home schooling paths
E-journal August 21, 2008

Olympic Roses for Mom

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When her son was in grade school, Deborah Phelps was told by one of his teachers, “Your son will never be able to focus on anything.”

That boy grew up to be swimming superstar Michael Phelps, who this past week made Olympic history. And that teacher’s assessment, to put it mildly, has turned out to be untrue.

Tributes to His Mother

I don’t know if you had a chance to watch the Olympics last week, but if you didn’t, you can catch up through videos of the events at NBC’s website http://www.nbcolympics.com.

Of course, other than the excitement of watching Michael Phelps win eight gold medals, some of them by just the length of a fingertip, what impressed me about this young man was his team spirit and the mature, non-egoic way he handled all his interviews.

But what impressed me most of all was his repeated tributes to his mother.

As Michael stood on the podium after each gold medal, his eyes would search the crowd until he found his mother and sisters. Then his face would break into a huge smile. At the completion of each of the first seven award ceremonies, Michael would throw his winner's bouquet of flowers to his mother and sisters.

And, when his last competition was over, his eighth gold medal round his neck, Phelps climbed up past photographers in the press seats so he could reach into the stands and kiss his mother, a woman who has been his champion his entire life.

"She just said congratulations. And then she started crying, and I started crying and then my sister started crying. We haven't really had too much time together," Phelps said.

When asked what he was going to do when the Olympics were over, he replied, "The first thing I'd like to do to my mum is just hug her. I've literally seen her for about 30 seconds this whole time."

Michael’s Difficult Childhood

Michael had a hard time as a child, both in school and in fitting in with other children.

Michael had huge ears and arms that swung below his knees, so the other kids in school bullied and tormented him. There was always something that other kids were picking on him for or making fun of him about.

Starting with preschool, teachers complained about Michael. He couldn’t stay quiet, he wouldn’t sit still, he didn’t keep his hands to himself, he was constantly disrupting the class by giggling and laughing and nudging kids for attention.

As he entered public school, he displayed what his teachers called “immature” behavior.”

“In kindergarten I was told by his teacher, ‘Michael can’t sit still, Michael can’t be quiet, Michael can’t focus,’ ” recalled Debbie Phelps, who was herself a teacher for 22 years.

Michael’s performance at school was lackluster—mostly C’s and D’s with some B’s. His high level of distractibility and need for kinesthetic interaction with the world made it impossible for him to focus on anything except subjects that were hands on, like gym and science lab.

At 7, Michael began swimming, following in the footsteps of his two older sisters who were also swimmers. The pool became Michael’s safe haven and it gave him the sense of boundaries and the outlet for his excess energy that he needed. Also, it gave him an area in which he could excel. In the water, distractions were minimized and he could concentrate his focus.

When he was in fifth grade, his family physician suggested that Michael may have A.D.H.D. — attention deficit hyperactivity disorder—and put Michael on Ritalin. The physician’s children also swam, and he’d noticed Michael at the Phelps sisters’ swim meets. “Michael used to run around like a little crazy person mooching food off people,” said Mrs. Phelps.

It was a tough period. Debbie Phelps and her husband, a state trooper, were divorcing. She had just gone back to school to get a master’s degree to become an administrator, and at the same time she had to be the 24/7 parent for Michael and his two sisters, since her ex-husband didn’t play an active role in the children’s lives.

"She was amazing"

His mother became the primary provider for Michael and his sisters. In an NBC interview after his Beijing medal sweep, Michael credited his mother’s determination to keep the family together and to provide each of her children with what they needed to succeed as his role model for how he lives his life.

“She was amazing and nothing I’ve done could be done without her.”

Read more about Michael Phelps and ADHD in the column to the right.

Resources for AHDH

The Survival Guide for Kids With ADD or ADHD by John F. Taylor

Dr. Bob's Guide to Stop ADHD in 18 Days by Robert DeMaria

The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents by Nancy A. Ratey

The Gift of ADHD Activity Book: 101 Ways to Turn Your Child's Problems into Strengths by Lara, Ph.D. Honos-Webb

How To Reach And Teach Children with ADD/ADHD: Practical Techniques, Strategies, and Interventions by Sandra F., M.A. Rief

The ADHD Parenting Handbook: Practical Advice for Parents from Parents by Colleen Alexander-Roberts

Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman

The "Putting on the Brakes" Activity Book for Young People With ADHD by Patricia O. Quinn, Judith M. Stern, and Neil Russell

10 Days to a Less Distracted Child: The Breakthrough Program that Gets Your Kids to Listen, Learn, Focus, and Behave by Jeffrey Bernstein

