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  1. #1

    Default Thinking of homeschooling my older child with learning challenges

    Hello All!

    My husband and I are very seriously considering homeschooling our 11 year old daughter. Actually, we've decided that this is right for her but we're now in the Dazed and Confused stage. I had briefly approached the idea a few years ago, but quickly talked myself out of it using the "I'm not an educator, therefore I am not qualified or smart enough" excuse. I've finally overcome that mindset. I mean, I'm an EMT, a massage therapist, bartender, yoga teacher and entrepreneur...I think I've proven that I can learn anything so why can't I teach one child, specifically the one child I know better than anyone?

    Quick history on my DD: M is 11 and has medical challenges that require a feeding pump and medications, so that has always been a huge stress for public school. The current school is fabulous at handling that and didn't fight us about a 504 plan, but she needs evaluations for learning problems that I've noticed since she was in kindergarten. These issues are constantly brushed off as "age appropriate" but now that she's 2 grades behind in math, I cannot understand where their line is between age appropriate and actual problem. We are financially *finally* getting to a point where we can pay for the evaluation since the school district is dragging their collective feet. I have a strong feeling that we're dealing either with some combination of stealth dyslexia, ADD and executive function disorder of some sort. We've had sensory issues since she was a baby but graduated from therapy, but I'm afraid it's re-emerging in ways that are affecting her schooling and her teachers are not prepared or willing to deal with it. She is very bright but has a horrible time "proving" it in traditional classrooms. Every parent teacher conference left me feeling like a crappy mom, in tears and too frustrated to put together a thoughtful dialogue with her teachers.

    I know that identifying exactly what we're dealing with will help guide the curriculum we choose, but I'm curious as to whether you have had experience educating your kiddos that have learning challenges? Are there curriculum to stay away from or even some that cater to these kiddos specifically? From what I'm seeing, an all in one will probably not work for her. She's all over the map when it comes to what grade she operates on for any given subject. I'm very lucky to have a cousin in town that is homeschooling her child (same age) with dyslexia and ADHD, and she pointed me towards Calvert, which has extra resources for learning challenges. I don't want to just default to it because it would be free though. I want to make sure that M and I BOTH understand and like the material. My cousin is a wealth of information, but she's also wildly busy between her work from home job and schooling her DD. I'm not worried about socialization, we're already involved in outside extracurriculars like archery and yoga, and she can do more PE with my CrossFit gym (yes yes, we're good at keeping safe form in our olympic lifts, haha!) My husband is 100% supportive, but he is her step-dad. Her dad will probably be on board once we develop an actual plan.

    I'm looking for curriculum: that will be flexible with her grade discrepancies, is adaptable for learning disabilities and is bviously secular since I'm on this site Very preferable is something that allows for creative and out of the box learning, like onsite learning visits to museums etc. Looking up curriculum is confusing and daunting. When M was younger she went to a cooperative preschool that sampled Montessori and Waldorf principles and she really thrived there. She's a very kinsesthetic learner (like her mamma) and does way better when she can see, her and DO the lesson rather than just read or hear it.

    I know it's a lot of jabber and questions but I feel like we need a little hand holding in the beginning! Thanks in advance!

    JenneyA

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  3. #2

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    Welcome!
    There are plenty of curriculum choices out there, most of us stay away from all-in-ones, instead more eclectically go for individual math, language arts, science, social studies, and the like. Sort of like learning a foreign language, you can choose Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, or whatever is currently trendy. No need to buy everything from one place, and if you do, chances are they dont specialize in any of it.
    If your cousin has Calvert stuff free, you could try some of the components as they suit you. Nobody will force you to use all of it! (I dont think anyone here uses it.)
    You also might want to start one subject at a time, so you arent trying to figure out a routine and a whole new lifestyle. Sort of like you wouldnt (okay, well I wouldnt) start a new diet, exercize routine, and housekeeping plan all at once. In addition, time off from schooling altogether (known as deschooling) would probably be a good idea. A couple weeks or months off from struggling about school stuff would likely do more good than harm. It wont make her fall behind. (But, most new homeschoolers dont seem to do this, and deal with burnout and stress in a few months, when everything isnt working out as planned before the start.)

