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This website contains general information about medical and educational conditions and treatments. The information is not advice, and should not be treated as such.

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Introduction & Questions

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    Introduction & Questions

    Hi, I just found out about Memoria Press's special needs curriculum and forum. Since this is new to me, if I ask something that is answered elsewhere and I just haven't found yet, feel free to direct me.

    As my user name states, I'm Cheryl and live in CA, LOL. I have 5 children ranging in age from almost 7 to almost 21, and we've always homeschooled. I'm interested in the Special Needs Curriculum for my youngest. He was adopted from Korea when he was almost 11 months old and the emotional trauma of going from his foster family to our family caused his Fear Paralysis Reflex to re-emerge. He was constantly in a state of panic and had no expressive language skills until he began to re-integrate the reflex at around 3 1/2 to 4 years of age. Cognitively, he didn't seem to have been affected, or at least not much. He has made a great deal of progress and seems to only lag behind in expressive language skills (especially articulation), emotional maturity, and some fine/gross motor skills. We do neurodevelopmental therapy and speech therapy.

    I did the Level C Assessing Readiness (getting the percent by totaling the "yes" and "emerging" columns). Here are his scores and further explanation regarding his abilities in these areas.

    Language 78%. His receptive language skills are normal or ahead but his expressive language is around 3 1/2 to 4 years of age with articulation errors. He usually isn't frustrated by this difference and does not avoid socialization with others. He is small and looks about 4 years old, so nobody really notices his delays or treats him differently.

    Cognitive Ability 100%. Phonics - he has known his alphabet and sounds since the middle of last year (we did an informal Jr K because he was 5 1/2 at the beginning of the school year) but couldn't continue to move at the pace of his curriculum due to his expressive language delays. I found a phonics curriculum written for children with special needs (Dancing Bears) that moves more slowly and focuses on blending for longer, so he is still learning without moving too fast for his expressive language skills. We have been using Math U See and he is solid in his one-to-one correspondence, counting to 100, recognizing numbers to 999 (for over a year he could recognize and find numbers to 999 when looking at page numbers, hymns, etc. before I taught him place value to 100), basic shapes (circle, rectangle, square, triangle, star), and is beginning to learn simple addition (0 and 1). Since these are his strengths and are working really well for him at this time, I don't wish to change either his phonics or math programs (though I'm not opposed to gleaning from what is included in the Special-Needs Curriculum).

    Social-Emotional 73%. Emotionally speaking, he is more like a 4 year old than an almost 7 year old. He has made a lot of progress and is no longer the terrified child he once was. Now he is outgoing, but still has some catching up to do.

    Fine-Motor Skills 70% (this was difficult to evaluate and an estimate). He uses a pencil grip called The Claw and is able to hold a pencil/colored pencil correctly when using it, but will usually revert to holding a pencil with his while hand/fist if he picks up a pencil on his own. His writing is light in pressure and letter formation poor. His phonics program has large plastic tiles of the phonograms with the phonogram recessed for the student to trace with their finger, which has been helpful. He is left handed.

    Gross-Motor Skills 40% (this too was difficult to evaluate and an estimate).

    I'd love any and all advice you all are willing to give Some of my questions are:

    Will it still benefit my son to use this if I don't use the phonics and math? I'm thinking it would, but (like I said) I just discovered this today, so I could very easily have misconceptions.

    Am I correct in thinking that Level C is the level I'd use for him?

    When will Level 1 be released? Has an Assessing Readiness questionnaire been writing for it yet?

    What would I leave out if I don't use the phonics and math? I would like the writing and activities, so I'm thinking that the only thing I wouldn't order is Classical Phonics? Is that right? I have several of the books listed, so I'll need to purchase items separately instead of the packages anyway. ETA - Never mind this question, it will be less to buy the Core Package than just getting the parts I need.
    Last edited by Cheryl in CA; 01-26-2015, 02:09 PM.
    Cheryl, mom to:

    ds 24, graduated
    ds 23, graduated
    dd 15, 9th Grade
    dd 12, 6th Grade
    ds 10, 4nd Grade

    #2
    Hi, Cheryl.

    Thanks for your thorough information!

    A summary of the information you provided:


    -You are a very experienced homeschooler.
    -You have worked successfully with your adopted son nearly 6 years.
    -You have found a phonics and arithmetic program with which you have taught him well.
    -He remains weak in expressive language, fine-motor, and gross-motor skills.
    -Most noticeably, he has some social/emotional concerns, so confidence and success are important.

