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  1. #1

    Default Anyone familiar with ODD? (warning, novel inside)

    I called my sister tonight about DD1 because she has a special needs child. My nephew has ADHD, Tourettes and ODD (along with several other not as prominent issues). After reading many posts here I wanted to ask her about Aspergers because I was starting to see DD in a lot of the posts.

    One of the reasons we pulled DD out of PS was behavioural issues. She picked up and copied all the worst behaviours from her classmates. They just seem magnified now.

    She has "listening problems". She knows the rules in the house. We are very consistent parents who don't change things all the time so the rules and expectations have been the same all her life. Yet she doesn't listen. You can tell her she can't do X and 5 minutes later you find her doing it as if she had permission to do so.

    She has some very weird habits like picking/tearing her toenails. Yesterday she was sitting on the couch reading and suddenly came to me saying her toenail came off. Now her pinkie toenails are very oddly shaped and fragile so it doesn't surprise me how easy they come off, but this (tearing off the entire pinkie nail) has happened several times.

    No kind of reinforcement works for her. Negative, positive, rewards systems, ect.... Reward systems seem to work a little bit but no matter how much she loves them (cause she does, she gets excited anytime one is introduced) they only work for a few days to a couple weeks.

    Yesterday I let her pick out some toys that she could earn with good behaviour. Real toys too not just dollar store junk. She picked out stuff she was really excited to play with. Today I reminded her of our "deal" of good behaviour/toy. At least 20 times today she was reminded of this yet the bad behaviour stayed.

    She has a food issue. She is boarderline overweight, something we've struggled with for a few years. She was worse around 5 yrs old but thankfully has become more proportionate. However, she steals and hides food. In plain view she eats more than I do, sometimes as much as DH who is a labourer for a living (read eats a LOT). Then she steals more. Usually junk food (which is "normally" restricted, it's a treat - not all the time, but not never), but also healthy food. She'll wake in the middle of the night, take food from the kitchen and hide it in her bed. She'll over eat to the point of an upset stomach.

    She has extremes when it comes to empathy. Either she seems to not care at ALL about other people's feelings or care WAY too much. Example, DD2 fell and cut her cheek on a bolt on my treadmill, the baby cried for maybe 30 seconds. DD1 cried for 3 HOURS. And it wasn't a guilt thing either cause DD1 had nothing to do with it, she was on the other end of the room. Even after we came back from the drs and told her all Olivia needed was a special bandaid (one of those butterfly ones to hold the edges together) and was perfectly fine (at this point DD2 was laughing and playing) yet DD1 was still freaking out.

    When she's asked why she does X, her tone of voice, her body language, her facial expressions all say she truely has NO IDEA why. It's almost like that old imaginary friend thing, ya know "I didn't do it, Boo did" (while she does have an imaginary friend she has not actually blamed "Naya" for anything, it was just an example.

    She has immature social issues. She is 8 1/2 and seems far more interested in stuff (tv shows, toys, ect...) for preschoolers than anything her peers may think is "cool". While I am a great believer in nothing is too babyish for her to like, it seems odd that she really doesn't seem to care about anything that is meant for her age level.

    She loves crafty stuff. Could do it for hours. But won't in any shape way or form take care of her craft supplies. If she steps on a box of crayons her demeanor is like "oh well" but then later gets upset when she doesn't have the crayons. At one point I told her I wouldn't buy anymore supplies since she didn't take care of them, she'd have to buy them with her own money. She went out and spent her own money and took care of them the exact same way. I told her at another point that I'd buy her more craft stuff or new different types of craft stuff if she could show me she could take care of them (and at this point all I cared was that they weren't on the floor), still, took care of them the same way as before, didn't.

    She discovered nail salons. Her friend got her nails done with airbrushing pictures. Brianna fell in love. We made a deal that if she'd even just TRY to stop biting her nails I'd take her to get them done. She's never made it through even one day without biting them even though she constantly says she will and can we get her nails done next week.

    So after all this, my sister says it sounds like it may be ODD (oppositional defiance disorder). She's going to see if maybe my nephew's dr will see DD to do some testing. Does anyone here have a child with it? Is there anyway to treat it without meds? Of course, I don't KNOW that DD has it, but it would be nice to get others opinions on it.

    Sorry this is rambling, it's late and my nerves are frayed from talking about this all night with my sister.
    Sam, mom to 4 (2 boys 12 and 15, living with their other parents, homeschooling 3 girls, mine - 9 (grades 3-6) and the 2 yr old (who thinks she's in Kindergarten) and my niece 11 (grades 3-6), wife, coffee addict and new homeschooling lifer. Hand-written eclectic curriculum with a mix of workbooks, internet and life.
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  3. #2
    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    Ok, not sure where to start.