    Let us know what sort of things your daughter likes, and how you think she would learn best. Its going to be trial and error for a while, dont panic when you get something that doesnt sit with either of you. And be especially grateful and appreciative of free!

    Also, at this age, you dont need a lot of curriculum. My son (just turned 11) is doing medieval history, which is consisting of Horrible Histories videos (british edutainment geared to kids), and making a medieval village in Minecraft. For the writing component of language arts, he is answering questions about the HH videos, and practicing short paragraphs. Hes also writing a medieval-set story. Learning doesnt need to be worksheets. (He's still reading the Percy Jackson books relating to Greek Gods... Im not pushing him to change gears.)

    Let us know, we can help!
    Homeschooling DS10, DS4.

    Atheist.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Evolved aselvarial's Avatar
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    I agree with AM about the deschooling. Especially if school itself has been a significant sort of stress in her life. Then, what I would do, is add a subject at a time. Start maybe with her favorite subject and then add one she struggles with, and just add them a little at a time. A) it will give her time to get a handle on each subject, B) let you truly see where she is, and C) not overwhelm both of you by starting it all up at once.
    1 son - Tech- '09
    homeschooling since '15

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  5. #4

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    This may not be helpful, but I know someone who swears by the orton-gillingham approach for their tween/teen with dyslexia. I see on the internet that some use it via homeschooling.
    Last edited by Bham Gal; 01-08-2017 at 12:26 AM.

  6. #5
    Site Admin Arrived Topsy's Avatar
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    First of all, take one of those really deep breaths and feel yourself relaxing because the truth is, it's about to get FUN! In my opinion homeschooling a child with any kind of challenges (physical or educational) is 1000% less stressful than always trying to push for what's best for your kiddo within the system. Both my sons had special needs and I wouldn't have traded homeschooling for the world (we're all done now, but I'm in the nostalgic looking back stage). When you're customizing an education for your own child, there are no specific rules to follow and no "failures" - - simply experiences and things you learn from experience. Plus, don't ever second guess yourself as a teacher. I never saw myself as a teacher for my boys; just a facilitator who tried to help them get to the right resources at the right time.

    As far as curriculum, Time4Learning was a big help for us because, like you, my youngest was on different levels for different subjects, and Time4Learning gives you access to the grade above and the grade below the one you sign up for. Plus, its got a big focus on kids who learn differently. As far as specifically kinesthetic programs, you can browse the curriculum directory here at SHS and filter to programs that are listed as "multisensory" and that will guide you toward some great stuff in different subjects. The best advice, though, is not to put too much money into curriculum at the beginning. Spend some time getting to know your daughter's learning style, her interests, and her curiosities, and the curriculum part will come naturally over time.

    Please do keep us posted with how things are going and don't hesitate to ask ANY questions here along the way!
    Topsy
    Loyal minion, er...ADMIN of SecularHomeschool.com


  7. #6

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    In my state, if you give a letter to the administration requesting testing, they must do it within so many days. I would start there, and see if they find anything. I pulled my DD, and 6 months later decided we needed the evaluation, so I had one done at a college. It was the best think I did for my DD, and I wish I had started with a basic evaluation before we ever started or insisted the school do one when we continued to have issues. You cannot work on issues if you don't know what those issues are- first you have to find what is going on. It could be ADD, ADHD, oral comprehension, auditory processing, dyslexia- there really is no way to say without looking at the testing.


    Once you know the results, you will know where to start. There are lots of curriculums out there, and you will be able to adjust to fit your daughter. Homeschooling is such a wonderful opportunity for kids who don't learn in the (boring) traditional way- so many ways to customize and fit your childs interests and personality!
    Mom to 5 great kids~

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Thinking of homeschooling my older child with learning challenges