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Everything posted by Kinsa

  1. Lol! Me too, OhElizabeth! I had to open this thread because I was like, "whaaaaat??? executive function tour???" Lol!
  2. All I will say is, we have two in college right now, and our EFC is outrageously high. You wouldn't even believe the number if I told you. We are about to send a third into college (concurrently with the first two), and I don't expect our EFC to come down. I actually expect it will go up.
  3. (Oh, no worries. Just the usual semi-weekly therapy appointments for my son with special needs.)
  4. Since this is my thread, I'll respond, even though I think it's pretty much been covered by others. I stated it up thread, but I just want to reiterate that I really enjoy reading everyone's superstar kids' accomplishments! I think it's great when kids reach higher and grab the stars! I absolutely, unequivocally, do NOT want gifted/accelerated/advanced kid-parents to stop posting! I'm sincerely sorry if this thread makes you feel that you should, because that absolutely was not my intention. That said, it does get frustrating when the superstar parents denigrate curriculum choices that work well for average kids (Saxon, Apologia, Notgrass, etc.) or act aghast when we choose to put things on the transcripts like drivers ed, home ec, metalworking, or auto shop, or don't understand how it is possible that our kids will have no APs, no dual credit, or nothing beyond algebra. I think many superstar parents don't realize what a rarity they are. Most kids aren't superstar. Most kids graduate high school, but most people don't graduate college. Well, I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room and Good Morning America is distracting me, so I'm sure this is disjointed and rambling, and I better stop before I stop making sense all together. (LOL)
  5. Well, if only I had waited one more day to post my whiney complaint... Yesterday we received word that ds is being considered for the position of "area manager" for Boy Scout camp this coming summer. That would mean a pay increase, plus supervisory role, plus more responsibility. He's chompin' at the bit and can't wait until summer now. He's a great kid. Really. It's just that academics are. not. his. thing. (And I just wanted to clarify that I, too, enjoy reading about the accomplishments of everyone's superstar kids. I hope that I'm not discouraging anyone from posting about them!)
  6. We are scheduled for two campus visitations in February, plus a session with the recruiter. We'll see which direction he chooses.
  7. QUOTE: "tell me about the super star stuff in your son... he is GREAT.. I want to hear your mommy smile moment in him.. " He really is a great kid. His strengths seem to be people-skills and athletics. He has a lot of friends and is quite social. He earned his letter jacket in football last week. He is a superstar in scouts. For the last few summers, he's been a camp counselor all summer long. At the end of the summer they always tell me how great he is at his job, and they request him back each summer. Yet he also has a tender heart. He has great compassion and patience with our special-needs son. Of all his brothers, our SN son prefers him. It melts my heart to watch them interact. I know he'll find his niche in life. But still, it's a bit disappointing to know he isn't college-bound, but I suppose that's my own issue. I realize that's my prideful self getting smacked down. (LOL)
  8. I have to admit that I get very discouraged sometimes while here on this forum. So many of you have "knock-the-ball-outta-the-park" high schoolers. I seem like the only one with an average, run-of-the-mill kid. Don't get me wrong. He's a GREAT kid. But he's military bound, or possibly technical college bound if we are lucky. He will be graduating with minimum requirements. Getting him through algebra is like pulling teeth. No AP classes; no dual credit classes; no CLEP exams even. He's just not terribly academic. Please tell me I'm not the only one with a non-superstar student. Let me know I'm not alone. ********************** UPDATE in #139: I just wanted to post a follow-up about this kid, as a source of encouragement... I'm glad that I didn't just "give up" on him. Since last fall, we've been trying to figure out his future. First we looked into a private Christian college (mom's wish), thinking that since he likes sports that maybe a sports management degree might fit him. But he decided that he didn't want to do that after all. Then he thought maybe he'd like to go into the military. So we contacted a military recruiter. I posted a thread about how disastrous that interaction was in another thread. After a while, ds decided that he probably didn't really want to do that either. So on to another plan... He took a career interest survey and it popped out that air traffic control might be a good fit for him. So we spent weeks researching, contacting... even did a few campus visits. I *thought* he was fairly well settled on a state technical college (mom giving up on her idea of a small