What’s New with Verticy for 2012 – 2013?

The Verticy Team is always working to create the best learning experience possible. We have some enhancements and activities for Verticy Learning 2012-2013 that we’d like to share with you.

Verticy Fluency Practice moose iconFluency Practice

We’ve added Fluency Practice to each level of our Phonics and Spelling program.

Why?

Reading fluency is critical to improving independent reading and reading comprehension. Verticy uses guided, repeated oral reading activities to help students improve their reading fluency and comprehension. We’ve even included a tracking sheet so students can see their progress as they move through the program. 

 My Verticy Portal Upgrade

We know that not every lesson occurs at home. You might want to access your materials while on the go.

If you have a portable computer, Verticy has now made access even easier. Why lug around your lesson manuals, activity pages, and concept pages when you can view every book from your laptop?

As you can see below, we added new materials to the Lesson Manual section of your student’s My Verticy Portal.

You now have access to the Activity, Workbook, and Concept Pages associated with many of your lessons. We hope that this gives you more flexibility and options for using Verticy each day.

My Verticy Portal screenshot

Click on the image to enlarge.

In addition to the updates to our program, we wanted to let you know where we are going to be this year. 

Lunch with Verticy

If you are going to be in the Maryland area this week, come join us for a Not Back to School event in Hunt Valley.

Where: Oregon Ridge Park
13555 Beaver Dam Road
Cockeysville, MD 21030

When: Thursday, September 20, 2012 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Why: Meet other Calvert and Verticy Families, and meet many of the Calvert staffers who work to make your Verticy experience wonderful.

The event is located at the Westinghouse Pavilion in the park. BYOL (Bring your Own Lunch) and get ready to have some fun!

RSVP the number of people coming to inquiry@calvertservices.org. Can’t wait to meet you!

IDA Conference

Join us for the annual International Dyslexia Association Conference this year. It will be held right here in Maryland, and for the first time ever will also include a Parent’s Conference.

Conference information:

Where: Baltimore Convention Center
1 West Pratt Street
Baltimore, MD 21201

When: Friday, October 26, 2012 from 12:00 p.m – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 27, 2012 from 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

Verticy will have a booth in the exhibit hall where you can come and meet the team. We will also be presenting one of the parent sessions during the conference:

Verticy Session

From Struggling Reader to Motivated Reader: Multisensory Phonics Strategies that Work at Home
Friday, October 26, 2012
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.

We hope to see or hear from you soon. Have an amazing year!

Shh… It’s a Secret Sale

whispering familyWho doesn’t enjoy a juicy secret? We’ve got a really good one… a 30% off sale on your entire Calvert or Verticy curriculum order.

Here’s the details: If you order one of our homeschool curriculum options between now and February 29th (Leap Day!) you receive a pretty major discount. Here’s the two options:

  • 30% off if you pay in full: Use code FEBCAL12.
  • 20% off if you use our four-month payment plan: Use code FEBCAL212.

It’s our biggest sale of the year to reward you for buying early. The sale is off your entire order, regardless of what you buy.

Want the full Verticy curriculum? 30% off.

Want only the Phonics/Spelling course to practice after school? 30% off.

Want to try one of Calvert’s Enrichment courses? 30% off.

To take advantage, call our friendly, experienced Client Services team at (888) 544-7116, Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:30 PM Eastern time. They can answer any questions you have about the curriculum, placement, extra services, and the meaning of life.

Well, maybe not that last one.

You can find more information on the Verticy website. We are looking forward to having you (or keeping you!) as part of the Verticy family.

Celebrating Differences: Learning Disability Benefits

We are worthy, and deserving.
No one else holds our magic. We do. It is in us.

boy flexing his muscles

We all have special talents that are magnificent. For some, this incredible talent is untapped, hidden, and waiting to make its debut. Sometimes it’s far easier to see our weaknesses than it is to see our strengths.

Often, what we perceive as weakness paves the way to some powerful strengths and contributions to the world. How do we turn our own negatives into positives? Or how can you help others recognize their own gifts?

Find the keys to success

Based on their study results, Marshall H. Raskind and Roberta J. Goldberg (2005) wrote a guide for parents of children with learning differences. Their results found that teaching students how to be their own advocates is key to their success.

Raskind and Goldberg found that success for students with learning differences includes these qualities:

  • proactivity
  • perseverance
  • goal-setting
  • the presence and use of effective support systems
  • emotional coping strategies

Their findings recognized that successful people with learning disabilities are not only aware of the types of problems they have, but they are open and specific about their difficulties and understand how they affect their lives. A unique finding is that these individuals have the ability to compartmentalize their disability or see their learning difficulties as only one aspect of themselves: “Although they are well aware of their learning limitations, they are not overly defined by them.”

Discover your strengths: Learning disability benefits

What we may view as a hindrance and secret difference can actually be an untapped asset. For example, neurolearning experts Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide reveal the hidden benefits of having a dyslexic brain in their book, The Dyslexic Advantage. They describe new brain science that has shown that people with dyslexia have unique brain structure and organization. The brain differences responsible for complications with reading and writing also seem to be built with unique skills and special talents: the learning disability benefits.

learning-disability-benefitsSpecifically, dyslexics often shine in professions that are supported by the part of the brain controlled by reasoning. For example:

  • Architects and surgeons use mechanical skills.
  • Artists and inventors use interconnected skills.
  • Novelists and lawyers use narrative skills.
  • Scientists and business pioneers rely on their dynamic skills.