    Based on everything you indicated, I would recommend Level C, even if his reading and arithmetic scores might place him in the Level 1 range. I would recommend proceeding this way:

    Even as you continue your own current phonics and arithmetic programs, consider working through the brief daily Level C Alphabet and Number lessons, if you have time
    . Many of Alphabet and Number lesson offers integrated oral language, fine-motor, or gross-motor skills components. These activities can strengthen the weaker areas in a context of content he already knows, thus boosting his confidence.

    For example, early in Level C, he will print and practice letters of the alphabet to correspond to sounds, even as he learns new words associated with each letter. He already knows these sounds and letters, but as he practices writing them and coloring pictures of words beginning with the letters, he can work on his fine-motor skills and his vocabulary. More importantly, the Alphabet lessons are woven throughout all of the read-alouds and even science selections. He will gain simultaneous oral language boosts, receptive and expressive vocabulary enrichment, and fine-motor practice, if he completes the entire curriculum. Later in Level C, he will do the same with CVC words, and the progression may seem quite natural. This is just something to consider, especially because you will want a firm foundation in all of these weaker areas before beginning Level 1.

    As you will see if you order the lesson plans, all of the curriculum packages are intentionally and highly integrated, so the content in one area supports others every day. In some ways, you might find it easier (and more fun) to teach the Alphabet lessons than to omit them.


    If you omitted anything in Level C, based on everything you described, the Number lesson would be the most logical to omit for your son. However, even this includes fine-motor and gross-motor components, so I would not be quick to do this. (If you decided to omit this, you would not need the Number books.)


    We anticipate the release of Level 1 in just a few months, possibly sooner. We are preparing the Level 1 Assessment, but based on your son's social/emotional needs, oral language, speech articulation, fine- and gross-motor concerns relative to his academic strengths, Level C seems a perfect place to start. You will continue working with your son's therapists and integrating therapies. If he does not yet receive specifically writing-centered OT or formal PT within his neurodevelopmental therapies, you might consider further support with these, if need dictates and time permits.

    One more tip for you -
    Like all of the Simply Classical Curriculum packages, Level C includes an optional 8-week review. However, given the success with your son in the academic areas, I would recommend re-assessing prior to beginning the 8-week review, possibly continuing directly on to Level 1 without the 8-week review, if this seems appropriate at that time.


    I hope that helps. Congratulations on all you have given your son in his young life already.

    If you have not yet read Simply Classical, you (or your older children) might appreciate our story.
    My own boy/girl twins, adopted at about the same age as your son, received a classical Christian education despite their many significant special needs. Now nearly 20, they were homeschooled from infancy like your son.

    Cheryl

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

    NEW Simply Classical Curriculum - more levels to come
    Currently Available -
    Level A: Readiness, Rhythm, and Rhyme
    Level B: Essentials, Etiquette, and Ear Training
    Level C: Alphabet, Animals, and Aesop


    For older children: My Thankfulness Journals

    For fine-motor skills: Scissors Books

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
      Hi, Cheryl.

      Thanks for your thorough information!

      A summary:

      -You are a very experienced homeschooler.
      -You have worked successfully with your adopted son nearly 6 years.
      -You have found a phonics and arithmetic program with which you have taught him well.
      -He remains weak in expressive language, fine-motor, and gross-motor skills.
      -Most noticeably, he has some significant social/emotional fragility, so confidence and success are important.


      Based on everything you indicated, I would recommend Level C, even if his reading and arithmetic scores might place him in the Level 1 range. I would recommend proceeding this way:

      Even as you continue your own current phonics and arithmetic programs, consider working through the brief daily Level C Alphabet and Number lessons, if you have time. Many of Alphabet and Number lesson offers integrated oral language, fine-motor, or gross-motor skills components.. These activities can strengthen the weaker areas in a context of content he already knows, thus boosting his confidence.

      For example, early in Level C, he will print and practice letters of the alphabet to correspond to sounds, even as he learns new words associated with each letter. He already knows these sounds and letters, but as he practices writing them and coloring pictures of words beginning with the letters, he can work on his fine-motor skills and his vocabulary. More importantly, the Alphabet lessons are woven throughout all of the read-alouds and even science selections. He will gain simultaneous oral language boosts, receptive and expressive vocabulary enrichment, and fine-motor practice, if he completes the entire curriculum. Later in Level C, he will do the same with CVC words, and the progression may seem quite natural. This is just something to consider, especially because you will want a firm foundation in all of these weaker areas before beginning Level 1.

      As you will see if you order the lesson plans, all of the curriculum packages are intentionally and highly integrated, so the content in one area supports others every day. In some ways, you might find it easier (and more fun) to teach the Alphabet lessons than to omit them.

