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Help with plan for writing remediation and other advice

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    Help with plan for writing remediation and other advice

    Hi all! I'm looking for advice on writing instruction specifically, and general placement for my oldest son, James (age 11, 5th grade) who was just diagnosed with ADHD and Specific Learning Disorders in Reading and Written Expression (aka dyslexia and dysgraphia). Background information that might be helpful: We decided we would homeschool when my oldest was a toddler. We dabbled in several different curricula in the early years before settling in a Charlotte Mason curriculum by the time he was starting Kindergarten. James has a very high listening comprehension and is very, very good at narrating, so he excelled in a CM style curriculum, but it also hid his learning issues with the lack of writing, spelling, and independent reading. As a result, we didn't even suspect a learning disorder until a little over a year ago. We decided to switch to Memoria Press last school year for this and many other reasons, and it has been a great fit for our family. We have 5 children James (11yo boy MP 5th), 8 yo boy (MP 3rd), 6 yo girl (MP 1st), 4 yo boy, 2 yo girl.
    James did the 4th New User Core last year with our previous math program and Traditional Spelling I. This year he is half way through the 5th Grade Core subbing Rod and Staff 4 math and using All About Spelling. We've added in All About Reading this month after getting his testing results. He is doing ok in most subjects in the regular core right now, with accommodations (audio books in some subjects, and many of the workbooks done orally), but is starting to struggle in others.
    Now I am looking for help with a plan for his writing, both handwriting and composition. His handwriting is sloppy and he often still has letter reversals, especially as he gets tired. He knows how to write in cursive, but still struggles with cursive letter connections and even manages to occasionally reverse his cursive letters. He will rarely write in cursive unless required to. His writing tolerance is fairly low, and he definitely makes more mistakes after the first few sentences. He also has trouble copying from one page to another, but does better with copying from the line above. We've been using the Copybook that goes with the 5th grade core, but I think it is above his current ability level.
    As far as composition is concerned, he completed the Classical Composition: Fable assignments from 4th grade, and the Narrative assignments so far in 5th. He has shown considerable growth using these. Although he is excellent at oral narration of a story, he could not compose even a single written sentence (even via dictation) at the beginning of last year. He is now completing final drafts in CC that are 1 -2 paragraphs. This is great growth, but he is still no where near the level of the final drafts from other Narrative students shared in the Facebook group a few days ago, and I don't think he will be ready for the level of work required in Chreia & Maxim next year. He is also missing a lot of the foundational aspects of writing and grammar that would have been taught at earlier levels, such as capitalization, punctuation, word and sentence variation. I still have to remind him to capitalize and punctuate every sentence. He has done English Grammar Recitation I and had no trouble memorizing the rules (another of his strengths), but isn't yet able to apply them. According to his test scores, his writing is on a 1st - 2nd grade level, but spelling was factored into those scores (his spelling is also on a 1st - 2nd grade level), so I'm not sure how much they reflect his actual writing ability.

    So all of that to get to my questions:
    1. Any suggestions on a handwriting/composition plan from this point forward?
    2. Would there be an advantage to switching to Simply Classical either now or next year, even though he is able to do many of the subjects in the regular core with accommodation? He is currently using audio books for Famous Men of Rome and Literature, and we do those workbooks, as well as Christian Studies, and Insects orally. He is doing great in all those subjects as well as Geography. He is doing ok in First Form Latin, although we had to slow down the pace. He is working a year behind in Math and we're not using the spelling.
    3. Any other advice for dealing with a learning disorder diagnoses, especially in an older child and/or a large family?

