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CyndiLJ

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About CyndiLJ

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    http://www.lajoyfamily.blogspot.com

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  1. I actually agree with this, that we shouldn't offer less of an education than what any child is capable of. If they can handle higher level math, then they ought to do it! There is no reason to make academics simpler solely because we can choose to do so. But what I think people often forget, and I wish we could find statistics on it, is that many parents opt for homeschooling because their kids DO have special needs or learning disabilities. If they were succeeding in the public system, few would remove them. Also, those same kids, if in the public high school, would drop out, or be passed through, still graduating whether they had done higher math or not. Take a look at any state test scores and see how many kids are graduating over and over without fundamental skills solidly in place, let alone higher level math. So they are indeed graduating, and doing lower level math. (Or being passed through looking like on paper they can do it but in reality can't) I think math and science are the areas special needs learners really, really struggle in, and they are often being held to a level that is unattainable. Does that mean we don't teach science or math? NO! But teach applicable science and math. It doesn't have to be AP level or even traditional high school level, but there is still learning that can occur, subjects taught differently, different topics covered, etc. Why not consumer math, business math, practical odds and statistics? Why not other forms of science like botany, earth science, ecology,basic psychology, and more? Instead we waste time teaching what can't be learned, and lose time teaching what might enhance. All so we can say we offered a "rigorous" course...which is pointless if that child will go on to live a life where that is never used, and where other skills were not developed because of pretending they had the same capacity as others. Put that time to better use, teach practical and applicable subjects where they have a better chance of succeeding, and of covering ground they might actually use in the real world.
  2. This sounds like such a well rounded, practical plan! I think we often have a gut feeling about our kids, and worry too much about making sure they get all the "right" classes done in high school, and in doing so they lose their enthusiasm for a real life path. As you pointed out they can ALWAYS take whatever is missing at CC!
  3. Absolutely about the personal finance! Honestly, we did a rigorous course this year, including a Great Courses course on Stock Investing, a workbook course on personal finance from Starline Press, a couple Blue Stocking Press books, and much more. We have worked on personal finance for years though, including self employment and accounting skills. The truth is, you can lower your need for higher income if you spend more wisely. For some of us with kids who truly can not move into professional careers due to cognitive delay, learning disabilities, etc. it is even more important to teach frugal spending, how not to allow yourself to get into debt, etc.
  4. How wonderful it is to read this, thank you so much! It is exactly what we are hoping to develop...a group that respects the college path yet supports and encourages non-college bound learners and families in their unique pursuits. With four of my own five with learning disabilites (some quite serious, one will never live independently) and one of those 2E, and the fifth testing as gifted, we are all over the map and respect ALL paths, for sure! The fact that we can just be who we are there and our kids are viewed as also having worth helps so much, I am learning. Your words affirm we are headed in the right direction, thank you!
  5. Haha Thanks Lori for mentioning our web site! I haven't been around WTM as much these past couple of years as our older kids are not on a college trajectory for a variety of reasons, largely learning disabilities that grew more obvious the higher we went in high school. We are adding all kinds of links on an ongoing basis to the web site, many garnered from our very active FB group which has grown to 2800 people since October...there are plenty of families out there like us who need more guidance and resources for those non-college bound kids. We are in the process of researching more unusual trade and tech training programs and are gradually adding those links, too. And, I agree with you and others here on this thread. If a student can handle the work, definitely teach to their highest ability! For many students though, college prep is just beyond reach, and there are plenty of great alternatives to still provide a meaningful education without AP classes and SAT's fretting. It is just different, but can still be "meaty" for their own life path. I have my first graduate (Yeah us!!! We did it!) who actually is 2E and could have gone to college, but elected to self study computer tech at home post-high school. He did pretty much the traditional college prep high school path without AP, and we weren't quite as concerned about honors and AP because he would have done community college to start no matter what due to cost. He is well prepared should he decide later on to pursue a degree, even though we knew he was highly likely not to go that route. My next three are not college material. All three have Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and a wide array of learning disabilities. To push them with the same level of academics as our first would be a farce, and YET, they DO have a strong foundation, all will be reading at a college level and writing at least at a 10th grade level by graduation. Math and science...not happening...it just can't and would be cruel to expect it. However, we are filling in with courses that really do matter to them, strong personal finance, social psychology (really helping them and being retained and used daily!), and more. My last one is college material for sure, and will be college prep all the way, whether he decides to attend or not. He can handle it (He is gifted, and could graduate very early credit-wise) and we expect him to work at the highest level he can, just like everyone else...though that level is truly different for each of ours. It isn't about "settling" for some learners, it is about their true ability and teaching the learner you have, not the learner you wish you had. Nice to be back and catching up! It's been too long :-) Cindy LaJoy www.bluecollarhomeschool.com www.lajoyfamily.blogspot.com Mom to five, all adopted from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, all adored more than they could know!
