concepts and demonstrate knowledge, improving their performance across the curriculum.
This has the ability to be so FUN and imaginative, and it’s a shame that at school it can be so boring (if it’s taught much at all–the state testing has decreased the time spent talking about art/history/science/music and focused more time and attention on math and english). Multisensory history can be supplemented with lots of things. Puzzles, for one!
american history puzzles,
and don’t forget all the History board games
I wonder if, instead of boring essays, teachers would ever accept a completed puzzle instead?!
For video/computer games, you can’t go wrong with Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution, and Golfer went nuts for History Channel: Battle For the Pacific. There are tons of historical video games out there!
Basically, go to Amazon or google, and type in whatever point of history you/your kid is studying, and add the word ‘game’ after it…it’s amazing how many fun things there are to do with history!
For the most epic science game ever created, look no further than:
Spore and the follow up Spore Galactic Adventures
You start as a single cell, and then spend the game evolving into more complex creatures until you are exploring and conquering the universe. It is amazing, and highly playable even though it touches on just about every kind of science imaginable.
Also, if you have a naturalist (like I do!) run and get Zoo Tycoon 2: Ultimate Collection I linked to the ultimate collection, which has the original Zoo Tycoon game plus the 4 expansion packs: African Adventures, Endangered Species, Marine Mania, Extinct Animals. A SIMS like game, the goal is to create a thriving zoo. This means constructing correct habitats for the animals you put in your zoo, maintaining the grounds, and keeping your guests and animals happy. This has been a part of our gameplay for 5 years, and it still hasn’t gotten old. Not only are my kids learning about biology and ecology, they are also getting a fair amount of math. Understanding economics and spreadsheets are a vital part of the game if you want to make it to 5 stars…one night I overheard Naturalist ask my husband if he wouldn’t mind looking over some spreadsheet information on a zoo she was creating…”I’m losing money somewhere, I need to stop the flow to be successful!” she pleaded.
And again, don’t underestimate the power of science puzzles!
I kind of covered all this here!
I know there are a lot of people out there who really don’t like video/computer games, and certainly wouldn’t consider them educational. I am not one of those people. Video games were made by visual spatial thinkers for visual spatial thinkers. I love the intuitive way video games level the difficulty up, so you’re always on the edge of knowing what you’re doing but not knowing what you’re doing. That’s where learning happens…when you’re pushed to really think about things. We have the Wii platform, and they have some amazing games that teach you to learn how to learn. Super Mario Galaxy…amazing! The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess…solving puzzles and using brain power to beat the game, not to mention hand/eye/brain coordination…I think this was the best kind of occupational therapy my kids ever had.
But my favorite favorite learning game is hands down Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree I could have skipped all the professional testing we did for Naturalist to determine where her scholastic strengths and weaknesses were, and just played this game to see it. There are five categories to play: memory, analysis, number crunching, visual recognition, and quick thinking. You cycle through, answering a handful of fun questions for each category–they level up in difficulty as you answer them correctly. At the end it gives you a graph that charts out where you scored for each level. My 2e self was very apparent on the graph…I was off the charts for visual recognition and analysis, but barely scored at all on number crunching. The best part is, the more you play the better you get!
So, there’s the top of the top resources for us here at 2e Central. If you have anything to share that I haven’t mentioned here, give it a shout out in the comments…I’m always on the lookout for more!
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