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I have 2 children aged 6 and 3. They both attend PS. My eldest is advanced and in kindergarten but due to the set-up of her PS she is not challenged so we home-school as well. My youngest is in sped as he has autism so of course not only does he go to school full-time but we obviously home-school him too. My two different children need vastly different ways to be given the same education as a "neuro-typical" child.
For those of you who have been able to successfully home-school your children do you have any recommendations for curricula for the two sides of this I'm on? I do know I'm not the most educated person and that is why my children are not only home-schooled but I also know that they do not get the best education for themselves out of PS. Thanks for any advice.
Are you asking for full-time curriculum options (pulling them out of PS), or are you asking for supplements to continue afterschooling them? If you're asking for supplements, specifically what are you looking for? As for the autism, where does that one fall on the spectrum? Are there specific skills you'd like to reinforce at home? Social skills, communication, etc?
Don't worry about not being the "most educated person". You know your children better than anyone else, and as long as you know at least the level they're on, you can be a great benefit to them whether you're homeschooling or supplementing with an afterschooling curriculum.
I supplement at home but we basically do a whole school day in our day as well and it isn't a fight or problematic with either of my kids as they both love school. I'm hoping to find better ways to add to my daughter's knowledge of math. She can do addition, subtraction, knows shapes and can do basic measurements with a various devices but still can't figure out division or multiplication tables very well; not that I'm holding it against her!
My son is moderately autistic and he is completely nonverbal. I am mainly trying to find other ways to stimulate his mind aside from electronics as he has mastered the use of a cd/dvd player; television/vcr and has the basic understanding of how to manipulate a video game controller....again he's only 3 and not up to par with several "normal" 3 year activities as he doesn't know his ABCs, or how to count but loves to "read"(obsessed with any type of print material and studies it carefully) and actually can "count"(he points to and someone else says the number) to ten using his fingers or various lined up items.
First, let me say I'm no autism expert. I know "book" knowledge about it, because we were initially told my oldest might have it (he doesn't), but I don't have "experience" knowledge about it. I'll try to give you what resources I can, and maybe someone else will jump in here as well. Your best bet will be a national or local organization, yahoo group, etc. that specializes in autism.
As for teaching, I'd probably go with an unschooling approach (mostly), at least for now. You mentioned the use of technologies like tv and games. How about the computer? Do you think it would help to use websites like Starfall.com for letters and basic reading, Leapfrog for numbers and basic math, and that sort of thing? Jumpstart is also a good one. Here's a site that has some flash card and other ideas, although I'm not sure about using flash cards. It sounds to me like he DOES know how to count and use a 1 to 1 relationship, but he's just not able to express himself. Is he in any one on one therapy for the language aspect of his learning? There's an online curriculum that I've heard good things about for autism, but I know nothing about it personally. I've never used it. It's K12: K12: Public, Private & Home Schooling Curriculum - Online High School, Elementary & Home School | K12. You might look into that one. It's also secular. Not sure if you're looking for secular or religious, but for most subjects, it really don't matter.
Now the daughter.....
Do you happen to know what "type" of learner she is? Does she learn better by what she's told, what she sees, or what she does? (Auditory, visual, or more of a hands-on type?) Is math your only concern? How is she with reading and writing? Does she have any particular interests she'd like to dig deeper into (science or history topics, for example?)
I didn't read all of the last post above; it looks great! I'm tired and headed to bed soon and promise to come back in a day or two, but off the top of my head...
My oldest son deals with high functioning autism, and pulling him from ps was the BEST decision I have made as a parent in my whole life. Hands down.
In general, children with autism often develop special interests. This in itself leans well towards the unit study approach. You take one subject matter and base all your schooling around it. Kid is into lizards this week? (Erm.. month... season... year....) Handwriting is copywork using sentences about lizards. English involves words related to lizards. (Creative writing is tabled for this kiddo, most likely!) Reading involves both fiction and non-fiction books about lizards. In math we are adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing... you guessed it - lizards! Science is easy.
Next week is all about apples? Fine. Back to the library you go. Use whatever curriculum you have, and tweak it so that it involves whatever special interest is current. Sometimes a special interest will last an incredibly long time, and we have to get creative with trying to use that specific interest to branch into other areas. Apples are fruits, and all fruits grow this way. Plums aren't apples, but they grow like apples, and if we cut an apple in half and a plum in half they look kind of similar. Apples are red... other things are red too! What season do we get apples? Fall... lots of things happen in the fall!
And if this week's special interest is Pokemon, by golly we're adding and subtracting Pokemon.
And I'll be back later. Gnight!
Much thanks to Alethia for my beautiful siggie and tags!!
My daughter is actually able to grasp concepts and learn though any three of those listed. She reads at a 2nd grade level, and yes has the ability to comprehend the reading as well and ace tests on the material. She performs at or beyond (K) in all areas on standardized testing and the only reason she only performs on par (90-95%tile) instead of above with everything is she wants to finish things correctly and if given a timed test takes the whole time to finish the test so she makes certain she checks her work multiple times during the allotted time. I'm not stating this as fact but rather her various teachers/principals have expressed as much. The only thing that holds her back in K is her maturity level however she has not caused issues in school and is "on track" for her age and getting better as the year has progressed.
My son is obsessed with Ni Hao Kai Lan and Thomas(the train) so I utilize those two whenever I am trying to teach or reinforce something with him. He has been getting speech therapy and occupational therapy since he was a year and a half old. The reasoning behind OT has more to do with his sensory regulation system and SPD. The ST has made little progress but he does use PECS to communicate in the classroom and at home. I've been under the impression for quite some time that he in the very least recognizes letters/#s and I do believe he can read to a degree; he can pick out his favorite cartoons on our cable guide which has no pictures only the name of the show, time and the channel's call letters(ie: PBS, 8pm, CH 6.)