    #2
    Originally posted by Kristi Freeman View Post
    ...So all of that to get to my questions:
    1. Any suggestions on a handwriting/composition plan from this point forward?
    2. Would there be an advantage to switching to Simply Classical either now or next year, even though he is able to do many of the subjects in the regular core with accommodation? He is currently using audio books for Famous Men of Rome and Literature, and we do those workbooks, as well as Christian Studies, and Insects orally. He is doing great in all those subjects as well as Geography. He is doing ok in First Form Latin, although we had to slow down the pace. He is working a year behind in Math and we're not using the spelling.
    3. Any other advice for dealing with a learning disorder diagnoses, especially in an older child and/or a large family?
    Welcome, Kristi!

    Your son has many strengths. Rest assured you are doing well, even if his writing does not compare to Facebook-ready samples. He has completed Fable & Narrative at age 11 in spite of an identified specific learning disability in reading and written expression! Your devotion to literature and your early emphasis on narrative language has served him well. To your questions ...

    1. Any suggestions on a handwriting/composition plan from this point forward?

    Handwriting -- Yes, for older students we recommend either going back to review letter formation with NAC 1 if the student needs a very large font (and does not mind a "younger" look to his work) or moving to Teach Yourself Cursive. This program works on letter formation but allows for the student's own emerging style, which older students appreciate.

    Composition -- You might want to focus on mechanics this year. Given his intelligence, he may be able to manage the One-Year pacing of Simply Classical Level 7&8. This could serve as a bridge to Chreia/Maxim next year. If you have leftover Fable & Narrative exercises, I would intersperse them throughout the year to keep his practice high. I include spelling here because I wanted you to know that we have Simply Classical 7&8 lesson plans for these. If you are seeing good progress with what you are using, you may omit this spelling.
    2. Would there be an advantage to switching to Simply Classical either now or next year, even though he is able to do many of the subjects in the regular core with accommodation? He is currently using audio books for Famous Men of Rome and Literature, and we do those workbooks, as well as Christian Studies, and Insects orally. He is doing great in all those subjects as well as Geography. He is doing ok in First Form Latin, although we had to slow down the pace. He is working a year behind in Math and we're not using the spelling.

    Switching Entirely -- It does not sound to me as if he needs to switch right now. He is a capable student with a competent teacher who makes the needed adjustments to help him succeed! With mild learning disabilities, especially if the student is college-bound, we prefer keeping the student in the MP Classical Core and making adaptations just as you are doing.

    First Form Latin -- It sounds as if you might benefit from the Simply Classical 9&10 lesson plans for First Form Latin. In the One-Year plans we complete the first half of FFL, which is more reasonable for students with learning disabilities. As soon as 9&10 releases this spring (if not before), obtain the SC 9&10 One-Year Latin plans. You'll find oodles of adaptations, games, and reproducible templates to help him with mastery.

    3. Any other advice for dealing with a learning disorder diagnoses, especially in an older child and/or a large family?
    Yes, allow yourself time to assimilate this new information. Reread the reports, consider how this might impact your approach, and allow the information to give you greater compassion for his struggles without allowing it to hinder his progress. Review the strengths revealed in the report. Encourage him (and yourself) with these. Share with him whatever he needs to know, but spare him any depressing terms or stats. (No one wants to hear clinical terms like "significantly below average" or "24%ile" or "impairment," but especially not an 11-year-old.) As an older child in a large family, assure him that he retains all of the responsibility for character modeling with his younger siblings, assisting around the house, pitching in, and working hard in his studies, but that you now understand he also needs some attention in addressing some of the weaker areas for a time. Explain that your primary focus will be in reading and writing. Rather than simply giving him a "pass" in these areas, you will commit to doubling down (as with R&S English above) to fill gaps, strengthen foundations, and press pause on Classical Composition until those areas are a little stronger. You might present the materials as a bridge to moving forward. But do not overload him in an effort to "fix" him. Make the necessary adjustments and then enjoy all of his endearing qualities in your family just as you did before and just as you always will.


    Feel free to follow up with any other questions --
    Teach Yourself Cursive Sample Create a cursive that fits you! For older students and adults Easy methods to make learning cursive a pleasure Step-by-step le

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