Pamela Gates is a Certified Learning Specialist in Dianne Craft’s Learning System. She has 16 years’ experience working with bright, hard-working, but struggling students. She is an Educational Consultant, offering Personal Consultations in Denver, Colorado. Pamela will be presenting six workshops at the 2017 FEAST convention, June 9-10, filled with unique, alternative teaching methods that parents find easy and inexpensive to implement. www.connecteducationco.com
Workshops that will be presented at the 2017 FEAST Convention:
1) Identifying and Correcting Blocked Learning Gates
Learn how to “Diagnose and Correct” learning disabilities, or just mild processing glitches. This is for your ‘puzzling child’. Is it just a maturity issue, or is something else going on? If you have a bright, hardworking child who has to work too hard to learn, he is telling you that one or more of his Four Learning Gates is blocked. Using a diagnostic checklist of symptoms, you can easily pinpoint which of your child’s gates are blocked. Learn how to be your own diagnostician using a checklist of symptoms, and then learn the necessary interventions. This can be done by the parents at home. It doesn’t have to be so hard for your child! Find out specifically how the brain processes information, and where that processing can break down. You will learn things you have never heard of before in a home school workshop. A home schooling mom with a Ph.D. in special education said that she learned more in this workshop about how kids learn and how to make learning easier, than she had in all her university courses!
2) Smart Kids Who Hate to Write: Do you have a child who seems to be “allergic” to a pencil?
If you have a child who groans and fusses about writing, or still writes reversals, or spells a word orally correctly but leaves out letters when he writes, this workshop is for you! This child’s math papers are often hard to read because the numbers are lined up so poorly! These children are often thought of as sloppy, lazy, or unmotivated when they really have a writing glitch. They are using way too much energy for the writing process, so they are reluctant to put pencil to paper for anything. This often is a true Dysgraphia. The writing learning gate is the most common gate that is blocked with gifted kids. They know so much, but just can’t get their thoughts down in writing because of this blocked learning gate.
In this workshop you will be shown a daily exercise you can do with your child to get the writing into his “automatic” brain hemisphere, and take the stress out of his writing system. This exercise is used throughout the United States by athletes to improve performance on the court or field!
3) Train the Photographic Memory “Visual memory is far superior to auditory memory. It is essentially perfect.” The Brain Book, Peter Russell
Many people think that some are just born with a “photographic memory”. But we now know that this amazing ability can be easily taught. Teach your children the lifelong skill of studying for tests by taking a picture of the contents of a chapter. These memory techniques are commonly used by Cambridge University students to reduce studying time.
You will learn many simple teaching techniques, such as Right Brain Spelling (making the words “stick instead of slip”) and Right Brain Reading. By using a totally different strategy, we consistently see a two-year gain in reading and spelling in one year! Parents say, “I can’t believe it, but my child asks to do spelling now.”
These powerful visual memory techniques work with all types of learners, and can be a God-send for a child who has an auditory processing glitch. Have a happier child this year. Even works with adults!
4) The Biology of Behavior – (Sometimes titled, “Kids and Teenagers with Focus/Attention Issues…a different approach.”)
Johnny is a constant motion machine. Tom cries in frustration over minor matters. Susie forgets what she has just learned. According to Dr. Sydney Walker, children tend to “act how they feel”. This fascinating workshop provides you with clues to your child’s brain/body chemistry. William Crook, MD, has found that over 85% of children who suffer with Sensory Processing Disorders or attention or mood disorders when older have experienced multiple ear infections as a young child. Untreated, these children often go on to have many hidden food allergies and asthma.
It is easy to correct these imbalances at home and dramatically affect your child’s learning day. The testimonies that we receive from parents across the United States who are using these simple remedies with their children are amazing!
Click below to view a video introduction and more information about Pamela Gates.
Confessions Of A Left-Brained Mom
by Pamela Gates
There she was, my 8-year-old daughter, crying at the table with her phonics workbook in front of her. This was becoming an all-too-familiar scene. I thought, “What am I doing wrong?” I loved being a homeschool mom, but schooling should not be this hard! But my other kids learned this way
As a mother of six, I had learned to be efficient at assigning independent learning times. My older boys, (11 and 9), learned to read so easily using the regular curriculum. They breezed through the phonics games. Completing their workbook assignments was not a challenge for them. Checking off each assignment from their daily list was something that gave them a sense of completion. Oral instructions were no problem, and their spelling words were learned by using the spelling curriculum and writing each word multiple times. I thought that this homeschooling was actually pretty easy!
