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Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

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    Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

    Hey everyone! I love reading everyone's updates and their thought process as they make choices for their kids' homeschooling.

    Along those lines, I'm in need of some feedback and help with Ana (8th grade, 15 years old, hearing impaired and mild intellectually disabled). She's doing well in math, making slow but steady progress. She tested at an upper 7th grade level in computations on the CAT test recently, which was great, but predictably low in conceptual and problem solving. She still counts on her fingers to add/subtract and doesn't 'get' math concepts. She knows how, but not why. So in addition to her regular Math-U-See program I'm adding in some work with Lindamood Bell's On Cloud Nine Math, which focuses on how to visualize a number line.

    For reading she's plugging along in Barton Reading and Spelling and has almost completed Level 5. She does the Thankfulness Journal in the mornings to practice her cursive and try to help her attitude and outlook on life. For literature we've been using Memoria Press' Storytime Treasures set for the 1st grade. Unfortunately that has mostly been a disaster. Ana can't do any of it without me essentially giving her answers. Her vocabulary score on the CAT test was in the 1st percentile, and that is consistent with her speech therapy evaluations too. She has no clue what most of the words mean in these books and unlike other kids cannot intuit the meaning based on context and pictures. She can read the passages fairly well, but has trouble comprehending. It's the same if I read it aloud to her, so it's not a fluency issue. She doesn't understand much of what my husband and I and the other kids say around her, and just ignores everyone out of habit. She'll smile and nod to be pleasant but later we discover she had no clue what we were asking of her.

    She needs explicit vocabulary instruction. We've been reading aloud tons and she's been reading real books herself too. She just read The Courage of Sarah Noble independently and did well with it. She reads picture books for science and history (a lot of the Memoria Press Supplemental suggestions for grade 2) But none of it translates into improved knowledge of word meanings or ability to use the words.

    What would you suggest to explicitly and systematically teach her vocabulary? Right now I'm looking at some ELL resources as I've been told those are good for deaf children but I'm unsure if those will help her. I'm tired of the speech therapist's haphazard approach and want something more classical in nature, something more tried and true

    #2
    Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

    Hi, Imagine.more!

    If you're not too far into MP Storytime, you might switch to SC Storytime. We move more slowly, break things down into smaller pieces, and assume less. We also focus more on where, what, who, and when than why & how. Her decoding would be fine, so she could begin this immediately.

    If you would like to build non-fiction vocabulary, you might look at the SC 1 plans and the SC 1 supplemental science books. This would make you feel better about being at a lower level of comprehension, because at least you would be covering aspects of science, culture, and history.

    The SC 1 literature selections work specifically on vocabulary.


    If these seem too low, consider the SC 2 Guide with comprehension questions, "Calvin the Comprehension Caterpillar," and visual question words at the back of the guide.


    Either way, I know what you mean about hit-and-miss randomness. You want something systematic.

    You can purchase individual subjects or, recommended especially for SC 2, purchase the entire Curriculum Guide ($30), because then you will have the SC 2 Comprehension helps in the Appendix, all subjects coordinated by week (even if you only use some of these), and you'll have the 8-week review in each area. Book lists are included in each CG, and you can find most of those at the library.

    Others might have more to suggest.


    After you settle on a systematic, daily approach to her vocabulary and comprehension, you can fill in her leisure time with targeted vocab/comprehension conversations.

    Does she still enjoy any non-academic activities? You might build her vocabulary with specific non-fiction books on these. Now that she is 8th grade, you will be looking to those "After Homeschooling" years. Prepare by devoting some time to the small things she enjoys and does reasonably well. If these are domestic, she can be groomed, like my daughter, as Domestic Assistant. If she prefers being out of the home or caring for younger children, she might begin volunteering at a friend's in-home daycare or other supportive, small child care.


    Ana is still relatively young. She had so many academic strikes against her before she came to you, and now she is entering a different period of growth. Keep remembering the gains you have seen, compared to the beginning. Know that above all, she now has a family who provides for her needs in every way.


    Btw, if you find that SC 1 or SC 2 works well for her vocabulary, language, and comprehension, SC 3 is coming in just a few months. In other words, if systematic SC lessons help, we'll do our best to stay ahead of you!


    Thanks-
    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

      Just a drop-in comment here:
      We just finished our first week of Simply Classical Level 2 with my oldest, who also has significant comprehension problems. While the course material may or may not suit your needs, the approach certainly will. Readings for the week are pre-read, read, re-read and then re-read again. There is also a review option (or a "delve deeply" option) each Friday. While you may have already read Cheryl's descriptions of this process in previous threads, it makes a world of difference when you're actually teaching it.

      My Boy will not pay the slightest bit of attention to nearly any book on the first reading. He doesn't understand it, doesn't want to; he tunes it out. It almost always takes three readings to get him interested and engaged. Case in point: "The Twelve Days of Christmas" -- he had ZERO interest when I introduced it (and "books you can sing" are almost always a sure thing in this house). Montage through several more singings to two nights ago at dinner when he held the book in his hand and led the singing of the entire book for his father and me. (It was a riot!)

