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Learning By Grace is the online homeschooling leader. Partnering successfully with families for almost ten years, we reach Christian homeschool families in all 50 states and 20 countries. Founded by veteran homeschooling parents of 8 children, we understand your needs and meet them, because we've been there.

Online homeschooling is fast becoming the preferred way to homeschool because it saves work and gives you more time to do the important things. Let technology deliver the Daily Lessons, grade Student Assignments, track Attendance, report to District, create Portfoliio, build Transcripts,

Learning By Grace's online homeschooling program enables you to fulfill the Lord's mandates from the scriptures to teach our children about Him all day, every day. Train up a child in the Lord and when he is old he will not depart from Him. A simple promise. Hard to accomplish. We are here to help.

Our online homeschooling curriculum works so well because it is filled with rich multi media experiences through its 28,000 video clips, 120,000 hand-picked websites, and fun learning games. It engages. It empowers. It can be done 24/7/365. It can be done fast, slow, paused, or skipped; the student is driving and that makes him learn.

Reluctant Homeschooling Learners

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 14:08

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-by Mimi Rothschild

The beginning of the school year is so exciting! We have fresh new books, sharp new pencils, great new ideas, and lots of enthusiasm.

By now, there may be foot-dragging when it’s time to gather for lessons, staring out the window when there should be diligent work going on, and even a little bit of whining.

If it’s just a reluctant day or two, there might be occasions when you should take some time out and come back refreshed. A “mental health day” every now and then is okay. A constantly reluctant learner is frustrating for the home educator, though, and is likely to fall behind and fail to be prepared for future grades, college, or adult life.

Here are some ways to cope with the reluctant learner:

• Start your day with prayer. There may also be times when you need to stop during the day and have a prayer break before you go on. Ask God to guide you and your students, to give all of you the joy of learning, and to strengthen your discipline. Proverbs 23:12, “Apply your heart to discipline and your ears to words of knowledge,” is a good verse to remember at this time. Another is, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.” (Colossians 3:23,24).

• Be an enthusiastic example. It’s so easy for us to lightly say, “I always hated science,” or “You’re like me. I just never liked to read.” Keeping guard over our tongues and sharing our own love of learning can make a difference in our children’s attitude. Let your students see you being diligent about your personal Bible study or your homework for Sunday school, reading for pleasure, and keeping to your housekeeping schedule conscientiously. Helping the kids seek out the interesting aspects of the things they’re studying helps, too.

• Recognize that we don’t always want to do what’s best for us. Choosing to go ahead and study even when we don’t want to is great practice for an adult life when we sometimes have to go ahead and work even when we don’t feel like it. With practice, making that choice will get easier. If we give in whenever our kids make a fuss, it will give our kids practice in refusing to work, rather than practice in discipline and diligence. Say, “I know you don’t want to study right now. However, I also know that you will enjoy having your free time when we finish the lesson, and you’ll feel good about what you accomplish, so we’re going to continue.”

• Be open to change. Having recognized that sometimes reluctant students just need to be more diligent, it is also true that there can sometimes be good reasons for learners’ reluctance. Are the lessons appropriate for the ability level of the student? Do they last the right amount of time for the age of the student? Do they work with the student’s learning style? Homeschooling allows us to accommodate the specific needs of our students, so we should take advantage of that freedom to tailor the lessons to suit our children. For some students, just moving to a more comfortable place, changing activities more often, or giving them more control over things like the order in which they study their subjects can make a difference in attitude.

• Prayerfully consider rewards. We’d like to think that intrinsic rewards like the satisfaction of learning are always enough, but our own experience will tell us that this isn’t true. As adults, we often work because we’ll be paid, or because we enjoy the company of the people we work with, as well as for the sheer joy of service. However, making rewards the center of schoolwork can backfire, causing our children to depend so much on rewards that they won’t study without them. Occasional, surprise rewards work best: free reading time when our students have made it through a tough math lesson, a special meal on Friday night when they’ve stayed on task well all week, or stickers on particularly good papers.

If all these things fail to solve the problem of reluctant learners, be sure to consider your students’ physical health. Sometimes an undiagnosed vision problem, allergies, or other physical problems can distract children from their studies. With good physical health, good habits, and time, our students can become enthusiastic learners.

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of Learning By Grace, Inc. the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.

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Homeschoolers: Naughty – or Developmentally Appropriate?

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 20 October 2008 13:28


-by Mimi Rothschild

Children are all different. This is one of the reasons that homeschooling is such a blessing for so many families.

Teaching your children at home allows you to respond to the different needs, the varied interests, and the strengths and weaknesses of each child. But there are some things that we can expect of children at a given age. Our four year old child needs to change to a new activity about every ten minutes. This doesn’t mean that he has attention problems or that he is not focusing on learning. It means that he is four years old.

Our teenager may have trouble imagining the likely consequences of an action or understanding the feelings of other people, whether in history books or in real life. That doesn’t mean that she is on her way to becoming a sociopath.

It means that she is a teenager, and the natural reorganization of the brain that takes place at this time has left her less logical in her outlook that she was before or will be in the future.

This doesn’t mean that our children know naturally how to behave in all situations, and whatever they naturally do is correct. ”Train up a child in the way he should go,” Proverbs 22:6 teaches us, “and when he is old he will not depart from it.” This tells us that we have to teach our children how to behave appropriately. This is as much part of their essential learning as reading and writing.

