I couldn’t believe it! Once the child’s hands and eyes were occupied, I was left with an intelligent brain waiting for information. He was a very smart boy, but when he was told to sit still and listen, he almost had an internal meltdown. He didn’t seem to have an “off button” for his curious, fidgety side, so trying to suppress that behavior would become his main focus. He couldn’t receive new information because on the inside he was in the middle of a war.

I tried this same technique with the young girl. When she showed up for class the next day, she quickly spotted a Mr. Potato Head box in the corner of the room. This became her main focus. She was not going to be able to listen to me until she had had a chance to play with Mr. Potato Head, so I let her spill out all the pieces.

As she plugged in the different eyes and ears, I used that opportunity to explain the Slope Formula to her. If you aren’t familiar with the Slope Formula, it looks extremely complicated and confuses a lot of math students, but I have a very simple method to teach it. Within minutes, she had learned the Slope Formula and said, “That was easy.” Throughout the time of instruction, she was building a Mr. Potato Head face.

Oftentimes these kids are told they have a learning disability, such as ADD or ADHD. I say they are extremely observant people with a unique learning style that has the potential to make them highly knowledgeable. I would like to see this learning style get a new name, because when you give a young person a label that ends in the word “disorder” or “disability,” it can tear the child down instantly. I prefer the term “Active Intellects.”    

I hope this helps you understand that you are teaching a wise, energetic person who is fully capable of learning. Embrace your child’s gift. Realize that he has the ability to multitask. Recognize the fact that once his hands and eyes are mildly entertained, his brain is a sponge waiting to soak up knowledge. “The heartof the prudentgettethknowledge;and the earof the wiseseekethknowledge” (Proverbs 18:15).

JK Mergens and her husband, Mick, have been married for more than twenty-five years and live in beautiful Washington State. Together they homeschooled their only son, Josh, until the day he started college. JK is the author of the Learn Math Fast System series and Learn Algebra Fast. For more information about these resources or to contact JK, please visit her website, www.LearnMathFastBooks.com.

Publication date: June 29, 2012