One More Week for Registrations

Good Morning! Registration for our next sessions of social skills classes are open for one more week.  Classes begin this coming Sunday!  For details, please click here Registration for Social Skills Classes Feb.26-April 2

Questions about our classes?  Send us an e-mail to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We love connecting with you!

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Pinterest

We are now on Pinterest!   From our homepage on our website, scroll down and you’ll see the “P” on the right hand side.  Click and it will take you to Pinterest.   When we tested the link, it did take us to the main Pinterest page.  However, once I started typing in Confident Solutions LLC, our name and hummingbird popped right up.  We have started with eleven boards but think we’ll be adding more quickly.  Who doesn’t love finding inspiration on Pinterest?  We would love to connect with you there!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! We hope everyone has had a restful break.  We are looking forward to the start of 2017 and everything a new year brings.

Reminders and Updates:

New Social Skills Classes

Next Sunday, January 8th we officially begin our new six-week sessions for our Mindful Thinking for Social Expectations classes.  The “Play” class has one opening left for the 3rd-5th graders and a couple of open spots for the K-2nd grade group.  If you’re interested in registering, please click here for details Registration Is Now Open.  Registration will be open until Saturday, Jan. 7th.

Middle School OTB Club

We would love to have your middle schooler join our OTB Club! Our middle school group begins on Friday, January 13th.  For details, please click here Middle Schoolers OTB (Outside The Box) Club

Mindfulness

What is mindfulness?  Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us (thank you http://www.mindful.org/meditation/mindfulness-getting-started/ for the definition).  This parent and child class, will be taught once a month by Maria Haretmann. We will be hosting the class on Sunday  January  22nd  from 12:20-1:00  and again on Sunday February  19th from 12:20-1:00.   Each class costs $20.00 which includes a parent and child.  Additional children are $7.00.  If you would like to sign up, please send us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com and let us know you’re coming! We will send you a PayPal link to reserve your spot.

 

Free Parent/Guardian Class on Understanding the Components of an IEP

Our next free class on understanding the components of an IEP will be held on Wednesday, January 18th from 10:00-11:00 and 12:00-1:00.  If there is a specific part of an IEP that you would like to hear more about, please send us your thoughts to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

 

If you have any questions regarding any of the upcoming classes or sessions, please send them to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  If you would like to receive our newest posts, you can “follow” our blog by entering your e-mail address on the home screen.  You will receive e-mails sent directly to your inbox.  We are hoping to add child yoga classes soon.  We also have an IEP organizer in the “works.”  You won’t want to miss it!

Happy 2017!

With Much Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

School Choice

In North Carolina, there are several choices when considering your child’s education. There are traditional public schools, public charter schools, magnet schools, private schools, and homeschooling. When considering the best fit for your child and family, it is important to understand the difference between these options.  School choice is often talked about this time of year because lotteries are currently open for the 2017-2018 school year for charter and magnet schools.

Most everyone is familiar with traditional public schools. It is where most of us went to school!  Typically, this will be your “homeschool” meaning the public school that is assigned to your neighborhood.  It could be close by or your child’s assigned school may require busing to a different area.   If you wanted to have your child attend a different traditional public school (other than the one to which your child is assigned) sometimes you are able to submit a letter of request or fill out a school choice application.  However, it is difficult to move to a different traditional public unless the decision is made by the staff at your child’s school.  For example, if your child has special needs and the Team Who Is On Your Child’s Team? decides your child requires a specialized program offered at a specific traditional public, then your child may be moved to that school.

Public charter schools are a relatively new option. It is important to understand these schools are PUBLIC schools. They must follow the Common Core and provide regular and special education programs. They receive federal and state money to fund their schools. Charter schools receive an allotment for each child in their school. Just like traditional public schools, charter schools also receive money for children with special needs. Charter schools can be started by anyone. There is an extensive application that must be filled out and approved by NC DPI. Charter schools have a mission that is unique to their school. When considering this option, it is important to know the school’s mission, who started the school and why, and who is head of the school. You should ask yourself if your family is philosophically aligned with the school’s mission. Most teachers and staff at the school wear many hats and are a part of many committees.  If you are considering a public charter school for your child,  you must fill out the school’s registration form and students are admitted based on a lottery system.  North Carolina does like to try to keep families together, therefore, siblings do have priority in a public charter school in the lottery system.  Lotteries for public charter schools are currently open and typically close by late January or early February.  If this is an option for your child, be sure to check the deadline for entering your child into the school’s lottery with each school you are considering.