However, none of this worked for my daughter. “Slower – louder – more repetitions” didn’t help. In fact, it just seemed to make her feel like she was dumb. What to do? It was obvious that I needed to find alternative teaching methods for her. But what methods? I’m about as left-brained as they come. (Schedules, rules, auditory instructions, lists, etc., are my friends.) I like sticking with what I’m comfortable doing – what I’ve always done – NOT looking outside of the box.
I sought help.
I began asking other homeschool moms if they had any suggestions. Dianne Craft’s name came up as a specialist who works with struggling learners. I made an appointment. I watched and learned as Dianne worked with my daughter. At age eight, she still did not know all of the letters in her name. To give her an immediate boost in her confidence, Dianne wrote her name on a card with colored markers, adding picture and story on the letters to “jazz them up”. To help her access her photographic memory, she held the card up high and had her take a picture of it with her “camera”. She liked this new process of learning. Remarkably, she was able to spell her name forward and backward in less than a minute.
A grin appeared!
My daughter was a non-reader, despite hours of phonics games and sight word memorization. The words continued to be brand new every time she saw them. Dianne showed me how to teach her sight words using a whole new method of embedding color and picture on the words. She started with my daughter’s hardest word, “the”. Using this embedding technique, my daughter was able to read the word and spell it within a couple of minutes. By the end of this short session, she was able to read eleven new words and actually read a simple story from a book.
The grin got wider!
Tackling phonics using a whole new method was the next step. In teaching phonics, once again the sound and letter were superimposed on one another, so the brain could learn it as a “unit”.By employing her photographic, visual memory and bypassing her weaker auditory memory, my daughter was able to learn and retain many phonics combinations in one short afternoon. She experienced the instant success that had eluded her before. Dianne explained, “e are simply accessing the smart part of her brain.”
I knew the grin was here to stay.
Is my child a Right-Brained Learner?
Why did this process work? Dianne called this new teaching process I was learning, “Right Brain Learning Strategies”. The right brain is where the long term memory storage is. It learns best with color, picture, story, and emotion. This way of teaching is often thought of as the “universal learning method”. That means that when “Plan A” (more left-brained, black and white, rules, repetition, workbooks) don’t work with a child, then “Plan B”, the more right brain (visual, color, picture story, emotion) method always works. Does that mean that my daughter is a right brain learner? Not necessarily. It could mean that her auditory processing problem was blocking her normal method of learning. Then, this more visual approach is what moves her past this learning block.
A common question we hear from parents is, “Will I have to do this forever?” As your child begins to understand how well these simple strategies work for her, she will use them on her own. In fact, the more she develops her photographic memory, the more she will be able to “see” black and white information in her head. I found that my other children enjoyed right brain strategies because they were more fun. In fact my second daughter found that by adding color, picture, and emotion to her class notes in her college courses, she did better in tests. She said her friends questioned her about it at first, until they realized she was getting high marks, spending a fraction of the time they were spending studying their copious written notes. A picture really is worth a thousand words!
This new way of thinking about learning is stretching, to say the least, for a more Left-Brained mom. How do you do it? One of the best ways of adopting the use of these new (and strange) teaching strategies is by thinking “opposite” of the teaching strategies you have been using. For example:
- Think color embedded in words vs. black and white words.
- Think discussion vs. workbook writing.
- Think colored stick figures vs. oral instructions.
- Think embedding picture, story, and emotion vs. memorizing rules.
- Think picture notes vs. studying written notes for a test.
I had to train myself to ALWAYS have a colored marker in my hand when I was teaching. Words from my mouth were not working. I had to remember to draw what I was saying whenever possible. White boards everywhere! I am not an artist in any sense of the word. I found that when my children laughed at my “abstract” art, it just made things stick better!
This paradigm shift was uncomfortable for me. But I quickly became addicted to my daughter’s new-found enthusiasm. It is wonderful to hear from parents who tell us that their child is now asking for the next spelling word: “Give me something really hard, Mom!” Or, “I’m so smart!” Or, “Can I read more?” I saw my sad, discouraged little girl become a happy, confident, successful learner. When she was eight, I wondered if college would be an option for her. She recently graduated summa cum laude and is currently completing graduate school.
We all know that in many ways, home schooling requires us to be brave. It may be time to bravely move from Plan A to Plan B!