      If you omitted anything in Level C, based on everything you described, the Number lesson would be the most logical to omit for your son. However, even this includes fine-motor and gross-motor components, so I would not be quick to do this. (If you decided to omit this, you would not need the Number books.)


      We anticipate the release of Level 1 in just a few months, possibly sooner. We are preparing the Level 1 Assessment, but based on your son's social/emotional needs, oral language, speech articulation, fine- and gross-motor concerns relative to his academic strengths, Level C seems a perfect place to start. You will continue working with your son's therapists and integrating therapies.

      If he does not yet receive specifically writing-centered OT or formal PT within his neurodevelopmental therapies, you might consider further support with these, if need dictates and time permits.

      One more tip -
      Like all of the Simply Classical Curriculum packages, Level C includes an optional 8-week review. However, given the success with your son in the academic areas, I would recommend re-assessing prior to beginning the 8-week review, possibly continuing directly on to Level 1 without the 8-week review, if this seems appropriate at that time.


      I hope that helps. Congratulations on all you have given your son in his young life already.

      If you have not yet read Simply Classical, you (or your older children) might appreciate our story. My own boy/girl twins, adopted at about the same age as your son, received a classical Christian education despite their many significant special needs. Now nearly 20, they were homeschooled from infancy like your son.

      Cheryl

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

      NEW Simply Classical Curriculum - more levels to come
      Currently Available -
      Level A: Readiness, Rhythm, and Rhyme
      Level B: Essentials, Etiquette, and Ear Training
      Level C: Alphabet, Animals, and Aesop


      For older children: My Thankfulness Journals

      For fine-motor skills: Scissors Books
      Cheryl, thank you for your very detailed reply and encouragement! During lunch break, I decided to look at Level B and did the assessment. Initially, I didn't think to do the assessment for it because of his strengths, then I looked at it and realized that he could benefit from from it if we are continuing with our phonics and math. Here are his scores from the Level B Assessment:

      Language: 80%
      Cognitive Ability: 100%
      Social-Emotional Development: 73%
      Fine-Motor Skills: 77%
      Gross-Motor Skills: 66%

      What would you suggest? We would be about 1/3 of the way through this school year by the time we would receive our materials, so we would have about 2/3 of the year left. Would you recommend perhaps moving through Level B a little more quickly through this school year and then starting with Level C next year, or starting with Level C and taking our time? Is it fairly important for the level to match the school year (if lessons are influenced by holidays/etc), or can one just start/finish each level at their own pace?

      Regardless of where we start, I agree that it would benefit him to do the letter and number lessons. Writing is a particular weakness, and I think he would benefit from the extra lessons even if it is review (perhaps even more, because he will be concentrating on the writing and not the lesson material).

      Thank you for the book recommendation, I will purchase it too when I place my order.

      Edited because something strange happened and only part of my reply was posted before I started getting gateway error messages.
      Last edited by Cheryl in CA; 01-26-2015, 05:02 PM.
      Cheryl, mom to:

      ds 24, graduated
      ds 23, graduated
      dd 15, 9th Grade
      dd 12, 6th Grade
      ds 10, 4nd Grade

      Comment


        #4
        [I appreciate having this information. To make the assessments even more clear, we will reconfigure the assessment for C, so it includes, rather than presumes, all of the level B skills. This should help quite a bit!]


        We do advise everyone to assess in each level being considered.

        Yes, your idea sounds very good. Teach with Level B first. Given all of the phonics instruction he already receives, you may move through some of the Level B concepts, such as ear training, rather swiftly. Most of the daily activities will be well suited for his skills. Level B includes a considerable amount of fine-motor readiness instruction! He will engage in brief daily mazes, cutting, pasting, drawing, and tracing. He will benefit from the daily discipline of the fine-motor activities.

        And you will appreciate this:
        Level B also emphasizes "etiquette," with social/emotional lessons and training in good manners. These will help him develop more poise, greater social awareness, and a richer vocabulary to describe his own emotions.

        Very good!

        Cheryl

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
          [I appreciate having this information. To make the assessments even more clear, we will reconfigure the assessment for C, so it includes, rather than presumes, all of the level B skills. This should help quite a bit!]


          We do advise everyone to assess in each level being considered.

          Yes, your idea sounds very good. Teach with Level B first. Given all of the phonics instruction he already receives, you may move through some of the Level B concepts, such as ear training, rather swiftly. Most of the daily activities will be well suited for his skills. Level B includes a considerable amount of fine-motor readiness instruction! He will engage in brief daily mazes, cutting, pasting, drawing, and tracing. He will benefit from the daily discipline of the fine-motor activities.