How can we tell whether a child is behaving appropriately for his age, or behaving badly? If we have the child in a setting that is appropriate for his age, he should be able to behave in ways adults consider correct for that situation. So our young elementary age children should be able to follow the dinner table manners we’ve taught them at home well enough to enjoy meal in a fast food restaurant without raising any eyebrows. They should be welcome in movies, and able to play cooperatively with other children on a park playground.

But we shouldn’t expect them to behave the way adults do at a concert. They may need time to be able to listen appreciatively to sermons in church. They may find it difficult to sit quietly through adult conversation at a formal dinner party. They may not be ready for these experiences, and it may not be realistic for us to expect to be able to take them with us to these events.

When we make it clear that being able to go to “big church” instead of children’s church or to attend a performance of the symphony is a privilege that comes with growing up and learning how to behave, our children will work toward that goal. When we have realistic expectations for their behavior, they will be able to meet those expectations and become confident in social situations. Our children will continue, as 2 Peter 3:18 puts it, to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” Their behavior will glorify God and be a credit to our families.

This is certainly a goal worth striving for.

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of Learning By Grace, Inc. the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.

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The Light at the Beginning of the Tunnel

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 13 March 2008 15:45

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By: Michael C. Broome

Home schooling is not only a right of each and every American, it is also a joy with blessings that many home schoolers wouldn’t trade for anything. Not just the children, but the mothers and fathers that give so much of their time to ensure their children have the best life can offer.

Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrea Scully, a homeschooling mom from Arkansas. Andrea shared with me the joys that she, her husband (Adam) and her four children experience. And what started out thirteen and a half years ago, for them as an idea, soon developed into a six month trial before their oldest was scheduled to attend school.  At the end of this trial period, a mutual trust was formed thus paving the road to home schooling all their children. Where did that road end? So far, it isn’t close to ending; but the oldest is a first year student at a college of pharmacy. She just turned 18. The second oldest is a freshman in college. The youngest two are still being home schooled.

Andrea is a disciple of Jesus in her everyday life, and a home schooling Mom with an English degree. Their children were taught to not only acknowledge the presence of Jesus in their everyday lives, but to think of Him as their best friend, their inspiration and foundation.

Being someone that is expecting twins in just a few months, I had to ask, “How did you combat ‘burn-out’ and stay focused on your duel role as a mother and a teacher?”

“Jesus,” she said. Genuine. Confident. And knowing His presence in her life, her husband’s life and the lives of their four children. Jesus is not an entity they fear or hide from or eliminate from their daily educational activities, rather they embrace His role in their lives as their pillar of strength.

Andrea told me that whenever adversity turned its ugly face her direction, she always found the presence of Jesus offering an answer. Like the time she was searching in vain for a more “user friendly” grammar curriculum.  She took her kids to a dentist appointment and found a young girl diligently doing her grammar work on the floor. Andrea asked the young girl’s mother what grammar she was using, and the woman was more than willing to share what curriculum she used. The two younger Scully’s are still using this grammar to this day. 

“Andrea, one of the main complaints home schooling parents deal with is the question of socialization. Was this a struggle for any of your children?” I asked.

“That’s funny. I hear that one all of the time too,” she said. “Honestly, my children are comfortable around anyone. They do what kids do when they are around other children and aren’t afraid of talking to adults. I’m not sure if that is just them or the home schooling, but socialization has never really been a concern for any of them.”

We talked more about this issue and eventually the word “confidence” materialized. We talked about how home schoolers tend to have confidence without the swagger. Confidence without the ego. Confidence to be approached or approach another, without the fear that is generally associated with immaturity. My philosophical side emerged and tried to claim that public schools can categorically force a bully system based on age, size and grouping by grading that forces children to learn where they belong and squeeze themselves into that space, either with comfort and ease or with force and shame.

Andrea wasn’t willing to comment on the wrongs with public schools, but rather what worked for her and her children. We did agree though – society questions home schooling socialization. Home schooling parents don’t. And the kids tend to laugh at not fitting in, since as home schoolers they are taught to fit into the entire world, not merely the class of children their same age.

“Andrea, are you familiar with what is going on in California and home schooling?” I felt compelled to ask.

“I am, but only from what I’ve been able to follow on the internet,” she said.

I briefly explained some information about it, and Andrea responded by telling me a quote her Grandmother constantly repeats, “I don’t know what the world’s coming to.”

We again agreed.  People don’t send their kids to church anymore; it’s no wonder why there is so much evil creeping its way into their lives. Without Jesus, we are robbing the world of hope. Christianity nurtures our youth with hope. Hope for today, tomorrow and for the entire foundation that is. Without Jesus, we are without hope. And without hope, we are without the foundation to build a sound platform.

Hanging up with Andrea, I thanked her and let her know that her story is one worthy of more than merely a blog posting. It is bigger than the papers, and stronger than one person’s account of home schooling. She politely interrupted me and told me that I wasn’t only capturing her story about home schooling, because without her husband and his support, their lives just wouldn’t be the same. I was also crowning her children’s vast accomplishments.

