Classically Homeschooling with Funschooling Journals

classically homeschooling with funschooling journals | homeschooling ADHD & dyslexia | homeschool curriculum for ADHD, dyslexia

I’ve been a fan of Thinking Tree curriculum, particularly Dyslexia Games, for awhile. The thinking skills, right-brained approach, and creativity of the curriculum and dyslexia therapy has made a world of difference for my daughter. So when I was looking for a way to help my daughter connect to our classical, literature-rich style of learning, I went back to the company that really seemed to understand her best, and I took a good long look at the funschooling journals.

There are so many funschooling journals, all with slight variations, that choosing one took me a long time. In the end, it was the bright pink cover with the kitty that ultimately sold us on the Homeschooling Journal for Creative Girls (though the YouTube reviews were also very helpful). The books are intended to be used with unschooling or delight-directed homeschoolers. The children are supposed to select up to 8 books that they want to learn from and work through 5-8 pages a day in the workbook. The pages cycle through similar activities that include drawing and narrating from the reading, copywork, nature study, some art and creative pages, recipe pages (to write a recipe), listening pages for audiobooks and DVD material, nature study pages, and more. There’s plenty of space for coloring, doodling, drawing, and other creative expression.

classically homeschooling with funschooling journals | homeschooling curriculum for ADHD, dyslexia

We obviously are putting our own unique spin on the funschooling journals. Because we use Tapestry of Grace as our main curriculum, I already had a shelf of books that I wanted her to read. But rather than assign particular books for each week as I had been doing, I gave her the new funschooling journal and allowed her to work through the books on the shelf at her own pace. Instead of 5-8 pages a day, she was assigned 5-8 pages for the week to work through at her leisure. 

The result: what would have taken her weeks to read (with tons of nagging and frustration on my part) took her a little over one week. She flew through her reading and loved journaling in her book about the parts of her reading that she loved best. She loved drawing the pictures, copying her own selections, filling out the listening sheet for her audiobook and science DVD, and the other various activities. She’s done much less coloring than I expected, but I could care less. I’m just counting my blessings that she loves this so much! 

classically homeschooling with funschooling journals | homeschool curriculum for ADHD, dyslexia

I absolutely intend to use these next year as well and have a couple more in mind to get (although I think she’d be perfectly happy to continue with another of the exact same journal). My intention is to continue using it as a means to supplement and motivate her to engage with our classical curriculum. While I do have books from our Tapestry of Grace that I want to be on her reading list, I also allow her freedom to add a few titles of her own. It’s a perfect blend of classically creative curriculum for my active, right-brained non-traditional learner.

And, of course, because these are such a hit with sister, my creative fifth grader thinks he really needs one, too. I may just relent. After all, this Minecraft Funschooling Journal looks way too cool. (Perhaps I’ll use it as a subtle way to add some summer learning.)

Dyslexia Games Review: spelling for right-brained learners

Dyslexia Games review | spelling for dyslexia | homeschooling dyslexia | right-brained learner

Spelling is my daughter’s nemesis. After we finally made some headway in reading, she came to an absolute impasse with spelling. Her dyslexia just did not allow her to hear sounds and remember them in the right order. She couldn’t memorize a word by sight or by sound. No matter how many times we’d go over a word, she’d jumble it all together when it came time to write it down, if she had any of the right letters in the mix at all. As much as we loved Logic of English for reading, it became impossible for spelling. When I first stumbled upon Dyslexia Games late last school year, I was skeptical but desperate. As I looked at samples and read about the approach, I really felt that if anything could help my creative, right-brained child, this program could.

Dyslexia Games review | homeschooling dyslexia | spelling for dyslexia

Dyslexia Games is a writing & spelling program with a very right-brained, creative approach. The program begins with having the child complete intricate patterns, studying the fine details and learning to repeat them. Sometimes the patterns were shapes and numbers; sometimes the patterns resembled the troublesome letters that dyslexic learners often struggle with (d, b, q, p). Another activity requires the child to study a picture and complete the missing parts: a face, a cat, a dog, etc. It’s an unusual tactic for a spelling program, but I watched in disbelief as she progressed.

Dyslexia Games teaches her to notice the subtle differences in letters and words. It teaches her to observe, in the same way she would observe art and drawing. Another activity requires her to hunt for words around the house, creating her own “spelling list” if you will, but still with this same principle of noticing and copying rather than remembering. She filled in blanks of missing letters and copied words beneath pictures she’d color. Each time, connecting language to her natural artistic strengths.

Dyslexia Games review | homeschooling dyslexia | right-brained learners

In using this program, it has done a couple of different things for my daughter.

  1. It has allowed her to work through and overcome her anxieties and fears about what she can’t do. It is teaching her weakness through her strength. I love that! She is able to use something that she is good at, something that she is confident in, to tackle a subject she would otherwise struggle in.
  2. It is teaching her to “see” what her brain just doesn’t naturally see. My beautiful girl sees the world so differently. And I love that about her. Nothing is ever as it seems. And yet, that creates so much struggle for her academically, where things must be seen a particular way. Just as Logic of English helped her to hear the sounds and make sense of them, Dyslexia Games has taught her to look for the subtle differences in letters and words.

Is my daughter learning to write and spell with this program? Yes. Though technically she would still be “behind grade level” in this subject, Dyslexia Games is teaching her the skills she will need to be able to spell and is increasing her confidence. We have completed Level A and are about halfway through Level B. Each level comes with a number of workbooks that the student can work through one at a time. However, knowing my daughter’s attention span, I’ve had her work through all the workbooks at once, but have kept the same recommended order. In other words, she completes one page in each workbook each day, progressing from patterns and art to a Word Hunt at the end of the week.

spelling for dyslexia | right-brained learners | homeschooling dyslexiaJust this weekend, I received Creative Comic Book Cursive and Spelling Journal from this same company. She was so excited when she looked through the book, that she immediately sat down with a pencil (ON HER DAY OFF!) and began working through this book. I love to see that! I love to see her enjoying learning in an area where she naturally is not as strong (which makes me absolutely love these products). I’m so thankful for the gift they’ve given my daughter, for the blessing they’ve been to my family.

This is not a traditional spelling program in any stretch of the imagination. It’s very out-of-the-norm. But isn’t that how our dyslexics see the world? It’s an out-of-the-norm program for our out-of-the-norm learners. And I love that someone not only understands and but has written a program to encourage this in our kids. Thank you, Dyslexia Games & Thinking Tree!

To see samples of the program and other products available for right-brained learners, visit the Dyslexia Games website.

I purchased this program and have not received any compensation for my opinions. After using this product, I have formed my own opinions and have shared them freely with you. For more, see my disclosure policy here.