The Eides’ research also supports previous beliefs that the right brain dominant learner is creative and active, seeing the whole picture first, and then breaking things down into bits and pieces. Music, emotions, color, and pictures are some of the keys to right brain learner’s success.

Find inspiration around you

One of the numerous examples of famous people overcoming learning differences is Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford. He states that he did not read for pleasure until he was nineteen years old. He made it through school reading the minimum. However, he believes that because he was a slow reader, he came to notice and appreciate all of the qualities of language. He discovered the poetry of language in the sounds and visual images of words, as well as how sentences and paragraphs break. This awareness inspired the birth of his novel writing.

Even more inspiring are the success and strengths of those we know intimately — our family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors. We asked Verticy families to share some of the incredible gifts their children possess:

“My 13-year-old daughter is incredibly strong-willed and insightful. I just read that ‘it is not difficult for them to think outside of the box because they have never thought inside the box.’ ” - Lila H.

“My daughter is deeply empathetic and is also innovative and creative.” - Jane C.

“My child is a very talented artist. He won best in show for his age group in a big county fair. I had read once that dyslexics are very visual and I’ve found that true for him.” - Jenn H.

As we set goals and build effective support systems, we need not look far to find examples of each individual’s magic all around us.

What gifts and strengths does YOUR child possess?

Share Your Child’s Creative Expression: Submit to Calvert Connection!

I have the best job in the world because I get paid to read.

One of the projects that makes my work so enjoyable is reviewing the Calvert Connection, a quarterly online magazine that showcases the accomplishments of Calvert and Verticy students. The submissions of our students are so refreshing, so uncontrived, that each issue reminds me of the Pablo Picasso quote:

It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

Our daily existence adds so much needless complexity to our lives. It is a wonderful thing to spend a few minutes looking at our world through the eyes of a child. Sometimes, the view is innocent; sometimes we are reminded that children, especially, are affected by the tragedies that surround us.

child artwork and creative writing Verticy LearningA child’s artwork is not merely an exercise in manual dexterity, or a test of skills mastery. It is a mirror of their psyche. What are they thinking? How are they absorbing the messages that prevail in their world? Many times, children do not discuss those topics which are uppermost in their minds, but take one look at their writing or their drawings and you have an instant window into their concerns and their joys.

Never was this more evident than in the months and years following 911. My son was nine years old. Instantly, his artwork was filled with imagery of burning buildings and ominous airplanes. Not only were his creations a clue to me what was going through his mind, it was a catalyst to discuss his concerns. He painted. We discussed. He released.

You may be surprised to hear, that as an editor, when I read through the Connection submissions, I don’t care about grammar. I don’t care about punctuation. I am moved by heart. I am touched by the love a child has for her horse. My spirit is lifted by the use of color and the juxtaposition of beloved objects.

Our children’s creations are often pure emotion on paper. When engaged in the creative process, children shouldn’t worry about being judged and it is important that we don’t critique for mastery and expertise.

sample issue of the Calvert Connection the student magazineHere is a venue for expression that does not need to be graded. So, if you are enrolled in Calvert or Verticy, I encourage you to encourage your children to submit their work to the Calvert Connection. The next issue comes out in February, so if you submit by the beginning of February, your child could be published in the next issue. Click on the image to the right to see a sample issue! Instructions for submission are on the last page of the sample.

Poetry doesn’t need to rhyme.
Paintings don’t need to be pretty.
Drawings don’t need to be accurate.

Children become adults and will spend their lives being graded, and judged, and expected to follow the rules. Let them have the freedom of expression that is inherent in the creative process. It can even be a no-cost proposition. Anything can be used creatively.

For a fun challenge, try using only what is at hand. Glue, magazine pictures, string, leaves. My son and I used to take Sunday trips to the local quarry to collect rocks. We brought them home and rearranged them dozens of times to make sculptures.

Shhhhh. We are all actually learning something in the process. What better way to learn about our environment and recycling than through a found-art project?

Here are a few links to get your family motivated:

Uses of Art Therapy

Art in Education

Inspiration from Italy

Is it Art? Is it Recycling?

Introducing Verticy Village: The Verticy Blog!

One of the best things about schooling at home, whether full-time or just an hour a day, is the chance to communicate with your child about his or her struggles and needs. The child gets a voice that may not otherwise be heard.

A child with language-based learning differences has a unique voice with unique things to say. Verticy helps him or her find that voice.

Blogs allow everyone a voice. They create conversation. At Verticy Learning, we really like conversation. Verticy Village, our new Verticy blog, will help you get to know us, and help us get to know you. We want this to be a forum for you to connect with us as well as with other families.

Though we here at Verticy have been thinking about the idea of a blog for awhile, it seemed particularly appropriate to launch during October, which is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month. We want to do our part to educate people about dyslexia and other learning disabilities, as well as help establish a community for families affected by reading struggles.

In this blog, different members of the Verticy family will join the discussion. We’ll share success stories as well as challenges and frustrations. We’ll exchange tips about homeschooling, about reading struggles, and about dyslexia and other learning disabilities. We’ll discuss interesting websites, relevant news items, and the inner workings of Verticy.

Now… tell us more about you. Your struggles, your joys, your suggestions, your questions.

Verticy BlogThis isn’t a lecture—it’s a discussion. What topics would you like us to cover on this blog? Whether or not you’re part of the Verticy family, what are your questions about what we do here?

Do you have a story you’d like to share? A question you’d like to pose to the community? Comment on any post, or perhaps use the Contact Us form. We want to hear from you.

As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise—and educate—a child. We hope you’ll find a welcoming community in Verticy Village. Come back often and join the discussion.