Magnet schools are similar to charter schools except that they are managed by a typical school district. They also have a lottery system that students must be entered into.  Here is a link to visit CMS (Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools) information about their magnet schools http://www.cms.k12.nc.us/cmsdepartments/ci/MagnetPrograms/Pages/default.aspx  We recommend researching the magnet schools in your district if this is an option for your child.

Private schools do not receive public funds and do not have to follow the special education laws such as IDEA. They do, however, have to follow ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) guidelines.  There is a registration process and tuition payment that will be unique for each private school.  If your child has an IEP or 504, private schools typically do not follow them and have yearly meetings since they do not take public money.  However, it is common for certain private schools to make accommodations that are needed for your child’s unique needs.  If this is an option for your family, make sure you meet with the director or administration of the school and ask specific questions to see if it is a good fit for your child’s needs. Here is a link which explains how children with disabilities can receive services if they are in a private school. https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/finding-right-school/6-things-to-know-about-private-schools-and-special-education

Homeschools have grown and continue to grow yearly.  If you choose to homeschool your child, you must register as a homeschool with the state of North Carolina.  Here is a link for more information http://ncadmin.nc.gov/citizens/home-school-information.  You need to keep attendance records for your child and have one standardized test completed each year.  There are a lot of homeschooling groups you can join as well as classes to sign your child up for to offer enrichment and different experiences.  If you are in the Charlotte area, we recommend checking out Discovery Place’s homeschool classes https://science.discoveryplace.org/programs-and-classes/homeschool-classes, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s homeschool classes http://www.dsbg.org/homeschool-days/, and Latta Plantation homeschool classes http://www.lattaplantation.org/homeschool-days/.  There are also discounts for ski days http://skifrenchswiss.com/homeschool-days-pd-48.php , classes you can sign up for through churches, and co-ops you can join.  Making connections within the homeschool realm makes organizing and navigating the curriculum and connections easier.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Upcoming events 

 

 

The Journey

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Executive Functioning Skills

Executive Functioning Skills are important in helping a student successfully navigate his or her school day.  So, what are they exactly  and how do they look within a classroom? Collectively, these skills are what helps a student regulate his/her own behavior.  Here is a breakdown of the skills: planning, organization, time management, working memory, and metacognition.   Let’s talk in detail about each one a little further.

Planning is what we use to decide what is important to focus on and what is not important to focus on.  This is what helps a student reach the completion of an assignment in school.  When a student is weak in this skill,  a teacher will frequently say that he/she is unable to complete classroom assignments independently.  He/she may possibly be working on a different task (such a drawing or writing) during math time.

Organization is shown when a student can easily locate all of his/her materials needed for an assignment.  For example, a student who is strong in this skill will be able to independently find the writing notebook, a pencil, collect a new graphic organizer, and overall be prepared for the assignment.

Time management is when a student shows they know how to judge how much time he/she needs to complete an assignment or a classroom project.  It’s typical to see a teacher help with this area during class by posting how much time the students have for an independent assignment or group work.  If a student is weak in this skill, you may see him/her struggling to pace the time to finish all parts of the assignment to completion.  When the time is up and the teacher transitions to the next subject on the classroom schedule, a child who is still working on the beginning of the last assignment would be showing a weakness in time management skills.

Working memory is how our brains hold information in our minds while performing a more difficult task.  We do have the ability here to “pull up” past learning experiences and apply them to a task or an assignment.  For example, we see this in the classroom when a student is asked to write a narrative.  While writing, the student is putting the idea down on paper while remembering to use punctuation, correct use of grammar, and spelling.  All of those tools are working together.

Metacognition is when a student has the ability to have a “bird’s eye view” of himself or herself.   When this skill is strong, a student would be able to observe how he/she is problem solving and even question himself/herself in how he/she did.

