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    MP and anxiety/rigidity?

    We finished our neuropsychological evaluations today, and while the (AMAZING) psychologist still needs to go over it all in more detail and compile a report, my seven year old is highly gifted and also has anxiety almost bordering on OCD. The psychologist cautioned me that I need to choose curriculum that gives my daughter a solid school rhythm but isn't so routine/repetitive that it reinforces her inherent rigidity--that I need to give her enough structure to make her feel safe, but enough variety that I encourage her to loosen her anxiety.

    Also, she needs enough high level thinking to keep her brain working, but is also going to require a lot of review due to an average working memory subscore on the one IQ test. So, I'd LOVE some encouragement to stick with MP in light of this...I feel like MP does brilliantly in the review/deep thinking score, but I'm concerned that the level of "sameness" in the workbooks, as well as the number of tests, could encourage her anxiety???

    (cross posting in special needs subforum)
    Ora et Labora!
    Emily

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
    DD (age 9): 4NU
    DD (age 7): MP 1
    DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
    "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

    #2
    Don't underestimate the Memoria Press approach. A predictable format and workflow are the vehicle by which your student has access to see and explore the world. It's like learning how to ride a bike, and then riding your bike through a variety of terrains, cities, countries and experiences. Format hopping is akin to learning how to ride a new vehicle to get around each new town (subject). If the goal is to learn about the Middle East, and you've switched from bicycle to horse-back riding, your attention (or bandwidth) will largely get eaten up by attending to the mechanics of the new technique. When you've already mastered the art of bicycle riding, you will experience growth by "bicycling" in a new area, but because of the muscle memory you've established, you can explore what you see much more easily, think about it, and access it at a deeper level. That is the Memoria Press approach. In fact, almost all major publishing houses do the same thing, and for those who have studied how children with special needs learn, they advocate it as an especially beneficial technique.

    I think God has you right where you're supposed to be.
    Mama to 2

    Summer:
    MPK with SC1 Phonics & Math
    SY 20/21
    4A

    Comment


      #3
      I'm so glad you had a good experience with testing and have answers coming!

      One thing I've learned while using MP is that it gives our family the foundation and steadiness we need, but I can work within that framework to best nurture each child -- without having to reinvent the wheel. It sounds like your daughter would enjoy the variety provided in the Enrichment. But you also have lots of options for providing variety within her studies. Some ideas:

      Use Lego figures to re-enact a history or literature lesson
      Build a diorama or other model to close out a unit in science or history
      Cook an authentic Chinese dish after reading Story of Ping
      Go blueberry picking, or try canning store-bought blueberries after Blueberries for Sal
      Check out the ducklings at the local farm supply store while reading Make Way for Ducklings
      Watch YouTube videos that dive deeper into a concept, question or location she's studying. We've looked up things like how lightning forms (prompted by a Ben Franklin read-aloud in Simply Classical), took a virtual tour of Betsy Ross's house, and watched a video about the Native Americans that lived near Plymouth. I even came across an article about the real "Miss Rumphius"!

      There's so much you can do -- but you can also be at peace knowing that none of it is required for her to receive a solid education. So these don't have to be every day (or even every week) things unless she needs them to be, or you want them to be.

      As for tests: you're the teacher. You can give as many or as few as she needs, even zero. My only caveat here would be Latin, but she has time before she gets to that and there are plenty of ways to accomodate during tests (more time, broken up into two or more days, doing portions orally, etc). She'll need to know how to take them eventually, but she has many years for that. Let her mature, learn how to work with the challenges, and be in a better place to start practicing that skill when she's older. Something I tell my kids is that tests and grades simply tell us what we've mastered so far and what we have yet to master. For some children, that knowledge could be enough to take the pressure off of tests. For others, they need to wait for more maturity so they can face the challenge in a step-by-step way.

      Jennifer
      Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

      DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
      DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
      DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
      DS11: SC 4
      DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
      DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
      DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by enbateau View Post
        Don't underestimate the Memoria Press approach. A predictable format and workflow are the vehicle by which your student has access to see and explore the world. It's like learning how to ride a bike, and then riding your bike through a variety of terrains, cities, countries and experiences. Format hopping is akin to learning how to ride a new vehicle to get around each new town (subject). If the goal is to learn about the Middle East, and you've switched from bicycle to horse-back riding, your attention (or bandwidth) will largely get eaten up by attending to the mechanics of the new technique. When you've already mastered the art of bicycle riding, you will experience growth by "bicycling" in a new area, but because of the muscle memory you've established, you can explore what you see much more easily, think about it, and access it at a deeper level. That is the Memoria Press approach. In fact, almost all major publishing houses do the same thing, and for those who have studied how children with special needs learn, they advocate it as an especially beneficial technique.

