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Michelle My Bell

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Posts posted by Michelle My Bell

  1. Michelle, just wanted to say YOU ARE A ROCK STAR!!!


    Good for you thinking outside the box and being willing to consider any option that will help your son.


    And GOOD FOR YOU going to nursing school. 


    You've come a long way, baby.





    Thank you so much! I actually just found out today that I am officially admitted into the nursing program this fall. I have been doing pre-nursing up to this point. Just finished Biology and Chemistry. It has been a great day! Love you all!!

    • Like 43

  2. Michelle, those are good moves!!!!  Good Mama!!!!!  Now just a little tip on the schools.  Find out which of them actually have OG certified reading specialists.  You would not BELIEVE how often a school will have intervention specialists and reading specialists who have NO training in OG.   :(  So call, ask, see.  That's definitely what you want.  I agree if you can get in a school with an OG tutor on staff and get services, that could be worth a TON.  


    If you apply for a disability scholarship, you can take that scholarship and use it to place him into a different school.  It will give you some options.  So it really might just be ps for a year, kwim?  Do your Bible time in the mornings or evenings, whatever you can make happen.  It will be ok.


    Well good job doing all that!  That's getting it real and getting it done!!   :hurray:   :hurray:




    I just want to say, thank you for your messages to me. Just finding out about that scholarship here in our state is amazing and I will most certainly be working towards getting that. When all this was going on, I knew going back to my roots, my homeschooling mamas, I would get the answers I needed. Thank you sincerely! 

    • Like 3

  3. OK, so WOW! You guys answered my questions and then some. So I'll tell you what I've done so far. I live in a pretty good school district but its public school and I thought I would NEVER send any of my kids to a public school. I was a homeschool mama to the core. Well, then last year I ended up sending them to the Christian school and though it was very hard, I saw some great things coming out of my kids. My son really blossomed and loved going to class each day. That is why it shocked me when they wanted to hold him back. 


    Some of you mentioned that they believed the school just didn't want to invest the amount of resources into him next year that they did this year and I 100% agree. I mean they really went above and beyond for my son. They put their all into him and I can't fault them for giving him one year and that's it. What makes me a bit upset is how during my meeting the tutor kept scolding me for not working with him more. Then she scolded me in her email and today I got another email reminding me to work with him. Now, I told her repeatedly throughout the year that I simply didn't have a lot of time to work with him but I would give it my all whenever I could. I was taking night classes and working. It was all I could do just to check homework, get dinner on the table, clean the house and make sure everyone had a lunch for the next day. Since I have been out of school the last two weeks I have been working diligently with him. I just don't think it is necessary for her to scold and remind me. 


    Anyhow, I was given some amazing advice from all of you and I wrote an official letter and sent it to my local public school requesting an IEP. When I called them they said they don't do them in the summer, but with your advice, I wrote in the letter the laws about the request being processed and evaluation completed within 60 days. I was nice about it, but clear. 


    Then I researched all the schools in my district to see which ones had the best results and highest scores on some of the sites like Then I asked friends who have had experience with these schools. Finally, I found a form on my district site that says you can request an Intradistrict Transfer for whatever reason. I am not very happy with the school that we are assigned to but just a 2 miles down the road in the opposite direction is the best elementary school in the district. So I mailed off that form today. 


    Now I am going to have to wait to hear from them about the transfer and I will call and check in with the IEP on Monday to make sure they got my request in the mail. 


    I am excited that my son will not only get the help he needs and will have a lot more opportunities for extra curricular activities that the Christian school did not offer. I am praying it will all work out all right. 


    I am going to continue with the FastForward program throughout the summer. Have plenty of reading time daily working on building up his level a few points each week. I will also make sure he gets in a little math facts practice. 


    One other thing is I told all my kids no computer except for educational purposes for now. I want them outside as much as possible in the fresh air running around, working on their snap circuits, legos, bring creative. Honestly they didn't even complain. 