  6. I am beginning to learn code using Code Academy and a few other resources, including Lynda.com. I want to find a way to earn a little extra cash in my "spare" time, and there are few web page designers in my neck of the woods. I don't really ever want to work for anyone else again, if I can help it, as I can't imagine it after having all these years home. Prior to this I had my first taste of self-employment as I managed a restaurant in an airport that my hubby and I ran. After that and homeschooling, it is really hard to imagine going back to being a $8 an hour worker for someone else. I don't really have the stamina or desire to do college, as I'd literally be starting from scratch, so I am giving this a shot! I have a dear friend who is a web "Diva", as she calls herself, and she has encouraged me for years to give it a try, as she sees in me skills it would take to be good at it. I have no idea and mine efforts thus far were not at all good and are merely for containing information, not for beautiful design or anything. No thought put into them, really. With the help of my friend answering every question I come up with, I just might be able to do this! Not really sure, but I have time here and there to learn, and coding does seem quite logical to me. What can I say, I gave up on crafting or hobbies. In other arenas, I am studying poverty to put together a course for church, I am seeking vocational resources for our kids for after high school as well as a good entrepreneurship course (I can't find anything solid!!), and researching graphic design resources for our daughter. As you can tell, nothing high brow, but then that's just how I roll :P
  7. Have you thought about using the Education Portal World History Videos?
  8. I am no longer a rookie after 4 1/2 years, but I am also not a guru by any stretch. We started homeschooling when our highest grade level child was entering 5th grade, and by the end of the year had added two daughters to our family who had no English, and brought our other two sons home from public school as well. I don't regret it for a second, and neither do our kids because: 1) They are getting a far better education than they would have at any of our nearby schools, without question. We live in a rural area with a school district that is very low performing, and I realized early on that I literally couldn't do any worse at home. Luckily, even though we are not performing near where many on this forum are, we are far ahead of where we would have been. 2) My son who would have been completely illiterate had we stayed in the system (and I do mean illiterate, at 12 he could not read at a 1st grade level) is learning...really, really learning. I never could have predicted how well he would do once given a chance and worked with one on one. 3) The hearts of our kids are just different in so many ways, they are softer, kinder, less jaded. 4) We get to do things we would never have been able to do, like volunteer regularly, spend hours each week wandering into related-but-not-quite-on-topic conversations which might just be the biggest blessing of all. This morning as we were going over E.D. Hirsch's Cultural Literacy book, we somehow spent 30 minutes sampling works from Beethoven, Vivaldi and others...just because we wanted to right that moment. Was there curriculum? No way. Was there learning? Of the best kind. 5) Hugs. All day long. Giggles. All day long. 6) Learning no longer happens at certain places, learning happens whenever and wherever we are. 7) If something is stupid, biased, or incorrect in a curriculum, we can point it out, skip it, or debate it without fear of recrimination. 8) We can be exactly where we are in terms of levels on our work, and don't have to pretend we have learned what we have not, nor waste time relearning what we already know. We can be called one grade level but work at three in various subjects. 9) Real lunch breaks. Doing school on the couch in front of the fireplace while it snows outside. 10) Love...we get to be with the people we love the most all day long. It is a gift that could never be overestimated. Do I have regrets? Nope, not a single one...not even that we didn't do it earlier. It solidified our decision for us easily and without equivocation. I am glad we had the public school experience. We met wonderful people, we learned what was not going to work as well for us. Experience is the best teacher.
  9. We have had no trouble at all using the Textword Press anthologies for high school. Couldn't be easier to use independently by a student, with touching base with mom and perhaps having mom/dad grade/read the reading responses. The educator can be as involved as they elect to be. We read some together, mainly because we enjoy reading together, and I send him off to do 2-3 selections on his own. Glad you liked it! I was certainly thrilled to find it after using Mosdos so long and loving it.
  10. I want to chime in on this one for high school suggestions for Mosdos lovers! We used Mosdos and are SO glad we did. It is everything mentioned above, so I won't go into it further, but I wanted something equally good for high school. Oh boy, did I find it. It appears to be done in almost the same style as Mosdos, without the full page illustrations. We are using Textword's Implications in Literature series: http://www.textword.com/about.html It has the same high quality literature, terrific student work at the end of each selection, great introductions to each selection, awesome vocabulary work, all you need really for writing practice and a full language arts course for high school other than additional writing instruction here and there as needed. I have been thrilled to find it, as it partners beautifully with Mosdos, and if I didn't know any differently, I would have assumed it was the same publisher, it is that similar. Hope this helps someone!