    I dont think it sounds at ALL like ODD. ODD - oppositional defiant order. She is NOT oppositional. ODD kids will SCREAM at you for telling them what to do. Before I took my youngest off food dyes, he would literally BITE me if I tried to stop him from hitting his brother.

    I think one thing you might want to read about is Executive Function (disorder?) because that might make more sense with her.

    My older son has been dx'd over time with aspergers, pdd-nos (milder than aspergers), adhd, bipolar, tourettes and processing disorder. Many of the things you describe which are bothering are things he did AND STILL DOES. When he was 4, he dropped his favorite computer game CD on the floor and ran over it with the computer chair. I pointed out clearly how he destroyed his favorite game by not putting his cd's away . .. there are STILL computer games on the floor under his chair 10 years later.

    He is NOT being defiant - he just doesnt have the mental organizational skills to remember to do this kind of important thing. When he would get in trouble at school, he would cry and say what a horrible person he was and how he didnt deserve to live. no amount of rewards and punishments EVER helped him to get things done. Heck, he still wont brush his teeth regularly, even tho he HATES how much time the hygenist has to spend scrubbing his teeth because of it.

    They really dont have the function in their brains that helps them choose to proactively take care of the physical world.

    For my son, we often have used checklists. However, he cant REMEMBER to do the checklist = i have to remind him to go do his checklist. Now, if I am consistent, he will usually remember.

    So, for your daughter's crayons - if you institute a regular time each day when she is required to put away all her art supplies, and you make sure she has a system in place, and you make sure she DOES the system - the crayons would stay unbroken and you can HOPE that, after 4 years of reminding her every day, it will become a habit. I am NOT exaggerating.

    My son still wants to buy junky toys at gift shops, dollar shops - he 14! He has no interest in the things other boys his age are interested in. He is very, very immature. Yes, it is odd. However, no diagnosis or treatment will change that. You need to focus more on pretecting her self esteem so that she feels free to pursue her own interests, rather than trying to conform to what she is 'supposed' to be interested in - that could cripple her for the rest of her life.

    about the rules - i'm curious if there are consequences? My son is able to accept consequences when he breaks rules - which agian, is a SURE sign its not ODD. however, I have very few rules and he still messes up a lot. and meds . . . not usually. i would suggest checking out dietary changes. As I said, my youngest became much easier to handle once he was off food dyes, gluten, dairy and eggs. But he would scream and bite and kick - i assume that if that was an issue with your daughter, you would have mentioned it

    so - i answered your novel with a novel! It cant hurt to get a good evaluation, but i really dont think it sounds like ODD. and really, when you have a kid who is very different, the 'consistent' parenting that works with normal kids just wont work. Its a whole different ball game. Good luck.
    Cara, homeschooling one
    Raven, ds 10, all around intense kid
    Orion, floundering recent graduate
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  4. #3
    BrendaE
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    My DSS has ODD as his official diagnosis. There is an EXTREME amount of screaming and physical abuse from child to parent on this... a few of the other things you mentioned arent something I have to deal with though. I know DSS fits pretty much every single ODD characteristic there is though. As of now he is losing his mind about a shower so I will write more later.

  5. #4

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    When I was teaching, our school (it was a very small, very close knit school that served a strange variety of kids - many of whom had what you might call "issues") briefly had a couple of kids who were diagnosed as ODD. I have to say, what you describe does not sound like either of those kids. For one of them, we even had a psychologist come and talk to us as a faculty about ODD and what it was like and how to handle it. In the end, we ended up parting with both students - and not on positive terms, sadly. My understanding is that ODD kids can be extremely charming and sweet, but then can really lash out with a lot of anger and even violence. Again, just my limited understanding, but I think kids with ODD are manipulative and very needy - as it was described to me, they want attention but don't know how to get it - thus the extremes of charming and furious.

    Your dd actually sounds a LOT like a former student of mine - a girl I taught for four years who was a massive pain in the neck, but who ultimately turned out okay. I'm actually sort of having a massive flashback, because other than the weight thing she sounds so like her - though this kid also had food issues - but more about control than weight or body image. And I'm really feeling for you as this particular kid drove me nuts (and was proud to do so!). One of those kids who drives you so nuts that you know you must actually really like them. I wish I could remember all her various diagnoses and I totally can't. I know she supposedly had ADHD and she took meds for it - but she didn't have aspergers or ODD - really, she was just a quirky kid. But she also had a similar issue with uneven empathy and she had all those habits you talk about with the picking at things (sometimes really extreme too...) - even the thing about being into stuff intended for younger kids. She cared very little what others thought about her, but she was also very social - if you played by her terms (which, it always astounded me, but some kids did - she had a a whole group of friends - I think some of them were in awe of how much she was just her own person all the time).