    So that is my plan as of right now. You guys are incredible. Truly! 



    Edited to add: Homeschooling him is not completely off the table. It would just have to be a joint effort between myself and a few people. I would definitely look to find some sort tutor if this happens.


    But let me be frank... I am living on next to nothing at this point. My ex-husband barely pays his child support and I only work part-time because it is all I can handle while I am in school. I pay the bills but barely. I am not complaining. God always provides and I believe He could easily provide us with a tutor so if that is the road I need to take... Then that is what He will provide for.


    Honestly, I didn't think private Christian school was possible but due to scholarships I was able to send two of my kids there for $100 a month for a $10,000 bill. That is a miracle if you ask me. 

    • Like 47

  4. Yes, I don't tie in his laziness with his reading ability. I just want to instill in him a good work ethic. When I mentioned he needed to work on his reading over the summer he wanted nothing to do with it. I understand he is only 10 and really, who would want to spend the summer working? We all need breaks right? But I want him to embrace this challenge and believe in himself. 


    Also, I do plan to work right along side him for everything I outlined, including the videos. If anyone has any other suggestions, I am open. 

    • Like 2

  5. Well thank you all! I have a lot to think about and investigate. 


    What I have already set into motion is to set up a study area in our quiet family room. I made him a reading chair with reading books at his current reading level. He sat and read two books already. I will have him do independent reading and reading with me each day. I will slightly increase the reading level each week throughout the summer. I will give him studied dictation exercises from his books to help with his spelling skills. 


    I will continue having him work on the computer program the school wants him to do throughout the summer. 


    I am going to start using the online phonics videos 2x a day


    I am investigating the local public schools and also looking into getting an IEP. 


    I told all my kids the computer is off limits from now on. If they aren't doing something useful on it, then they aren't on it. My son loves to play games on it and I feel that fresh air and sunshine  or creative play (like legos) in addition to studies is the best use of his time. 


    Chores and Responsibilities - I am going to increase my son's responsibilities as he currently has none. He is the youngest of 5 and I suspect he has become lazy in all areas of his life because he has always been the baby of the family. I think that there is a real chance that he has been lazy in learning to read. I don't know this for a fact, but I want to increase his character in this area. 


    This is what I have so far. 

    • Like 16

  6. It is true that I didn't work a lot with Lucas this past year. I did check his homework each night and made sure he was reading somewhat but I didn't afterschool him or anything. I guess I had a false sense that he was doing well because his grades were good and he was finally learning to read. I was overwhelmed with my own education and I guess I was at the expense of my sons. I put him in school because I knew I didn't have it in me to homeschool him any longer. 


    I am surprised that so many of you think it would be better to advance him. I was beginning to think I was crazy because of the responses I got from the school. I just feel so concerned for him. Not just educationally, but his age and social pressures. 


    We live in a good school district but my son has a hand deformity and I was concerned that children would be cruel to him in a public school setting. I love the school he is in, but maybe I should consider trying the public school for one year. You have all given me so much to think about. I am truly grateful!

    • Like 1

  7. Here is the email I sent the school over the weekend: 



    Hi Mrs. D, (son's tutor)


         I wasn't sure which one of you to contact but I thought I'd start with you. I had some time to think over our meeting yesterday and also talked to a few family members, including L (my son), about him being held back. I understand the reasoning behind it and at the point we are at right it makes complete sense. I want L to succeed and I realize his reading is what is really holding him back. I am extremely thankful for all that you and others at Emmanuel have done for L this year. I am so excited to see his progress. 


        So yesterday I told L how it has been decided that he should repeat 3rd grade and my very happy boy was instantly distraught. He fought back tears as he said this would be his 2nd time in 3rd grade. I didn't realize he looked at it like that and my heart sank for him. I fear that holding him back may be very detrimental to him and he may just give up all together. So I wanted to ask, if we are able to get him up to a 4th grade reading, spelling, writing level by the end of the summer, would you consider allowing him to advance with his class? His comprehension of the materials are on task otherwise and I would like to have this one last opportunity to help him succeed. 


