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2e Tuesday::multisensory learning

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:
Kidspiration 3

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 8.0

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!

Overall learning:
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!

15 Responses

  1. Another great post Tiff. Thank you for the resources. I am still trying to find the balance between my kids right brained needs,my needs to feel like I am teaching them something and hubby’s need to see that I actually have a “plan of attack” to teach them what they need to know. On top of all of this, I fear my son is getting lazy. He doesn’t want me to tell him what to do, but he can’t seem to find the initiative to move towards anything on his own. It seems he is “naturally ept at many things, yet passionate about nothing”. 😦 That is my current challenge.

    Right now, I feel like I am failing him (11yrs) on all levels.

    • With homeschooling, when everything is good, it’s good. But when things feel bad, it’s horrid! xoxoxxo, and been there.

      Have you told him what you feel like? I look at my unschooling like I’m in a kayak with my kid, and we both have to be paddling in the same direction or we don’t go anywhere. For me, that means I’m really open and honest when I talk to my kids, and my fears. “I’m afraid you have nothing that interests you…” or “I’m freaking out that you still don’t like to read…” or whatever. Sometimes what they say is pretty insightful and encouraging, or gives me a new direction to go in.

      And always, when I feel discouraged, I find something fun for us to do together. Some good old fashioned bonding time to shake off the fear of failure and just enjoy each other and life. 🙂

  2. Some great resources there Tiff – thanks!

  3. We are big gamers here and we many of the games you mention. Spore has to be an overall favourite. And I too love Big Brain Academy which gives you clear feedback on what your strengths and weaknesses are.

    I’m going to look more into those history board games though.

    Thanks for the post.

  4. hi Tiffany , that is a great great post. I think I will explore all the links especially the one to find out your strenghts.

    Right now I am exhausted. with my sons exams . you said it correct. all this term we were enjoying it to the fullest . I even forgot he has LD. We did the school works also on a day to day basis. ( if I had done like that when I was a kid i donno what would have I become Haha ) But now that we are preparing for exams we are on the starting point again. And I am tired.

    ” 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 said it !!!!!

    • the exams sunk our boats every year. it was horrible going through them, and even worse looking back. Just make sure he knows how much you know he is working hard, and do little things for him while he has them…I remember Naturalist would come home exhausted and I would run her a bath and rub her feet while she floated in it.

      Is your school giving him any accomodations like having untimed tests?

  5. btw your multiplication board was of great great help.

    In the morning he was not able to remember some of the tables, then he told me I didn do the board that is why. it was of great help. Multiplication and division was a horror to me, but we glided through. thanks thanks thanks!

    ( I wont use the marks as an index bcoz he may not see some qns, may copy them wrong , or may not figure out what to do for word problems, or messup in a whole lot of other ways. But he knows multiplication tables now. and thank you ! )

  6. Today’s to-do list:
    Mourn the denial of the charter school I had such high hopes for. Pray the state BOE overrides the district.
    Look into other educational options.
    Investigate the resources on this page.
    Drive to Tiff’s house and kiss her square on the mouth for aforementioned resources. They may get us through the 2 1/2 week winter break sane.

    I loveloveLOVE the analogy of being in a kayak together!! I must make that an ongoing mental image; I think it will help with a LOT of things here.

    Oh, and the new Bill Nye math DVD is at the library. I have it, it’ll go back on Monday; I think you’re next on the list. It.Is.Awesome!!!! I may buy it, and the second one as well, for I suspect it’s going to be out of the library more often than in. 😉 You’ll love it. 🙂

    • more people need to be kissed square on the mouth as thanks ;). I’ll be here all day! lol.

      Jen, I can’t believe they denied the Charter School. I really didn’t see that happening AT ALL.

      But, you know what, you will find a way. Some way, whatever it is. And if it is homeschooling, then we can party together 😉 and paddle our kayaks all over town!

      Bill Nye, how we love thee!

      • Well, hell’s bells, had I known…LOL! I was at the library this afternoon, coulda swung by! LOL
        I just hope the appeal goes through and the BOE smacks the district around a bit.
        And, I will definitely find a way. Got a dozen or so books on homeschooling this afternoon, including one on hs a gifted kid. If I go that route, I’ll paddle right with you! 🙂

  7. […] Is homeschooling the best option? On the one hand, I’d never have to deal with the unholy homework battles again, or doing the school’s dirty work in forcing him to do more of things that he’s already done a gazillion times before. On the other hand…frankly, for my own sanity, I need them to be someone else’s responsibility for a few hours a day. Tiffani, at Child’s Play, had this to say about 2e kids and learning today: One thing I know is that if you have a 2e kid–creative, right brained, divergent thinking, gifted … […]

  8. (Yes, I’m playing catch-up.) Standing up and cheering here, like usual, when I read your blog. I agree wholeheartedly about the video games. We see the same results here, especially with our son who we call “GPS Head”–he’s that visual. We love Big Brain, Super Mario Galaxy, SM anything, Cooking Mama, Wii Sports. Also, the kids have Nintendo DS, which have been a great tool–Scribblenauts is a fabulous game for thinking outside the box, vocabulary, spelling, visual, logic, etc. Personal Trainer Math is wonderful also. Anyway, just wanted to chime in and say I think you always provide great resources and information and that it’s nice to know other unschoolers are out there doing similar things.

    Amy @ On Bradstreet

  9. […] by Shady Lady’s Wardrobe Wednesdays and Child’s Play’s 2e Tuesdays, I’ve decided to incorporate Daughter’s love of food and cooking into our […]

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