    I don't know if this is useful to you, but the thing that usually worked with her was to always go sideways and try to never meet her head on. She was a kid who was good at doing deals. I don't know if your dd might be this way, but the girl she reminds me of would always honor her side of a bargain - even if it took forever or she was really lawyerly about it. So if I said, okay, you don't have to do this assignment you don't like or you don't have to go to PE today or do your clean up job now or whatever, but then I offered her other options - like, but you have to do a, b, or c. Then that often worked really well. Or, if instead of saying, do this now, I said, this is what has to happen from my perspective - the vacuuming has to be done or you have to learn to write an essay or whatever - and then asked her how can what you're doing fit into that then she would often make a deal on her own. She was a painfully slow worker, but she would come and propose her own timetable to get stuff done. She also really benefited from chewing gum or eating tic tacs during school. She also benefited so much from strong routines and lots of warning about transitions, changes, etc. Her space and her binder had to be in order for her to do things. I remember we used to actually use her binder as an example to other kids - because once she had a routine down for keeping stuff in its place, then she stuck to it religiously.

    Okay, that was all probably just rambling and not that helpful. Can you take your dd for an evaluation? It seems like it would be worth it. If I were in your shoes, I would find a way to do that.
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  6. #5

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    I agree with Cara; it doesn't sound like ODD to me (read Ross Greene's book, The Explosive Child for some descriptions of what that can look like) but I would definitely get her evaluated. If she has Asperger's or just extreme problems with executive functioning you'll want to know--there are specific strategies and therapies that can help. Oops, and I should mention, I agree that it sounds like there may be some sensory processing issues as well.
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  7. #6
    BrendaE
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    OK, so I am back. My novel turn I suppose. I have been DSS's 24/7 nanny for almost 2 years now. Wow, time has flown. When I first started to care for him, he was coming out of a neglectful situation to live with his active duty Army dad. Army dad wanted nothing to do with mental health. PERIOD> So I was very constrained. DSS was almost completely non communicative. He even only answered yes or no by using ASL. No matter what you said to him, or asked him, or..well anything.. ended in a screaming rage of destruction. He was even trying to kill himself at the tender age of 6 There was no reasoning, no if thens, he didnt care about rules, others, himself, property.. nothing. Everything was open game to destroy. At that time I didnt really know what I was going up again and did as much research as I could without being able to take him to a mental health professional. I did happen upon ODD. I implemented EVERYThING I could on it.

    What the OP said above is sooooo true. This kind of child is a master manipulator and they WILL NOT ever give up. Our first 3 months together were some kind of hell. I spent hours upon hours with him in a buddy hold just screaming. It sounds maybe cruel to others, but I had to find a way to show him he was NOT in control and take his power away. While its usually the opposite for most children, this child was a raging mess because he had all the power. I remember the day he "broke" or I broke him quite clearly. I was standing outside shaking from raw emotion of him screaming hitting biting kicking throwing of an 11 HOUR session. I actually DID have to literally throw all of his toys one by one into the dumpster where he could see it out the window. People who dont live through this think thats rather extreme... thats all I can say on the matter for now. When a child goes into a rage because you tell him he can have cereal or yogurt for breakfast..and he cant HELP but choose something else BECAUSE of the inherent prerogative to defy EVERYTHING. I do mean everything. I cant say it enough so I will say it again. EVERYTHING> the sky is blue? no.. its GREEN! This was only made worse because he had never really learned to communicate properly. After that fateful day, I got .... rewarded? So did he I guess. I made up a chart of positive impact statements where he basically had to shout the he was dependable, responisible, had self respect, respect for others, happiness & love, integrity etc... and the definition of each with a final shout out of "I AM RESPECTFUL" at the very end. What ever of those rules he violated, he had to go and read it out. If he didnt and in a set amount of time, another toy went to the dumpster. Even this took a week to sink in completely. He began communicating. I talked to him ALLLLLLLL the time.. morning to night, about how he might feel, about how others might feel, about how I felt.. in all kinds of situations. He didnt respond a lot in the beginning but he was listening even if he wasnt looking. Looking back on all of this now... I dont know how either of us got through it. It was dawn to dusk 7 days a week. Every situation had to be explained. With the positives of correct behaviour and the possible negatives of incorrect behaviour. THEN and only then did we begin home schooling. That went very well all things considered. A few months ago.... DSS cried for the very first time, not because he was in a rage, but because something emotionally saddened him. It felt like a miracle. I just held him and though he was sad, I was weeping with happiness. It took a long long time before he could even be trusted to be around his peers for fear he would hurt them.