Truthfully, Jesus and Christianity would certainly remain a constant, but their road to enlightenment would have had a lot of different turns and speed bumps. The children might not be in the same places today, but all of them would have traveled together, with Christ as their guide. For some, perhaps this is a road less traveled. For the Scully family, it has been the best route from point A to point B, earth to God’s kingdom.

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Focused Mini Lessons for Homeschoolers

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Friday, 16 November 2007 08:04

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By Mimi Rothschild

Here’s another brilliant article to add to your collection of homeschool resources.  This article examines mini lessons, how they work, and why they’re so important for your homeschool curriculum.



What Is It?


A mini lesson is a short lesson with a narrow focus that provides instruction in a skill or concept that students will then relate to a larger lesson that will follow. A mini lesson typically precedes reading workshop or writing workshop, but it can serve as an introduction to a social studies, science, or math lesson. Mini lessons can be used to teach particular skills, extend previous learning, create interest in a topic and generate questions, or introduce strategies.


Why Is It Important?


As Lucy Calkins explains in The Art of Teaching Writing, the mini lesson allows a teacher to convey a tip or strategy to students that they will use often (Calkins 1986). Sharing tips and strategies in this way allows students to gain valuable, relevant skills on a regular basis without spending too much time on drill and worksheets that might otherwise be used to teach the same skills. The lessons can focus on any number of topics, including reading, writing, problem-solving strategies and skills, or even classroom procedures. Using authentic student work as a springboard, teacher-created mini lessons can serve the needs of students by focusing on a single topic across multiple instructional levels.


When Should It Be Taught?


The mini lesson serves as a lead-in to a larger lesson in just about any subject area and can be as short as 5 minutes or as long as 15 minutes.


What Does It Look Like?


The mini lesson may be taught to a whole class, a selected small group, or individual students. The mini lesson should be short and focused on one strategy, skill, or concept. Teachers introduce the topic; demonstrate the strategy, skill, or concept; guide student practice; discuss the topic; volunteer more examples; and talk about what was taught. At the end of the mini lesson, teachers should give directions for the next activity, the literacy centers, or independent assignments.


How Can You Make It Happen?


A great place to find ideas for mini lessons is right in your own classroom. What are your students struggling with? What errors pop up in their work over and over again? Take those errors and turn them into learning opportunities.


1.       Primary


If students are having trouble with bigger words, the strategy of finding little words in the word might help. Take a sentence that contains a big word, such as sentence in the following example, and write it for students to read.


There were many words in the sentence.


Model what would happen if you came across the word and did not know how to read it. Thinking aloud, try to find a little word in the word you don’t know. Are there any words that you know? Show students that you can find the words sent and ten in the big word. You could take the big word and write each letter on an index card to show students clearly how the little words can be found. Then you might ask, “What things have many words in them?” The answer might be dictionaries, books, paragraphs, sentences, and so forth. Tell students that finding little words within a bigger word might help them read a word they don’t know.


2.       Intermediate


A common problem that intermediate students have is how to use the words there, their, and they’re. Searching through student writing is likely to turn up several cases of correct and incorrect usage of these words. Taking a few sentences from student work to analyze with students allows them to think about the words in an authentic context. These words can also be found in books the students are reading.


You might start a mini lesson on the uses of there, their, and they’re by showing four or five sentences from student work that uses these words. Some teachers put sentences on transparencies and use an overhead projector. You might also use a computer to link to a TV monitor to display sentences from student work. Allow students to try to figure out which sentences are correct. From this discussion, guide students toward describing the correct usage of each word.


Ask students to find a passage or two from books they are reading that contain the words. Students can use these passages to confirm their ideas about the correct usage of words that they came up with in their previous discussion.


As a class, create two correct sentences for each word. Post these sentences on the wall of the classroom so that students will be able to refer to them as they write in the future. This mini lesson might lead into writing workshop.


3.       Middle/High School


Teaching students to elaborate on their ideas can help them better support and clarify their ideas and write more commanding essays and papers. Reflecting on and evaluating ideas is a strategy that students can use both in discussions and writing.


Model how to interact with texts in different ways to show students what it looks like to elaborate on an idea. Think aloud as you model how to clarify, speculate, observe, or argue with texts.


Some prompts students can use when clarifying ideas are:
I think ___ because…
I was surprised by ___
This is the same as ___
Now I see ___
One example of ___ is…


After modeling these strategies using the prompts, have students practice using the strategies by discussing texts with a partner.


How Can You Measure Success?


To measure the success of the mini lesson, look at student work to see if it has been affected by the topics addressed in the mini lessons. For example, a week after a mini lesson on there, their, and they’re, look to see if the words are being used correctly more often. What about a month later?


It may be necessary to do more than one mini lesson on a given topic before improvement is seen throughout the class.

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Learning Disabilities for Homeschoolers: Glossary of Terms

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 31 October 2007 07:47

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By Mimi Rothschild

In case your not familiar with the different learning disabilities that educators have identified and defined, below is a comprehensive list of definitions related to learning disabilities that Dr. Jean Lokerson has put together.  I highly recommend that you homeschooling parents become familiar with the terms in this list so you can better recognize if your child has a learning disability and/or how to assist your child with their learning disability.

ACCOMMODATIONS: Techniques and materials that allow individuals with LD to complete school or work tasks with greater ease and effectiveness. Examples include spellcheckers, tape recorders, and expanded time for completing assignments.

