Category Archives: Christian Schools

Study Skills Resources for Learning Disabilities

Continuing our interview with Susan Maher of Regents Academy of Austin, we get a look at how she helps students perform well.  She finds their brilliance. She helps them overcome their weakness. She partners with the teachers to give minimal accommodations — and no modifications. Thus, these students, even with diagnoses, keep up with their peers at a prestigious, even perhaps exclusive school.

Mrs. Maher’s students learn how to take notes, write papers, read a textbook, or study for mathematics in just a more detailed way than others. Any parent or educator will want to hear what Susan Maher, Regent Academy of Austin, has to say.

STUDY SKILLS, ACCOMMODATIONS AND NOT MODIFICATIONS

“Accommodation not modification” is Mrs. Maher’s mantra. She means that minor changes in the school, like time or quiet are acceptable because that is like real life. Beyond that, she teaches more detailed study skills to the students so they can overcome their weaknesses. This is unlike public school where modficiations are made to a curriculum already aimed very very low. Thus, the student leaves with neither skill nor knowledge. That would be an unacceptable outcome at this well-thought of private school

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Let me know if you want more information on this. For now, please get my book on “study skills” that I wrote for my community college students, students who often had not been successful but now, as adults wanted to do well in college. I forged these ideas by teaching my child and grandchildren, overcoming their challenges.

How to Win the Game of School  by Sharon Sarles — really study skills for the game of learning as well as the game of making good grades

Learning Disabilities at the Most Prestigious Schools?

Yes, there are students at the most prestigious schools who have learning disabilities. After all, that is what a “learning disability” is: a discrepancy between potential and performance. So, yes, genius are over-represented in the diagnosed learning disabilities. Up until recently, however, exclusive schools might not admit a student who had a learning disability. Now, however, they add staff to help those students overcome their academic weakness. YAY!

I am so thankful to have gotten an interview from Susan Maher at Regents Academy of Austin. She is on staff there, helping the students overcome their issue(s) so they can perform at their potential. She preaches ; “accomodations, not modification.” Accommodations might include test taking in a quiet room or with a little extra time. Then, she gives them help in what I would call “study skills.” In this way, she sets them free to achieve, on their own.

I want you to hear her, in her own voice, so you can be inspired. This busts so many myths. This will help so many students, teachers, families, and I do hope also some private school administrators.

www.RegentsAustin.org

REGENTS ACADEMY OF AUSTIN

Regent is a classical Christian school,  now well established as one of the most prestigious schools in the Austin, Texas metro area. Both exclusive schools and many small private schools feel that they may not be able to help students with “disabilities”. This is normally because they don’t know how. It may be that the school is so far behind that they have confused “learning disabilites” with “mental retardation.” In fact, given the definition of “learning disabilities” only brighter than average students can get that designation. Proper help need not be the sort of monstrous modifications, let alone cheating, that so many educators fear — or is possibly, sadly, done in government schools.

MODIFICATIONS VERSUS ACCOMMODATIONS

Modifications mean a change in the curricular or production requirements. An exclusive school would not want to offer modifications because that cheapens their product and hence reputation. So often, though, this is exactly what a government school will do. For instance, in a 4th grade history test, only 4 questions will be given the student instead of 20. This puts the students ever farther behind.

Accomodations, include making slight changes to the environment in order to permit the student to be successful in the necessary learning. For instance, why not permit the student a quiet room rather than a crowded classroom? Why not permit time and a half for a test? What is being tested is knowledge of the material, not rapidity. The class period is set arbitrarily, not as a function or measure of learning.  In the real world, a person might allot more time to read, or use paper instead of doing math in their head, and so forth. Adults manage the world for their own productivity.  In the world of work, such accommodations are required by law.

What Susan Maher is not saying, but doing, is remediation. She helps her students learn how to take notes or write papers or read a book or study math. They may need a more specific method, but once they learn it, they are capable of competing. I like to push remediation: teach how to use strengths in order to overcome weaknesses. Isn’t this part of the human condition?

This is not cruel blame. This is not drill and and kill. This is not “head in the sand.” Instead, this is bright students enabled to shine.

Should I Privately Educate My Child?

Should I homeschool?  Can you recommend a good curriculum? Can you recommend a good private school? What about sports? What about calculus and physics and… I am inundated with these questions right now. So, here are my answers.

Background

Many people are questioning whether they should homeschool or better, privately educate their children now. We are bewildered about the results of the elections here, particularly for the school board. The government schools have plummeted in academic achievement, and have suddenly and covertly introduced pornography into the curriculum down to elementary. This seems to be true in many metro areas, although not in the smaller towns here.

I do not understand the election results. I am not a political analyst. I do think I know the spectrum of opinion, because of where I live and because I taught Sociology. But there is much about the situation I can not analyze. I do, however, know the basic answers to the questions about private education. I thought I would mention the background so those who live elsewhere understand why the questions are arising.

Answers

So, I answer whether I think you should privately education. Yes, it is your duty as a parent. This is the center of the Judeo-Christian mindset. Yes, I know, seldom have we been taught this, but nevertheless, it is true.

Can I recommend a good school or  good curricula. There are many. However, the way to begin finding what is best for  your child, is to consider what all your child needs to learn, what method he or she learns best, and only then start shopping for curricula or school. For this, I have a guide: the book  Learn at Home for Great Shalom. Get it. Amazon will sell it to you, print it and ship it to you. It would be cheaper than consulting with me –which I would be happy to do. For that, please see:  www.orgstrat.net

Texas Home School Coalition   https://thsc.org/home/

Home School Legal Defense Association  https://hslda.org/

If you live in the north Austin Texas metro area, and you want to  join with me to start a school, or if you child(ren)  has/have a specific learning need, please see :  http://sarles.greatshalom.org/