Weekly Wrap Up-The Halloween Version

Dressing up, candy, more dressing up, more candy, beautiful fall weather…that sums up the week. ¬†ūüėČ

We did get some school work done-actually, a lot more school work than I expected with a holiday in the middle of the week.  I found a new version of Striker Jones for business math.  It is SOO much better!  The kids all researched charities and how the donations are collected, how the money is used, and all types of interesting information on marketing.  In 4H, the kids worked on building a typical dwelling seen in the country that they are each representing, and they learned some Spanish dancing/conversational Spanish.  It was a really fun day.

Sawyer has been on a creative streak lately.  This week she finished up her wings for her costume, up cycled a very large t shirt she got and did some drawing.

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Homeschooling High School for the Teen with Dyslexia

Homeschooling is a terrific option for many children with dyslexia and/or dysgraphia.  At first, you may think that it is too much to tackle.  However, you have time on your side when you homeschool!  Children with dyslexia and dysgraphia typically need to have information presented in multiple ways.  Children with dyslexia also do much better when information is presented either in a small group or one on one.  Teachers do not have the time or the resources to do these two things even when they really want to.

Homeschooling high school makes many parents anxious-you are not alone!  I do worry that I am not doing enough or that we are not doing something right, but then I take a deep breath and realize how far my son has come!  This post is a revision of two previous posts.  Now my son is in high school, so a few things have changed.

Spelling:¬† We started with All About Spelling and went through levels 1-4.¬† This program taught/reinforced the spelling rules.¬† The down side for us was that the information did not carry over into other writing activities.¬† Well, it is wonderful to get a 100% on your spelling test but if you can not spell the word in your journal or in an email, then you didn’t get it.¬† Thus, I moved to another spelling program called Apples and Pears.¬† This is an open and go curriculum.¬† We started with the first book and are moved through the second book.¬† The program appears to have no rhyme or reason initially but as the teacher, you soon realize that the words appear again and the patterns are progressed.¬† The best part is that the spelling carried over!

The best spelling program I have found for high school-texting.  Yep, you read that correctly-texting.  Once my son got a phone and began texting his friends, he began to be aware of this spelling errors.  The phone marks when the word is spelled incorrectly.  It also has word prediction.  Seeing words spelled properly over and over that are used in daily communication has had the largest impact yet on spelling.  The carry over is amazing!

Reading fluency and comprehension:  For reading fluency, we used Dancing Bears.  He began with the fast track AB book which went through the sounds fairly quickly.  Due to the extensive tutoring, he did well with this.  If you have a reader who is still struggling with the initial sounds, then I highly recommend you begin with book A (we are doing this with our youngest and it is working well).  Again, I find the carry over phenomenal.  Reading fluency in other book continues to improve.  Reading aloud is still a struggle and most books that my son can read aloud are not necessarily what he wants to read.  This is why we use Learning Ally!  Learning Ally is an online program for people who are blind and/or have a reading disability.  Learning Ally has real people record books as they read them aloud.  Note that I added real people.  The kindle and apple programs can read aloud but the voice is automated and lacks inflection.  Real people make the stories come alive, use the proper pausing, and use the proper inflection.  Learning Ally allows Sims to read books that are at his comprehension level, which is much higher than his fluency level.  Learning Ally also has many textbooks which can be beneficial for high school and college! We also use audibles a lot also.  Reading speed continues to be an issue, but fluency has increased.

Writing:  I did not use a specific curriculum for writing originally.  I had him journal and write nature studies that I did not edit.  These were for him just to simply practice writing.  Then when he did have a writing assignment, we did several things.  Some times he would make notes and then dictate the paragraph or paper to me to write.  Other times, he made his notes, formed an outline, and then wrote on wide ruled paper and skipping a line.  We use form drawings (a Waldorf activity) and metal insets (a Montessori activity) to work on sizing, fluid motion, pressure and letter formation.   I also recommend using gel pens or mechanical pencils.  Gel pens allow for smooth writing.  Mechanical pens teach how much pressure is needed (most kids with dyslexia/dysgraphia tend to push very hard when writing-the crayon breakers-LOL).

Last year, Sims worked through Essentials in Writing level 9. ¬†Overall, it was ok. ¬†I didn’t love it. ¬†He didn’t love it. ¬†The writing was dry and mechanical. ¬†This year, he is using a program called Byline which is more journalistic writing. ¬†So far, it is going very well. ¬†There is a purpose to the writing which (like the spelling) makes it more motivating. ¬†He is also using speech to text some for longer papers. ¬†Speech to text still requires him to plan, outline, and have a rough draft.

