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Once upon a time…

…there was a girl who would. not. sleep. Not as a newborn, not as a toddler, not as a little girl. She hated her dreaded crib so much that she launched herself over the side and careened to the floor by 14 months. Night after night, and nap after nap. Pitiful cries floated out from under her door. “Mom! Dad! Is anybody out there? Somebody? Anybody!” The girls parents, concerned for her safety and hoping to get one night’s sleep, arranged a ‘sleeping place’ on her floor with a mattress and some pillows. The girl, sensing her parent’s sleep induced weakness, figured out that if she would creep into bed with them and lay still, no one would put her back in bed.

For 5 long years the parents searched high and low for a wizards ointment, enchanted wand, or magic spell that would get their daughter to fall asleep early and stay that way through the night. Sadly, the ‘Night Terror’ monster visited often, causing the girl to cry and scream hysterically throughout most nights. No one in the land could help, and it caused much heartache in the home.

In due time, the girl could share a room with her younger brother, which pleased her. She also grew big enough to send the ‘Night Terror’ monster away and he was heard of no more. But the sleep STILL would. not. come.

10 long years the girl suffered with sleepless nights and early mornings. The mother had tried relaxation techniques, calming books, soft music, night lights, lavender scented sheets, biofeedback, positive self talk, and 587658764872364 other things to help her daughter, to no avail. Desperation set it. And then, like a light shining on the sword in the stone, an answer arrived from the most unthinkable place.

How could something so simple, so mundane…so tacky…be the miracle cure?

Behold, the power of the lava lamp.

The girl was amazed by its gooey, bubbly appearance. Waiting patiently for the light to warm up the gobs of green, she would peer over the side of her bed, mesmerized by its flowing, glowing powers. Soon, she was relaxed and drifting off to sleep…often before the bubbles had time to ooze up and down.

There was rest in all the land. And she slept happily ever after.

The End.

A few of my favorite links!

Have you seen the Dominoes commercial where a group of guys are sitting around eating pizza; one with a big nose, the other with a big mouth, and the last one with big ears. They are all discussing the same thing…a cheesy pizza…but each of them are filtering it through their biggest sensory mode. The guy with the big nose appreciates the smell, the guy with the big mouth appreciates the taste, and the guy with the big ears appreciates the sound. It’s a brilliant analogy for learning styles.

What if you were the guy with the big mouth, but were forced to focus on what the pizza smelled or sounded like. Would you enjoy it as much? Would you get as much out of the experience of eating a pizza? What if, when the discrepancy was noticed, the big nosed & big eared people sat you down and made you continually repeat smelling it or listening to it…taking away from your precious ‘tasting it’ time? Would you eventually ‘catch on’? Would your mouth eventually shrink, and your nose eventually grow? Or would you learn to dislike pizza and avoid it? School, for my daughter, became something to avoid. A rigid and mismatched application of one particular learning style above her own.

Here are a few links worth following! Understanding each of these ideas about “learning styles” has been invaluable to me as a parent and homeschooler!

“Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic Learners”
or…how do you and your child learn best? By seeing and visualizing it? By hearing and listening to it being spoken? Or by getting hands on, using your hands and/or movement to work and figure things out?
a quick excerpt:
“Approximately 20 to 30 percent of the school-aged population remembers what is heard; 40 percent recalls well visually the things that are seen or read; many must write or use their fingers in some manipulative way to help them remember basic facts; other people cannot internalize information or skills unless they use them in real-life activities such as actually writing a letter to learn the correct format.”

“The Natural Genius of Children”
a quick excerpt:
“Every child is a genius according to the original meanings of the word “genius,” which are: “to give birth” (related to the word genesis) and “to be zestful or joyous,” (related to the word genial)Essentially, the real meaning of genius is to “give birth to the joy” that is within each child. Every child is born with that capacity. Each child comes into life with wonder, curiosity, awe, spontaneity, vitality, flexibility, and many other characteristics of a joyous being. It is imperative that we, as educators and parents, help preserve these genius characteristics of children as they mature into adulthood, so those capacities can be made available to the broader culture at a time of incredible change.”

“Multiple Intelligences”
a quick excerpt:
“The theory of multiple intelligences was developed in 1983 by Dr. Howard Gardner, professor of education at Harvard University. It suggests that the traditional notion of intelligence, based on I.Q. testing, is far too limited. Instead, Dr. Gardner proposes eight different intelligences to account for a broader range of human potential in children and adults. These intelligences are:
Linguistic intelligence (“word smart”):
Logical-mathematical intelligence (“number/reasoning smart”)
Spatial intelligence (“picture smart”)
Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence (“body smart”)
Musical intelligence (“music smart”)
Interpersonal intelligence (“people smart”)
Intrapersonal intelligence (“self smart”)
Naturalist intelligence (“nature smart”)

_______________________________________

Here’s what I love about reading these articles. They all recognize and appreciate that people have different learning styles that are entirely unique and valid. On the flip side, to me it points out that everyone has a learning difference when filtered through other modes of learning. My husband is a brilliant Logical-mathmatical, sequential, auditory learner. He breezed through school without a thought of LD. I, however, am a spatial, non-sequential, visual learner. I struggled through school and probably would have been diagnosed with a LD if they had tested more way back then. If school had been tailored to my style of learning, the tables would have been flipped and HE would have been the one labelled with a LD. Seriously…in my school, the history classes that I struggled with in high school would have been Art History classes (that I excelled at in college!), and my husband and art are like vinegar and water.

Wouldn’t it be great if more schools could accomodate more learning differences (and not in a ‘Special Ed’ LD kind of way!)? I forsee a school with kids grouped according to their learning style and multiple intelligences. For instance, the topic of Geography:

People in the Naturalist class could be learning by placing animals in their habitats all over the world. People in Interpersonal class could be learning by exploring the cultures of the world and relating to that. People in the body-kinesthetic class could be learning by jumping, country by country, all over a huge map on the floor. People in the logical-mathmatical class could be learning by figuring out how many miles between different places in the world. Etc., etc. That’s a school I’d happily send my kids to!