Making ADHD a Gift: Teaching Superman How to Fly by Robert Evert Cimera

Understanding ADHD: The Definitive Guide to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by Christopher Dr Green and Kit Chee

ADHD: Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Children, Adolescents, and Adults by Paul H. Wender

The ADHD Workbook for Parents by Harvey C. Parker

ADD & ADHD for Dummies by Jeff Strong, Michael O. Flanagan, and Lito Tejada-Flores

Empower ADHD Kids: Practical Strategies to Assist Children With Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder in Developing Learning And Social Competencies by Becky Daniel-White and Kathryn E. Flora

ADHD: A Survival Guide for Parents and Teachers by Richard A. Lougy and David K. Rosenthal

The Attention Zone: A Parent's Guide To Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity by Michael Cohen

ADHD Book: Living Right Now! by Martin L., M.D. Kutscher

Life on the Edge: Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD by David Spohn

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Resources for rethinking education

Books by John Gatto. These books will change the way you think about education. Gatto was a public school teacher for decades and New York's Teacher of the Year, so he has first-hand experience with the effects of public schooling. Not only do his books discuss the major issues about what schooling does to our children, he offers insights into what a true education entails and reflects on our society as a whole and the distorted thinking that leads us to subject our children to an influence that robs them of their creativity and enthusiasm for learning. Gatto's books are "MUST READS."
Dumbing Us Down
A Different Kind of Teacher

Books by John Holt. Holt's books are wonderfully thought-provoking and give you a real appreciation for the natural learning ability of your children. Read all of these! How Children Learn, Learning All the Time, and Teach Your Own . Also highly recommended: Guerrilla Learning: How to Give Your Kids a Real Education With or Without School

Endangered Minds by Jane Healy. Subtitled “Why Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It,” this is truly a significant book. The book's premise is that today's children, bombarded by a fast-paced media culture and with very little interaction with thinking adults, develop different “habits of mind” than children of the past and are therefore unable to tackle the skills involved in learning. Healy clearly explains why our modern lifestyles sabotage the ability to learn and tells us what to do about it. In the companion book, Your Child's Growing Mind Healy discusses how thinking and learning abilities develop for skills like reading, writing, spelling, proper use of grammar, etc. and what parents can do to create the “mind pathways” that enhance these thinking and learning abilities. These books are "must haves."

I Saw the Angel in the Marble

With over 4,000 copies sold in just a few months, I Saw the Angel in the Marble is becoming a home schooling best seller!

This book represents the best of 15 years of Elijah Company articles. Find our more HERE>>

Turning Hearts: Davis Seminar Set (8 CDs)

The Best of Chris and Ellyn Davis, this set contains seminars given by Chris and Ellyn Davis of The Elijah Company at home schooling conventions. The set contains all of the favorites that home schoolers ask for over and over. People have told us this set of CDs changed their lives. Find out more about them HERE>>

Angel in the Marble/Davis Seminars Set
Order a combination of I Saw the Angel in the Marble and the Davis Seminars CDs HERE>>

Building the Home School of Your Dreams

Building the Home School of Your Dreams is a 6 CD set taken from the From Home School To Home Business Seminar and features sessions by Chris Davis and Mary Hood. Find out more HERE>>

Life Skills for Kids by Christine Field is a guide to equipping your children with the life skills they will need as adults: people/home life skills, time/space organization skills, money management skills, healthy lifestyle skills, spiritual habits, decision making skills, creative skills, and celebration skills. Christine is a home schooling mother herself, and the book is written in such a way that it may be used as a reference point and checklist of desired skills and knowledge to be mastered.

Homeschooling the Early Years
Homeschooling the Middle Years
Homeschooling the Teen Years
Each of these books is a guide to successfully homeschooling the age group it covers. Starting with what makes the age group tick, chapters cover the important aspects of learning, practical ways to approach each subject area, and the many paths to success.

What Your Kindergartner Needs to Know
What Your First Grader Needs to Know
What Your Second Grader Needs to Know
What Your Third Grader Needs to Know
What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know
What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know
What Your Sixth Grader Needs to Know
This series of books covers what a child at each grade level should be learning in every subject. The books are great to have around to help you design your own curriculum and make sure you aren't leaving any "gaps." History, language arts, science, and several other subjects are covered in enough detail that the book could become your primary textbook for those subjects, but math is summarized, so further teaching materials may be needed there. As you develop your own "Home School Reference Center" of books you can refer to over and over, these need to be there.

