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Need advice for struggling student and teacher

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    Need advice for struggling student and teacher

    Hello,

    Last year was my first year homeschooling. My daughter has some developmental delays and though we were able to get through the kindergarten curriculum, she struggled with the reading towards the end. She also takes very long time to do her work pages so at times she became very frustrated with the work load. She is very creative, and loves to be read to, but finds sitting doing work pages(especially the phonics portion) very difficult and she wanes by the end of it. I am not creative, I have read that for her type of personality I need to make the subjects come alive to keep her interested. I think it's something they call "living books". But, because I'm not creative or a natural teacher, I really loved the memoria's curriculum because it showed me exactly what I needed to do and how to teach it. She struggles with fine and gross motor which makes writing challenging and she also needs vision therapy to coordinate her eyes, her eye doctor says that she has to try so much harder visually to take everything in, than a typical child. We need to take frequent breaks so that adds to the length of the school day. She came to really dislike school because it seemed a little "never ending" to her. And I have to admit, so did I. I feel that homeschooling is the right thing to do, I want her to have a love of God and learning, but I definitely did not accomplish that last year. She can be a very needy child and I sometimes feel so burned out. I forgot to mention she has a three year old brother, and she is so distracted by him, it can be very hard to focus her in. I think she has a lot going for her in many ways, she's caring, very creative and loves God. She has a diagnosis of Soto Syndrome but all things considering is doing very well. She enjoyed the arithmetic portion of the curriculum. Her phonic sounds are good. She knows all the sounds and she can sound out a single word fairly easily, but once in a paragraph or book form it is too challenging. The simple stories that were assigned at the end of last year could take her up to forty-five minutes to read. Which was not fun for either of us. Is it possible to modify this curriculum so that we can both enjoy it and not be so frustrated. When I didn't fill in every check mark for the day I felt like a failure, but it was just too much. I don't know how to make learning fun. I don't know what to do. Any advise would be wonderful. Thank you so much.

    #2
    reply to struggling student and teacher

    Originally posted by KsK View Post
    Hello,

    Last year was my first year homeschooling. My daughter has some developmental delays and though we were able to get through the kindergarten curriculum, she struggled with the reading towards the end. She also takes very long time to do her work pages so at times she became very frustrated with the work load. She is very creative, and loves to be read to, but finds sitting doing work pages(especially the phonics portion) very difficult and she wanes by the end of it. I am not creative, I have read that for her type of personality I need to make the subjects come alive to keep her interested. I think it's something they call "living books". But, because I'm not creative or a natural teacher, I really loved the memoria's curriculum because it showed me exactly what I needed to do and how to teach it. She struggles with fine and gross motor which makes writing challenging and she also needs vision therapy to coordinate her eyes, her eye doctor says that she has to try so much harder visually to take everything in, than a typical child. We need to take frequent breaks so that adds to the length of the school day. She came to really dislike school because it seemed a little "never ending" to her. And I have to admit, so did I. I feel that homeschooling is the right thing to do, I want her to have a love of God and learning, but I definitely did not accomplish that last year. She can be a very needy child and I sometimes feel so burned out. I forgot to mention she has a three year old brother, and she is so distracted by him, it can be very hard to focus her in. I think she has a lot going for her in many ways, she's caring, very creative and loves God. She has a diagnosis of Soto Syndrome but all things considering is doing very well. She enjoyed the arithmetic portion of the curriculum. Her phonic sounds are good. She knows all the sounds and she can sound out a single word fairly easily, but once in a paragraph or book form it is too challenging. The simple stories that were assigned at the end of last year could take her up to forty-five minutes to read. Which was not fun for either of us. Is it possible to modify this curriculum so that we can both enjoy it and not be so frustrated. When I didn't fill in every check mark for the day I felt like a failure, but it was just too much. I don't know how to make learning fun. I don't know what to do. Any advise would be wonderful. Thank you so much.
    Have you begun the vision therapy? We took our son to vision therapy when I was struggling in many of those same areas with his schooling. Our therapy program was 9 months of daily exercises and weekly therapy sessions. It was amazing to see the transformation over the course of the program. Many of his exercises helped him to use his eyes together, and taught his brain to process what he saw more accurately. We still have some long-term exercises to practice weekly to help him with his tracking skills. He has several other learning challenges, but the vision therapy has helped us tremendously. I don't regret for a minute the time and money involved in the therapy.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, we have begun. What your describing sounds just like what we're doing with my daughter. Thank you.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by KsK View Post
        Hello,

