The Right Side of Normal – A Book Review

I’m supposed to be writing a book review and find myself thinking of it in terms of something I recently re-read in Charlotte Mason’s Home Education (Vol. 1 of the Original Homeschooling Series). On pages 8 -10 she discusses the differences between a method which she advocates as feeding “the vital growth and movement of a LIVING being”  and a system which she cautions against as being detrimental to a living being with thoughts, feelings and ideas of their own because “

In our society, education is set up on a one way track from Pre-K through 12 grade with specific stops that are required for all, whether or not a person needs or is ready for them. There is not room for deviation from this prescribed ride and if one doesn’t conform, then one is given a label – a label which tends to alienate and destroy one’s self-identity and confidence. This is especially true in today’s society where conforming and being the same as everyone else is acclaimed as normal and desirable above all else.

Enter in “The Right Side of Normal – Understanding and Honoring the Natural Learning Path for Right-Brained Children” by Cindy Gaddis.

The Right Side of Normal

Photo via Amazon


This book is a breath of fresh air for parents who have struggling learners. Mrs. Gaddis has spent many years researching and documenting how right-brained children learn and has presented the fruits of her labors in this book.

“Common labels for right-brained children are ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyscalculia, auditory processing disorder, phonological awareness disorder, vision disorders, sensory processing disorders, and other general learning disabilities.”  ~ The Right Side of Normal (pg. 14)

“It’s a huge eye-opener when it’s also understood that so many of the symptoms of these disabilities have a direct correlation to how a right-brained learner comes to information based on the way the right side of the brain processes information. Is this even a disability?” ~ The Right Side of Normal, pg. 354.

I learned a lot about my right-brained children and one of the most needed reassurances is that my children WILL learn it as they are ready. In the meantime, I need to keep spreading the broad feast of ideas because the ideas inspire the child to want to do something out of their skill level and are often the motivation for the child to acquire new skills. 

There are different levels of ability within the right-brained sphere. Some are less able to cross over to left-brained thinking at younger ages, but some do okay. I was completely surprised to discover that one of my children who does quite well with left-brained activities on the schedule presented by Mrs. Gaddis is actually a strong right-brained learner. That made me smile and say “I get that now” as I pondered about some of what I thought were this child’s individual quirks – they are very common in right-brained children. Knowing that has improved our relationship because I see her motivation more clearly.

I would recommend this book to anyone with questions about their children’s learning processes, whether they are homeschooled or in public school of some sort. Learning about this goes a long to helping you be an effective advocate for your child’s quality of education and, ultimately, his life.

Disclaimer: All opinions are my own and I receive nothing in return for my opinion. 


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