Considering Homeschooling my ADHD/Reading Delayed 2nd grader- LONG

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by JamesMom, Nov 6, 2012.

  1. JamesMom

    JamesMom DIS Veteran

    Aug 27, 2004
    Dont' know if this is right place to post and sorry in advance for the length.

    I have been thinking seriously of homeschooling my boys and my husband is considering it, but not as strongly as me. He is a ‘public school was good enough for me’ kind of guy. So bear with me as I lay out my case to you guys and hopefully I can work through this.

    Background: My DS7 has been in the ‘system’ since 2 yrs old because of a speech delay and rigidity issues (sensory). Attended public special ed pre-school and got him talking by 4 (still 2 years behind) and then mainstreamed into Kindy & 1st grade. He received an ADHD/ASD dx from a Pedi Neurologist after prompting from 1st grade teacher for evaluation. [btw ASD diagnosis was not found by the school evaluators]. He is now in 2nd reading at a Kindergarten level and still gets speech support as well as pulled out for 45 min a day/ push in for 30 min/day for reading/lang arts. His medication has helped him tremendously in terms of concentration and behavior in school. Off meds is a different story at home  In Math, Science and other subjects he excels provided he does not need to read or write extensively – oral and auditory expression he is grade level or above.

    Goal: Get him to grade level in all areas as soon as possible with minimal interventions.

    Not as much as I would like. He is making progress but with the 7 hours they have him a day plus the one on one attention with his IEP, I believe I could do better. I fear they will keep passing him with inflated grades and he will get further and further behind his peers and the impact socially as well as academically.

    Example: His class has 3 spelling lists of 15 words each – 1 for approaching, 1 grade level and 1 advanced. DS7 brings home a customized list of 8 words from approaching – the easiest 3 letter ones. Really? Grades on those modified tests run from 60 (with the option to rewrite misspelled words 3x for 100 which is averaged to an 80 in the grade book) to 100 last week. Another example is he is constantly bringing home papers with bad handwriting, misspelled words, incorrect grammar, no punctuation, etc and he gets ‘A’s? What? How is he to learn and grow if you keep telling him it is good enough for an A? He got an 89 for Language Arts/Reading on his 1st 6 wk report card - Really? Maybe for a 1st grader… Yet they have him working endlessly on adding single digit numbers which he can do in his sleep.

    Hubby solution
    : Work with him more at home.

    My responses: He is on ADHD medication from 7:00a to 3:30 when he gets home. The school has him for 7 hours a day – over an hour one on one time. I want him to have time to play, work on music, physical activity (essential for ADHD), Cub Scouts and Church activities. Where am I going to find more than 30 minutes a day to work with him (off meds) and still keep him well rounded?

    My solution: Finish out the year and see what they say at his ARD meeting and end of year Reading results. If not satisfactory (ie, not in the ballpark of 2nd grade work, but still giving him A’s .) then try homeschooling.

    -Concentrate extensively on reading and writing skills one on one.
    -Allow him to advance in math and science as his reading/writing capabilities allow
    - Teach the curriculum within the typical 7 hour day with time to spare to include more PE, religion and the arts.
    - I would want to follow the same texts/testing as public school, but on our timetable within the academic year (ie, not restricted to a 36 week year – year round school if needed).
    -Would be within the timeframe of his medication and therefore would not disrupt his sleep/eating schedule. While on meds his appetite is nil and needs to be off for several hours to fall asleep in time to get needed hours before the next day.
    - I hold 2 master degrees though none in education, but I have taught at the college level as well as Sunday school at the elementary level and served/serving for years as Scout leader.

    Disadvantages:- Loss of my free time while they are in school – my music practice time would be impacted (I currently play piano and violin upwards of 2 hours a day, plus take lessons at community college) as well as household chores (but would provide opportunity for the kids to take on more duties, as well)
    - Essentially taking on a part-time job with no pay.
    - Loss of skilled interventions with speech and reading. Would be able to get speech therapy through health insurance and private reading tutor, but at a cost which we really can’t afford.
    - He loves school

    My DS10, who is above level in everything, would love to be home schooled and will be entering Middle school next year – another can of worms if you ask me.

    Thanks for reading and appreciate any responses.
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  3. chris31997

    chris31997 Disney Kid at Heart

    Dec 9, 2010
    I don't usually come into the Disabilities Forum. I saw your title on the main page. I homeschool.

    There is a homeschool thread in the Family thread.

    You can homeschool. It is an option. It would be a challenge. Life would be different. But what wonderful things you can teacher your kids and expose your kids to, makes it all worth it.

    For your DS that is speech delayed/ADHD and not at 2nd grade level, he would be more of a challenge. I would not recommend Abeka for you. Just because it is alot of writing. IT has awesome grammer though. Alpha/Omega is good. One version is a workbook style and that might work well for your son. Typing may also be a good approach for him. It is active and he does not have to write. You could also use, soccer/basketball to reinforce spelling with him. Bounce the ball as he spells the words. Abeka might work for him for math if he is advance as you say. Abeka is a difficult curriculum.