There are more executive functioning skills that we use when we face a new problem or want to achieve a goal. They are: response inhibition, emotional control, sustained attention, task initiation, flexibility, and goal directed persistence.

Response inhibition: This is basically the skill of thinking before you act.  When a student is able to “pause” and think before saying or doing something, than that student would be strong in this skill.

Emotional control:  This is when a student can manage his or her own emotions so he/she can complete a classroom task or assignment or successfully reach his/her own goal.

Sustained attention:  If a student has a strength in this skill, then he/she is able to attend to a task within the classroom even with distractions around him/her and feeling tired or bored.

Task initiation: This is when a student can successfully start an assignment without procrastination.  You may see a weakness in the classroom if, after the teacher has given directions to begin a task, a student is walking around looking for a pencil, sharpening the pencil, asking to go to the bathroom, talking to a peer, etc.

Flexibility: This skill involves a student being flexible in a change in the classroom routines, a mistake in his/her work, or any setback or change that may occur during their day.  A student who may show weaknesses in this skill would become rigid or upset if a change occurred suddenly during an assignment or in the schedule.

Goal directed persistence: This skill involves a student having the ability to follow through to finish a goal that he/she set for themselves or possibly by the teacher without  getting discouraged with a competing interest.

Honestly, we could talk for days on this topic.  🙂 When a student is weak in one of these skills, it affects his/her overall school day as well as at home.  It’s important, as parents and educators, to recognize where a child’s strengths and weaknesses are in relation to these skills so we may help support and strengthen these skills.  When we allow these skills to continue to be weak without any support,  it’s common to see an increased problem in school as the child grows and attends higher grades.  For example, “organization” in first grade may look like a child leaving behind a parent letter or forgetting to unpack his book bag at school (or when he comes home from school).  Leaving the skills to continuously be weak, in high school, “organization” will look like a messy book bag with a lot of difficulty finding assignments, turning in assignments, and forgetting about assignments. If these skills are strengthened over time, we will see a child who can manage time, projects, and maintain sustained attention. Additionally, once our children understand why they have trouble turning in assignments, keeping track of materials, or finishing activities then they can begin to work to change these behaviors to new behaviors with which they are happy. This enables students, parents, and teachers to partner together to teach the whole child.

If you would like to read more about executive functioning skills, we have a few recommendations.

Here are a couple of fantastic reads:

https://www.amazon.com/Executive-Skills-Children-Adolescents-Second/dp/1606235710/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475534746&sr=8-1&keywords=executive+skills+in+children+and+adolescents

https://www.amazon.com/Smart-but-Scattered-Revolutionary-Executive/dp/1593854455/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1475534746&sr=8-2&keywords=executive+skills+in+children+and+adolescents

https://www.amazon.com/Coaching-Students-Executive-Practical-Intervention/dp/1462503756/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1475534746&sr=8-3&keywords=executive+skills+in+children+and+adolescents

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/brain-based-teaching-strategies-judy-willis

http://adayinourshoes.com/measurable-iep-goals-address-executive-functioning-deficits/

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Connections With Students

We feel that, as educators, once you take the time to make those honest connections with your students (whether they have exceptional needs or not),  your classroom will run smoother.  Teaching from your heart, truly seeing the kids individually–what are their worries, fears, wishes, dreams, struggles–is a bridge that connects the desire  for students to learn.  When your students know that you care for them and love them, we have seen children blossom, difficult behaviors grow soft (and even disappear), and classroom communities become more supportive and accepting of each other.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

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Social Skills Class for Parents and Children Coming Soon

We are currently organizing a social skills group for elementary aged children.  This class will be perfect for children diagnosed with ADD, ADHD, and Asperger Syndrome. In partnership, there will be a parent class that meets at the same time.  This class will be a  six-week session.  It will provide children  the opportunities to grow in their social understanding with real life application.  The parents will have the opportunity  to connect with each other as well as learn the tools to implement strategies with their child at home. Please check back soon for specific updates on the location, time, and details of the group.  This is a class you won’t want to miss!

As a reminder, we love hearing from you! Please e-mail us with your thoughts and ideas at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy