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  1. #1

    Default Newish Homeschooling Mom

    Hi everyone,

    I'm really happy I found this forum. I have two daughters that I am homeschooling through a local charter. I've always wanted to homeschool my girls, but my husband was completely against it. Let me give you a little history about our situation. Sorry, this will most likely be long.

    Last year (2019-2020 school year) my then 7th grader suffered a head injury at school during PE. A football struck her in the eye with such force she suffered a concussion. This happened in October. After a few days at home the doctor felt she was ready to head back to school. That's when things became worse for us. She was suffering migraines and could not handle the stress and noise at school. She was able to handle an hour or two at school, but the next day she would still be suffering with a migraine and panic attacks and would not be able to go to school. She was in all honors classes so the time she missed put her really far behind. Then she started to have seizure-like episodes. Finally, after fighting with the school over absences and not being able to attend for over a month (because I was afraid she would fall again) we decided to pull her out and homeschool. My husband was completely on board this time.

    Our struggles with her were not over. She was still having migraines that had her screaming in pain, lights and unexpected sounds would send her into one of her "episodes". We did as much schooling as we could, but it wasn't much. Her seventh grade year was basically a lost year.

    Our family situation also started effect our other daughter who was still attending 5th grade at the public school. She has ADHD and we think she could also have dysgraphia or dyscalculia. My girls share a room and when DD1 would have nighttime struggles it would keep DD2 up at night and we did not want her to go to school with no sleep. We also were having medical tests run for DD1 which meant we would need to be at the hospital by 7 am or we couldn't get back to school by pick up so DD2 would come with us. We have one car and live on the other side of the country from our families. DD2 was having to make up work for school. I was working with her on the weekends to get everything caught up. Frustratingly, her teachers actually told us not to work with her on her makeup work because they could not see how she was progressing. We are talking public school here, where they will mark mistakes incorrect and never reteach it to the student because they just don't have the time. If I see that my kid is struggling, I am going to help her. DD2 started to suffer anxiety and panic attacks. Some of it was due to what was happing at home with her sister, but some was from school. She would come home from school crying, saying that her teachers hated her. We had planned to let her finish the school year because she didn't want to leave her friends, but in March or April we received a truancy letter from the school threatening us with a hearing. That piled on top of DD2 coming home in tears everyday was too much. We pulled her out too. And I should point out that at this point I had taught art at this school for 2.5 years (I quit to stay home and care for DD1) and before that assisted with art classes for 2 years. Everyone knew me and my situation. Even though I know public schools are run more like corporations now (gotta get that cash), I still felt betrayed when we received the truancy letter.

    As crazy as last year was for us, in some way I look at it as a positive because we were able to get both of them into a charter school and out of public school before COVID-19.

    Last year I let our TOR pick our curriculum because I was completely overwhelmed with DD1's health struggles and the idea of homeschooling a middle schooler for the first time. We used Thinkwell (math), Science Fusion (science), Essentials in Writing (writing and literature). We hated everything for different reasons. A lot of the curriculum we had used the computer which turned out to be one of DD1's triggers for a while. The Thinkwell math program also used a lot of loud sounds with the instruction, it was a complete disaster for us. We has issues with the Essentials in writing because our log in information never got to us. Then it was assigned to another family...disaster. Science Fusion was great, my husband is a scientist and actually liked the program too, but the online component never worked. Every time I tried to play a video it would not play. The teacher manual is also online and that is a nightmare, their system is not user friendly. I would like to use them again, but only if I can get a printed teacher book.

    Usually over the summer my kids are still learning at home, but this summer for the first time we stopped completely. All of use needed a break. DD1's health issues seemed to come to a peak, then we discovered that she was being bullied at school. Other girls were cornering her in the restroom and hitting her. I'm devastated that she didn't come to me with this when it was happening. This discovery has only fueled my desired to keep homeschooling. I will not take the bullying issue lightly and I will not put her back in that situation. After this came out she slowly began to improve. She's still getting better. We are trying to get her into a pain management program with a local hospital.