        I believe with God's help this is completely possible. But I need to know if it is something I can tell L is possible if I ask him to push himself this hard. 


    Thank You, 




    Response from principal: 




    I’m sorry that L was distraught with this news. I am very concerned for his academic future which is why we made the decision to retain him. I do not want him to have the idea that 4th grade is a possibility at this point. I do feel that he should be doing everything possible to improve his skills to be ready for school, but I do not want to mislead him or you. I am relying on data, testing results, and the feedback from both classroom teachers and specialists in order to make this decision. I feel that it is the right decision as did you on Friday. I know that this is hard and that L is upset, but we really need the decision to made on the above mentioned information and not on emotions. I don’t want him to give up, but if we move him without truly being strong in these areas, we will be adding to his problems.


    I don’t want to sound as if I don’t believe that he can grow or that God can move mountains on his behalf, but I am trying to look long term and give him the best opportunity for success. I do believe that our Christian school is the best place for Lucas to be and this is a big part of being willing to have him repeat the 3rdgrade verses the potential of him not being here. I would be happy to meet with both of you before school starts in the fall to encourage Lucas and let him know how much we are all pulling for him if you would like to do so. I know that this news will still be disappointing, but prayerfully I believe it to be the right thing to do.




    Mr. F





    Hi Michelle,

    I forwarded your message to Mr. F because the ultimate decision from the school, of course, is his.  The team of us met together last week and discussed L’s progress this year and, in much prayer, planned what we felt would ultimately be the best for him.  At our meeting, we shared our love and concern for L and the plan that we thought would benefit him the most.

    I just want to add a few comments to the reply that Mr. Farrington sent to you.  As we have mentioned already, L made some great progress this year towards becoming a “readerâ€.  As I reflect on the year, L was enthusiastic about learning and has a curious nature that just seems to want to know more.  During the school day, L was often engaged mentally, asked appropriate questions, often noticed patterns and similarities, not only in words, but in concepts while studying different subjects.  Often times, L almost appeared in awe and even a little overwhelmed  with the newness of everything in school.  Another year of third grade would, in my opinion, help him to become more accustomed to school life and gain a little more maturity.  I really don’t see him getting bored, but rather accustomed to the environment and better able to concentrate on the material to be learned.   I also noticed that L did very little at home to practice the reading skills necessary to make much measurable progress.  We did see a little growth, but as Mrs. H pointed out, the greatest growth seemed to be connected to the onset of doing the FastForWord program.  As I have been tracking his progress through this program, some difficulties have become evident such as the difficulty to follow directions and some difficulty staying on task. 


    At times, throughout the year, when the demands of learning to read and keeping up with the curriculum have been too challenging, his frustration and stress level rose significantly.  I am concerned that the pressure of trying to increase his reading to 4th grade by the middle of August would be very stressful for, not only L, but the family as well.

    I would like to see him read a lot over the summer both independently and with someone.  He should read material at his independent reading level to reinforce what he knows and experience success.  He can read more challenging materials with someone who is a better reader to help him enjoy reading and be exposed to higher levels of reading.

    Everything has been presented to L so fast this year that, in my opinion, he needs some time to just reinforce what he knows and let it all “sink inâ€.

    Also, L is not alone in repeating third grade—there are some others in his class that will be with him.

    I wish we could think of traditional age and grade levels as a general guideline, remembering that every student is different.  We talk a lot about readiness and being ready for different aspects of our life, but, sometimes, we think we have to stick to an age for beginning school and progressing in school.

    Just one more comment from observations of others and my own personal experiences as a mom:  Even though L is upset at the time, children get over it fast and don’t feel as hurt as the parents.  Parents often feel much more hurt that the children.  If we can look at it as a positive experience designed to help L get stronger in his reading and study skills, we are doing him a great service.

