Sunday, April 17, 2011

Homeschooling Special Needs Kids and Graphics Toolbox

As a homeschool mom that has to deal with special learning needs, I often find myself looking for quality material to meet their varying needs.  While the children were small this was an easier task, however, as they get older it is more difficult to find materials that are age appropriate while meeting the needs that need to be addressed.

For the last 3 years I have been working with The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew. And through that, I have been able to peruse many materials that have been both beneficial and some that are not quite the right fit.

However, through the Crew, I  came across Graphics Toolbox. Now I must tell you that I know work for Graphics Toolbox, however, what I wanted to share with you today, is how I am incorporating Graphics Toolbox, into our homeschool, and especially how it has helped me with my learners with special needs!

There are so many ways that Graphics Toolbox is a good fit for the special needs homeschool family! First let's address the big stuff.... Graphics Toolbox is an easy to learn and fun to use graphics design program. However, you will not be using it as a supplement! You will be using it to help you teach your children more effectively! Better yet, you will help them learn it, and retain it! With the added bonus of teaching them the technological skills that has been a missing element in most special learners education!

So, what can we do with Graphics Toolbox? One thing we have done, we have started using it to create our own math manipulatives. Now, you might be asking yourself, why would I do that, versus using the little counting bears we already have? Here is why, you will be able to tackle 2 birds with one stone, so to speak.  First off, by using the manipulatives, created in Graphics Toolbox, your student will be getting the hands on learning that they are craving, and frankly needing, in order for them to learn. However, in addition to that, you are teaching them technological skills that they would not otherwise be learning. Additionally, you are giving them the tools to create a project that is far superior than what they could do, if it were simply, done with pencil, paper and plastic manipulatives!

In this post, I am going to be looking at basic math pages that can be made with Graphics Toolbox.  However, this is just a sampling, and the ideas are endless.

First I created a page of counting bears. Here is a strip from that page, one of each color is represented.

You can start with this by teaching number sense:


Within Graphics Toolbox, you can remove the numbers, and have your child place the number in the correct place. You can also teach your child how to place the correct number of bears next to the correlating number.  You can also teach them how to change the color of the bears. Again, you would be teaching them number skills, color recognition, as well, they will be learning skills within Graphics Toolbox that will be bringing their education to the next level.

You can also create custom math sheets:

Now, I have created these 'sheets' in worksheets style, however you do not have to do that.  If you have a child who has a difficult time with fine motor skills, and writing is difficult. You could have them read a problem, or you could verbally give them a problem, and then have them illustrate it for you with in Graphics Toolbox!  Also, even if you are having them write their work on a math work sheet, they can still do their work within Graphics Toolbox. Again, the point is to not only give them the hands on manipulation they need, but also to teach them a new skill!

And here is a complete the pattern page:


These are just a few examples of what you can do with Graphics Toolbox. Another thing that is great, is that you can simply save the projects to a file, and then at the end of the year, you can have a disk of your child's work for the year.

Each installment, I am going to share with you more Graphics Toolbox project ideas for special needs children.  Next week, we are going to look at "what's wrong with this picture" cards for your child. Especially for your older child, because the cards on the market are geared toward very young children. We are also going to look at fun ways to help your dyslexic student with book reports.   Something to look forward to, making your own PECS cards.

If you have special requests, please let me know! Just place them in the comments!

To purchase Graphics Toolbox you can visit here.



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