Resources to discover how your child learns best

Developed by the authors of Discover Your Child's Learning Style, this is the most powerful and user friendly learning styles inventory in the world and it is NOW ONLINE! A Self-Portrait™ Profile assesses several aspects of learning style, quickly and simply, in language that is easily understood by everyone. These aspects are: Disposition, Modality, Environment, Interests, and Talents. If you want help in understanding what makes your child "tick" and how your can help him or her learn easier and better (or find out more about yourself), take this easy, quick learning styles assessment test. For more about this learning styles assessment test, CLICK HERE>>

Discover Your Child's Learning Style is a book you need. Period. It has more potential to improve your child's education - and your family relationships - than almost any other book I have ever read. The authors of this book have developed a "Learning Styles Model" of education that helps you discern your child's:
Preferred learning environment
Thinking Style
The book includes handy self-tests. Use these to find out just how each child in your family loves to learn... and what teaching approaches help or hinder his learning style. What a huge difference this will make in your homeschool... and in your family relationships!

Discover Your Children's Gifts will help you uncover your children's natural giftings and personality traits. It helps explain why their personality "quirks" are really evidences of their own God-given gifts. The theological foundation is very sound, making good sense of the main passages on spiritual gifts in a way very few others do. Gifts are broken into 1) Manifestation (sign gifts - 1 Cor 12-14; Acts 2) 2) Ministry (equipping gifts - Eph 4) & 3) Motivational (every-Christian-gifts - Rom 12).

Dreamers, Discoverers and Dynamos. Every now and then a book comes along that fills in so many gaps in my understanding that I want to tell everyone about it. Dr. Pallodino suggests that one in five children is an "Edison Trait child," meaning he or she has one or more of the following: dazzling intelligence, an active imagination, a free-spirited approach to life, and the ability to frustrate the you-know-what out of others. The heart of the issue is that these children think divergently, while schools generally reward convergent thinking. This book discusses the different types of approaches to life your children may have (dreamer, discover, or dynamo) and how you can most help each type succeed.

100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum by Cathy Duffy. Selecting the right curriculum can be a time consuming task for any family that chooses home education. Now, Cathy Duffy makes choosing the right resources for your child easy!

I've always recommended Cathy's curriculum guides as the best out there for choosing teaching materials that "mesh" with who your family is. Now Cathy guides you through the process, offering her "Top Picks" from each subject area.

Any article appearing on this website may be copied or forwarded electronically provided that proper credit is given and that the article is not substantively modified. No article may appear in whole or in part in a publication sold for profit or as part of any commercial endeavor without the written consent of Home School Marketplace. Any reprint must include an acknowledgement of where it came from and the sentence "Sign up for the Home School Marketplace newsletter at www.homeschoolmarketplace.com."

© Copyright 2008. Home School Marketplace, 1053 Eldridge Loop, Crossville, TN 38571.

Home School Mom Creates Organic, Non-toxic,
Great Smelling Play Dough That Kids Love to Play With

It's Going Fast!

My friend Susan is a home schooling Mom and she is very concerned about her children's health. Her son, Liam is allergic to almost every chemical known to man, so Susan has to be very, very careful what she allows him to play with. When he gets together with other children and they play with Play Doh, Liam can't play. The dyes and chemicals in the dough can not only make him very sick, they might kill him.

To read the story of how Susan solved Liam's problem and how you can benefit from what she did, GO HERE>>

Be a part of our Home Business Incubator!

At Home School Marketplace we are not just about home schooling. We also want to encourage and support you in developing home centered income.

One of the ways we want to do this is by providing you with the opportunity for involvement in businesses that we and other home schooling families develop.

So for years we have thought about creating a home business incubator that home schooling families can participate in.

What is a Business Incubator?

What is a business incubator? A business incubator is a collection of resources designed to help businesses become established and sustainable.

We want to create businesses that allow home schooling families to participate in their development and share in their future profits.

If you would like to participate in one of our Business Incubators, please GO HERE NOW>>>

CLICK HERE to listen to a teleconference explaining the concept and our vision for a Home School Business Incubator.

Home Business Resources

Let Your Mortgage Make You Rich.
A friend in my internet marketing group discovered this technique for paying down your mortgage incredibly quickly without making an extra payment or refinancing. Using her method, people are cutting a 30 year mortgage down to eight or nine years. It’s true; without extra payments or refinancing – you could save tens of thousands of dollars - even hundreds of thousands - on what you pay for your home. And the best part is that the book comes with a money-back guarantee. If you don't save more on your mortgage than the book costs in the first 18 months of using the techniques, you'll get your money back.
Find out more about this money-saving book NOW!