    For your other DS, you could either go with Abeka or Alpha/Omega computer. The computer would allow him to work on his own but if he is a perfectionist it might backfire;) Abeka is a good advance program but only if he can work independently. Because, younger DS is going to require lots of time.

    Housework, think of it has future training for a life. Home Ec, teach them to cook, clean and run a house. Teach them how to make a grocery list and to estimate how much they will spend on items. Future wife will be thrilled with you :goodvibes

    As for hubby, I would sit down and write out a plan on how you are going to work out everything. What are the boys going to do, chores? What type of curriculum are you going to use? How are the boys going to be active outside of the house? Both of you will need to be on the same page. This is not an easy journey and there will be days, you are like :headache: and need a :hug: Than there will be days when it is :cool1:

    I would advice you to check into HSLDA to find your state and see what the laws are because of the IEP and find out what groups are near you. The groups will give you support and an outlet/field trips.

    Good luck, feel free to message me if you want.
  4. clm10308

    clm10308 DIS Veteran

    Jun 23, 2010
    I can't really comment about the homeschooling option, but your description sounds as if you don't think they are requiring as high a standard of work as you would like for him. Also, the goal that you stated that he has sounds too general in my opinion.

    If you choose to stay, I would suggest that you ask for more specific goals and objectives. Try to find out what are the specific reading skills that he is having trouble with. For example: does he know all the letters? Does he have trouble with phonemic awareness (sounds but not necessarily in association with the letter names), Can he put sounds together to make a word? Rhyming, identifying/matching sounds?

    Once you and the school have more specific details of his reading difficulties, then a better plan can be developed.

    I would guess that his speech problems are impacting his reading development.
  5. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

    Mar 16, 2008
    what would be ideal for your child would be to get a SPED attorney and have them find an outside evaluator compitent in ASD and have the school pay for that evaluation. Then have the Attorney enforce the proper supports both academic and functional to meet your child's needs for FAPE.
    Reality is that even if you get due process or judicial enforcement of your child's rights to FAPE, there is almost nowhere in htis country where our kids can be in the general education environment that they need for there social development and get the full array of support for both their differences both challenges and gifts.
    There are a few areas in the county where once FAPE is enforced legally that do "blended" home school and gen ed programs which for many of our kids is ideal since it keeps the anxiety under control.
    good luck, the public education system has no idea how to educate our children to their potential.
  6. Schmeck

    Schmeck <font color=blue>Funny thing is now my 17 year old

    Aug 26, 1999

    Have your cake and eat it too, bookwormde! The child is getting FAPE, where in the world did you see that the child was not getting services? Reading specialist, IEP, etc, all are part of FAPE. Just because the IEP needs to be tweaked doesn't mean the child is not getting a free, appropriate public education. The public education system I work for has a wonderful reputation for educating 'our children' to the child's potential. We educate the parents as well.

    OP, I'd suggest calling a meeting with your child's team as soon as possible and ask them the same questions you've asked here. They can't change things the way you want them to unless they know!
  7. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

    Mar 16, 2008

    "Not as much as I would like. He is making progress but with the 7 hours they have him a day plus the one on one attention with his IEP, I believe I could do better. I fear they will keep passing him with inflated grades and he will get further and further behind his peers and the impact socially as well as academically"
  8. JamesMom

    JamesMom DIS Veteran

    Aug 27, 2004
    OP here,

    Thank you for the responses.
    - Curriculm - I plan to purchase used copies of public school texts and work them at home. I can find copies on ebay & Amazon for under $5. My goal is not to change the curriculm - just the way it is delivered. I want my children to get the same education so they ease right back in at a later date.
    With that said, I did look into K-12 the public Homeschool that is free, but I didn't like the reveiws concerning the workload and pressure to keep up. It seemed a little micromanagey to me, so I plan to use the same books/criterea, but more flexible if that makes sense.
    - IEP - I have made my wishes known at Parent/Teacher conferences and ARD meetings that I want him working at grade level. So far, I don't think it is happening. See the picture below of a paper he brought home last week - can you read it? I can't, but yet it has a check mark with no corrections and he will get a A/B grade for reading/writing on his report card next week - you watch.
    - Laws - We live in Texas which probably has the most lienient homeschool laws in the country. Simply write a letter that he is homeschool and I'm done. All accountability is up to me.

    Here is a sample of his work that he brought home last week. Is this second grade quality? After 10 weeks? I think we would have expected more from a Kindergartner.

    I rest my case...

    Keep the ideas coming.
  9. kirstenb1

    kirstenb1 DIS Veteran

    Feb 23, 2010
    It sounds like he does well at math, science, and I'm not sure you mentioned social studies. Here, Language Arts/Reading/Writing is always in the morning, for about 2 hrs. I'd hate to pull him altogether, since he seems to be succeeding in key areas. Is it possible to combine homeschool/tutoring, and then have him attend public school for 1/2 days? I honestly have no idea, just wondering out loud.