        I think God has you right where you're supposed to be.
        We are a family of cyclists, and this resonated very deeply with me. Thank you!
        Ora et Labora!
        Emily

        Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
        DD (age 9): 4NU
        DD (age 7): MP 1
        DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
        "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

        Comment


          #5
          Thanks, jen1134 those are some very sweet and fun extension ideas--and she would love them all! She really looks forward to Enrichment and is even ok copying out the little poems we make up that use the week's poem as a model. Thanks for reassuring me about the tests, too--sometimes I forget that *she* will be more mature when the workload "matures," too. And I totally agree that test taking is a vitally important skill to have, and you are right--I can wait till I am sure she is ready, and we can build up to a full test load over years if that is what is necessary.
          Ora et Labora!
          Emily

          Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
          DD (age 9): 4NU
          DD (age 7): MP 1
          DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
          "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

          Comment


            #6
            I’m glad that testing went well and you were able to gain some more clarity into your daughter. Be sure to give yourself time to process all of this new information before making any changes. It’s a lot for a mama’s heart.

            Will you and your daughter be able to continue to work with this psychologist to build coping strategies? In our experiences, the more tools in the toolbox is a big game changer.

            When considering curriculum with routine and predictability with some change, I cannot imagine a better example than MP. For those with anxiety/OCD what amounts to very small changes for most folks can be monumental for them. For some of kiddos, a new math concept is as much change as they can easily handle in a given day. Slowly these changes become less of a big deal and their ability to work through large changes increases. It helps to think about a baby learning to run. The process takes years and at times progress is imperceivable.

            You’re right about MP’s focus on review and building mastery and the tests are a moment when the kids get to show off what they’ve learned. I am rarely surprised by a question on a test. You have lots of options and time to consider how to approach them.
            Heidi

            2018-19
            dd- 3m
            ds- SC 1
            dd- SC B

            Comment


              #7
              Hi Emily. I’m sorry your daughter is struggling with anxiety! It is wonderful that you are addressing these things now and seeking out help.

              I think MP fits the bill as to what the psychologist recommended. I’d go even farther and say that it can be a fantastic curriculum for a child with anxiety. Wisdom and clarity of thought are the tools needed to combat anxiety, and a classical curriculum is designed to mold a child’s mind in that way.

              Cheryl Swope discusses in her book the importance of the study of logic in combatting her son’s anxiety and negative thought
              patterns. I can also attest that the MP logic courses have been so helpful for my teenage son with OCD. A 7 year old isn’t ready for formal logic, but the education you are giving her now in all the grammar stage subjects is laying the groundwork for her to be able to eventually face life as an adult who can think clearly.

              The recitation and memory work in the curriculum will strengthen your daughter’s memory. I have seen amazing progress in my children with memory and processing difficulties as they’ve moved through the Classical curriculum.

              Peace to you! It is so hard to see our children suffering. Do take care of yourself as you process all that came out of the evaluation.


              Catherine

              2020-21
              DS17
              DS15
              DS13
              DD13
              DS8
              DD5
              DS 2.5

              Homeschooling 4 with MP
              2 in classical school

              Comment


                #8
                From just a slightly more long-term perspective, what everyone has shared thus far has resonated with us as well. We have a strong streak of intensity in our house. I use that word because we do not have any formal diagnoses, although we have had many conversations with our pediatrician who has helped is a lot, especially with some who are even more intense than others. The point that was made about even small changes being a huge deal to kids who struggle with anxiety is spot-on, and has proven true in our experience time and time again. The familiarity of the MP pattern is so helpful with this particular challenge. So I am merely going to echo that what others have said as being the possible benefits of MP for kids who struggle with anxiety has in fact proven true for us.

                AMDG,
                Sarah
                2020-2021
                16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
                DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
                DS, 16
                DD, 14
                DD, 12
                DD, 10
                DD, 8
                DD, 6
                +DS+
                DS, 2

                Comment


                  #9
                  Thanks, VAmom I can see how even a new math concept can blow her mind a bit. I never thought I'd say this, but I love Rod and Staff, partly because we cover the new thing in class multiple times before she has to do it "on her own" with the worksheet. We have the full results and "consultation" in a few weeks. I think the psychologist is going to recommend counseling, but we are going to see how much we can settle her with the other resources the psychologist will provide--we are fully supportive of therapy, but it's adding "one more thing" to our daughter's plate and that in and of itself could be counterproductive!

                  Love the idea of logic to combat anxiety, CatherineS ! I know breaking down "spiraling" thoughts into concrete bits of evidence is a method that my therapist has worked with me on, which, when it came down to it, was logic! Very cool to think, though, that MP curriculum methodology and content are providing her with real tools to overcome this herself, which will be increasingly important as she grows, of course.

                  Thanks for the long term perspective, KF2000 I think, too, that as my confidence grows with the material and the format, she will settle into it all more. She is still highly attuned to my emotions!
                  Ora et Labora!
                  Emily

                  Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                  DD (age 9): 4NU
                  DD (age 7): MP 1
                  DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                  "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                  Comment

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