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How did you come to use WTM for your LD kid?


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#1 Amy Elizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 01:54 PM

I have ASD myself, and I have two kids also with ASD. My daughter and I do NOT memorize without some kind of meaning/understanding first. It is just not in our set of skills...at all (we do work on it and it is improving but very very slowly) . My son on the other hand is GREAT at memorizing but quite poor in comprehension (though improving with lots of narration). When we first started homeschooling my daughter, I was immediately drawn away from Well-Trained Mind because of the memorization component (and the emphasis on learning to read first...those were also significantly difficult/delayed in her) and ended up drawn to a Charlotte Mason approach. Overall, I have been very pleased with how much they enjoy school (unlike I did when I was a kid) and how they have exceeded my abilities at their age despite the fact that I was actually higher functioning. As time has gone on, I have continued to tweak the curriculum we started off with and recently really enjoyed a talk by Susan Wise Bauer on teaching history! So I thought to myself "I should really read Well-Trained Mind as that is the approach so many of our friends use and as I have borrowed ideas/resources from time to time from WTM." So I started reading it... While I agree with many of the basic premises (reading lots of good books on a variety of topics is very important), I find myself bristling a bit because compared to my own experiences growing up and raising my kids...it sounds like a philosphy only designed for "normal" kids (all the talk about how advanced children are that use these methods, all of the emphasis on memorization when memorization is actually a part of my kid's disability,...and how "simple" reading is...). So it made me wonder, "Are there any special needs families that use this philosophy and how did all of this rub them?!?" Now, I do find that I am in a rather unique position having ASD myself, having kids with ASD, having no typical children, and having been a School Psychologist....so that might contribute to my interpretation and also to why I was initially turned off by WTM. And I should add that I do really like some of the resources I have come across and agree with much of the overall premise. But, I am curious to hear your stories!

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#2 OhElizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:27 PM

Hmm, I'll try here. First, welcome to the boards! I haven't seen your posts. LC/SN especially is a very welcoming place, and ANYONE is welcome, whether they're using any aspect of WTM or not. We even have people who don't homeschool but use ps, afterschool supplement, whatever. This is pretty much a Cole Porter, Anything Goes, kinda place. There have been times when maybe people didn't feel that way. I think the hard thing is so separate out all that environment from your own hurt and maybe defensiveness or disappointments, kwim? There's definitely a grief to homeschooling and picking up books or material and going wow, that doesn't fit my kid, wow another thing that doesn't fit my kid, wow NOTHING fits my kid.

 

I think the joy is to realize there's joy in the journey no matter what it looks like. I think you're doing the right thing when you find peace and are moving forward. I came to the boards years ago when I started homeschooling my dd, who is straight ADHD, no SLDs or ASD. For her, WTM was inspiring and useful. I didn't use it as a list of things to memorize, and it always makes me chuckle that some people read WTM and find that to be such an important element. I must be really "devil may care" because when I read WTM I don't take it that way. I don't give a plug nickel what SWB thinks of what we memorize, and what we do is our business, kwim? Like you've really got to just look at your own family, your own values, translate the ideas to what works for you, and DITCH what doesn't!

 

I've met SWB, chatted with her quite a bit. She's a gracious, generous person. She pays for our bandwidth here, even though we're not exactly selling her books, lol. She would tell you to work with the child you've got. I remember hanging with her a bit and telling about something dd was doing that was hard for her because of the ADHD, and she's like oh, I do it this TOTALLY DIFFERENT way!! Like even SWB does not follow her book to a T. Almost nobody does. There *are* people with kids who are the type to do that. Fine, good for them. But a lot, lot, lot of people are making things work their way, making it fit their values.

 

I find commonality in the value of an enriched environment. At a time where my peers were doing a lot of straight curriculum, it was radical to say we would put an emphasis on REAL BOOKS.

 

I find commonality in focusing on the basics. And I know I have friends who are like oh my SN kids doesn't have a normal progression. Fine. My ds has a progression, but it's years and years delayed. Things still progress and there still needs to be effort and not wishfulness that things will just go away. When I play games every day with my ds with an intentional goal of working progressively on expressive language skills, I'm doing WTM. It's not the exact WTM, but it's the SPIRIT.

