The Best Way To Help Children With Learning Differences Develop Resilience and Grit
My youngest son has spent most of his academic life struggling.
Struggling to read.
Struggling to understand and process.
Struggling to not give up.
As he gets older, this struggle is taking it’s toll. I understand. It’s been years without significant progress and some days, it’s discouraging even to me. I can only imagine the conflict he feels every day.
On the contrary, although reading independently continues to be a struggle, I see him developing into a wonderful young man. He is caring. He is compassionate and kind. He is passionate about his beliefs and stands up for what he knows is right.
When we began this homeschool journey more eight years ago, my husband and I agreed that we wanted our children to know we valued character far more than anything else we might teach. We still do.
But the truth is, in the midst of learning struggles and everyday life, my focus often shifts to what seems so urgent – the dyslexia tutoring, the auditory processing practice, the sensory input.
In an effort to reinforce what is most important in my son’s development, and to help him overcome the feelings of inadequacy and discouragement that so easily creep-in these days, I wanted to find a way to immerse ourselves in stories of others who have struggled and prevailed. I wanted to find ways to demonstrate just how much character matters in our overall ability to persevere.
I did not have to look very far.
Please know, although I was compensated for my time in writing this post, for years we have used and will continue to use Beautiful Feet as part of our learning. I share in the hopes that this program might help your family as much as it has mine!
Teacher Character Through Literature
If you have been a reader for any length of time, you know that Beautiful Feet Books is one of my very favorite options for learning. I find their literature based, literally beautiful approach to learning to be an excellent fit for both interest-led and special needs learning.
When I found out that they offer an intermediate level, literature based character study, I was excited to give it a try.
I am so glad I did.
Developing Resilience With Beautiful Feet’s Character Study
Beautiful Feet’s commitment to quality, living books is evident in everything they do and this study is no exception.
Included in the Intermediate Teaching Character Through Literature pack are twelve wonderful books and a beautiful study guide.
It features character lessons from each book and includes authors like Eleanor Estes, Sid Fleischman, Barbara Cooney, Carol Ryrie Brink, Marguerite de Angli, George MacDonald, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, and many more!
As a mom and teacher, I find Beautiful Feet’s study guides to be a valuable resource. The Teaching Character Through Literature Study Guide includes thoughtful questions to ask and consider together. NOT boring, comprehension questions, but active and engaging questions that really make us think.
Here are just a few examples:
Is is easier to feel compassion for Jemmy. Why?
Why do you think Catherine refers to her stepmother as “her” or “she” in her journals instead of naming her?
Why does Mr. Woodlawn trust the Indians when other people do not? How do you define prejudice?
Because these books are such classics, many of them are also available as audiobooks. We incorporate both my reading aloud and audiobook formats as part of any literature study to better accommodate my son’s learning differences. I continue to be impressed with how beautifully Beautiful Feet works with my son’s needs.
Why Resilience Matters For Children With Learning Differences
We are still working through the better part of this study. In fact, this has been such a valuable addition to our learning that I have made it a priority in our summer plans.
My son adores hearing stories of others who have faced seemingly insurmountable odds and not only survived, but thrived. This literature is changing the way he views his circumstances and most importantly, it’s changing the way he views himself.
He references the characters when he is struggling, almost in a “if they can do it, so can I” manner. Moreover, he feels more confident that he can overcome obstacles. He is less discouraged and more likely to persevere when faced with challenges.
I can’t imagine anything more important for him to learn.
Want to try this out with your child compliments of Beautiful Feet?
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EMAILS OF ALL ENTRANTS WILL BE SUBMITTED TO BEAUTIFUL FEET FOR THE PURPOSE OF FOLLOW UP PROMOTIONAL EMAILS. You may opt out at any time and still be entered to win. Begins 5/5/2019 at 8 PM CT and Ends 5/22/2019 at 8 PM CT. Giveaways are shipped only to USA addresses.
As I mentioned, I am incorporating this Beautiful Feet Character Study into our summer learning. Please, join us over the next four weeks as I share all the behind the scene details of creating and implementing a summer learning plan that really works.
This is a four week, email-only series and I would love for you to participate with my family!
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.