    We Went with Oak Meadow this year. I wanted something open and go, so I didn't need to plan or think about it with so much happening at home. I have been disappointed with it. I will write a post in the correct forum for that. I've learned my lesson, I am starting my research to piece things together for my children for next year.

    Anyway, My name is Sarah, I'm a new homeschooling mom with an 8th grade DD recovering from a head injury and PTSD and a 6th grade DD with ADHD and possibly dysgraphia and/or dyscalculia. If anyone had tips they are willing to share I am all ears. I am looking to cobble together curriculum for next year, if you can point me to some great tutorials or youtube videos for this. I am a 100% visual learning and need great examples to learn by. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.

    Sarah

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  3. #2

    Default

    Welcome! So sorry to hear you and your girls have been through so much trauma and bureaucracy!

    If Oak Meadow (or whatever curriculum youre using) isnt working, its always okay to stop.
    Theres also nothing wrong with prioritizing physical and mental health issues over academics. Your oldest is in 8th grade, not high school, so you dont even need to worry about transcripts or grades.

    Its also not any harder (and i think far easier) to go through an individually picked curriculum for a subject than to go with something that promises to have everything scheduled neatly for you. If your kids arent sleeping through the night, or have hospital appointments every few weeks, theyre not likely ro be up for a full structured regimen of school each day.

    Go easy on yourself and your girls!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3

    Default

    Hi Sarah -

    Sounds like you and your family have been through the wringer in the last year. I'm so sorry. I hope your older daughter continues to heal and finds relief via that pain management program you mentioned. Poor kid...

    It does sound like homeschooling is a good fit for you and for both of your girls. That's awesome. I've got an 11 year old kiddo with ADHD+anxiety myself. Homeschooling wasn't part of our plan here, but I'm definitely happy seeing the benefits the personalized learning/pacing brings to my son.

    I'm not sure where to direct you for videos about preparing a curriculum - it didn't even occur to me to look for videos when I was figuring things out! I can say what came together for me as I decided on my son's curricula this year - maybe something in my process will help you?

    First, I thought about my kiddo's learning styles/strengths/weaknesses. (He learns best when he can read for himself, and he does alright watching educational videos. Audio alone is not a good fit for him - so lectures need to be brief and I read aloud to him only in short bursts. What works best for your girls?) For Math, we're following along with a standards-aligned curriculum that's primarily mastery-based, not spiral, so we focus on a topic until he's reached "mastery," then move on. Repeating the same topic in a spiral curriculum would drive him bananas, though for some kids, that helps them immensely. For the other subjects, I asked him what he wanted to learn. He didn't have a big preference in Social Studies, so I got to pick. Yay! For Science, he had a long list of things he wanted to dive into, so I found unit studies that focused on the topics he chose. And for ELA, he requested more fantasy novels than "real-life stories," so I mixed in a good variety of fantasy with mythology, historical fiction, and realistic fiction, plus a little poetry, and a biography. So far, so good! Letting him have a say in what we'll be working on together went a long way in getting him to buy into the new process of schooling here at home. He's enthusiastic about starting each day. I can't ask for much more!

    Beyond that, I knew I wanted fully secular/science-based options, so I eliminated all religious curricula/publishers. And I started my research from there.

    I hope you find things that will work well for you and your kids. Good luck

  5. #4

    Default

    Welcome. You have certainly been through a lot with your children.

    Head injuries are difficult and can take a long time to heal. It sounds like homeschooling with a lot of rest and taking it slow will be good for all of you. Have the doctors said anything about screen use and healing from a head injury? I feel like it would not be beneficial to have a lot of screen time because of all the brain stimulation but have nothing to back myself up with that.

    Mainly I would just take it slow. Pick one subject. The one that your child enjoys the most or the one that you both decide is the most important to work on. Then once you have figured it out, work on the next one. Otherwise, just allow lots of time for rest and have resources available (books, art materials, music etc.) that they can delve into when they feel like it.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

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Newish Homeschooling Mom