  11. Have you checked this out? I have looked at it in person and it felt pretty even handed: http://www.amscopub.com/economics-for-everybody
  12. We just had our son identified as twice exceptional. He tested certain for dysgraphia, and as part of that testing he was also identified as gifted, with a huge strength in spatial relationships. While he has always been a big Lego kid and we could have guessed he might test as close to gifted in that area, I was unprepared for the school psychologist who came to me after testing, telling me he had never seen the way my son had tested before, and he called him "brilliant" at spatial reasoning. He said that our son basically tapped out the test in this are, and that it was highly unusual to this degree. So, since this is a little odd sort of giftedness, I am wondering who might have a little advise for me about activities we can do that engage him aside from Legos and building furniture from IKEA when we all fail miserably at reading the diagrams! He is going into 9th next year, is good at math but doesn't particularly care for it (geometry might change that), and is a bright all around student other than his issues with writing, which have been helped tremendously with software. He is thinking about computer networking, GPS surveying, maybe CAD, but he is not really interested in becoming a full fledged architect or engineer. That may change, of course. So, can anyone offer me any ideas for how I ought to be thinking about his education? He is in Algebra 1 and getting a strong A in it. He loves physics and is in Civil Air Patrol, where he is excelling and moving up the ranks more rapidly than most. I am open to hearing anything anyone can throw out there to help us!
  13. I want to sleep!!!! I hate Albuterol and bronchial infections.

  14. I am so, so grateful to have found this particular thread. In particular, I appreciate reading about the various responses to the idea of driving. We have an almost 14 year old son who was adopted at age 8 1/2 who has some pretty serious deficits which are not immediately observable until you spend a little time with him. He was reading at a 1st grade level at 11 years old (he is now at a solid 5th grade level and we are re-visiting phonics one last time with Wilson Reading System), he has severe CAPD, speech delays (bilateral cleft lip and palate), working memory and long term memory issues, processing speed is quite a bit below average, and ADD. He is also the most delightful and insightful kid you'd ever want to meet, seriously. He has tremendous gifts, a wonderful salesman's sense, is kinder than any boy his age I've ever met, and a heart filled with gratitude for the effort I put into helping him. We currently have him classified as a 14 year old sixth grader, which is appropriate and well suited as he is capable of doing that level of work and IS making progress, though slow. Added to the mix are two daughters who are 13 and 14, grades 5 and 6 respectively, who are learning English and home two years. Both are amazing and doing quite well. All 3 will graduate at 20 or 21 years old. Oh yea, then a 13 year old son who we suspect has dysgraphia (earlier post tonight asking for opinions), and a 9 year old working way ahead of schedule. Our 13 year old possible dysgraphic will be our first in high school next year, and I already gave up on it looking the same as everyone else. We have too much in the mix for "normal". We are going to do what works, keeping it academically engaging and somewhat challenging, yet recognizing that we are not raising Harvard kids here. We want a strong overall basic education, with a focus on life skills and career exploration. We will "check some boxes" in some areas, such as foreign language using Rosetta Stone, and we will delve much more deeply in areas of possible career direction. All will eventually read very well and some already are. Some will write well,and some will write well with adaptive technology helping them. Science will be lighter except for our youngest, who might be heading into medicine one day in some form. We will do the best we can, while recognizing strengths and weaknesses and not wasting time pretending strengths exist that don't. My one son we are not even sure he will truly live on his own, but he will be extremely high functioning if he doesn't...it'll be a close call. The others will all do fine, and some might obtain a 4 year degree...maybe. Reading this thread thought has helped me feel much better about our path the next few years. This board can be so darned intimidating!!! Then throw in a passel of special needs and being behind, and you begin to feel as if you will never be able to do enough. Thanks forgiving me permission to see that maybe,what we are doing is indeed "enough". Cindy
  15. We are studying elections and political parties this year, for obvious reasons. It became clear my 9 year old had taken it all to heart when we were all having a conversation in the car as we drove by a medical marijuana store, which are common in our part of Colorado these days. One of our other children asked what it was and I explained. We talked about it not being legal without an Rx. From the back seat I hear my son saying "Well, I am a Libertarian and even though I'll never use it, I don't have problem with others using it. After all, the government doesn't need to be that much in our lives.". Cindy
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