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: Equipment that enhances the ability of students and employees to be more efficient and successful. For individuals with LD, computer grammar checkers, an overhead projector used by a teacher, or the audio/visual information delivered through a CD-ROM would be typical examples.

ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER (ADD): A severe difficulty in focusing and maintaining attention. Often leads to learning and behavior problems at home, school, and work. Also called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

BRAIN IMAGING TECHNIQUES: Recently developed, noninvasive techniques for studying the activity of living brains. Includes brain electrical activity mapping (BEAM), computerized axial tomography (CAT), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

BRAIN INJURY: The physical damage to brain tissue or structure that occurs before, during, or after birth that is verified by EEG, MRI, CAT, or a similar examination, rather than by observation of performance. When caused by an accident, the damage may be called Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

COLLABORATION: A program model in which the LD teacher demonstrates for or team teaches with the general classroom teacher to help a student with LD be successful in a regular classroom.

DEVELOPMENTAL APHASIA: A severe language disorder that is presumed to be due to brain injury rather than because of a developmental delay in the normal acquisition of language.

DIRECT INSTRUCTION: An instructional approach to academic subjects that emphasizes the use of carefully sequenced steps that include demonstration, modeling, guided practice, and independent application.

DYSCALCULIA: A severe difficulty in understanding and using symbols or functions needed for success in mathematics.

DYSGRAPHIA: A severe difficulty in producing handwriting that is legible and written at an age-appropriate speed.

DYSLEXIA: A severe difficulty in understanding or using one or more areas of language, including listening, speaking, reading, writing, and spelling.

DYSNOMIA: A marked difficulty in remembering names or recalling words needed for oral or written language.

DYSPRAXIA: A severe difficulty in performing drawing, writing, buttoning, and other tasks requiring fine motor skill, or in sequencing the necessary movements.

LEARNED HELPLESSNESS: A tendency to be a passive learner who depends on others for decisions and guidance. In individuals with LD, continued struggle and failure can heighten this lack of self-confidence.

LEARNING MODALITIES: Approaches to assessment or instruction stressing the auditory, visual, or tactile avenues for learning that are dependent upon the individual.

LEARNING STRATEGY APPROACHES: Instructional approaches that focus on efficient ways to learn, rather than on curriculum. Includes specific techniques for organizing, actively interacting with material, memorizing, and monitoring any content or subject.

LEARNING STYLES: Approaches to assessment or instruction emphasizing the variations in temperament, attitude, and preferred manner of tackling a task. Typically considered are styles along the active/passive, reflective/impulsive, or verbal/spatial dimensions.

LOCUS OF CONTROL: The tendency to attribute success and difficulties either to internal factors such as effort or to external factors such as chance. Individuals with learning disabilities tend to blame failure on themselves and achievement on luck, leading to frustration and passivity.

METACOGNITIVE LEARNING: Instructional approaches emphasizing awareness of the cognitive processes that facilitate one’s own learning and its application to academic and work assignments. Typical metacognitive techniques include systematic rehearsal of steps or conscious selection among strategies for completing a task.

MINIMAL BRAIN DYSFUNCTION (MBD)  A medical and psychological term originally used to refer to the learning difficulties that seemed to result from identified or presumed damage to the brain. Reflects a medical rather than educational or vocational orientation.

MULTISENSORY LEARNING: An instructional approach that combines auditory, visual, and tactile elements into a learning task. Tracing sandpaper numbers while saying a number fact aloud would be a multisensory learning activity.

NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION: A series of tasks that allow observation of performance that is presumed to be related to the intactness of brain function.

PERCEPTUAL HANDICAP: Difficulty in accurately processing, organizing, and discriminating among visual, auditory, or tactile information. A person with a perceptual handicap may say that “cap/cup” sound the same or that “b” and “d” look the same. However, glasses or hearing aids do not necessarily indicate a perceptual handicap.

PREREFERRAL PROCESS: A procedure in which special and regular teachers develop trial strategies to help a student showing difficulty in learning remain in the regular classroom.

RESOURCE PROGRAM: A program model in which a student with LD is in a regular classroom for most of each day, but also receives regularly scheduled individual services in a specialized LD resource classroom.

SELF-ADVOCACY: The development of specific skills and understandings that enable children and adults to explain their specific learning disabilities to others and cope positively with the attitudes of peers, parents, teachers, and employers.

SPECIFIC LANGUAGE DISABILITY (SLD): A severe difficulty in some aspect of listening, speaking, reading, writing, or spelling, while skills in the other areas are age-appropriate. Also called Specific Language Learning Disability (SLLD).

SPECIFIC LEARNING DISABILITY (SLD): The official term used in federal legislation to refer to difficulty in certain areas of learning, rather than in all areas of learning. Synonymous with learning disabilities.

SUBTYPE RESEARCH: A recently developed research method that seeks to identify characteristics that are common to specific groups within the larger population of individuals identified as having learning disabilities.

TRANSITION: Commonly used to refer to the change from secondary school to postsecondary programs, work, and independent living typical of young adults. Also used to describe other periods of major change such as from early childhood to school or from more specialized to mainstreamed settings.

Note: The content of this digest was developed by Dr. Jean Lokerson, DLD President, 1991-92; Associate Professor, LD Program, School of Education, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.