          And you will appreciate this:
          Level B also emphasizes "etiquette," with social/emotional lessons and training in good manners. These will help him develop more poise, greater social awareness, and a richer vocabulary to describe his own emotions.

          Very good!

          Cheryl
          Thank you so much Cheryl! I will order Level B right away.

          Is it possible to find out the authors for some of the books in the Read Aloud Package? I already own most of the books, so I just need to order those I don't have. However, of the books are available with the same title but different authors, so I am not sure which to get. Here are the books about which I'm unsure:

          Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
          The Little Engine that Could
          Cheryl, mom to:

          ds 24, graduated
          ds 23, graduated
          dd 15, 9th Grade
          dd 12, 6th Grade
          ds 10, 4nd Grade

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Cheryl in CA View Post
            Thank you so much Cheryl! I will order Level B right away.

            Is it possible to find out the authors for some of the books in the Read Aloud Package? I already own most of the books, so I just need to order those I don't have. However, of the books are available with the same title but different authors, so I am not sure which to get. Here are the books about which I'm unsure:

            Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star
            The Little Engine that Could

            Until we create a separate "sticky," this might be the easiest location for a complete book list:

            Book Lists for Levels A, B, C Simply Classical Curriculum

            Thanks-
            Cheryl

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
              Until we create a separate "sticky," this might be the easiest location for a complete book list:

              Book Lists for Levels A, B, C Simply Classical Curriculum

              Thanks-
              Cheryl
              Does it matter if I have the regular paperback book instead of the board book versions?
              Cheryl, mom to:

              ds 24, graduated
              ds 23, graduated
              dd 15, 9th Grade
              dd 12, 6th Grade
              ds 10, 4nd Grade

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Cheryl in CA View Post
                Does it matter if I have the regular paperback book instead of the board book versions?
                Sometimes the two versions are identical in content. Other times the board book is a simplified text. As long as he can sustain attention with the more "grown-up" versions, feel free to substitute the books you already own.

                Thanks-
                Cheryl


                Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                  Sometimes the two versions are identical in content. Other times the board book is a simplified text. As long as he can sustain attention with the more "grown-up" versions, feel free to substitute the books you already own.

                  Thanks-
                  Cheryl


                  Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
                  Thank you! Sustaining his attention with the more grown up versions will not be a problem
                  Cheryl, mom to:

                  ds 24, graduated
                  ds 23, graduated
                  dd 15, 9th Grade
                  dd 12, 6th Grade
                  ds 10, 4nd Grade

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Okay, one more question I was ordering the items on the supply list and noticed that there are both crayons and colored pencils, and that they are both extra large size. I've been having my son use regular size colored pencils instead of crayons because his pencil grips fit on them (he is very compliant and holds them properly with his "The Claw" pencil grip). When he has used an extra large marker at speech therapy, he grabs them with his fist. Would it be okay for me to have him use the regular size colored pencils for the activities that use the extra large crayons and colored pencils?
                    Cheryl, mom to:

                    ds 24, graduated
                    ds 23, graduated
                    dd 15, 9th Grade
                    dd 12, 6th Grade
                    ds 10, 4nd Grade

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Yes, certainly!

                      For anyone else reading, ...

                      The general principle is that whenever we must modify the traditional books, supplies, and teaching tools of a classical education, we modify. For example, when we selected the simplified versions of books for our lower levels or recommended alternative crayons, this presumed a need for them. However, whenever your child succeeds with "regular" materials and instruction, please feel free to substitute the higher-level or less modified alternatives.


                      As always, our curriculum, books, supply lists, and even lesson plans serve only to assist the most essential element of your child's education: his teacher.


                      Thanks-
                      Cheryl

                      cherylswope.com

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                        Yes, certainly!

                        For anyone else reading, ...

                        The general principle is that whenever we must modify the traditional books, supplies, and teaching tools of a classical education, we modify. For example, when we selected the simplified versions of books for our lower levels or recommended alternative crayons, this presumed a need for them. However, whenever your child succeeds with "regular" materials and instruction, please feel free to substitute the higher-level or less modified alternatives.


                        As always, our curriculum, books, supply lists, and even lesson plans serve only to assist the most essential element of your child's education: his teacher.


                        Thanks-
                        Cheryl

                        cherylswope.com
                        Thanks again! I don't have my core materials yet (I'm trying to get everything we need so we can start as soon as they arrive), so I wasn't sure if there was something about the extra large crayons that was necessary. I really appreciate all your help!
                        Cheryl, mom to:

                        ds 24, graduated
                        ds 23, graduated
                        dd 15, 9th Grade
                        dd 12, 6th Grade
                        ds 10, 4nd Grade

                        Comment

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