Math:¬† Luckily for Sims, math comes easy.¬† He gets it and he understands how to apply it. ¬†We used Teaching Textbooks¬†in the past. ¬†For Algebra, Sims used Life of Fred and he loved it. ¬†This year, he is making an online class for geometry. ¬†Now the difficult part isn’t doing the calculations.¬† It is the writing!¬† In the years past, he has used two methods to keep the numbers in line.¬† One trick is to use large graph paper (meaning the squares are large).¬† This is tough to find, but when I do, I stock up!¬† The other trick we us is to turn a wide ruled notebook sideways.¬† This allows you to place the numbers in the same column. ¬†For geometry, the writing continues to be the most difficult part.

Note taking/Vocabulary: We use two methods for note taking and vocabulary.  One method is using notecards.  Some people love notecards.  Others do not.  They are simple.  He can put a picture on one side and a word on the other or a definition.  There are many options for using notecards.   Notecards allow the use of pictures too.   The second method is to draw a T on a sheet of lined paper with the top of the T going across the top of the page and the perpendicular line about three inches from the left hand side of the page.  Then either dates or vocabulary words or a main topic can go in the left column.  On the right, corresponding definitions, information or notes are written.  Adding color is a terrific option.  Highlighters or using different colored pens are options.

We are only one full year into high school, but we are figuring out some methods for Sims to be as independent as possible. ¬†He seems to be doing well with it. ¬†We have taken some of the fluff out of some subjects, but he is doing them all. ¬†He has also learned to advocate for himself this year in his outside classes. ¬†He attempted to take notes in his chemistry class, but could not seem to get everything done (and legible), so he spoke with the instructor (who happens to also be dyslexic) about getting a copy of the notes after class. ¬†This way, Sims writes as much as he can so that he can practice taking notes. ¬†After class, he looks over his notes and the instructor’s notes to make comparisons/corrections. ¬†¬†As I stated in an earlier post, we know that he has dyslexia and dysgraphia but it no longer seems to be a learning disability while he is learning at home. ¬†He is beginning to take classes outside of the home, so hopefully all that he is doing will continue to transfer over to his classes!

Weekly Wrap Up

We are midway through our first business math block.  We finished up our read aloud-The Year Money Grew on Trees.  We LOVED it!  Sawyer and Parks are also still working on the Pet Shop Math.  The last two times that we did business math, we used the Striker Jones book.  I felt that we needed a change, so I decided to use Whatever Happened to Penny Candy.  I heard terrific things about it, but the kids find it very dry.  It has been tough to get through, but we are trudging through at least for one more week.  Sims and Sawyer are also about a third of the way through Byline which is a writing curriculum that includes US history.  It is ALOT of writing each week, but so far they are both enjoying it.  In addition to their writing curriculum, the older two are also getting quite a bit of practice with writing lab reports for chemistry and physical science!  This week while the older were writing up their labs from last week, Parks learned about water displacement in his science class.

On the fun side of things this week, Sawyer made a sling for her coach’s baby kitty. ¬†Everyone cooked up a storm this week (which is funny because cooking was the theme for Spanish class this week too). ¬†Sims and I got a paddle in on Wednesday since there wan’t any wind for a sail. ¬†Thursday, we gleaned eggplant and peppers. ¬†Friday, Sawyer and I were invited by my brother to go see Hamilton! ¬†It was an AMAZING show!

 

Weekly Wrap Up

Lots of school work this week!  And lots more to get through!

I am not sure why, but the output of work seems a lot higher this year.  This is neither good nor bad.  It just is.  More output requires more time inside and at home. That part is not my favorite.

This week we learned about money and its history.  We learned about inflation.  We are also almost through our first read aloud book, The Year Money Grew on Trees.  It is a terrific book to go along with finance, economics and business math.  The kids also made topography maps and color wheels in Spanish this week in 4H.

Sims gave me a lesson Wednesday afternoon on rigging and sailing a 420. ¬†I had a blast. ¬†I can’t wait to go again! ¬†I am not sure if that was my favorite part of the week or getting back to the barn after several weeks of not going!

Friday, the younger two worked at home on their Simply Charlotte Mason Pet Shop math and finishing up their workplans while Sims and I headed down to Charlotte to finish up his educational testing.

As always, the weekend was full!  Boat cleaning, yard work, parties, concerts, sailing, and   some fun time to just hang out.

Week Two-Life Long Learning

Well, we made it through the first two weeks of school.  The first week went fairly well.  The second week went about the same.  Nothing very exciting.  So far, I think that our favorite curriculum choice is Byline for the older two.  It is also tying in well with our block on civics.

This week, Sims had his first real test.  He is taking an online geometry class which has tests every other week.  It is moments like thee, that we realize how dysgraphia will continue to effect him through the years.  He writes well, but it does take him more time to write.  Geometry requires a lot of writing and planning.  Thus, his test took him three hours to complete.  Wow!  I was shocked that it took that long and amazed at his perseverance to get through it.  (and not that it matters, but he was very excited to get an 89-pre/94-final grade after corrections in his first real test).