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Children’s Books About Disabilities

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 29 October 2007 13:42

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By Mimi Rothschild

Check out the book list below, it’s specifically geared towards students with disabilities.  I only included part of the list, you can click the links to find more great books!  Let me know what you think and what you discovered.  I’d love to hear some of your recommendations!

This list has been sorted by the books’ readability levels. To find what you want, click on a readability grouping below:

AC = Adult Read to Children. For Pre-K to Grade 3, ranging from 10 to 30 pages, with illustrations; typically designed for parents to read to their children.

JE = Juvenile Easy Reader. For children who are beginning to read on their own, such as those in Grades 1-2; ranging from 30 to 80 pages; illustrations are included to break up the text.

JF = Juvenile Fiction. Children’s fiction or chapter books; for children in Grades 2-6; ranging from 60 to 200 pages, the books are generally divided into chapters, contain fewer illustrations, and have more complicated plots or concepts than either AC or JE books.

YA = Young Adult. For young adults in Grades 5-12; more complicated plots and topics of general interest to the young adult population.

A = Adult. Contains language and/or content that may be unsuitable for young adults.

  • Title: Andy and His Yellow Frisbee
    Author: Mary Thompson
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 6510 Bells Mill Road, Bethesda, MD 20817; 1996
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-83-2
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Sarah is a new girl at school who is curious about why Andy spins his yellow frisbee every day by himself on the playground. When Sara tries to talk to Andy, Rosie, Andy’s older sister, watches and worries about how her brother may react. Rosie knows that Andy is in his own world most of the time, and that he has trouble finding the words to express himself.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: A Picture Book of Helen Keller
    Author: David A. Adler
    Publisher: Holiday House
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8234-0818-3
    Disability: Deaf-Blind
    Story Profile: Some salient details in the life of Helen Keller are described in this pictorial biography; her frustration and untamed behavior and the radical changes effected by Anne Sullivan Macy.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Armann and Gentle
    Author: Kristin Steinsdottir
    Publisher: Stuttering Foundation of America, PO Box 11749, Memphis, TN 38111-0749; 1997
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-933388-36-5
    Disability: Stuttering
    Story Profile: A six-year-old boy, Armann, stutters when he is frustrated.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: A Very Special Friend
    Author: Dorothy Hoffman Levi
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, Kendall Green, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695; 1989
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-9300323-55-6
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Frannie, a lonely little girl, discovers a new friend when a deaf girl her age moves in next door.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: A Very Special Sister
    Author: Dorothy Hoffman Levi
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, Kendall Green, 800 Florida Ave., NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-930323-96-3
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Mixed feelings are experienced by Laura, a young deaf girl, upon finding out her mother will soon give birth. Her initial excitement is replaced by worries that the new child, if able to hear, would be more lovable.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Be Good to Eddie Lee
    Author: Virginia FilIing
    Publisher: Philomel Books, Putnam & Grosset Group, 200 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-399-21993-5
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Eddie Lee, a young boy with Down syndrome, follows the neighborhood children into the woods to find frog eggs. They are resentful and try to make him stay home.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Big Brother Dustin
    Author: Alden R. Carter
    Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co., 6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723; 1997
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8075-0715-6
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Dustin, a young boy with Down syndrome, learns that his parents are expecting a baby.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Cat’s Got Your Tongue?
    Author: Charles E. Schaefer, Ph.D.
    Publisher: Brunner/Mazel, Publishers, 19 Union Square, New York, NY 10003; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-45-2 hard copy; ISBN-0-945354-46-0 paperback
    Disability: Communication Disorders, Mutism
    Story Profile: Anna, a kindergartner, is diagnosed as an electively mute child.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Eukee: The Jumpy Jumpy Elephant
    Author: Clifford L. Corman and Esther Trevino
    Publisher: Specialty Press; 1995
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-921629-8-1
    Disability: Attention Deficit Disorder
    Story Profile: Eukee is a smart little elephant who likes to chase butterflies,
    blow bubbles, and do cartwheels. He always feels jumpy inside, however, and can never finish the march at school. Unhappy that he doesn’t have any friends, he consents to a visit to the doctor where he learns he has ADD.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Clover’s Secret
    Author: Christine M. Winn and David Walsh, Ph.D.
    Publisher: Fairview Press, 2450 Riverside Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55454; 1996
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-925190-89-6
    Disability: Child Abuse
    Story Profile: Clove attempts to hide family violence. She feels much better when she confides in her teacher and the family receives help.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Danny and the Merry-Go-Round
    Author: Nan Holcomb
    Publisher: Jason and Nordic, Publishers, PO Box 441, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648; 1987
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-944727-00-X
    Disability: Cerebral Palsy
    Story Profile: Danny, who has cerebral palsy, visits the park with his mother and watches other children playing on a playground. He makes friends with a young girl after his mother explains cerebral palsy to her and points out that it is not contagious.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Happy Birthday Jason
    Author: C. Jean Cutbill and Diane Rawsthorn
    Publisher: IPI Publishing Ltd., 50 Prince Arthur Avenue, Suite 306, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 1B5 Canada; 1984
    ISBN #: 0-920702-37-6
    Disability: Reading Disability, Dyslexia
    Story Profile: A delightful story that will help children better understand their world by understanding Jason’s. His story reveals that children with learning disabilities are more similar to other children than they are different.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Having a Brother Like David
    Author: Cindy Dolby Nollette and Others
    Publisher: Minneapolis Children’s Medical Center, Early Childhood Center,
    2520 Minnehaha Ave., South, Minneapolis, MN 55404; 1985
    ISBN #: N/A
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Marty’s brother, David, is autistic. Marty explains that David looks a lot like other children but has special needs.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Ian’s Walk: A Story About Autism
    Author: Laurie Lears
    Publisher: Albert Whitman and Company, 6340 Oakton St.,
    Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723; 1998
    ISBN #: 0-8075-3480-3
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Tara feels frustrated while taking a walk with her autistic brother, Ian. After she becomes separated from him, she learns to appreciate the way Ian experiences the world.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title:Keith Edward’s Different Days