 

I find commonality with women who are as intent in doing a good job (whatever that means), working hard at the job of homeschooling, being there for our kids. I find homeschooling my extra SN dc to be a seriously, exhausting full-time job! I love coming on here and talking with women who are working as hard as I am. These are women who don't blanche at a new challenge but go sure, let's do it, let's learn this, we can make this happen. That's who I want to hang with. We've fought IEP battles and gone to training workshops and made things happen that the ps wouldn't make happen happen for our kids. And some people here advocate hard within the ps system and learn things and bring that knowledge here. We've got all types! But they're all thinkers working really, really hard for their kids. I can identify with that.

 

I've had friends that were really bugged that SWB put a chapter in WTM on SN when she hadn't dealt with it. They felt her statements on it being reasonable to apply the WTM methodologies to all situations were at best naive and at worst dangerous. I personally don't have any mental time to deal with it. I don't care if SWB said that or if something in a book or on the web was incorrect, kwim? We here KNOW what things are incorrect or untrue or at least not true for our kids. When she asked for contributions about SN for her new edition, I didn't contribute. I didn't contribute because I don't think it's possible for someone who hasn't BTDT possibly to adequately explore the subject. They haven't btdt. I've cried all the way back for hours from a diagnosis. I've fought with lawyers over IEPs. I've stayed up at night praying to G*d for some kind of wisdom on what in the WORLD to help him to do xyz. I've sweated for months having to work every day, over and over, on pick up your jaw, round your lips. I've got the hits and scars.

 

I don't ask someone who hasn't BTDT to tell me how to teach my dc. My dc is unusual even in the world of unusual. He is exactly what he is, and I just pretty much let it roll. I stay away from anything that makes me feel guilty or like I'm not doing enough. I do things for my stress and to keep my health and stay stable. I listen to good advice from people who've btdt and are in a position to know. I'm exceptionally cautious about any other advice. 

 

If you like being here, be here. If aspects of WTM inspire you, use 'em! If things in there guilt-trip you or don't fit RIP THEM OUT. Like just take a black marker and XXX them out or a ruler and R-I-P  them out. It's your book, your life, your homeschool. Do what you want. You're the adult and nobody answers to God and the state or anyone else but YOU. 


Edited by OhElizabeth, 01 August 2017 - 03:32 PM.

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#3 OhElizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:33 PM

Btw, there are numerous ASD moms on the board. Some hang on Chat, some on here.


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#4 Amy Elizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 04:22 PM

Thank you! That helps! I am wondering if I was reading it that way due to our interactions with families that use CC and so I just got the feeling that she was really pushing memorization... Though technically, I think you are right...

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#5 Heathermomster

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 05:25 PM

CC taught "as normal" and without accommodations to a child with SLDs, ASD, wm deficits, and processing speed deficits is tantamount to organized child abuse. I don't happen to see the advantage of teaching young children a ton of unconnected facts, unless it is maybe math related. Memoria Press is the only classical education publisher that I am aware of that has written curriculum specifcally for the special needs population.

My son is not ASD. He is gifted with 3 SLDS and came home in 7th grade. DS kept a WTM style history folder but detested historical fiction. Multiple book reads for one history lesson were too much for him in logic stage, but as a high school senior he actively seeks multiple source materials for history. I love it, and I never imagined he'd do that. He's only taken a classical roots class and one informal logic class. His best writing program is turning out to be Lost Tools of Writing, which makes me laugh at the irony. My son does great with Socratic questioning and discussion.

SWB Is very generous to host this forum for us. She wrote a terrific book that has motivated numerous families, but it is ultimately my responsibility to teach my students. I adapt pretty much every curriculum that we use to suit my children.

I cannot recall what lead me to WTM and the forums. I definitely read the WTM and took notes prior to arriving. Perhaps one of the bigger hurdles for me to overcome was to realize that it's fine to not follow a publisher 100%. Our kids learn differently and at a different speed.

Welcome to the boards!