From Home School to Home Business
(14 CD Set)

If you missed one of our From Home School to Home Business Conferences, you missed a great time.People who have attended tell us that it changed their lives—not only in the area of home schooling, but also in the area of creating their own sources of home income.This set is huge and filled with useful and encouraging information about how to be successful at home schooling and at home business! Find out more about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

Building the Business of Your Dreams (8 CD Set) I've had requests for just the business portion of the From Home School to Home Business Seminar, so have developed a set of the business CDs from that set. It contains 8 CDs and includes sessions on The Entrepreneurial Mind, Multiple Streams of Home Income, Discovering Your Ideal Life and Ideal Business (2 CDs) , Developing a Business Plan (2 CDs), and The Importance of Business Relationships. Plus, there is a very important and insightful interview on Redeeming the Marketplace. Find out about this life-changing set of CDs HERE>>

SALE PRODUCTS! Limited Quantities
30% Off! We only have a few of each of these left.

We have the following WIN books available: The Reluctant Writer, Comprehensive Story Writing, Writing Man 1 & 2, and WIN Twin.

For more information and to place an order, GO HERE>>

What do ADHD and 8 Gold Medals Have in Common?

“In an event in which he was supposed to be pushed, he had no peers. In a race in which there was to be stress, he became the picture of relaxation, so at odds with the feat he accomplished. With President Bush, the first lady and former president George H.W. Bush in the stands waving American flags, Phelps won the 400-meter individual medley at the National Aquatics Center in a world record time of 4 minutes 3.84 seconds — crushing his old world mark, winning an Olympic gold medal and likely sending chills through the rest of the competitors on hand, many of whom could succumb to Phelps in similar fashion later in the meet.” www.washingtonpost.com


Michael Phelps is described in countless articles as having laser-like focus on his swimming and single mindedness on being the best. His concentration has even been described as “other-worldly.”

Those who know the qualities of ADD & ADHD understand his source of "other-worldly" concentration. It is called hyperfocus.

So many things can enter an Olympic swimmer's mind to throw them off their stroke - little things - let alone the awareness that the President of the United States is right there watching you, or that you could be about to win the most gold medals in a row ever, or that your goggles filled with water and you had to finish one of your events blind.

While extraordinary, Michael Phelps' super-human ability to focus during an event is actually one of the gifts of ADHD - the ability to trigger laser-like focus in an instant and hold that focus to accomplish the most amazing things.

The typical understanding of ADHD is that those who have it can’t focus and concentrate. But that’s not entirely true, it is just that these kids are focusing on other things – random thoughts that pass through their heads, the bird singing outside, the itch of a bug bite.

However, when someone with ADHD starts hyperfocusing on something they have a high level of interest in, that hyperfocus become a benefit.

How to Trigger Hyperfocus

Is there a way to channel this hyperfocus towards a specific result? The frustrated parent of a child with ADHD may ask, “I know my child with ADHD can focus for hours on his Nintendo games, but how can I get him to focus on his homework?!"

The answer is PASSION or THREAT.

Hyperfocus can only be effectively directed by passion or threat.

Michael Phelps is gifted for two reasons: He has ADHD and he found his passion in swimming. The combination of ADD (or ADHD) and your true passion for something results in an amazing ability to focus, persevere and triumph through all odds to fulfill your passion.

Hyperfocus can also be directed by pressure, stress, fear, or threat. In several interviews, Michael Phelps and his mother have described how, as a child, Michael was tormented and bullied by the other children and considered incapable of accomplishing anything important by his teachers.

Michael learned to use the threats and insults to fuel his passion to win. Even today, he is using criticism and insults to fuel his drive to win. In many Olympic interviews, Michael explained how remarks the French team made about “smashing” the Americans only increased his determination to win. And win, he did. He wound up “smashing” the French in one race after another.

However, that same pressure, stress and fear does not help a person with ADD or ADHD hyperfocus in areas in which they have no interest.

People with ADHD who have found their passion can be the best at anything they set their minds to, or, if not the best, better than most. When they combine hyperfocus with what they have an interest in or a talent for, they can do amazing things that defy all logic. Michael Phelps is the latest proof.

Having the president watching, the first lady and the former President too, is enough to overwhelm most people. Add to that pressure the fact that you are on live TV with millions of people all over the world watching. And add even more pressure with the knowledge that not only your teammates, but the whole world is expecting you to prove that you can win. Most people would collapse under that much pressure, but for someone with ADHD who is living their passion, such pressure is simply more stimulation – it is like natural Ritalin.

So, if you have a child with ADD or ADHD, watch for areas of passion, areas of hyperfocus. Feed those interests and provide opportunities for expression in those areas. There is no telling what your child can accomplish. And the frustration of ADHD may actually become a blessing.

Congratulations Michael and a special thank you from everyone with ADHD!

GO HERE for helpful information about ADHD.

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Webpages about the importance of reading great books and booklists for children of all ages
te are completed:
Webpages about choosing teaching materials

Webpages about charting a course through high school

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