    Author: Karen Melberg Schwier
    Publisher: Impact Publishers
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-915166-74-7
    Disability: Down Syndrome; Physical Disabilities
    Story Profile: Keith meets a variety of people with differences, including Down syndrome and physical differences, and learns that being different is okay.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Knots on a Counting Rope
    Author: Bill Martin and John Archambault
    Publisher: Henry Holt
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8050-0571-4
    Disability: Blindness
    Story Profile: A boy is told a story by his grandfather of a boy born blind.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Lee: The Rabbit with Epilepsy
    Author: Deborah M. Moss
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fisher’s Lane, Rockville, MD 20852; 1989
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-933149-32-8
    Disability: Epilepsy
    Story Profile: Lee is a young rabbit who experiences occasional
    blackouts and trances. After Dr. Bob, the wise owl, administers a series
    of neurological tests, Lee is told she has epilepsy.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Leo the Late Bloomer
    Author: Robert Kraus
    Publisher: Harper Collins, 1971
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-87807-042-7
    Disability: Developmental Delays
    Story Profile: Leo is a tiger cub who just can’t keep up with what the other animals are doing. He can’t read, write, or speak, and he is a sloppy eater; he’s a late bloomer.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Luke Has Asthma, Too
    Author: Alison Rogers
    Publisher: Waterfront Books, 98 Brookes Ave., Burlington, VT 05401; 1987
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-914525-06-9
    Disability: Asthma
    Story Profile: Luke has an older cousin who teaches him some aspects of asthma management and serves as a general role model.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: My Brother, Matthew
    Author: Mary Thompson
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20852; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-993149-47-6
    Disability: Mental Retardation
    Story Profile: David is a young boy who describes life with his younger
    brother who was born with a mental disability.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: My Mom Is Handicapped: A “Grownup” Children’s Book
    Author: Barbara Turner Brabham
    Publisher: Cornerstone Publishing, PO Box 2896, Virginia Beach, VA 23450; 1994
    ISBN #: ISBN-1-882185-22-6
    Disability: Physical Disabilities
    Story Profile: A six-year-old boy describes life with his mother, a teacher with physical disabilities.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Otto Learns About His Medicine: A Story About Medication for Hyperactive Children
    Author: Matthew Galvin
    Publisher: Magination Press/Brunner Mazel, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003; 1995
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-04-5 hard copy; ISBN-0-945354-03-7
    Disability: Hyperactivity
    Story Profile: Otto, a fidgety young car that has trouble paying attention in school, visits a special mechanic who prescribes a medicine to control his hyperactive behavior.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Russ and the Apple Tree Surprise
    Author: Janet Elizabeth Rickert
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane,
    Rockville, MD 20852; 1992
    ISBN #: 1-890627-16-x
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Russ, a five-year old boy with Down syndrome longs for a swing set. All his backyard has to offer is an apple tree. When his grandparents visit, Russ discovers the job of picking apples and making them into apple pie. He decides that his apple tree may be just as good as a swing set.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Russ and the Fire House
    Author: Janet Elizabeth Rickert
    Publisher: Woodbine House, 5615 Fishers Lane,
    Rockville, MD 20852; 1992
    ISBN #: 1-890627-17-8
    Disability: Down Syndrome
    Story Profile: Russ is a young boy with Down syndrome whose everyday life experiences – not his disability – are the subject of books in this series. Russ goes “on-duty” with his Uncle, a fireman. Their shift includes a full inspection of the fire equipment, including keeping it clean. He also encounters Spark, the firehouse dog. At the end of this exciting day, all the firemen thank Russ for his hard work and invite him back for another visit.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Russell Is Extra Special: A Book About Autism for Children
    Author: Charles A. Amenta III, M.D.
    Publisher: Brunner/Mazel, Publishers, 19 Union Square, New York, NY 10003; 1992
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-43-6
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: This portrayal of an autistic boy and his family is designed to help children (ages 4 to 8 ) and their parents understand this serious developmental disorder.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Silent Observer
    Author: Christy MacKinnon
    Publisher: Gallaudet University Press, Kendall Green, 800 Florida Ave. NE,
    Washington, DC 20002-3695; 1993
    ISBN #: ISBN-1-56368-022-X
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Christy MacKinnon is a young girl born in 1889 on a farm on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada who became deaf after having whooping cough. She describes her life in adjusting to deafness, her relationships with family, and her problems trying to understand and be understood by hearing individuals.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Talking to Angels
    Author: Esther Watson
    Publisher: Harcourt Brace, 525 B Street, Suite 1900, San Diego, CA 92101-4495; 1996
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-15-201077-7
    Disability: Autism
    Story Profile: Christa is an autistic girl who is described in this picture book by her sibling. Her behavior is described and illustrated in mixed media, including her favorite sounds and textures, occasional staring and fixation on stimuli, and interactions with others.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: There’s a Little Bit of Me in Jamey
    Author: Diana M. Amadeo
    Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co., 6340 Oakton Street, Morton Grove, IL 60053-2723
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8075-7854-1
    Disability: Leukemia
    Story Profile: Brian struggles with the fact that his brother Jamey has leukemia and submits to a bone marrow test, which leads to a transplant.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: Thomas Alva Edison: Great Inventor
    Author: David A. Adler
    Publisher: Holiday House
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8234-0820-5
    Disability: Deafness
    Story Profile: Thomas Edison’s life and his many inventions, despite his deafness, that shape our lives today are explored in this book.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: What Do You Mean I Have a Learning Disability?
    Author: Kathleen M. Dwyer
    Publisher: Walker and Company, 720 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10019; 1991
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-8027-8102-0
    Disability: Learning Disabilities
    Story Profile: Ten-year-old Jimmy is having problems at school and believes he is stupid. After a parent-teacher conference, he is tested and found to have a learning disability.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: What It’s Like to Be Me
    Author: Helen Exley
    Publisher: Friendship Press, 1984
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-377-00144-9
    Disability: Various Disabilities
    Story Profile: Children from all over the world write about themselves and their disabilities. They tell us how they see themselves and how they want to be seen. All of the illustrations are created by the children.
    Reading Level: AC

