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  1. #1
    Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    3

    Cool Hello from Ragged and Tattered Coastal Georgia!

    Hello, My name is Sam or SoSam (I answer to both)and my boys and I are so excited to have found this place! We have had a very long and heavy trip we needed to take before arriving here. I am a Homeschooling mamma that has given up on the public school system in Georgia.
    I had to remove both my boys (Grd(s) 5/6 & 6/7) do to the appalling teaching practices we have endured the past couple of years. We have gone from Public Schools in the Effingham County area, Chatham County area and then into the Privet Schooling offered until we finally had enough and are now Homeschooling. Both my boys are autistic and have different issues which we have found the Georgia education departments to be severely unmatched for. My youngest is exceptional at academics but lacks the ability to socialize with peers and my oldest is defiant, verbally stims uncontrollably especially when stressed out and has dysgraphia. We moved to Effingham Georgia From Dorchester County South Carolina in 2012 when my oldest had just turned 8 and my youngest was 4, Eight Months prior we had lived in Kansas(Life of a contractor). My oldest was in the 4th grade at this time but because he had not finished his grade in the public school system and because I had registered him as a homeschooler the last part of the 2011-2012 school year (due to moving) the Principal in the GA school refused to accept his schoolwork and refused to test him to place him in an appropriate grade. Instead he was first placed into pre-school classes then later into 1st grade.
    I now know I should have taken this to the school board but believed the Principal at the time when she said it was how GA did things. After the 2013-2014 school year ended we moved to a small Island and to what we thought was better schooling but after fighting with those schools for years I pulled my boys out and am now trying to fix all the years of bull.
    My youngest is way above his grade level in his math and reading but made to much noise to be in any advanced classes. I was told he disturbed the other students to much, funny how he was OK in the inclusion classes tho. My oldest is not able to spell past a Forth/Fith grade level, cannot write in cursive at all and does not form his letters correctly and is behind in math. The teachers told my son he didn't need to spell or write because he had a tablet to spell check and could speak to text anything he needed to write. I asked them if they passed the exams to become Teachers not knowing how to spell or write?
    I am now trying to find any books or programs to help my oldest get caught back up which is how I found this forum and I am hoping some of you may be able to guide us on our journey.

    ~SoSam~

  2. T4L In Forum Mar19
  3. #2

    Default

    Welcome! So sorry youve had a rough time with bureaucracy and incompetence!

    About your oldest - has he been seeing an Occupational Therapist for his writing? If not, you would probably benefit from an evaluation, to pinpoint where he is with his fine motor skills, and to help discover if there are language processing issues affecting him. They can also help you put together a plan to help the two of you going forward with writing, and even cursive, if you think that is crucial. (When was the last time you wrote in cursive?)
    We can give you suggestions for spelling curriculum, but without knowing how you need to approach it, its hard to give good advice.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3
    Junior Member Newbie
    Join Date
    Mar 2019
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    3

    Default

    @alexsmom: Thank you
    I haven't taken him to see an Occupational Therapist for his writing, my youngest son had trouble with pinching and grasping when he was younger and we spent two years working with the physical therapist doing lots of exercises for strengthening hand and arm muscles and I have Incorporated parts of that into helping my oldest with hand fatigue and proper grip. I have also purchasing books I'm teaching children with dysgraphia to learn more about what problems I am facing and have been watching YouTube videos of course.LOL I also purchased the handwriting without tears program and we started from there. I also purchased a cd ROM with the handwriting without tears fonts on it to create all of his worksheets in the same text he's working on daily to help him associate the correct form and so far he's doing well and not getting frustrated, that is my biggest key to keep him from being frustrated. In our classroom we prefer to write in cursive whenever writing is necessary. Most of our books I scan to PDF and we use typing minus spelling and penmanship this way we still get practice everyday but are not frustrating him to the point where he shuts down. I purchased french rule paper from Dick Blick to help his letters even. For spelling I started out using building spelling skills and vocabulary spelling city we do still use these Weekly but I have also adopted a spelling book from the horizon line that is written in cursive to help him become familiar with cursive wording. He likes the book and the pictures but it's a little frustrating when they use Bible verses and then I have to stop and explain what it is they're talking about. So I begin scanning that in to a PDF and Editing out anything not necessary pertaining to the lesson which is working okay for now. My biggest concern is the end of the year testing required because I know in public schools just passed him based on his autism status which is why he's at the level he is now. However I don't know how they will look at Testing for a homeschooler. My youngest was able to catch up anything not taught to him by using the weekly activities along with the work we do daily however I've been unable to find anything remotely close to help my oldest son. He told me he would like to graduate early and I don't have it in me to tell him that because I spent so many years trying to get the public school system to do their job instead of doing it myself that at this stage it's not possible. So I am trying to do everything I can to help him catch up I want him to be proud of himself and not feel bad because he was born a little differently than others. I don't feel Super confident about teaching my children to the point we're they could actually graduate and go on to College but I am going to do my best and I'm hoping to keep learning from parents who have succeeded in doing what I'm attempting because I don't see any other options and know 100% that letting others teach my children is not an option.