        Last year was my first year homeschooling. My daughter has some developmental delays and though we were able to get through the kindergarten curriculum, she struggled with the reading towards the end. She also takes very long time to do her work pages so at times she became very frustrated with the work load. She is very creative, and loves to be read to, but finds sitting doing work pages(especially the phonics portion) very difficult and she wanes by the end of it. I am not creative, I have read that for her type of personality I need to make the subjects come alive to keep her interested. I think it's something they call "living books". But, because I'm not creative or a natural teacher, I really loved the memoria's curriculum because it showed me exactly what I needed to do and how to teach it. She struggles with fine and gross motor which makes writing challenging and she also needs vision therapy to coordinate her eyes, her eye doctor says that she has to try so much harder visually to take everything in, than a typical child. We need to take frequent breaks so that adds to the length of the school day. She came to really dislike school because it seemed a little "never ending" to her. And I have to admit, so did I. I feel that homeschooling is the right thing to do, I want her to have a love of God and learning, but I definitely did not accomplish that last year. She can be a very needy child and I sometimes feel so burned out. I forgot to mention she has a three year old brother, and she is so distracted by him, it can be very hard to focus her in. I think she has a lot going for her in many ways, she's caring, very creative and loves God. She has a diagnosis of Soto Syndrome but all things considering is doing very well. She enjoyed the arithmetic portion of the curriculum. Her phonic sounds are good. She knows all the sounds and she can sound out a single word fairly easily, but once in a paragraph or book form it is too challenging. The simple stories that were assigned at the end of last year could take her up to forty-five minutes to read. Which was not fun for either of us. Is it possible to modify this curriculum so that we can both enjoy it and not be so frustrated. When I didn't fill in every check mark for the day I felt like a failure, but it was just too much. I don't know how to make learning fun. I don't know what to do. Any advise would be wonderful. Thank you so much.
        Dear "KsK,"

        Thank you for contacting us. You're doing well! Just take a break and regroup before fall. If you have not already done so, consider obtaining OT and PT services to help you. Your daughter will require a team of competent people, given her challenges.

        For anyone interested, see Sotos Syndrome for more information about this condition.

        Think of all the abilities you mentioned:

        -creative
        -loves to be read to (this is a big advantage!)
        -knows all phonics sounds
        -enjoyed arithmetic in MPK

        OT and PT might help with these elements:
        -fine-motor weaknesses
        -gross-motor weaknesses
        -creativity and enjoyment

        OT's tend to be especially creative with integrating new media into fine-motor therapy. My daughter (now 19) has enjoyed OT since toddlerhood. Even today, the OT works with thera-putty for hand strengthening, cooking desserts for bilateral coordination, and other "fun" ideas. This alleviates any pressure we might unwittingly place on ourselves to be a constant source of creative ideas!

        Such pressure is only compounded by the prevalent but misguided advice offered in modern, progressive education (and special education) communities. For some re-assurance, take 20-30 minutes to reflect on this wise counsel from Mrs. Lowe: Is Learning Fun? (Part One) and Is Learning Fun? (Part Two).


        As for this next year, you have some options. You could do any of these:

        -Press on to MP1, but give yourself the flexibility to ignore many of the boxes. Often the lesson plans only include so many items, because people have requested them! Even classroom teachers do not check off each box each day.
        Pro's - a good fit for arithmetic.
        Con's - very challenging for reading and writing. You would need to approach this with a willingness to be very flexible with the other elements of the curriculum. Otherwise, moving to MP1 will only add to the overwhelming feeling of the "never-ending" school day.

        -Offer another year of MP Kindergarten, re-ordering only the consumable components.
        Pro's - this would give you and your daughter time to review, rehearse recitations, take her time with reading instruction, fill in any boxes you missed the first time, and solidify her skills before moving on.
        Con's - might seem discouraging or "boring" to repeat so much. (To counter this, you can explain that you want her to be even stronger before moving on. You could supplement with the OT/PT/vision therapy, field trips, homeschool park days or co-ops, visits to the library.)