  • Title: You Can Call Me Willy. A Story for Children About AIDS
    Author: Joan C. Verniero
    Publisher: Brunner/Mazel Publishers, 19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003; 1995
    ISBN #: ISBN-0-945354-60-6
    Disability: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
    Story Profile: Willy is an eight-year-old girl with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Describing her life, she shares her hobbies, friends, family life, and aspects of her medical care and how it impacts her activities.
    Reading Level: AC

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Teaching Homeschoolers Writing: Summarizing Part One

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 24 October 2007 10:55

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By Mimi Rothschild

Do you know the importance of summarizing?   Do you even fully understand what it means to summarize?  Summarizing is an amazing tool that homeschool students should master because of the benefits it provides when used properly.  Learn more about summarizing in the article below.  Let me know what you think!  Thanks so much!


What Is It?

To summarize is to put in your own words a shortened version of written or spoken material, stating the main points and leaving out everything that is not essential. Summarizing is more than retelling; it involves analyzing information, distinguishing important from unimportant elements and translating large chunks of information into a few short cohesive sentences. Fiction and nonfiction texts, media, conversations, meetings, and events can all be summarized.

For example, to summarize the movie Memento, you might state: The movie Memento is a backward chronology of a man who tries to find his wife’s killer, but has short-term memory loss. He keeps track of facts by taking pictures of events and tattooing facts onto himself.

Why Is It Important?
  • Summarizing allows both students and teachers to monitor comprehension of material.

  • Summarizing helps students understand the organizational structure of lessons or texts.

  • Summarizing is a skill at which most adults must be proficient to be successful.

Summarizing and reviewing integrate and reinforce the learning of major points…these structuring elements not only facilitate memory for the information but allow for its apprehension as an integrative whole with recognition of the relationships between parts (J. E. Brophy and T. L. Good, 1986).

In a synthesis of the research on summarizing, Rosenshine and his colleagues found that strategies that emphasize the analytic aspect of summarizing have a powerful effect on how well students summarize (1996).

How Can You Make It Happen?

Introduce summarizing to students by pointing out that they verbally summarize every day. Model a verbal summary by summarizing something you watched on television or a conversation that you had with a friend or another teacher. Point out that summaries don’t include opinions.

For example:

“Last night, the San Francisco Giants beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1, to win the National League Division Series. Barry Bonds hit his third home run of the series in the fourth inning against pitcher Kevin Millwood. The Braves had a chance to win in the ninth inning, but Sheffield struck out with two men on base, and Jones grounded into a double play.”

Explain how you decided what to recall to the class in your summary. The score, big hits, and the ending of the game were included in the summary. Each hit, who played each position, and the score at each inning’s end were not included in the summary. The main idea was stated in the first sentence, or topic sentence. Point out that the summary doesn’t include any opinions about the game.

Have students practice verbalizing summaries of familiar or interesting topics, such as “What I did last weekend” or “What do we do during a typical school day” before summarizing written texts.

To introduce the different strategies in summarizing fiction and nonfiction, review the essential ways in which fiction and nonfiction differ.


To help students summarize fiction, introduce a story map or other graphic organizer, and ask them to fill in the information for a recent fictional text they read, or have them summarize a chapter of their favorite novel or story. They can also summarize the lyrics from a favorite song or poem. With younger students, read a story as a class, and then fill out a story map together. The lesson Story Elements: Danny and the Dinasaur can assist you in this process.

Once students complete the story map, have them use it to help verbally summarize the fictional text to a partner. Then, have them use the story map to write a paragraph that summarizes the text. Be sure that their summaries tell about the main characters, conflict, and conflict resolution.