Edited by Heathermomster, 01 August 2017 - 05:26 PM.

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#6 Moved On

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 05:46 PM

nm


Edited by Moved On, 10 August 2017 - 10:15 PM.

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#7 Moved On

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 06:42 PM

nm


Edited by Moved On, 10 August 2017 - 10:15 PM.

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#8 Amy Elizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 06:48 PM



CC taught "as normal" and without accommodations to a child with SLDs, ASD, wm deficits, and processing speed deficits is tantamount to organized child abuse. I don't happen to see the advantage of teaching young children a ton of unconnected facts, unless it is maybe math related.


LOL... Yes! This is the impression I had gotten, and I think it messed with how I was reading WTM!

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#9 Amy Elizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 06:50 PM

Have you come across this?

https://welltrainedm...ason-education/

Welcome to the forums, by he way :)

Yes! I had seen this, and thought it made good sense because the two are so much alike! I think what I was noticing is that as a special needs parent is that Charlotte Mason's original works caused less bristling on my part. If I had come to it without that perspective I might have preferred WTM because it is MUCH easier to understand!

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#10 Moved On

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 07:00 PM

nm


 


Edited by Moved On, 10 August 2017 - 10:15 PM.

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#11 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 07:02 PM

Welcome to the forums!

 

1.  Yes, as others have said, The WTM forums are for anyone that is seeking answers, community, whatever.  It provides many things for many people and Susan Wise Bauer is a phenomenal human being for continuing to keep the WTM forum alive and free of charge.  Tons of people are on the WTM Forums that do not follow lock step with the WTM book or philosophy.

 

2.  SWB has written books that have been a great help to many.  But no one thing is going to fit every single person on the planet 100%.  People take what works and leave the rest.  That's what we all have to do.

 

3.  Over and over, throughout the years, I have found that many people have made statements about learning using some method or other that they are convinced is THE.BEST.WAY. to learn for everyone across the board.  I know for a fact now that this isn't true.  We are all different, not tires being manufactured in a factory.  Different things are going to work differently for different people.  That is the nature of Humanity.  I don't fault them for that assumption, though.  I was that way once, too.  That has probably been their experience, it is what they have known.  If they have things to say that are helpful, I use those suggestions.  If not, I move on.  That includes feedback from specialists and "experts" and people on the internet and people who write books.

 

4.  I came to the WTM forum because I needed answers.  The "experts" I was working with to get help for my kids were not helping.  The people on the Learning Challenges board in particular (but also other WTM subforums) gave me other avenues to seek answers and a place to brainstorm.  I found parts of the WTM book helpful or at least interesting.  My mother has read it several times.  She and I discuss what is useful and move past the things I know won't work for my children.  But coming to the WTM forums has netted tons of resources and information and at times badly needed support in our journey.  I love the WTM forums.

 

5.  And yes, definitely as mentioned above my philosophies and needs and those of my kids have changed over the years so I often reread resources, too, and usually gain fresh insight from doing so.


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#12 Pegs

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 07:20 PM

Hello and welcome! I have ASD, and so does my only child. You're definitely not alone. :)

I've rather loosely interpreted elementary level memory work as being about exposure, rather than a very specific set of factoids. In my mind, what's most important is that he has a foundation of "pegs" on which he can hang later pieces of information. The phrase "spread a feast" really resonates with me for working with grammar stage students.

Regarding reading, I like that WTM has encouraged me to use audiobooks and readalouds to expose DS to beautiful language which is beyond his reading level.

I also have learned a lot about teaching writing from SWB. I like the way she breaks composition down into separate skills, and says to teach the skills separately (through narration, copywork, dictation) before expecting a child to be able to bring the skills together in order to express original thoughts on paper.
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#13 Storygirl

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 10:20 PM

I read WTM when my oldest was a preschooler, and I used it as a guide when I started homeschooling her. I found that some things in the guide worked well for her (she is good at memorizing), but there were other things that we changed in our second year of homeschooling. I could write out some details about what worked and what didn't, but I won't, because the important point is that WTM is not a one-size-fits-all program. For some kids, aspects need to be tweaked or changed, while for others, the approach does not work at all.

