Sunday, January 10, 2016

How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning by Carol Barnier Book Review

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I was given the book How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning: Homeschooling Highly Distractions, ADHD, or Just Plain Fidgety Kids by Carol Barnier as a Christmas present. Just reading the title and seeing the picture on the front let me know this book was for me!

As a mother of 2 full of energy little boys, I am always on the lookout for practical "how to" advice when it comes to homeschooling. Big Brother, though he is an extremely intelligent child, has a a good bit of difficulty with things like focussing, paying attention, impulse control, working memory, being still, and handling distractions. He also struggles with some sensory issues. We have not thus far had a real need to seek out an official medical diagnosis for any of this, but should we ever choose that route, a diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) would not come as a surprise to us.

I have done lots of research. There are many books and websites out there about recognizing the symptoms of ADHD and similar topics. But while a having a definite medical diagnosis of the cause for Big Brother's unique issues might be somewhat helpful, all I have ever really wanted was some knowledgeable and practical "how to" advice. I have needed answers to questions like "What can I do to keep him motivated to learn when some aspects of the traditional school experience like writing, sitting, concentrating, remebering multi-step directions, managing time, etc. are an obvious struggle for him?" or "How do we keep math or writing assignments from taking hours to complete due to lack of focus?" or "How do I maximize his unique gifts and strengths while helping him learn ways to compensate for his weaker areas?"

If you have ever asked any of these questions...or if you have ever discovered your child on top of your refrigerator when he or she was supposed to be doing schoolwork...then you really should read this book!

Carol Barnier very candidly shares her own journey as a homeschooling mom of a son with ADHD. With very refreshing humor and honesty, she talks about every day struggles many of us with spirited or easily distracted children can quickly relate to.

How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning is an absolute treasure full of helpful tips about everything from fun ways to teach math lessons to creating useful educational games and manipulatives to how to deal with special challenges during outings like field trips or church services.

Probably my biggest takeaway from this book that has helped me the most is Mrs. Barnier's concept of "The Keys." This concept involves finding what works best for my child. Every child learn's best when information is presented to them in a way he or she can best understand it. This is like finding the right key to unlock the door of their brain. My job as homeschool teacher is to keep searching until I find the right key for my son. If he struggles to learn or understand something, we do not just give up nor do we proclaim it his fault for being incapable of learning what is being taught. We can just say, "Well, I guess Mom used the wrong key! Let's try this one!" and then present the material in another way until it "clicks" and the door to his mind is unlocked. I really appreciated how well the author illustrates this concept throughout the book.

I read How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning in just a few hours one afternoon during our Christmas break. But I will definitely be returning to this book often as I incorporate many of Mrs. Barnier's ideas into our daily homeschool activities. There are also some great reproducible games and such in the back that I plan to copy and use.

Get your own copy of How to Get Your Child Off the Refrigerator and on to Learning: Homeschooling Highly Distractible, ADHD, or Just Plain Fidgety Kids from Amazon today! I guarantee it will be a blessing to you!!!

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