    We’ll be praying for you as you struggle with this decision.  We all want God’s best for him and want to prepare him to be able to serve the Lord in whatever capacity He has in mind.

    With love and concern in Christ,



    Mrs. D


  8. The biggest problem with his reading is it is holding him back in all his subjects where reading is required. He simply can't do a lot of the work independently. They did say they thought he had an auditory processing problem but that is not an official diagnosis. They do not have a special education teacher there. The school is a good school. Not so small they can't hire real teachers or anything like that. 


    They said he would simply repeat the grade. They would not accommodate him for math or anything like that. 



  9. UPDATE POST #195 - A year later


    What would you do in this situation....



    I am a long time homeschool mom and up until last year, none of my kids ever stepped foot inside a brick and mortar school. I was divorced several years ago and had gone back to school in 2013 while still homeschooling. My youngest was 7 and still not reading after a year of phonics but was a wiz at math. 


    2014 came and I felt a bit like I wasn't giving him the best so I switched him to an online school that uses Calvert Curriculum. Long story short, he still didn't learn to read. 


    So last year, 2015, I made the hard decision to enroll him at a local Christian school. He was really behind, still not reading at 9 years old and I was overwhelmed with my own schooling. (nursing school) The school placed him in 3rd grade which was a year behind where he should be but he is small and very good natured so I didn't worry too much. 


    He had a wonderful year. He finally started reading and went from not reading at all to currently reading at and early 2nd-grade level. The school truly bent over backward to help him. They gave him a private tutor who helped him daily and kept me in the loop throughout the year. Honestly, he went from not reading or writing to writing short stories and writing in cursive. 


    Here is the problem, while he has improved substantially, he is still below enough that they want him to repeat 3rd grade. I feel awful for him. When I told him about it he nearly burst into tears and said he would "be in 3rd grade for a second time?" and "All his friends would be moving up but not him?" 


    So I contacted the school and asked if I was able to help him over the summer would they consider letting him advance if he improved enough. Essentially, the principle said he has too much he'd need to gain (2nd & 3rd grade reading abilities) and it was best for him academically to continue in 3rd grade. I feel as if I don't know my next move. I plan to do work with him this summer, but I don't know the best course of action. I would love to see a miracle and have him tested at the end of the summer so he could move up if they would let him. I don't know if I should just let it be and still work with him, but accept he has to repeat the grade. 


    I am in nursing school and I don't know if I could homeschool him. Is that what you would do? I need all thought thoughts and advice I can get. 


    So what would you do in this situation? 

  10. Anyone have any good resources, (books, youtube, DVD's etc...) for learning the metric system inside out. I also want something that teaches converting from one system to another. I am in nursing school and really need to brush up on these skills. I am also a see/hear/feel learner so anything that helps in that way would be great. 



  11. I'm looking for movies to supplement Sonlight's Core D - Intro to American History. I'm in college and my youngest one isn't reading very well yet and I was thinking if he could watch some short video's and movies to supplement Sonlight while I'm in class in the mornings it would give him something to do that is History related. Anyone know of a list already put together for me? :)

    • Like 1

  12. I happen to have an 8 year old boy and a 10 year old girl! He is getting lots and lots of legos, the snap circuits deluxe rover, books, pajamas, and juggling balls. She is getting an AG doll and dvd, legos, a spa science kit, books, a robe, and some craft supplies. They are also getting things to share: a marble run, a rock tumbler, some new games, and yet more books.

    You have some great ideas! Can you post some links do I know exactly what you are getting?

  13. I personally love the ideas behind Charlotte Mason but find that other people's choices of books and implementation don't always work for me. I think you would do much better to read the actual books by Charlotte or a great book on her method such as "For the Children's Sake" by Susan Schaeffer Macauley. Then pull together your own program doing the time period you want and using the books that appeal to you. Charlotte Mason is not a box of certain books, it is a method.

    • Like 30
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