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Down syndrome and Homeschooling

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    Down syndrome and Homeschooling

    Thank you so much for your emphasis on Down syndrome (DS) in the latest issue of Simply Classical Teacher. Our kids’ challenges are much different than those of children with autism, etc.. As more babies are diagnosed prenatally and aborted, it seems like there is less support for families than there used to be. My daughter with DS is 19, has been homeschooled since she was 4, and we are still working - using Simply Classical Level 2 this year. I would caution parents not to start formal academics too soon. We battled with phonics and math facts for years and honestly, I don’t think she was ready until about 16 years old. Even in the homeschool community, there is the implication that we should be able to just use the standard curriculum at a slower pace with more manipulatives. Sometimes in our misguided encouragement to new parents, we fail to acknowledge that people with DS and their families have significant difficulties. Adults with DS can have a mental ability equivalent to 4-11 years old, which is a huge spread. Hearing about how someone with DS lives independently, works full-time, goes to college, and drives a car, just makes me feel like a failure. There is a small segment with mosaicism, where the degree of effect is greatly reduced, however that isn’t the reality for most of us. My daughter is kind, loving, extremely empathetic, and good with names, but needs constant supervision. I struggle to balance accepting how her brain works and just capitulating and letting her watch movies. Please keep highlighting the Good, the True and the Beautiful curriculum she can do!

    #2
    Yes! Thank you for this. I agree with everything you said.

    We strongly encourage our families to begin with Readiness Levels A, B, and C, not with teaching a young child with Down syndrome to read, write, and do arithmetic for the very reasons you mentioned. Our Readiness levels target all of the essentials you alluded to, such as oral language, listening, ear training, sorting, matching, small and large muscle development, attending to print, and more. When readiness has been nudged forward successfully, the reading, writing, and arithmetic follow much more readily, as you know. Young parents sometimes struggle with this. We want to "jump ahead" so we feel less "behind," but laying the foundation serves children in the end.

    If any student with Down syndrome attains our Levels 2, 3, or 4, we are very pleased, as we know that their bookshelves can bulge with good, classic children's literature and picture books for science, history, myths, Bible stories, and other learning at these levels.

    This is not to say that it is easy. As a mom with young adults whose cognition is diminishing (not due to Down syndrome but to cognitive decline within mental illness), I hear your struggle! The constant supervision is wearying; yet we know that our children would only become increasingly passive -- and less motivated, less able, and more discouraged -- if we were give in to requests for passive ways of spending time. So we press on, just as you are doing. It is what we are called to do. If you teach your daughter at SC Level 2, see small steps of progress over time, and enjoy your daughter's kindness, you are far from a failure!

    Thank you for your encouragement. We are happy to have you here!

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      #3
      Thanks Cheryl. Without Simply Classical, I probably would have given up by now. No one ever talks about teaching grammar level to someone approaching 20. We may never have a "Miracle Worker" leap in progress, but she is learning, and God is teaching me even more.

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        #4
        Yes again! So true. My husband and I feel as if we are learning more than ever, day by day.

        For anyone reading, here is the latest journal issue Diana.P mentioned. See "Educating Maria" on the front cover.

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          #5
          Just chiming in for support and hugs. ❤️
          “If I should fall even a thousand times a day, a thousand times, with peaceful repentance, I will say immediately, Nunc Coepi, ‘Now, I begin.’.”

          ~Venerable Bruno Lanteri
          ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
          Wonder Boy 14 ... MP5 + R&S Math 6
          Joy Bubble 12 ... MP5 full core
          Cowboy 10 ... MP5 + R&S Math 4
          Sassafras 6 ... MP1
          All … SSPX Catechesis

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