        -Order Level C of the Simply Classical Special Needs Curriculum possibly available within the next few weeks
        Pro's - this curriculum includes a strong read-aloud component, and if she did not complete MPJrK, these books (largely the same as MPJrK) would offer new, creative, fun, and beautiful read-alouds for her. The curriculum would keep her actively engaged in learning, oral language, early writing, and memory work. By the time you finish Level C, we hope to have Level 1 ready, which would help your daughter read at a pace that is more reasonable for her. Your little boy could easily join the read-alouds in Level C this year.
        Con's - this would not allow her to progress in reading instruction or in mathematics instruction. You have made so many gains; you would not want to lose these.

        -Create your own combination - Order SC Level C for the Pro's stated above. To address the Con's, consider ordering the next R&S, if you want to keep going in mathematics. Consider repeating First Start Reading, Classical Phonics, and the readers from MPK, if you want to continue making progress in her reading instruction.


        Whichever you choose, realize that by homeschooling your daughter, you are giving her such an enormous advantage!

        Your daughter's challenges are very real. They require modifications. This may even include adding more of a routine to your son's days, so your daughter's learning can occur in a predictable manner. If you can shorten your daughter's instruction periods so they become more reasonable, then your little boy's independent times may become more successful.

        Release yourself from any pressure to become an exuberant "playdough person." Just work within everything that you and your daughter already enjoy in your own homeschool.



        If you have any questions about options for next year, or if you want to follow up, feel free to ask.

        Cheryl

        Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
        Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith

        Comment


          #5
          My dd will be going into 1st grade this fall too I hope that the new special needs levels catch up to us. (I honestly think I might have done better to use the JK as K. But I couldn't have known that without trying and the SN levels didn't exist yet.) Anyway, the levels look awesome! In the meantime, it really helps to let go of the perfectly planned full MP schedule and work where your dd is. I get all my lesson plans separate now so I can see each as it's own independent thing instead of feeling behind. I still find myself wanting to push but it usually backfires.

          Have you looked at the plans they recently added with levels 3&4 of the colored readers (EPS) for the kindergarten to first summer break? They also recently added levels 5&6 of the same readers to the beginning of 1st grade. Instead of slogging through an entire book or lesson at a sitting, try limiting her reading to 10-15 min. It might only be a page or a sentence but instead of being overwhelmed she can make steady progress even though it might be slower than you'd want.

          Or focus on math and let phonics percolate in her mind. Play some phonics sort of games instead. As an example replace part of a board game set up with word cards she knows. ex:land on yellow, read a card from the yellow pile, if correct roll again. Read her lots of stories but maybe let the formal instruction wait for a little while.

          (If you're interested in seeing some of our plans for a modified 1st ... This past year, we made it through book B of First start reading. Right now we're rereading the readers we'd already done and doing some extra practice with the workbook because she happens to do much better with writing/worksheets. I plan to restart at FSR book C in the fall, move on to the "summer" EPS readers (3&4) plans, then move onto the 5&6 readers in the 1st grade plans. I was initially hoping to get through Storytime treasures and even More STT. In reality we might make it to STT by the end of 1st.

          We'll be doing the 1st grade read alouds but also the JK stories with their crafts with my younger dd who starts this year. I've heard that K and 1st grade craft books are in the works which will be awesome! She loves projects and the lack has been a drawback for me with the curriculum.

          Working memory is a problem so memorization is very challenging. We'll continue working on recitation but probably slower than the plans say. We don't use the other "memory" part of the plans. It was just too much for her. She needs to spend her memorization resources on arithmetic at this stage.

          She used to get ST & OT but due to transportation problems from a completely unrelated health problem of mine, she doesn't now. It was really great tho. I try to continue to incorporate what we learned. I really like how the SN leveled curriculum actually includes OT type activities and space to fill in your own therapy. )

          I hope something in all that is helpful and I really hope you have a great year!

          Comment


            #6
            Thank you everyone!

            This has been very helpful to me. Thank you all so much! I'm not sure how to respond to people's comments individually yet, I'm hoping my husband can help me navigate the forum, as I'm new to them.

            I do have a question for Cheryl. She mentioned my daughter receiving OT and PT, would that be through the school system? It would be so helpful for me, as I can feel so overwhelmed. She was evaluated by the school system but was denied services because they said her disabilities didn't interfere "enough" with her education. I wouldn't be able to afford to have private therapist for her. I'm not sure what other options there are for this.

            Comment


              #7
              My children's insurance completely covered private occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech/language therapy. We only needed a pediatrician's referral.

              You might start with your child's pediatrician. Perhaps the pediatrician will know of free or low-cost options for OT & PT evaluations in your area, if your insurance does not cover this.

              Cheryl

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