 

My younger three kids struggled with various aspects of schoolwork from the beginning, and I never used WTM with them. I knew it was the wrong approach for them, after having used parts of it with their older sister.

 

So, to answer the question in your thread title, I found WTM to not be the right choice for my kids with LDs.

 

Fortunately, there are many options available out there for homeschoolers now. I found it worked best to choose materials for my kids subject by subject, instead of buying programs that had all subjects packaged together.

 

Reading the WTM boards helped me learn about our options, so I'm really grateful for the boards, even though the book itself didn't end up being the best overall source for me. I'm still glad that I read it early in our homeschooling journey.


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#14 Pen

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 11:07 PM

We used SOTW audio at a time when my ds needed to learn, but could not read. It was excellent for him.  From there I also got TWTM book and tried SWB's writing program--but the only part of WTM system that really worked great for my ds, given his different ways of learning and areas of struggle, was SOTW audio.   The forums otoh have provided a lot of help.


Edited by Pen, 01 August 2017 - 11:17 PM.

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#15 Amy Elizabeth

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 11:43 PM

Hello and welcome! I have ASD, and so does my only child. You're definitely not alone. :)

I've rather loosely interpreted elementary level memory work as being about exposure, rather than a very specific set of factoids. In my mind, what's most important is that he has a foundation of "pegs" on which he can hang later pieces of information. The phrase "spread a feast" really resonates with me for working with grammar stage students.

Regarding reading, I like that WTM has encouraged me to use audiobooks and readalouds to expose DS to beautiful language which is beyond his reading level.

I also have learned a lot about teaching writing from SWB. I like the way she breaks composition down into separate skills, and says to teach the skills separately (through narration, copywork, dictation) before expecting a child to be able to bring the skills together in order to express original thoughts on paper.

Yes!!!! I am SOOOOOO thankful that we now have access to so many great unabridged audiobooks!!!!!!! I wish that had been available when I was a kid! I loved Classics but couldn't read the originals because they were too hard for my reading level but what my mind craved!!!!! And always a pleasure to meet another Aspie! :-)

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#16 OhElizabeth

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 01:17 AM

Thank you! That helps! I am wondering if I was reading it that way due to our interactions with families that use CC and so I just got the feeling that she was really pushing memorization... Though technically, I think you are right...

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Hmm, that's a different bowl of gravy! CC is... well let's just say I was really confused about it till I met the founder. Met her and was like nope, not for me. 

 

Form your own opinion. Guess I really hadn't thought about it a lot. You're right that WTM was so pivotal in the movement that it got a lot of moms THINKING about memorization and WANTING to. Then you have the engineer brains come along and systematize it. By the time you get to CC, yeah memorization is the point. But WTM is significantly broader. 

 

Do you find yourself feeling pressured by them to do CC? That's hard if all your friends are and you don't want to. Around here there are co-ops are big. There's also CC. People often like to have someone to get together with, but not everyone does. So a support like that works really well for some people and not others. It's ok to be yourself and go your own way. :)


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#17 Terabith

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 06:51 PM

I bought and read TWTM years before I ever had kids.  Like, I seriously fell in love with it long before my children were a twinkling in my eye.  I used parts of it (and Story of the World) when I taught third grade in a private school before I had my own kids.  It really appealed to me because I loved how systematic it was and because it would have been a great way for ME to have learned, although all the way along, I was unthrilled about teaching tons and tons of random facts.  What I was incredibly enthusiastic about was memorizing tons and tons of poetry and Scripture.  I did that on my own as a child, and I can't tell you how grateful I've been as an adult to have all this gorgeous language and poetry just THERE for me.  I make connections to it in daily life, in my other reading, and the language that I memorized as a child has been foundational for my own writing.  I always said that children should memorize poetry and songs and Scripture so that when they're 97 and in the nursing home and blind and deaf they have beautiful stuff in their heads that never goes away.  The stuff that we memorize as kids is what sticks with us the longest; I saw that when I went to seminary and visited the elderly.  They might not know their children's names, but they can still sing "Amazing Grace" and recite the 23rd Psalm. 