Sawyer is moving through her work well.  She generally does not find school work challenging but this year, we found some fun stuff.  She is enjoying the writing with byline and the Visual Latin program.  She has a gift with languages that I love.  She finds them so easy! (This is a concept that boggles my mind because language is so tough.). She also started designing her Halloween costume this week!

Parks (I am scared to jinx myself here but…) is doing really well this year on his school work. ¬†He wakes up and hits the books. ¬†He is focused to finish his work-which can be good and bad. ¬†Right now, I will take it. ¬†Last year, he struggled with getting motivated to start his work and to complete his work with out A LOT of encouragement (insert-lots of frustration here..lol). ¬†So far, he is completing his work and doing a great job with it! ¬†He is also working on lots of projects such as rebuilding his drones, soldering, and making his own fingerboards.

I am teaching geology this month in our 4H co op.  I explained to the class that I am not a geologist but that I find the subject interesting. Thus, I decided to teach the subject.  Who knew that being a homeschooling mom would also make me an unschooler too?  Life long learning.

Back to School Time!

I am still in denial that we are actually starting school which is why this post is slightly delayed.  We started school last Monday as a group.  Sims started an online class a few weeks ago.  As much as I would love to show you a beautiful back to school picture of the three of them smiling, I have nothing close.  I have pictures of the three of them steadily working and looking at their books for the year.

Overall, the week went well. ¬†Monday, we spent at home. ¬†Tuesday, Parks and I headed out for his writing class while the older two stayed home and worked. ¬†Wednesday, we went to the park for the first day of our 4H co-op and pretended that it is still summer by hitting the lake for a swim afterwards. ¬†Thursday, we hit the barn. ¬†Friday, we finished up any unfinished work from the week. ¬†We also celebrated Sawyer’s last allergy shot!! ¬†(Five years ago, Sawyer found out that she is allergic to the five bee types that we have here in NC. ¬†Over the past five years, she has gone monthly to get two shots-equivalent to getting 18 bee stings at once. ¬†She is amazing.) The workload was light this week. ¬†My hope was just to get everyone into a rhythm. ¬†I think that it worked pretty well.

In addition to celebrating, Sawyer’s last shot, we also watched Sims compete in his first deep water solo rock climbing event at the US National White Water Center. ¬†The competition was a lot of fun to watch!

2018/2019 Planning

I am finding it tough to sit and plan for long periods of time this summer, thus the plan is coming along slowly. ¬†I found out late this summer (like last week) that all three of my kids do not feel “as smart as their friends who go to school.” ¬†This statement quite shocked me-not that I want them to be comparing themselves to others, but I do want them to feel confident in themselves. ¬†This new knowledge is making me change my plan a bit.

I am also trying to figure out how to develop a transcript for high school that truly shows who my kids are.  We have never done formal testing or grades.  We go over information and apply it.  If the information is not understood, I find that the kids cannot apply it correctly, and we go over it again until it makes sense.  I would call this a mastery approach.  I have heard some people say that the kids should get an A after that, but I do not feel that a letter grade truly describes the knowledge.  I am looking into proficiency-based and mastery transcripts as a model for high school.

Sims Grade 10 

Theme: Perseverance

Goals:

  • Self-confidence in uncomfortable situations-academic and personal
  • Increased ease with note-taking and written communication
  • Demonstrate accountability to an outside teacher
  • Demonstrate leadership within his community
  • Challenge himself to use the knowledge he has to gain deeper knowledge in a subject

During Sims’s tenth grade year, he will be working through US history, writing and US literature, geometry, Latin and Chemistry. ¬†I am sure that he will have more that he works on, but this is the plan for now.

Sawyer Grade 8

Theme: Personal Achievement

Goals:

  • Self-confidence in personal and academic knowledge
  • Learn to set personal goals and to develop a plan to work towards the goals
  • Design, implement and complete an eight grade project.

Sawyer’s eighth grade year has a lot of classes per her request. ¬†She will be taking a high school level physical science course, pre-algebra, writing, and latin. ¬†She will also have blocks in civics, US history, business math/economics, geometry and woodworking.

Parks Grade 6

Theme: Community

Goals

  • Independence with beginning daily work
  • Self-confidence in academic knowledge
  • Feeling a part of a community beyond the family

Parks is entering middle school this year!  No more elementary children-how did that happen?  Parks will continue with math and spelling/copy work.  He will also be taking a science class and a writing class outside of the home this year.  He will have blocks on Ancient Rome, business math, geometry and woodworking.

We are also starting a 4H group this year that will meet on Wednesdays.  We have planned many classes including-geology, PE, geography, Spanish, leadership, entrepreneurship, horsemanship, environmental science, cooking and coding.