Christian college at this point) with a 2-year degree program. But then after a few weeks/months he dropped the bomb that he wasn't all that interested in that idea any longer. (*imagine us pulling out our hair at this point*) So we finally sat the child down and point-blank asked him, "What is it that you like to do? What is it that you think you want to do with your life?" He thought for a while, then said, he just wanted something fun. Okay. Fine. Fun. "So what is it that you do that you consider fun?" He responded, "I dunno. But I really like Boy Scout summer camp." (Insert sidebar: As mentioned upthread, this boy is a prized possession at BSA summer camp. This year he is being promoted as a "area manager" instead of a merit badge instructor as he has been for the past few years. He loves this stuff, and he is good at it.) Us: "Okay, so what is it, exactly, about summer camp that you like so much? Is it the camaraderie? Is it being outdoors? Is it the teaching?" (Trying to get the root of what "fun" is to this boy.) He thinks for a while, then responds that he likes being outdoors, and he likes being in charge of things. Okay. Finally we are getting somewhere. So dh, ds, and I brainstorm about careers that might satisfy him. We *think* we might have hit upon something that he would like: park ranger If you recall, we traveled around the US during the 2013-2014 school year, hitting over 50 national parks along the way. This boy is well-versed in the National Park System. He says that he would really like to be a national park ranger. So after we investigated what it takes to be a park ranger, and discovered the desirable college majors (park rangers tend to be quite educated in the natural science fields), son thinks he wants to major in "park and recreation management". I think we have finally stumbled upon something that lights him up. So we are now looking at colleges that offer a certified program in park and recreation management (believe it or not, there is a certifying organization - who knew?) and now we are zeroing in a few in-state colleges. And next week we are going to visit one of them. I really, really hope that this is the one that "sticks" with him. He's a great kid - really, he is - but it's really tough trying to pin down a kid with out-of-the-norm desires and aspirations! I'm so glad that we've persevered, though. (Note: my older two boys weren't this difficult! Ay yi yi!) ******** UPDATE #2 We are now several years down the road. I just wanted to update on this child of mine, who today is coming home on the train for Christmas break. He ended up in the Honors College at a large state school. He has three semesters finished and has made the Dean's List every semester so far. A few years ago I *never* would have thought this possible. I have to brag. This semester, despite having taken not one but TWO honors classes on top of a foreign language class AND working two part-time jobs... he got straight A's. Mamas (and papas), don't give up on that teenager who makes you pull out your hair!
  9. Just wanted to add that there are others on this forum who are successfully homeschooling children with mental retardation and who are using other curriculum. There's no "right" curriculum to use. Also, if I could recommend the three most useful books to me: 1. "Children with Mental Retardation: A Parents' Guide" by Romayne Smith 2. "Home Schooling Children with Special Needs" by Sharon C. Hensley 3. "Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner" by Kathy Kuhl
  10. Okay, it's morning. I'm ready. Get set. Go! :D Last night as I was lying in bed, I read your post to my husband. He just nodded knowingly. Congratulations - you've been thrust into a brand new world that you probably never thought you'd be in, just like the rest of us. (Have you ever read the awesome essay, "Welcome to Holland"? If not, go read it now.) Yet, we've all managed to figure out how to live in this new world, and not just survive but thrive in it - and you will too. :grouphug: No, you can't "fix" your child's "problem", and that's a hard pill to swallow. It is hard to accept the diagnosis, but it sounds like you are well on your way. Are you familiar with the five stages of grief? I don't know how many people are aware of it, but when your child receives a life-altering diagnosis, we moms (and dads) do indeed go through the five stages of grief. I can tell you what that looked like for me, but first I need to tell you our story: My 11yo son was pretty much "normal" as a baby and toddler, meeting all his milestones pretty much on cue. But as he inched toward the age of two, his speech wasn't where it should be. So we got him into early intervention speech therapy as well as occupational therapy for fine motor skills. I didn't think it was a big deal because his two oldest brothers had to have speech therapy when they were little guys, and they turned out fine. When he aged out of the EIP, he started to receive ST/OT at the public school, from ages 3-5. Then it was time to start kindergarten with him. Since we were already a "homeschooling