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Christian Families Homeschooling Special Needs Children

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Learning by Mnemonics

NATHHAN Resource Review of Stevenson Learning Skill and Semple Math

    What are Mnemonics?  It is simply a device which aids in the memory of something.  There are many kinds.  These can be the key to helping learning challenged children remember things that need to be important to them.  Here is one common example:   Click here for some more examples.

Thirty days hath September,

April, June and November,

All the rest have thirty-one

Excepting February alone;

Which hath but twenty-eight, in fine,

Till leap year gives it twenty nine.

Mnemonics can also be acronyms or visual aids.  Everybody's brain is unique.  The way you were raised as a child and your present environment both contribute to learning connections between cells making the memorization of something harder or easier.  Our minds search for ways to connect new information to past information.  This way we hope to remember data.  Information that is not meaningful goes in one ear and out the other!  Have you ever noticed that when our minds are threatened by fear or stress that we do not remember details?  Helping our children to make learning pleasant and to have fun while remembering is a key to making information stick.

Mnemonics can really help a child or adult that struggles to remember important data.  We can train our minds to remember how to remember.  What kind of learner are you?  What kind of learner is your child?  Visual learners (65% of the population) find that retaining facts is easiest when they read information, use notes, diagrams and pictures.  Auditory learners (30% of the population) relate most easily to the spoken word.  They will tend to listen to and take notes afterwards.  Often written information will have little meaning until they hear it spoken out load.  Kinesthetic Learners (5% of the population) need to touch, move around and learn skills by imitation and practice.  Mostly these learners appear to be slow, but often it is simply that information is not being presented in a format that these folks can assimilate. 

If you are a visual learner, mnemonics will make use of the visual, literature style of learning that suits you.

If you are a auditory or kinesthetic learner, mnemonics will help you learn to use imagery for effective recall.  Auditory folks can use auditory cues such as rhymes.  Kinesthetic people can use performing actions or tools.

Stevenson Learning Skills is a language and reading program that includes mnemonics and other creative ways as a way of remembering letters of the alphabet, consonant combinations, spelling and reading skills.  We have using Stevenson Learning Skills products for several months and we are pleased to share with you that it is moving slow enough for our special needs children.  Most early reading programs move too quickly through the basics, leaving too many holes or little comprehension.  Stevenson has broken skills down to very basic level. 

No single instructional technique can solve all learning problems.  Stevenson weaves together a variety of methodologies to improve decoding, encoding words and comprehension.  We are successfully using this program for Attention Deficits, memory weakness, sequencing confusion, blending difficulty and organizational problems.  We think that the success we are having is due to Stevenson's unique way of teaching both sound/symbol correspondence with multi-sensory techniques...even in the very first lessons.  Teacher directed instruction is applied consistently using the mnemonics.  We like the way it teaches children how to remember.  This skill will last our children for life.

There are a number of great phonics programs that will suit different families.  After using many of them with our various 10 children, we have come up with a rough idea of how fast each of them progress.  Different children excelled with different programs.  We have used Sing, Spell, Read and Write for many years with our normally developing children.  It moves at a thorough pace, and is a great way to learn with song. But for children with Down syndrome or slower learners, the beginning work is way too fast.  We need a program that literally shows how to make letters of the alphabet...and how to remember them.  In fact we feel that children who cannot write or speak at all could benefit from Stevenson's lesson cards of the alphabet.  

Semple Math is a slow moving math program that benefits children who need a simple program.  Does your child do poorly in math?  Does he count on his fingers to add and subtract?  Do you find that no matter how he struggles, he just cannot learn the times tables?  Does he reverse numbers and have difficulty understanding place value?  Semple Math can change that. Just as you remember Italy by the shape of a boot, the unique associational clues in Semple Math will help your child remember not only the times tables, but all math concepts and operations.  Perhaps for those of us with children needing help with printing numbers correctly or teaching older students that are struggling with long division, Semple Math could be the answer.  Using mnemonics, makes learning times tables, remembering answers to simple adding and subtracting and make change easily.

Prices are reasonable.  Check out their web site

We encourage you to contact Stevenson/Semple at 1-800-343-1211

They are very happy to offer consultation services and training in their program.