Sometimes a break from school really gives parents time to help a child with a problem area so she can go back to school with new skills and confidence.
How do you do it? I would just let them play most of the time but spend about an hour focusing on the problem area. It’s a great time for dyslexia therapy or some multiplication games.
Sometimes the school schedule is so packed that a break like this offers us a chance help our kids grow in a specific area so they can go back to school stronger in the problem area.
Also, some kids have passions that they don’t have time for during the school year. I have a daughter who was obsessed with parrots and endangered species. It was a perfect time to let her “major in parrots” and learn to dig deep into a topic she really loves.
So we put together a Fun-Schooling basket full of stuff that helps her research birds and Endangered Species. It’s easy to focus because she’s so passionate.
So, during a break from school I would suggest only two things:
1. Zero in on just ONE problem area so the child can overcome some of her struggles.
We use DyslexiaGames.com for reading, writing and spelling problems. It’s so easy to use.
Try Math Craft for problems with basic math and multiplication.
2. Give the child resources based on their passion, and really make time for that passion. What is your child passionate about?
It’s exactly what we would do on summer vacation since this is a chance to focus on strengths and weaknesses, letting everything else go.
Besides that, the kids can have a blast and stay busy being creative, playing video games, watching movies, cooking their own meals, exploring nature, training a pet, learning new skills, and being together. The possibilities are endless!
Math Craft has proven to be a fun way to introduce math to young children, not only those with Dyscalculia. Children who struggle with math in school also enjoy the games. They are an entirely different way to learn than what is taught in classrooms. It has also been a good way to ease children into homeschooling after leaving a school setting or for kids who had a negative experience with math. Older siblings love to do these games with their younger siblings too!
Helping Adults to Stop Counting on Their Fingers
Moms who played the games with their children also saw benefits for themselves. Many had always counted on their fingers and struggled with basic math. It is likely some have Dyscalculia and were never diagnosed. Schools also tend to pass children along with levels in math before they’re ready, especially with girls, so bad habits develop. We’ve been thrilled to hear from adults who have seen progress and gained confidence in math after playing the games with their kids. Plus the kids love to see their parents being good examples and learning too!
After Math Craft
Parents often wonder what the best path to take is after a student has completed Math Craft. We suggest one of our Math journals. They are written in a similar style and will be a good way for students to practice their new skills. Math Mysteries, Comic Book Math, and Math for Minecrafters are especially good options. Multiplication Games is a good journal for students who need help with memorizing their Multiplication tables.
Families can use our journals exclusively for a few years or combine them with a math curriculum of their choice. Life of Fred is a popular option among many Fun-Schoolers and seems to be Dyscalculia-Friendly because Math is presented as a story. There are many other options out there too! What’s your favorite?
While most people are familiar with Dyslexia, Dyscalculia is much less well known. It relates to the ability to understand math and to properly identify numbers. Sometimes folks call Dyscalculia Math Dyslexia. While the two have similarities, Dyscalculia impacts things such as the ability to differentiate between concepts like biggest and smallest, remembering math facts, estimating time, judging distance, retaining numbers, and more. Children may outgrow Dyslexia- this is rarely the case with Dyscalculia. Those with this learning challenge need to develop skills to properly process and understand math.
The official numbers state 6%-7% of the population has Dyscalculia. Experts estimate it could be closer to 15%-20% because it is often overlooked. Teachers may think a child is struggling to understand a concept when in reality they have a learning disability. It’s not as easily diagnosed as Dyslexia because of the wide range of progression of math skills among children. Countless adults have spent a lifetime thinking they were bad at math when in reality, they needed to be taught a different way.
Creation of Math Craft
After Dyslexia Games took off and gained popularity, we started getting requests for a Dyscalculia therapy program. Parents were seeing some Dyscalculia improvement and wanted something deeper. My Mom, Georgia, and I started working together to develop Math Craft.
We developed a series of hands-on games, tactile lessons, abacus work, and logic games like Dyslexia Games. They were tested on my 15 children as well as dozens of children with Dyscalculia. Children stopped counting on their fingers, retained math facts with ease, and were able to understand math concepts for the first time.
The creation of these games has involved extensive testing and research. We wanted them to be effective and fun. They engage the brain in a relaxed state through the games. This removes any mental blocks a child (or adult) may have to math. When we’re having fun, we’re able to learn easier.
Math Concepts Covered
At the time of this writing, we have five Math Craft books. They are:
A-1 covers quantity, matching quantity to numbers, numbers and their numerical symbols, and basic addition with no counting required.
A-2 focuses on addition up to ten without needing to count.
A-4 introduces double-digit addition and subtraction, carrying borrowing, and numbers up to 20 and beyond.
B-1 is for basic multiplication and introduces skip counting.
We suggest all children start with book A-1 unless they have a strong foundation in addition and subtraction and do not count on their fingers. Then they can start with B-1. Children who have a strong addition foundation can start on book A-3, most will need to start with book 1. More Math Craft materials will come in the future.
Anna was young when I created Dyslexia Games. Older kids with Dyslexia felt the games I’d created were too easy. I set to work at creating more advanced games. These were helpful both for Anna as she grew and for older children.
Series A is best for children ages 5-8. It can also be used by older children who are profoundly Dyslexic. This series is primarily art-based and introduces a bit of writing and spelling.
Series B for children aged 8-12. The art-based games become more advanced and more reading skills are required. We also include spelling and copywork in this series.
Series C is for ages 10+. We continue with intricate art-based games, add in some math, and work on cursive writing skills.
Not Only for Dyslexic Kids
Families began introducing their early readers to series A- regardless of if they showed signs of Dyslexia. Parents realized they made learning to read fun and engaging and that children thrived. Older kids saw Dyslexic siblings working on series B and C and wanted to try them out. It became apparent these games were not only helpful for Dyslexic kids.
We’ve heard from thousands of families who share remarkable stories about the benefits of Dyslexia Games in their homes. Parents have used Dyslexia Games with:
ADHD/ADD kids to help them focus and relax
Non-Verbal learning disabilities
Visual Processing Disorders
As “brain breaks” before working on a more focused/difficult task
To de-stress and relax a kid when they were frustrated
For relief from Brian Fog
To help develop executive functioning skills
This was certainly not something I ever expected. At this point, we think we’ve had about as many non-Dyslexic kids use Dyslexia Games as those with Dyslexia. Especially series A for new readers. I began to incorporate pages from these games into some of our Fun-Schooling journals and students have loved having them there.
As we’ve grown our tree has branched into several different offerings. Today we have six “branches” on our Thinking Tree.
Fun-Schooling Journals consist of our core journals, the first journals we created. We also have dozens of smaller “single subject” journals on standard school subjects like Language Arts, History, Math, Science, Art, and Geography. Single-subject journals on “elective” topics have also been created such as Dance, Foreign Language, Animals, Sports, and even Minecraft! There are about 300 Fun-Schooling Journals.
Dyslexia Games is our art-based Dyslexia therapy program. It was created a few years before the first Fun-Schooling journal. There are three series for different age groups. Throughout the years we have found it helpful for students with ADHD/ADD, Asperger’s, and other learning challenges too. Interestingly, we’ve also found children without learning challenges or disabilities benefit too. It helps children with creative thinking, problem-solving, handwriting, spelling, art skills, math, and more.