family", we "withdrew" him from the public school to homeschool his kindergarten year, even though he still qualified to receive ST/OT services at the school. Well, about six weeks into his kindergarten year, I could tell that nothing was "sticking", know what I mean? So I just assumed he was a "late bloomer" - just as all the well-meaning grandparents and friends said - and shelved the curriculum until the following year. I figured it would give him time to mature intellectually and perhaps in one more year he'd be ready. Except he wasn't ready. We tried kindergarten again a second year, and when it was a bust yet again, I started to figure something was up. After all, I had already taught kindergarten to four other children, so I knew it wasn't ME that was the problem. And all the other kids picked up on letter sounds and numbers so easily. What was going on with this kid? I suspected dyslexia or something like that. So at his next well-check, I told the doctor what was going on, and he gave us a referral to the developmental pediatrician, who set us up for testing... and the ball was rolling. At the age of 8 years old, we received the diagnosis of mild mental retardation, full scale IQ = 60. Now (if you're still reading all this - LOL) this is where I started the grieving process. For the first few days, I was in denial, the first stage of grief. I was just SURE that the psychologist was *WRONG*. She didn't test him right. She messed up somewhere, somehow. There was no way his problems were MR. She just didn't like us, and so she slapped a label on him. On and on and on. Then, I started the second stage of grief: anger. I wasn't angry in the sense of being mad. No, my anger took the form of frustrated crying. I was angry at God for "doing this to me". I was even a little bit angry at my husband for passing on this genetic flaw (after all, it couldn't have come from MY genes - LOL). But I did a lot of crying for about a week or so. Then I started to focus my energy and thoughts on "fixing" the problem - the third stage of grief (bargaining). I think I spent a few months in this stage: If only I could add the right diet supplements, maybe he could be okay. If only I could get him into a "brain training center", maybe he could be okay. If only I could do the right remedial tricks with him at home, maybe he could be okay. I spent a lot of time and effort researching dietary "cures", brain training "cures", and other tricks that I was just SURE would make a difference. Except they didn't. And they don't. Once I figured out that there was *NOTHING I COULD DO* to "fix" him, then I moved into the fourth stage of grief: depression. No, I wasn't clinically depressed to the point of needing medication. This stage is more of a sad regret, or a lament about the future, or a feeling of loneliness or isolation. This is where it sounds like you are in the process, perhaps? I spent about a year in this stage. But then, almost magically, I came to the last stage of grief: acceptance. And it's a nice place to be. I learned that he doesn't need to be "fixed". He's... dare I say it?... OKAY. His life is going to look different than most other people's, but he's going to have a fulfilling life nonetheless. I think part of what helped me move forward was talking with my mother. She happens to have retired from working for the ARC long before we knew what was going on with my son. She had worked with people like him for years, and she was able to assure me that he will be fine. His life won't look like what we always envisioned it to be, but it will be similar in many ways. He will have friends, but his friends will be like him once he finds his "tribe". He will have a romantic life, possibly even getting married some day. He will be able to live independently, as long as someone keeps an eye on him. He will be able to be employed, even though he might need government assistance in finding and keeping that employment. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's talk about the HERE and NOW. Once we got our son's diagnosis and the report from the psychologist with recommendations on it (written for school personnel, not for me - but as a homeschooling mom, I took it and ran with it), I was able to fashion an education plan for him. Two of the most useful key points on the report were to make heavy use of REPETITION and MNEMONICS. Armed with that knowledge, I sought out curriculum that was written for an intellectually disabled person and which used these two strategies. I settled in on these basic subject curricula: Language Arts: Stevenson Reading Mathematics: Semple Math Handwriting: Handwriting Without Tears (We use HWoT because that's what his OT uses with him. Also note that Stevenson and Semple used to be the same company, but they split into two separate entities a few years back. But their teaching strategies are basically the same.) In a way, it is freeing to be able to just work at his pace. We are freed from expectations. If I can get him to an upper elementary level in reading, math, and have legible handwriting, then I've done a