In summarizing nonfiction texts, introduce these steps:

  • Skim the text to get a general idea of the topic

  • Delete unnecessary or redundant material

  • Find the main ideas in the text

  • Find or create a topic sentence

  • Substitute general or “umbrella” terms when appropriate (for example, trees instead of oak, maple, and pine)

Demonstrate how to use the steps above to summarize an informative article or nonfiction text. (Examples can be found in the lesson plans below.)

Have students use the steps to summarize something they read in their local newspaper or in a magazine, a part of the school handbook, or a passage from a textbook. If you are working with younger students, work together to summarize a biography or any factual material that you have displayed in your classroom.

  • 1. Start by skimming the text to get an idea of what the text is about.

  • 2. Cross out sentences that are not necessary or that are redundant to help them pull out what is crucial to the message of the piece.

  • 3. Mark key words and phrases and jot down notes about the main idea. Instruct students to look for signal words such as therefore, in conclusion, or in summary.

  • 4. Have them verbally summarize the nonfiction piece to a peer.

  • 5. Then, have them reread the text and write a summary paragraph. In the summary, students should state the text’s main idea in the first sentence and include the most important information. Be sure that students have not included any opinions of their own or sentences word-for-word from the original text.

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Teaching Strategies for Home School Students with ADD

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 18 October 2007 06:49


 By Mimi Rothschild

More and more homeschooling parents have asked me about Attention Deficit Disorder and the best way to homeschool their children who have ADD or ADHD.  I found this list of ADD/ADHD resources online, I thought I’d share it with everyone.

“Excerpted from Teaching Strategies: Education of Children with Attention Deficit Disorder.

Effective classroom teaching requires knowledge about attention deficit disorder, a solid grounding in behavioral management, skill in instructional design, and an awareness of the disorder’s medical components. This understanding is enhanced when strong relationships are built between professionals and families.

The following articles outline suggestions and strategies to use when working with students with ADD/ADHD:”

Getting Help for Students with ADD/ADHD

Classroom teachers play a key role in identifying students who are ADD/ADHD. The first step in identification is being clear as to what attention deficit disorder is and what it is not.

A brief description of why schools have teams consisting of qualified professionals, on which medical professionals often serve, to identify students with attention deficit disorder.

Suggestions on ways to find useful information on identifying students with ADD/ADHD.

Tips and suggestions for working as a part of a decision-making team to evaluate the assessment data for students with ADD/ADHD.

This article briefly explains formal assessment guidelines when working with a student with ADD/ADHD.

Teaching Students with ADD/ADHD

This article describes the diverse needs of students with ADD and how to meet these needs.

Suggested modifications to make for students with ADD/ADHD.

Strategies and suggestions on managing a classroom with ADD/ADHD students.

This article describes successful ways to communicate with an ADD child’s family.

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Home Schooling Virtual Schools are Meeting the Needs of America’s Students

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Friday, 20 July 2007 14:59

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By Mimi Rothschild

Virtual schools, cyber school, online academies. These terms seemed foreign to most Americans ten years ago, but with advancements in technology and the deterioration of the public school system, virtual schools are growing in popularity. The Tucson Citizen documents the growth of virtual schools in Arizona.

Below is what some Arizona students are saying about their virtual school experience:

“I won’t have the distractions of other people in class who don’t want to do their work and who are trying to get me to join them,” said William Huston

“The flexible schedule is great and a lot less stressful,” said Rebekah Devine.

“I’d like to finish high school in three years, so the virtual classes are great. This summer I was able to do what I wanted during the day and do my classes at night,” said Diana Garcia.

Home school combined with Christian online academies is an outstanding way to educate children. Home schooling with online academies has proven to be extremely successful. While virtual schools eliminate the dangers of public schools it does not eliminate students learning about evolution and other fallacies. Instead, Christian home schooling online academies teach home schoolers the truth of the Gospel and allow parents to instill Godly values into their children.

To read Mary Bustamante’s article click here.

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Homeschooling, a National Success Story, is Recognized by a Supreme Court Judge

Written by Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 18 July 2007 06:48

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By Mimi Rothschild

Michael Smith, co-founder and president of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), wrote an interesting article in The Washington Times earlier this week about home schooling’s success in America. Smith is ecstatic, as we all should be, that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recognized home schooling as a viable educational option in his opinion of Morse v. Frederick.

Morse v. Frederick examined the constitutionality of public schools ability to regulate a student’s speech. The case was heavily discussed among the media. The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 ruling, said Principal Deborah Morse did not violate Joseph Frederick’s rights to free speech when she took down his poster which advocated marijuana use.

In his opinion of Morse v. Frederick, Supreme Court Justice Thomas said, “If parents do not like the rules imposed by those schools, they can seek redress in school boards or legislatures; they can send their children to private schools or home school them; or they can simply move.”

The Supreme Court judge’s suggestion that parents can choose home schooling along with their right to choose private or parochial schools is a step in the right direction for the home schooling movement. Justice Thomas also put home schooling on the same level with both public and private schools which is rarely done by someone who isn’t a part of the home schooling community. Smith writes, “After 24 years, it is gratifying to read the words of a Supreme Court justice who rightfully placed home schooling on a level playing field with public and private schools. This kind of recognition is tremendously significant to the home school community.”

Read the rest of Michael Smith’s compelling article here.

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