  5. #4

    Default

    Dont panic, you will be fine! He will be fine!
    Regarding the Georgia state testing, you will have to talk with locals to get a feel for the ins and outs.
    My impression is that you are trying to make too much work for youself, that it will be more likely to crash and burn. Simpler is often better. If you can get that eval for your older son, they may give you tips that you hadnt thought of to help him.
    HWT is a nice program, but I dont see why youre trying to force cursive on him. It doesnt seem like a hill youd want to die over, when there are other more pressing academic issues. My oldest learned cursive, we spent some time reading handwritten xmas cards (Gramas friends still do that... and in cursive), and called it a completed unit study. Its been proven that it isnt a particularly faster way to write, and it is often less legible than printing.
    Especially if there is an underlying issue, drill and kill isnt necessarily the best way to get results, and will end up being a miserable battle between you (desperately trying to improve his skills) and him (desperately unhappy with the work). For spelling (my experience is n=2), some kids seem to get it, some kids dont. My oldest son is a terrible speller, and finally has the attention to detail to use spell check when he types. My youngest, with severe apraxia (and has been with Speech and OT since he was 2), cheerfully accepts that some words are spelled strangely, and has memorized all the sight words he has come across.
    A comprehensive program like All About Spelling, which I understand explains the why behind our byzantinian spelling rules, might be helpful for your older son.
    Adapt whatever you choose to his needs. Make it interesting for him, and perhaps he wont see education as such a horrific experience that he wants to graduate early.
    I know that I frequently underestimate my youngest, SN son. Then I feel guilty about it. My baby wanted to learn to sing. (This from the kid who can barely talk, that at nearly 7, most adults cant understand what he says.) Our charter pays for lessons, so we started. Hes not singing operettas yet, but hes working damn hard and impressing the snot out of me, his therapists, and his music teacher. Three months ago, I doubted that he would be able to play the recorder with two hands.... and he is doing it. Each step might take him a lot more work and focus than it would other kids, but hes doing it.

    Dont give up on your oldest, or of teaching him, or of him being able to “graduate” early. Break everything into the steps he needs to take, and find ways to tackle each one. Change the program if its not working. (I think Ive gone through every reading program in the last year and half trying to find something that works for a kid that can neither speak nor write well, and have even written to Deaf schools to ask what they use.)
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #5

    Default

    I haven't been able to read even thing yet but I just wanted to let you know that my second oldest son (19yo) has dysgraphia. There comes a point with dysgraphic kids that you stop trying to get their writing legible and you start letting them type or dictate their written work. Even once he transitioned to public school, the schools let him type or dictate most of his work through an IEP. With dysgraphia, depending on the severity, his writing may never be legible but that doesn't mean he can't put his thoughts and words into writing. I would focus less on "beating a dead horse" with teaching handwriting at this point and focus more on polishing his writing voice and find alternative ways to get his words on paper. There are tons of options for speech-to-text or if he is willing to learn, typing may be a good route for him.

    Also I think 6/7 grade is a little early to rule out the possibility of graduating early. If that is his goal, then I would do everything I could to help him reach it. But take it in tiny steps and realize that he may not take the traditional route to graduating early. Start by laying out with him (not for him) the goals he must reach before high school and make a tentative plan to reach those goals. You may ask him what he considers to be graduating early. Does he mean taking community college classes in high school? Does he mean starting full time college early? Does he mean starting a job when he is 16? You may be surprised that his definition of graduating early might not match your definition. If he is determined and has the ambition, I would help him find a way to follow it.

  7. #6

    Default

    Welcome to Georgia, sorry about the schools. Don't get hung up on the testing, as the state laws for homeschooling only require standardized testing to be done every 3 years starting at the end of 3rd grade, using a nationally normed test of your choosing, and you don't have to submit the results to anyone. Just make sure you submit the declaration of intent every year. It might also be helpful to try finding a homeschool group. Secular or even inclusive groups are admittedly harder to find in this state, but they exist. Best of luck.

  8. #7

    Default

    May I ask why your son wants to graduate early?
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward

    Daughter (22), a University of Iowa senior triple majoring in English with Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son (21), a Purdue University junior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

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