pretty good job. Ultimately, his cognitive level will only be at a normal 9-12 year old, so that's where we are aiming. Anything above that is icing on the cake. Since our homeschooling is finally making some progress (he is starting to read, and he can now add fairly well), I've added a few more things to his curriculum. I discussed it in this thread: Looking forward: It is highly possible that he will be able to attend college someday. Yes, it's true! This is a wonderful resource: The older the child gets, the more pronounced the intellectual differences will become compared to his agemates. This is why it is SO important for teens with MR to "find their tribe". I suggest getting connected with your local ARC and sitting down with a case worker. He or she can help get your daughter hooked in to the special needs community. In our city, there are special "teen nights" for our kids, summer camps, movie nights, festivals... heck, here we're even home of Morgan's Wonderland, the only theme park in the country devoted entirely to the special needs community. I have found an ABUNDANT amount of opportunities for my son, but I found them by first getting plugged in with the ARC and sitting down with a case worker and getting on their email list. Special Olympics, Abilities Expo, even the United Methodist Churches - those are all ways to get connected and find resources in your area. (The UMC has a national ministry for special needs children and adults. Many times, local churches carry out those ministries.) Okay, I know that a lot of this post is about our particular situation, but I just wanted to let you know that you are traveling down a road that many of us have already trodden. You aren't alone in this. There is hope for a bright future for your daughter. It is likely very different than what you initially thought it would be, but she will be happy and fulfilled. :grouphug:
  11. I have a lot to say, but it's late and I'm tired. Will respond tomorrow. For now, big hugs. You're with friends here.
  12. Yes, for high school. And I don't think this son is college-bound. If he is, it will be to an open enrollment college. Here in our school district, the minimum graduation plan includes two science credits: biology and IPC. (ETA: And yes, I know I don't have to follow what the school district does. But this boy is nearly 17 and still trying to make his way through biology. He isn't going to have time to do both physics and chemistry, plus - and most importantly - he has no interest. He just wants to be done with academics and get on with his life.)
  13. It's become obvious to me that my son will need IPC instead of separate physics and chemistry. I have no idea what homeschooling curriculum is out there for IPC. Christian or secular is fine, though I'd prefer Christian. Any suggestions? Thanks! Edited to add: I've been doing an internet search all morning, and the only one that keeps popping up is Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum (PAC), recommended by both Timberdoodle and Lamp Post. Does anyone have any experience with the PAC IPC program?
  14. My identical twin boys are in their freshman year -- at different colleges, in different states. I don't know what I was thinking. (LOL) They are close, always having been homeschooled together, etc. But they both felt the need to "be their own person" once they left for college. Their interests are completely different (one engineering, one English), so they just went different directions in their college searches. I will say, however, that it has been tough having them at two different schools. For example, their birthday is in early January. One will still be home on break, but one will be back at school for the new term. It will be the first birthday they will spend apart. And I've already started to panic about how to manage two different college graduations if they happen to fall on the same weekend. Ah, well. It is what it is. Just wish "it" were easier. (LOL)
  15. I'm wondering the same thing. I've been keeping a running tag line in the special needs forum for threads relating specifically to intellectual disability, but now I can't figure out how to tag. Did we lose the ability to tag?
  16. Wow! Total transformation! I'll bet you're loving it!
  17. So are we. I can't wait until tonight! Miami, prepare to meet your doom! (Sorry to derail the thread!)
  18. Just about a week ago, I had a heated discussion with my sister about Willie Nelson. She was convinced he died; I said he hadn't. I should know. If he were to die, the entire state of Texas would be in official mourning. (LOL) Oh, and by the way, GO SPURS GO!
  19. What?!? Ohmygosh. That's so sad! She and I didn't see eye-to-eye on many things, but I still respected her. I had no idea she was ill. :°-(
  20. My great-grandmother was 52 -- 52!! -- when she had her last baby. That was in 1944. I feel like such a slacker.
  21. My twins, who have been homeschoolers their entire lives, have recently been accepted into college. No regrets, and it feels so good!
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