 

And then I had my own, real children.  My oldest was moderately capable of pursuing a TWTM education, but she was super social and by the time she was in third grade, school was a constant fight.  She had a low frustration tolerance, and she was totally wilting at home.  I tried and tried to get her social needs met, but literally the only co-op out there was Classical Conversations, which I did but hated, and then they wouldn't let them come with my mother in law when I worked two mornings a week.  And it wasn't enough.  She was getting lots of time in activities (dance, piano, sports, drama, religious ed, CC, etc), but she wasn't getting consistent time with the same kids day in and day out.  She didn't have a community, and I wasn't able to get her enough play dates to have free play with friends.  She was miserable.  She hated struggling with schoolwork, and the fact there were no other kids to model that they also had to work at things.  She needed to go to school, so she started Catholic school. 

 

And my youngest.....well, classical education just didn't work.  She had an off the charts, gifted IQ, severe anxiety, either autism or something like autism, a nonexistent memory for unconnected information, low processing speed, and a host of learning disabilities.  A curriculum that based itself on memorizing random bits of knowledge just was impossible.  She was miserable.  She was brilliant and creative and had the vocabulary of a graduate student, but she couldn't read, write, or do math.  She did learn how to read, which I'm not sure would have happened if she'd been in school.  She needed to go to school because she needed to be forced into regular social interaction, even though she didn't really want it. 

 

Academically, I could have done a much better job with them at home.  But, school was the right choice.  The academics are "good enough," if not ideal, and they are happier and have gained social and executive functioning skills, and it was the right choice for our relationship.  It was the right choice for them at that time, though I'm really glad they both learned the basics at home.  I think whether to go to school at home or school, and if you homeschool, what curriculum to use is a decision based made based on the real child in front of you each year at a time.  Some days maybe one day at a time. 


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#18 Storygirl

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Posted 02 August 2017 - 08:52 PM

OP, since you brought up CC... I would not say that WTM and CC are interchangeable in their approach, so I wouldn't lump them together.

 

I loved the idea of the WTM approach, until it didn't fit the children I have. But I was always uncomfortable with CC. I looked that their materials extensively at one point and even went to an informational meeting. But their way of teaching facts in isolation through memory work really rubbed me the wrong way, because I knew it would lack meaning for my kids. In contrast, I think the WTM really tries to dig deeper and make connections, while using memorization as a tool.

 

When my kids were little (first grade), I looked at SOTW, and I felt it was too disjointed and jumped around too much from chapter to chapter. My kids needed context and connection, so I cobbled together my own history program, which was tons of fun. (That year of history was probably my very favorite part of homeschooling my kids, ever). I only mention this because I think SOTW is a much more cohesive approach than CC. Since SOTW wouldn't work for them, CC definitely would not.

 

All that to say... CC and WTM are different, though they are both based on a classical approach. It would have been easier to adapt WTM for my kids with LD than to try to use CC with them.


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#19 Moved On

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Posted 03 August 2017 - 02:50 PM

nm


Edited by Moved On, 10 August 2017 - 10:14 PM.

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#20 Moved On

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:50 PM

nm


Edited by Moved On, 10 August 2017 - 10:14 PM.


#21 Kinsa

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:54 AM

I found WTM when my oldest kids (twins, now college seniors) were still preschoolers. I followed it pretty closely with my oldest kids, and somewhat more loosely with my next two kids (currently a college sophomore and a high school senior).

Then came my SN child (mild intellectual disability). By the age of eight I knew it Just. Wasn't. Going. To work. I pitched the entire methodology with him. He does a completely personalized educational path that suits him and him only. I do, however, still do SOTW with him and try to get good literature into him. So that mimics the WTM method a bit.

My last child is neurotypical, and we follow a loose WTM methodology with him.
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#22 Kinsa

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Posted 24 August 2017 - 08:56 AM

As for CC... I looked into once about fifteen (?) years ago. It made me want to run for the hills!

Edited by Kinsa, 24 August 2017 - 08:56 AM.