    I have a first grader with ASD, and I understand your concerns after seeing your son's handwriting paper. DD has an IEP where she does either get push in/pull out in the morning. She's making decent (still below grade level) progress, so I'm happy as long as it's steady progress. Her papers are starting to have words I can identify, which is huge, since she started the year only drawing strange pictures. She also has weekly O/T in a private practice, which is helping her with handwriting/organizing her work.

    Does your son receive O/T through the schools? DD does, and I always ask that the work she does involves whatever lesson is current in Language Arts.
  10. J'aime Paris

    J'aime Paris Living happily ever after

    Mar 7, 2008
    I debated before posting my replies. I don't mean to come off harsh, but my suggestion would to have a long sitdown with his teachers/admin of the school before making any decisions. Best of luck! I know this road can be long and lonely at times:hug:
  11. lovethattink

    lovethattink DIS Veteran

    Sep 17, 2004
    We homeschool my son. We have been doing it since 2010. Originally we started because he was having seizures every night in his sleep and would not be able to be pushed out the door to school after a seizure. Homeschooling allows us to go at his pace, schooling during the time of day when he is best ready to learn, working one on one, allowing more quality time to be spent on his problem areas while also allowing him to further develope his strengths beyond the core curriculum.

    We are able to meet the accomodations he requires. In the beginning, he needed attention breaks every 10 minutes. Now, most days he can focus an hour or more. He uses a balance disk for rocking when he sits on a chair. Some days he has trouble writing and I become his scribe. There are very few subjects that he can do the work completely on his own. I have to guide him through, explaining what the directions mean. We have to break down multiple tasked projects to one task at a time. And the list goes on.

    I'd suggest looking for homeschool support groups and co-ops. We are in a field trip co-op, which is great! My son is in a special needs acting troupe, and a homeschool acting class at a theater. He also takes voice lessons. There are so many opportunities out there for homeschoolers!

    Whatever you decide, take the time to do the research. Find other homeschooling parents in your area with children with special needs. There are hundreds of curriculums out there. You may just find one that better meets your child's needs. My son is a tactile learner, so finding a curriculum with hands on learning was a must!

    Best wishes!
  12. GraceLuvsWDW

    GraceLuvsWDW DIS Veteran

    Mar 19, 2007
    I have spent so much time worrying about my own daughter and her being behind her same aged peers academically. She won't read and brings home very, very poor grades on most of her worksheets. Her writing journal is WAY different from her peers. I mention this because I spent a lot of time and energy meeting with the school trying to figure out a strategy for "reaching" her.

    Last year (3rd grade) she had the first standardized testing ever. I was sure it was going to be a disaster. They modified the format a bit but the results were astounding! She tested 12th grade level in science, 10th grade in vocabulary and history and seventh grade level in basically everything else (except for reading and comprehension). Her scores were top of her class!! I couldn't believe it.

    I mention this because sometimes with our kids their output on the "one size fits all" curriculum that you see in regular classrooms doesn't begin to show you an accurate picture of their actual "capabilities".

    So I guess I am stating all of this to let you know I don't spend a lot of time now worrying about her making good grades on the papers as long as I know she is getting something out of school. I think she gets a lot from hearing the teacher discuss things or seeing demonstrations, but she cannot manifest her understanding in written form in the manner they require. Now, in 4th grade she brings home 20's, 30's, 60's etc. but many times it's on things I know she knows. She also has dysgraphia so has the added difficulty of concentrating on writing + solving a problem + everything else she needs to attend to is too much to handle.
  13. GraceLuvsWDW

    GraceLuvsWDW DIS Veteran

    Mar 19, 2007
    I also wanted to state I know parents of ASD kids who use K-12 online homeschool and they like it very much.
  14. Pea-n-Me

    Pea-n-Me DIS Veteran

    Jul 18, 2004
    First, :hug: You sound like a great mom.

    Don't know if you saw this thread today? I don't think it's really all that unusual to see (what I've quoted above). Perhaps more of an argument for your homeschooling, but just wanted to point out it's not unusual, even for kids without disabilities.
  15. JamesMom

    JamesMom DIS Veteran

    Aug 27, 2004
    Op here,

    Thanks for all the repsonses. Hubby and I have talked some more and we are planning to homeschool next year. I did read that other thread and it was an intresting read.
    I have many months to research and plan and hopefully get my children up to speed with a year or two.
    Thanks again.
  16. eisforpants

    eisforpants Mouseketeer

    May 8, 2008
    You need to find other homeschool moms in your area for support, playgroups and the like. We homeschool our son mainly because if we would have mainstreamed him, the schools would want him medicated and I don't feel for him that it is appropriate.

    There are a lot of things you need to learn about homeschooling. Some you'll figure out as you go along and some your support group can help you with.

    Good luck to you on this wonderful and rewarding journey. It's one of the greatest rides of your life! :)
  17. minkydog

    minkydog DIS Cast Member

    Dec 8, 2004
    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!

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