Visual Learning Resources

About a year ago, we had two of our sons tested for learning disabilities. We had know for years they had issues, but they were gradually making progress so we didn’t worry too much about having them tested a young age. But, since they were entering high school and middle school, we decided it was time. I was sure that after having home schooled our children for the last 11 years, I knew exactly how they learned. Boy, was I wrong.
Our second oldest child, Ted we knew was dyslexic, among other things, but I still thought he was an auditory learner. I knew he was often attracted to colorful pictures or cartoons, so I thought he was visual, but things were pretty cloudy from there. He just struggled to learn no matter what. I am sure you know what I am talking about, every home schooling family has a struggling learner.
Because of his dyslexia, Ted has always struggled with workbooks and notebooks. It is typical of a dyslexic child to have difficulty reading, writing and spelling. Although he struggled to learn to read, he still enjoys reading and will eagerly dive into any book I give him. I always try to get books on tape or CD from the library if they are available for him to listen to because he seems to really enjoy them.
Imagine my amazement at his test results showing that he was actually not auditory AT ALL, but completely a visual learner. What??? 
I felt like the worst Mom in the world. How could I not know this after all these years? How could I have been so blind? No wonder he has always struggled with school, I had been going about teaching him the wrong way.
It was hard to change my thinking process at first. What had worked for my other kids would not work for him. Our oldest sons, Alex and James, were both auditory learners, and have never had any learning challenges at all.
Ben, we discovered during testing, was completely auditory and not visual at all, I had completely misjudged his learning abilities too. But we will talk about him another day.
At first, I tried to order video curriculum that went with the things we were already studying. The only problem was, not all curriculum comes with videos. We were already using Math U See, so that one was easy because it came with a video.
Apologia Biology also a rather simple fix, I just ordered the computer CD’s that went with it. But, after receiving them I found they were not as complete as I would have liked. Certain topics were never covered in the video segments, and with his reading difficulties, it was difficult for Ted. Listening to the auditory CD was not enough for him to really comprehend the material.
Some of the other courses he was taking such as English, Art History, Economics, Logic, and Literature had video material available, but it either required purchasing completely new curriculum or was very expensive. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money because I wasn’t sure our other kids would really use it later.
One of our friends recommended an online resource called the Kahn Academy. It was started by a former hedge fund trader who began tutoring his family and friends remotely by computer in his spare time. Then, he started making You Tube videos of himself teaching various subjects.  Today he has more than 2,400 lectures COMPLETELY FREE on the web. He is supported by numerous corporations who use his videos for teaching and training their employees. Bill Gates is one of his supporters, and the Microsoft Corporation uses his videos. It is a great thing.
Ted loves it. He has found videos on nearly every topic he has studied, and many that I never thought to challenge him with. We had the most amazing conversation one day on Fractional Reserve Banking. He often watches these in his spare time. They are colorful, entertaining, and well written. Best of all, they are only 12 minutes long. Even a child with ADD can sit and watch for 12 minutes.
Just breezing through the list of subjects on their website, Kahn also offers SAT Prep, Singapore Math, California Standardized Tests, Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy, Logic, History, it goes on and on. There is so much material, you could practically use it exclusively for high school.
Here’s what Bill Gates has to say about it:
Millionaires and geniuses can’t be wrong.
Designer Mom

Wine and Cheese

A while back I read an article about a woman and her husband that made time for a wine and cheese course once a week. No kids, no interruptions, just the couple with their favorite wine and cheese. I loved the idea.

Cheese is very important to our family. My husband’s family has been in the Wisconsin cheese business for more than 30 years. We regularly eat Wisconsin cheese, and typically have about 10 or 20 pounds of it in the refridgerator at any given time. No lie. We always have tons of cheese. Except, I can’t eat it because I have an allergy to dairly products.

Determined to make a good thing work, I began to search for alternative cheeses. I discovered through my research that European cheeses are made with out the pasturization process. This not only changes the flavor of the cheese, but enhances the nutritional value.  Europeans cheese makers would never use pasturized milk because they know how it alters the flavor of the cheese. American cheese manufacturers are required by law to use the pasturization process, since the early 1900’s. It is unfortunately, the most common cause for allergic reactions in dairy products. I have found that I can eat cheese made in Europe without having an allergic reaction. Also, American cheeses aged for more than 60 days are not required to have pasturized milk in them. We also regularly enjoy goat or sheep cheeses which are great for those who have allergies to dairy.

Thus we have formed a habit. Every Saturday night, we sit down with a select bottle of wine and at least 3 different cheeses. I like to choose a Wisconsin cheese (this we usually have in the refrigerator), but then add a European cheese, and a goat or sheep cheese (sometimes they are made in Wisconsin, and sometimes they are not).  I also try to vary the color of the cheeses (white, yellow, etc.), as well as the texture (soft,  or semi-soft). Don’t forget the fresh seasonal fruit for a complete course.

It was feeling very tropical here this week with the heat and humidity, so I selected a unique orange, coconut wine by Coco Bay. It was delightful! Light and tropical flavors, just what we needed to go with our fresh strawberries, mangoes and banana slices. For the cheeses we enjoyed Jarlsburg Swiss, Co-jack (a Colby and Monterrey Jack combination), and my favorite Chevre goat cheese.

The wine is available at Aldi’s stores. You can purchase the other cheeses from Costco or Whole Foods, or you can order them from my husband’s family business: Crystal Creek Dairy, W7790 Hwy 33 East, Beaver Dam, WI 53916. Phone is 920-887-2806.

Designer Mom