    Things improved so much that for 4 months we attempted public school. 3.5 weeks ago I ended up pulling him back out and bringing him back home. The whole situation was too stressful for him and he was starting to lose his feelings of self confidence and he was also getting into a lot of trouble at school. You see, he is STILL defiant. About just about everything. He has sort..or at least for most hours of the day gotten a handle of it. He will still manipulate for no reason at all.. on well.. everything.. but its not to the point of rage and he is using his words now to communicate. Sometimes he does still lose it.. once a day or at least every other day... and he will stomp off and slam a door. he will shout I HATE YOU. He will still growl like a wild animal (which is actually a little scary sounding). All of the things I have practices with him in addition to those rules I wrote about fall into place and for the most part his behaviour is managed quickly and he is back to feeling happy and sometimes he even apologizes for saying the i hate yous with out a prompt.

    The only reason I now know they are calling it ODD is because when his father shipped off for a year long tour, I started taking him to mental health. Yes, it is behind his fathers back, and no.. I dont care. I will do whatever is in the best interest of this child I have come to love so deeply. He wasnt born of my body but he came to life for me..right in front of me, for the first time, for Real.


    His last visit to the Psych was last week, and he had to leave the room, so I took DSS's chart and just read it. It was laying on his desk. There it had a bunch of notes and ODD all over the place. I wonder why on earth the psych hasnt commented or said a word to me on it. I am too tired to care.


    So... those are the things that happen when a child has ODD... the other stuff you mention for your child, I really have no idea about. I do know your the best advocate for them. Research, watch, help, and get help. If something doesnt feel right from the people you get help from... go see someone else.

    I dont know if this helped, I certainly hope so. In writing it, I have gone through a sea of emotions. Loses and victories. memories..... and a lot of hard work and love..all in the space of 2 little years...

    //Brenda

  8. #7
    Senior Member Evolved Jeni's Avatar
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    I don't know much about ODD other then what I have researched on my own. My child doesn't have it, but my step brother may have (he's has been out of the family picture for several years now). I do agree with the others, that doesn't seem to be the case here.

    A lot of the issues sound like she's a young 8. She sounds socially immature and while you and your spouse may be consistent, kids now a days don't view consequence the same way we did as children. For example, not picking up her craft supplies.... Why does she still have them accessible? She sounds like my kids, they are blessed to have more then they could ever want to play with so they don't care when things get broken or destroyed. They know that mom and dad will pick it up eventually, that they will have it replaced in some fashion so why should they bother to care? This is TOTALLY our fault, but we are far from alone in this. It's easier said then done, but taking the items away. Something we (and a friend of ours as well) have started to do is set a timer and whatever is not picked up gets put in a trash bag. It gets put into storage until I can sort it out and pack it up or donate it. I am a pack rat, so throwing clothes and toys away is not an option for me. It seems to work on two fronts. It limits the amount of toys they can choose between and they remember that result much longer.

    The nail picking, sometimes it's uncontrollable and no amount of bribes will help. I have done the same thing since I was a little girl, though I have never taken my whole toenail off. Does it bleed when she does that? My pinky toenails are extremely brittle and odd shaped too, I've always wondered what that's about. I couldn't stop biting my nails for all the money in the world. I seriously have no idea I am even doing it 90% of the time. And when I realize it I often can't stop. Can you make note of when your dd is most likely to do nail picking/biting? I do it most often when I am feeling stressed or nervous. But also when I am watching movies or TV. I tend to bite later in the day or at night. On that note, getting her nails done might be fun for her but if she's anything like me, it won't stop the biting. If they are acrylic, I will bite them right off after a couple days. I can't help it. But that's why I don't bother wasting the money getting it done.

    The overeating and food hoarding would bother me the most. I might talk to a professional about that for suggestions. Have you moved recently or added/lost a member of your family? She could be hoarding because she feels out of control in other areas of her life. Just a thought.

