2 Helpful Hints To Homeschool Children With Special Needs
you will need about three years to learn your teaching style and your children’s learning style
you will want to skip box sets of curriculum
Growing Into Your Teaching Style
When I first started teaching my children, I think I did what many people do; recreate school at home. I made an area for my children that looked like a little classroom you would see in a public school. It was what I knew of school. I was recreating what I did in school because I thought it was successful. The problem is I did not think about the fact it might have been successful for me but maybe my children did not learn like me. Yes, it took me a bit to figure this out. LOL
How I Teach: Growing Into My Children’s Learning Style
How to teach was another question I had. I mean, I have surviving quadruplets who are all 11 years old yet they could not be more different cognitively! So I had to stop after that first year and look at how they learn. It was during that time I had neuropsychological testing completed on the children along with psycho-educational testing I had done the next year. With that data, I sat down and looked at their evaluation scores again. What was a low score on fluid reasoning mean for my child and his education? How did the processing speed impact learning? What the heck is executive functioning and what does it do? What exactly is working memory and does it impact learning too? These were all questions I asked myself trying to get a better understand of HOW my children learned. In an effort to understand about my children I wrote a series of blog posts on these topics and more, and you can read the posts by clicking on the hyperlinks in the post.
In coming to an understanding of the child’s learning difficulties, I felt better equipped to teach them at home. With my children being so cognitively different I focus on teaching them all math and English/reading separately. All of my children have autism and they span a good chunk of the spectrum. All of my children have issues with dyslexia too. Like autism, they span the spectrum in dyslexia. One of my children, James, is higher cognitively functioning and his issues with dyslexia are mild. I see more of his issues in math in the form of dyscalculia. For Margaret, her issues are more severe in dyslexia. She does have issues with reading, but she has learned to cover come to her biggest hurdles with reading. For math though, her dyscalculia is quite severe. Even at 11, with myself and multiple teachers/tutors helping her, she STILL does not have a good understanding of place value. Joseph also has issues with dyslexia AND he also is intellectually delayed with SLOW processing speed. These issues have caused him to not only have issues with reading, but also writing (dysgraphia), and math (dyscalculia). Now that I know all this I realized math and English are better done individually for each of the children.
Why You May Want to Skip All-In-One Box Sets of Curriculum
It is super tempting to buy an all-in-one set of curriculum. There are sets like Timberdoodle, Abeka, and others. These sets, per child, run about $250 and up. These sets can be AMAZING! As a parent it made me feel good because I knew I was covering everything I needed to cover to teach my children. Then I discovered a problem; my children’s learning levels were not consistent with the grade-level material. James was WAY advanced in some areas, on grade-level in others, and behind in one of the subjects. Margaret was ahead in one subject, on grade level in 2, and then behind in 2. Joseph was behind across all the subjects. I was busy modifying the curriculum as best as I could to meet the children where they were ahead and behind. Again, I did not know what I was doing! LOL I was just trying to make modifications that made sense.
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