[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 4:41pm
Have you been agonizing over selecting your homeschool curriculum, or is the curricula you have been using not working? We understand. In fact, one of the most frequently asked questions we receive in the Struggling Learner/Special Needs Department is, "What is the best curriculum to use with my child?"
There is no simple answer to this question. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum that will be the magic bullet for a child with special needs. Rather, what makes the biggest difference is a loving and diligent parent-teacher coming alongside the child and teaching him at his level of functioning. It is not just the materials that make the difference, but the methods of instruction and how the materials are adapted to best suit your child's specific needs. It is important that you use methods and materials which accommodate your child's learning style and specific learning needs.
There is an abundance of homeschool curricula, supplementary materials, and programs...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 4:37pm
The incidence of children with Asperger's Syndrome is increasing, but many parents are finding comfort and success for these challenged youths. In the February 2009 HSLDA Struggling Learner Newsletter titled, "Homeschooling a Child with Asperger's Syndrome", we focused on the biological interventions that parents of Asperger's children have found helpful. Then, in the July issue, we turned our attention toward beneficial educational and social interventions. Today, we will address the topic of frequently recommended and necessary therapies.
Should your homeschool program include working with therapists? Many parents surveyed feel comfortable enough to work on most of their child's issues at home. Others feel that much is gained by having their child work with therapists once or twice a week.
1. Occupational Therapy
This type of help has received the most favorable comments from parents. Most helpful is sensory...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 4:22pm
The incidence of children with Asperger's Syndrome is increasing. But parents across the country report that homeschooling their Asperger's children offers the breathing room they need. Homeschooling helps parents apply the advice of experts, many of whom encourage three approaches to help Asperger's children overcome the many challenges they face:
1. Biological interventions.
2. Educational interventions.
3. Social interventions and therapies.
In the February 2009 HSLDA Struggling Learner Newsletter titled, Homeschooling a Child with Asperger's Syndrome, we focused on the biological interventions. In this newsletter, we will focus on educational and social interventions. Part 3, the final section due out later this summer, will address recommended supplementary therapies for children with Asperger's Syndrome.
Should You Homeschool Your Asperger's...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 4:05pm
In the United States, it is estimated that one family out of 150 has a child who is struggling with Asperger's syndrome , or autism . (CDC report as seen on www.medicalnews.today.com) This represents a 500% increase in the past 10 years. Homeschooling families are not immune to this phenomenon.
Many experts on Asperger's syndrome encourage three approaches to help these children overcome many of the challenges they face: biological interventions, educational interventions, and social interventions.
In this newsletter we will focus on the biological interventions that parents have found to be helpful with their children. In the next newsletter we will deal with educational and social interventions. Before we get to interventions, let's focus on the characteristics and why homeschooling is best in helping a child with Asperger's be successful.
What does the...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 3:50pm
"My child wants to read so badly, but he struggles so much. He is embarrassed because his brothers and sisters, even the younger ones, can read better than he can. We have tried so many curriculums. They have worked for my other children, but not for him."
As a reading specialist, and coordinator for HSLDA's Struggling Learner program, this is a statement I hear on a daily basis from homeschooling moms. What is really hampering this child's ability to read? Can a mom figure this out at home, or does she always need professional help for this?
My experience, after working with thousands of homeschooling families in my clinic, is that homeschooling parents are very capable of tackling this job successfully at home, once they have the correct information to work with. In this brief article, we will discuss the process that I teach parents to determine where their child's reading problem lies, and what to do about it.
Why is reading easier for the other children in the...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 3:32pm
Homeschooling allows parents of children with learning challenges, and/or gifts and talents, to incorporate their child's strengths and interests while they work together at the student's pace to "catch-up" on basic skills.
Many parents opt to withdraw their children with special needs--those who have already been under an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) in a formal school setting--in order to homeschool them. Other parents never enroll their children in any formal school setting because they suspect that those children would struggle and likely "fall through the cracks" if they were not homeschooled.
However, some homeschool support groups may require that parents secure an IEP for these children. When HSLDA members call me about developing an IEP, I often introduce them to the Clinical Teaching Cycle Model which was developed by Janet Lerner, Ph.D., specifically for teaching children who have learning problems.
Here are the five components of her model and...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 3:14pm
Homeschooling is not without challenges--especially when it comes to teaching struggling learners and children with special needs. This newsletter will introduce you to some resources which may help you with the challenge of developing a Student Education Plan (SEP).
"Mom A," a very conscientious mom who was in her first year of homeschooling, told me she and her son were schooling from early morning until 10 p.m. "Mom A" explained why they were adhering to that schedule. They had to meet the deadline requirements established by the curriculum provider who would be awarding the grades for each class in which her son was enrolled.
That mom's voice conveyed her exhaustion and also her fear that her son, a slower processor, was equating learning with misery, and that he would ultimately "just plain give up." Clearly, both mom and son were candidates for burnout.
I commended "Mom A" for her obvious diligence in homeschooling...
[Article]on 12/24/2011 - 2:36pm
HSLDA recommends that parents who are homeschooling struggling learners and/or children with special needs arrange for regular evaluations and document their child’s progress. It is important to keep accurate records demonstrating how you are meeting your child’s special needs and how your child is progressing. As a general guide, the more severe the special learning need, the more frequent and thorough the evaluations should be.
What types of tests/assessments are used to measure and document progress?
- Curriculum-based assessments, such as end-of-unit tests, parent-teacher made tests, quizzes, or evaluations.
- Informal and ongoing assessments, such as checklists, rubrics, oral reading records, anecdotal notes, work samples, portfolios, student learning logs, journals, etc.
- Standardized, achievement tests (nationally normed).
- Informal reading inventories and other diagnostic reading tests (such as the GORT-4 and the QRI) which must be...
[Article]on 12/21/2011 - 3:00pm
Participation in debate is a huge commitment, but benefits abound! Christy Shipe writes, “…Whatever the resolution, a student will almost certainly cover government, economics, political science, composition, research, public speaking, logic, rhetoric, current events, typing/word processing, computer skills, editing, and argumentation and debate theory…”
WHO MAY PARTICIPATE?
Check individual class and club listings at www.mache.org/mnhs&d for age/grade recommendations. For debate competition, home educated students age 12-18 by January 1st of the current school year may participate.
HOW DOES A STUDENT BECOME INVOLVED? (7th- 9th)
Younger students (7th - 9th) who are not yet ready for debate can improve their speaking and reasoning skills in the following speech events:
In a class, club, or competition students pick a topic and are given two minutes to...
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