Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Schoolhouse Review Crew: A Life in Balance

I was recently given the chance to read and review the book A Life in Balance by Frank Belgau and his son, Eric Belgau, and distributed by the Learning Breakthrough Program. As a homeschooling mom, I can't help but keep watch over my children and asking: what have they missed; how could I be doing this subject better; is there something about his learning style that doesn't fit what I'm doing? And in truth, it can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride.

Learning Breakthrough Program Review
Here's the thing - our oldest learned to read with about the "normal" struggles and challenges. Our second and third took much longer to get into reading, and one still struggles a bit with longer words and books. And their spelling in the beginning was poor enough that even they can't tell what they were trying to write. And it was frustrating for them. I considered vision and tracking problems, ADD, ADHD, and so much more. What I discovered, well after they had worked out for themselves how to get around their difficulties, is that they both have pretty serious dyslexia. 
Learning Breakthrough Program Review

I am not concerned about where they're at in their abilities because their talents shine in other areas. But if I can find a way to make things easier, I certainly will. That is what A Life in Balance is designed to do. While this book is not really about how to use all that Dr. Belgau teaches, it gives enough of a taste to try it out by including a mini-plan at the end of the book. Overall, it gives a clear and interesting picture of how his program evolved. The book uses a story-telling methodology to introduce Frank Belgau and his struggles to learn alongside the strategies he discovered, honed and now teaches, to help others like him. I expected a nice story; I got a taste of some of the tools that I am now trying to use to help Chef and Bruiser with their reading, story-telling, and behavioral challenges. (I got a captivating read as well!)



I had heard about the connection between reading and crawling, but never put a whole lot into it because where Chef didn't crawl, and struggled, Bruiser did crawl and still struggles, and Buttercup never crawled on all fours and has taught herself to read to a 3rd-grade-level by age 5! So we're trying out exercises like The Space Walk, trying to strengthen habits of using physical cross-body movement to connect the hemispheres of the brain and other such activities as detailed in the end of the book.

Not an exercise in the book, but a good image of how
movement might be used in a learning day.
It was also a good reminder to me of how important it is to get them outside and moving throughout the school day - and why that is so important! You can get this awesome book for $16.94 through the Learning Breakthrough Program.

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