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Old 11-28-2012, 12:55 PM   #16
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hey! I've got two college degrees and a steady job. if I wanna watch mindless TV, so what?
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I used to be in the all-natural camp.
minkydog's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: North GA
Posts: 16,583

I could have written your post 18 years ago. My oldest, DS26, struggled in school. He has severe ADHD and other learning disabilities. LIke your son, the school just kept passing him. He met with a reading tutor just about every day and STILL he couldn't read at 8yr old. During the summer after he "passed" 2nd grade (oy!) we made the decision to teach him at home. We certainly couldn't do any worse than the school was doing!

We started 3rd grade at home. I chose not to use the school curriculum. Rather, I went with a Christian-based, multi-modal curriculum called KONOS. It is primarily project based. Now I think you can get is with full lesson plans, but back then (1994), I had to develop the lesson plans myself. We kept to a schedule every day, which helped him stay organized. And we had one goal that year: Learn to read. The first 3 months all we did was read. Read, read, read. 7 hours a day. Read, read, more read. By Christmas he was reading on a 2nd grade level. Spelling and handwriting was atrocious, but that is to be expected in a situation like this.

I think your goal of bringing him up to grade level in one year is ambitious. Most kids require about 2 years to become fully fluent readers. I will tell you that reading was a BIG part of my curriculum. We used to go to the library once a week and I never took home less than 20 books, of all kinds. By the time DS was 10 he was reading on a 4th grade level and eventually caught up. His spelling never did get very good and his handwriting is still bad. So I taught him to type. DS is a bit eccentric and his interests were many and varied. He discovered Shakespeare when he was 11 and loves it to this day. And he read every book our library has on costuming and makeup for classic horror movies by the time he was 13 (Creature, Frankenstein, Dracula, etc.)

Personally, I didn't worry about the socialization so much. We had a busy schedule with church activities, soccer, music lessons, horseback lessons and a homeschool group we were in. We met with that group weekly, for 3 hours at a time. The kids were able to take 3 classes of their choosing. This did not take the place of instruction time, but it was fun and interesting. They could choose crafts, cooking, science, social studies, PE, music and literature. And they had history fair, science fair, cake decorating contests for the kids, geography and spelling bees, and talent recitals. My kids loved it!

The first thing you have to do is find out what is required in your state. Every state is different. Then look at curriculum. Is the school curriculum adequate for your son, or do you need to look at something else? I have used some Bob Jones, some KONOS, Sonshine, and Calvert School. And I have written some of my own, to tailor it to my son's interests and needs.

Today, my DS 26 reads voraciously. My son is one of the most well read young men I know and has a huge vocabulary. He still can't spell a lick. DS is a prolific writer and he writes music for guitar and piano. He is still a bit of an eccentric, but that's just who he is.

IMO, there are worse things you can do than homeschool your struggling child. It does take some adjustment--homeschooling is a lifestyle, not just an educational choice. You will have to work hard to get some down time, but there are millions of homeschooling parents out there who make it work. Good luck!
Never underestimate the determination of the mother with a handicapped child
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