    I have never hoarded food, but I do tend to overeat. You might try things like serving food on a child size plate (9 inches I believe) and using the half plate rule (half salad/minimal dressing). This tricks your mind into thinking you are eating a lot more. Make sure she knows that it's not okay to eat like daddy. Daddy leads a different lifestyle and that is reflected in his food intake. Your dd shouldn't have that kind of control over her own meals. They should be plated for her and once she is done, she's done. Our kids and even our guests do not serve themselves. We don't have room for them to do this, but apart from that, it takes that power out of the hands of people (my kids) who don't have the skills to know how much or how little to take. Part of this is dh's fault. He was allowed to be a picky eater as a child and it caused a lot of problems in our early relationship. I promised myself and him that I would never abide by that type of behavior. So they have very little say. I will be flexible like not adding cheese to my dd's sandwiches but beyond that, it's out of the questions. Kids don't dictate food in our house.

    Have her drink lots of water! When I set a goal to drink a certain amount of water and began charting my progress, I realized that I was so much more hungry when I was not drinking enough. They have tons of fun and cool looking reusable cup things for pretty cheap. I have a plastic 25 oz one from Walmart and a 16 oz one from Old Navy, both for $5. Don't substitute other liquids like milk, juice, or soda. It does not have the same result. Our bodies need water. If she drinks a glass before and after her meals, she may very well feel fuller.

    Put a lock on the fridge. Put a tall gate in the kitchen entryway or get a lock on the kitchen door if you have one. These things work for my kids to limit their habit of taking food in between meals. Let her have a bottle/cup of ice water and a (child size) plate with crackers, carrot sticks, apple slices, other veggies, light popcorn, or other type of healthy snack food to keep by her bedside at night. It might limit her trying to steal more if she feels like she has some control over picking it out and it's okay with you. Good luck. I hope you are able to figure out what's going on.

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    Senior Member Arrived dbmamaz's Avatar
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    Oh, I forgot about the food hoarding - just curious, has she always lived with you? The only stories I've heard of young kids hoarding food is kids who had spent time REALLY hungry - not being fed anywhere near enough. If thats the case, you might not want to just lock the fridge, because she is trying to get over trauma. but if thats not the case, I agree that you might need to control her impulses when she cant. My son's meds make him eat a lot, and we are constantly telling him that he can NOT have another snack, but he can have some sugerless bubblegum - he likes having things in his mouth. Its a hard balance, because he's 14 and only 5'3, so we know he's going to grow soon - i try to encourage him to eat as much at meals as he wants, and as much healthy snacks, but its just the huge bowls of cereal at bedtime.
    Cara, homeschooling one
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  10. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by dbmamaz View Post
    Ok, not sure where to start.

    I dont think it sounds at ALL like ODD. ODD - oppositional defiant order. She is NOT oppositional. ODD kids will SCREAM at you for telling them what to do. Before I took my youngest off food dyes, he would literally BITE me if I tried to stop him from hitting his brother.

    I think one thing you might want to read about is Executive Function (disorder?) because that might make more sense with her.

    ......

    It cant hurt to get a good evaluation, but i really dont think it sounds like ODD. and really, when you have a kid who is very different, the 'consistent' parenting that works with normal kids just wont work. Its a whole different ball game. Good luck.
    I agree. Have you kept a behavior log to see if there is any pattern to the behavior? You might try that. Keep track of her mood, sleep patterns, and anything else you deem appropriate. There are plenty of logs online that you can print off. It doesn't sound like ODD to me, either. It could be many things: Executive function disorder, depression, sensory integration disorder, ADD inattentive type... or a combination of the above. But it doesn't sound like ODD.

    I understand where you're coming from. It's a process to work through everything and see what fits. There's a grief process, too, if a diagnosis is warranted. An evaluation would help a lot. I remember going through the process with M1, and we're still IN the process with M2. It's exhausting to not know what's going on and not feel like you're able to help your kid. I never know who's going to walk out of M2's room in the morning, the Jekyl or the Hyde. Yesterday and today it was Jekyl. Two days ago it was Hyde. Incentives don't work around here, either. I just have to stand over the kids and be the slave driver from dawn till dusk and pray that it sinks in before they're 18.

    Keep us posted!
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  11. #10
    Senior Member Evolved Jeni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dbmamaz View Post
    Oh, I forgot about the food hoarding - just curious, has she always lived with you? The only stories I've heard of young kids hoarding food is kids who had spent time REALLY hungry - not being fed anywhere near enough. If thats the case, you might not want to just lock the fridge, because she is trying to get over trauma. but if thats not the case, I agree that you might need to control her impulses when she cant.
    This is true and the first thing a professional will want to know. Like others have said, keep a journal. If there isn't an obvious reason like trama, it might be a case of too much control and too few restrictions or consequences. A journal will help you pick out the patterns and you will go in with the information at hand. A doctor will expect you to do this anyway, so get it done now before getting her tested or talking to someone.

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Anyone familiar with ODD? (warning, novel inside)