      So you might want to schedule your readings in this way:
      *introduce the book
      *pre-read it and introduce new/key words and discuss them
      *read
      *read again
      *utilize simple comprehension questions and help Ana answer them in a complete sentence; repeat
      *choose a few books that can be sung (the Simply Classical levels have several of these) and incorporate traditional, level-appropriate songs into Ana's day. (Mother Goose and all those songs we remember from elementary school are not just "fluff" -- they really do instill vocabulary, rhythm, rhyme and an ear for language.) ASL (sign language) is a wonderful visual aid in this case as well.

      All these are what SC2 includes (so maybe just purchase it? LOL!) We also went backwards a bit when we started. My Boy began at Simply Classical Level C, but I was teaching his younger sister Level A at the same time. He benefited enormously from books read to him at a lower level. And he didn't mind in the least that they were "baby books". Steck-Vaughn also has textbooks and science books that cover age-appropriate material but with simplified vocabulary... I wish I could put my hands on a specific book for you but I'm crunched for time.

      All this to say: I empathize! We struggle with comprehension too! Be patient, though -- with practice and perseverance, it improves.
      Last edited by Anita; 01-06-2017, 05:51 AM.
      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
      ~Pope St John Paul II

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        #4
        Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

        I have a similar situation with my son. I have been having success with "Reading Milestones" from Pro-Ed Resources. It is a complete language curriculum originally created for deaf students. I've especially found the Teacher's Guide helpful with it. The kit for each level includes reader texts, spelling books and workbooks. The workbooks go over vocabulary from the readers using pictures to illustrate meaning. They also link phrases to pictures to teach comprehension and word usage.

        I hope you find something helpful, I understand how frustrating this is!

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

          Welcome to the forum susansk. Been a member for a year and a half and she finally posted. Yay!
          Married to DH for 13 years. Living the rural life in the Colorado mountains

          DS10- Simply Classical 4 / Grade 3 Classic Core,
          DD8- Grade 2 Classic Core,
          DD 6- Classic Core Kindergarten

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

            Originally posted by Colomama View Post
            Welcome to the forum susansk. Been a member for a year and a half and she finally posted. Yay!
            Thanks! Sorry, I thought I'd posted here before; perhaps an intro is in order?

            I'm a mom of five ranging in age from 6 to 20. I am homeschooling my middle child, 13yo, and my 20yo is in school part-time. He has autism and is delayed in both language and cognitively (most of his cognitive delays are due to his inability to use language very well at all). He goes to school in the afternoons to access the work-ed program. And we still homeschool as he still wants to. We have hopes that he will one day be able to receive a grade 12 standing, although he may be in his 30s by the time that happens.

            I fell in love with the concepts in Cheryl's book "Simply Classical" when I read it over a year ago now and have been very pleased to see her curriculum come out. And that's when I started hanging out here as a lurker. Today was the first time I felt I had something to contribute. Thanks for letting me learn from you!

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

              Originally posted by SusanSK View Post
              Thanks! Sorry, I thought I'd posted here before; perhaps an intro is in order?

              I'm a mom of five ranging in age from 6 to 20. I am homeschooling my middle child, 13yo, and my 20yo is in school part-time. He has autism and is delayed in both language and cognitively (most of his cognitive delays are due to his inability to use language very well at all). He goes to school in the afternoons to access the work-ed program. And we still homeschool as he still wants to. We have hopes that he will one day be able to receive a grade 12 standing, although he may be in his 30s by the time that happens.

              I fell in love with the concepts in Cheryl's book "Simply Classical" when I read it over a year ago now and have been very pleased to see her curriculum come out. And that's when I started hanging out here as a lurker. Today was the first time I felt I had something to contribute. Thanks for letting me learn from you!


              Thank you, SusanSK. As a mom of now-21yo twins with autism and other special needs, I especially love this:

              [M]y 20yo is in school part-time. He has autism and is delayed in both language and cognitively (most of his cognitive delays are due to his inability to use language very well at all). He goes to school in the afternoons to access the work-ed program. And we still homeschool as he still wants to.


              My son works two days a week at our amazing special-needs workshop -- top in the state. He helps us, helps our neighbors, helps at church, studies history at home, and composes music in the evenings.


              My daughter now works one shift per week at a nursing home, serves as Domestic Assistant for me at home, helps me select books for the SC Curriculum, studies ballet, and keeps her brother company. She daily fascinates us with her complexity. Over the weekend she giggled in her room over a Boxcar Children book she has read dozens of times, then emerged with King Lear to reread the play in its entirety on the way to church, because she is especially fond of Cordelia.

              She is also developing a sense of humor. When the doctor recently marveled at her ability to traverse schizophrenia, autism, anemia, and chronic kidney disease, he told her, "Michelle, you are complex." She retorted with a twinkle in her eye, "At least I'm not concave!!"


              Thanks for "lurking" and for posting.

              Cheryl

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Midyear Check-In and question about kids with low-vocabulary

                Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
                She is also developing a sense of humor. When the doctor recently marveled at her ability to traverse schizophrenia, autism, anemia, and chronic kidney disease, he told her, "Michelle, you are complex." She retorted with a twinkle in her eye, "At least I'm not concave!!"


                Thanks for "lurking" and for posting.

                Cheryl
                Too funny! Thanks for the chuckle

                Comment

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