A picture is worth a thousand words. We hear it all the time. Images are so powerful and our reactions to images are so much stronger and more realistic than our reactions to mere words. As a firearms instructor, images are what lured me to Dahlonega, Georgia in late July. I jumped on the opportunity to take an instructor class called Image Based Decisional Drills taught by Shelley & Brian Hill of The Complete Combatant, LLC.
During a break on the first day of this incredible class, I was discovering the kid’s version, called Smart Choices. As I was skimming through the 84 image cards, my mind was racing with ideas. So many of us are visual learners but in my homeschooling household, multisensory learning is especially important. All three of my grandchildren have different learning abilities and struggles. This was going to be a game changer and I knew it the minute I had Smart Choices in my hands. I couldn’t wait to drive the 6 hours home and dive into my Smart Choices kit to get started.
I’ll admit it. I was very tempted to bypass the adorable purple Arlo The Ant covered stickers, magnet and “Setting You Up For Success” booklet to pull out the 84 image cards and pick the first one for my oldest grandchild to get started. I had to reel in my enthusiasm and make myself slow down to read through the booklet. I’m so glad I did because it really is a guide on the best ways to use this incredibly effective tool.
Choosing the first card was the hardest part for me. Since my oldest grandson is 11, severely dyslexic and has auditory processing disorder, he doesn’t learn as easily unless he gets a multisensory approach to whatever skill we’re asking him to learn. I chose a card with a vibrant palate of colorful vegetables laying on a cutting board with a rather large knife between two halves of an orange bell pepper. Once the card was chosen, I called my grandson into the room and the rest was just magical.
I showed him the image and used the helpful hints on the back of image card to have a lengthy discussion with a great back and forth conversation that flowed so naturally… all from this image! We talked about safety when working with knives in the kitchen, which knives he was allowed to use when we aren’t with him, what to do in case of an accident, where the Band-Aids were located, when it might be more than a Band-Aid type wound, and so much more. He asked questions. I asked questions. The beauty of this image didn’t stop there. We continued talking while I allowed my grandson to cut the vegetables up for our dinner, showing him the correct way to hold the knife and how not to accidently cut the hand holding the bell peppers. The verbal exchange continued as we made dinner together and sat down at the table to enjoy the meal we had created.
There are images for every age range and a variety of discussions can take place for each of those images based on the needs of your family and your experiences. The possibilities are limitless. I can easily see how these images could be used years apart for the same child and cause different learning experiences each time. The helpful hints on the back of each image help the adults steer the conversation or offer insights into topics we might not think of when we look at that image with our adult eyes.
On the front of the Smart Choices “Setting You Up For Success” booklet, it states the definition of success as “prepare your child by developing critical thinking & problem solving to help them make smart choices when you are not there”. With each image we share with the kids in our lives, we take a step in the right direction by opening the lines of communication on subjects that can be difficult to discuss without the aid of powerful images to get that ball rolling.
Home Schooling/Special Education
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Shelley is the creator of Smart Choices, a public speaker, and a supporter of THINKING AHEAD. Smart Choices BLOG is a mixture of stories, Q & A interaction, new thought provoking ideas, guest BLOGS/videos, and MORE!