A New Style of Teaching

Pretty teacherThe article below appeared in the Herald Journal in the USA on 16 October 2006:

Vicky Neighbors has had an interest in education ever since she can remember. She even wrote an essay in seventh grade, “Teaching Exceptional Children,” about teaching children with special needs. For example, children who are very intelligent, but have trouble reading.

Neighbors had a younger brother who couldn’t read. She remembers him saying, “I’m so dumb, I hate school.”

It didn’t make sense to me that an intelligent person couldn’t read,” she said.

So, Neighbors, formerly a Lundeen of Cokato, went to college in Illinois for language development and continued her masters in speech and language pathology.

She later worked for a school in Illinois before moving with her husband, Paul, back to Cokato. She taught in DC as a speech pathologist before she began homeschooling her four children.

After finding out that her son, Reid, now 17, was dyslexic, she began reading about the learning disability and began homeschooling him after first grade.

“Reid loves to read now,” she said.

Three years ago, Neighbors heard about Audiblox, a learning system that works on developing the core fundamental skills necessary for learning.

Neighbors has found this program “extremely helpful” for all of her children, and now continues to tutor other school-age children and even adults in a memory program.

Audiblox, Neighbors describes, are brain exercises for any age.

After finding Audiblox successful with her own children, she decided she wanted to help others as well. In order to do this, she needed to be Audiblox-certified.

Last April, Neighbors trained in Spokane, Wash. to become a certified Audiblox provider. She is currently the only person trained in Audiblox in Minnesota.

Audiblox works to develop “foundational skills,” for reading, spelling, writing, mathematics, and the skills it takes to learn other subject matter.

Some of the foundational skills include the skill of concentration, short-term and long-term memory, logical thinking, and reasoning.

“It provides a foundation for any type of learning,” including learning difficulties, Neighbors said.

The program is highly structured and will help everyone, she said.

The program uses colored blocks, numbers, and words to exercise the foundational skills.

The program was originally developed in South Africa by Dr. Jan Strydom and was used to help prepare his own daughter for school.

After using Audiblox, his daughter’s teachers told him she was the most well-prepared student they’ve seen, according to Neighbors.

Now, many schools in South Africa require an Audiblox instructor, Neighbors said.

Audiblox works on any grade level by using different levels of instruction. There are certain criteria before moving on to the next level, she said.

Even though the levels get harder, students have an opportunity to fix their mistakes before moving on, Neighbors said.

“Differences can be seen within three months,” she said.

Most students find it fun to do. Reid enjoys it because it’s challenging, he said.

“The more you do, the better you get,” Neighbors said.

She is currently teaching her three children at home and finds it very rewarding, with one son “successfully off to college,” Neighbors said.

“I have teaching in my soul,” she said.

Neighbors tutors two groups, three times a week at her home in Cokato, with her children’s group meeting after school.

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