I asked everything on this board because I figured those of you with experience could help send me in a pretty good direction. Thanks again for everything.
My son is also using occupational therapy for his SPD. He's been in PT off and on since birth, but the OT just started a few weeks ago. For now, the focus is mostly on fine motor skills, but they said they'll also be giving him a "sensory diet" (not food) soon. Not sure what that will be yet.
I'll get back to you on the math recommendations. I'm supposed to be at a funeral right now (4 states away), so my afternoon is shot. I can't focus on anything longer than a moment without turning it into something to cry about. *sigh*
Generally speaking, multiplication & division will be 3rd grade material. Some start multiplication as early as 1st, but most don't, and state standards definitely don't expect anyone under 3rd grade to know all of their times tables. Keep that in mind when looking at what I've listed below. An advanced or fast-paced curriculum will probably put you looking at 1st or 2nd grade. A slower one will put you looking at 3rd.
Does your daughter like computer games? If so, a good multiplication game is TimezAttack. I've played it myself (the free version). I'm not much of a gamer, but I admit... it was fun. I'm sure the paid version is even more fun. Multiplication.com is also a good site for learning multiplication.
If she's a visual learner, tables aren't going to do her any good. She'll need to visualize what 4x7 actually looks like. Give her examples... like ... 7 days in a week times 4 weeks equals a month. There are 28 days in February, so 4x7=February. She knows how long a month lasts, so it'll give her something to base other 7's on.
If she learns by music, you can teach times tables using the old Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube. I taught mine his 2's using the theme to Thomas the Train, and I taught him his 3's and 4's using the tune to Jingle Bells. There are lots of other music tricks like that, but the ones I've found are on CDs you have to buy. I'd rather make up my own or use YouTube.
Teaching Textbooks is an online traditional math curriculum. She's probably not to the level of TT yet (although, I think they just came out with a 3rd grade level?? All I've seen is 4th, so I can't comment on 3rd. The site has a placement test.) TT is behind when compared to other curriculums, and it's not what most would consider college-prep when you get to the high school stuff, but for your purposes, it would work fine as an online teacher.
If you're looking for a more traditional, book-based approach, here's my 2 cents on that:
Rod & Staff is what I'm using right now. It's what I call old-school. There are no bright colors, silly graphics, etc. There are very simple "dick & jane" style pictures, and only when they're needed. They teach lessons to the point and then drill, review, drill. It's a Christian curriculum, so you'll find references to God, behavior, etc. in the examples and word problems. It's a slow & steady wins the race curriculum, so it's easy for you do skip ahead when you need to or take your time when you need to.
Horizons - Love it, but it's very advanced and very fast-paced. Colorful illustrations, not a whole lot of busy work. Christian, but not in your face.
Abeka & Bob Jones (BJU) - Both are solid programs. Abeka is a little more fast-paced than BJU. Both are Christian based.
Math-U-See - I haven't used it personally, but it's well-received in the homeschool community. It's a hands-on curriculum, so if you think that's how she best learns, that's something to consider.
Saxon - Too expensive for my taste, but a great program. Actually, I have a friend who teaches both college and 4th-9th math part time in separate schools, and she swears by Saxon. Personally, I like it fine for older grades, but not younger ones.
Singapore - Very different approach. Using this will either help her see things from another angle or confuse her to death. Personally, I'd stay away from it if you just want a supplement to public school. It would be fine if you were entirely homeschooling. Some here use it, actually.
SSI Products Skills Practice Spectrum MathEPS - Again, I haven't found anything from Spectrum or EPS I don't like. Some people feel you don't get a full year's worth of curriculum out of them, which might be true, but as a supplement, they're wonderful workbooks.
Math Mammoth - There are a couple here using it. You can download free examples to see whether or not you like it.
Primary Grade Challenge Math - I'll be supplementing with this next year. It's not a full curriculum, so you might actually prefer this book. It's for grades 1-4, and for each lesson, there are 4 sets of questions: easy, challenging, very challenging, and einstein. That means you can go through the book at one level and then go through the exact same book again at a higher level. The lessons are the same, but how deeply you have to think changes. Cool book. There's also a similar book for grades 3-9 if you end up liking it. (You can probably get this book cheaper at amazon, but I listed this link because you're able to see examples.)
.... I just know I'm forgetting something....
If you want to print out free worksheets online or something like that, let me know. There's tons of that on the web. If you want placement tests to see where she really is for different curriculum publishers, go here. Horizons Math Readiness Evaluations : Sonlight Curriculum If you want to compare her to your own state standards, the assessment I use with Ben is D.O.M.A. from LetsGoLearn. Love it! Great test, and it feels like a game. It's not like a test, really. You'll buy as a parent and log in as a teacher. (There's also a reading assessment, if you're interested. Also a wonderful test. Same format... like a game.)
For future reference, look into the Life of Fred series. She's not ready for it yet, but after she's mastered multiplication and division, she'll be able to do LoF as an entire curriculum (homeschooled), a summer supplement, or a year round supplement.
Ok, let me post this before JM eats it. (Always eats posts I've actually spent time on. LOL!) I'll go back and edit it to include links or things I've fogotten.
.... Now I know what I forgot....
Videos! We have 3-4 videos, but we're closing on a new house Friday, so of course they're packed. I'll look around and see if I can find them online and then come back to edit this post. There are a lot of good ones out there.
If all else fails, you can brainstorm at the math.com online store. LOL