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Getting off the back foot.


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This is all my fault, but I'm not quite sure where to go from here.


I have a 'tail ender' in my family, our only son, 5 and a half years younger than his next sister . His sisters are either 'grown and flown' or at college. All his life I have been concentrating on the girls, who have had a broadly classical education (actually i didn't come across WTM until eldest was in her teens) Ds has been rather left to one side, as one girl or another was working for college entry or whatever. Often I'd ask one of his sisters to work with him. i wasn't too worried, after all I had time on my side.


Now he is 13!!!!!!! Agghhhh, where did the time go. There are no girls at home (last one off to college) and I have taken a good look at where he is. It is not pretty. He can type, and write reasonably on the computer, but cannot spell, and his handwriting would have disgraced any of the girls at 6 years of age. His maths is OK concept wise but shaky on tables and number bonds. he had to THINK when multiplying by 10 yesterday! The girls taught him his tables..... Reading, he reads well and fluently, and enjoys non-fiction books, but his fiction leaves a little to be desired, he tends towards twaddle.


Basically I have let him down, he is a bright enough boy, polite, happy, a lego enthusiast, with a talent for making stop-motion movies, but he is not where I feel he should be and I cannot use WTM with him, he could not do the things recommended for his age and stage. He does well enough when he has had the chance, for example he has been doing well at community college courses, passing tests intended for 17 year olds...but these are computer based, he hasn't had to actually write by hand yet! His concepts seem to be fine, its the basics, tables, spelling, handwriting etc.


What to do from here. He is under-educated rather than unable. Should I just start WTM in the middle and assist him until he can manage on his own. Take a term and work on handwriting, spelling and tables? Start him on some great literature for his age?


Any ideas people?


Thank you


Edited by Willow
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One option would be to look at a program like ACE http://www.schooloftomorrow.com or Christian Light Education where he could take placement tests and work on the skills he needs while moving along as fast as possible.


Not knowing his math facts will really slow him down. I would find something to drill those so that he has all of them down pat---just a few minutes a day might do it. Then he could move on to higher math.


For Spelling, I LOVE Apples and Pears as it covers spelling, dictation, etc. It is a bit pricey but you could have him take the placement test to see where he needs to be.

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Since you said he does well with computer skills, we have a cd called math booster that does all the math facts. It does not teach them, but it goes over them in a fun way and helps them to memorize them with games. They have a study helpers with 2 discs. One is math booster and one is spelling booster. Spelling booster has pre-programmed words for the grades or you can put in your own list of words for them to play games with also. It grades their progress and you can see the trouble areas and work on them more.


I would give him a placement test in whatever math program you are going to use then have him work on the facts with the computer, on paper, flashcards...then after 2-3 months of solid math fact drill I would give him another placement test and go from there. I also like calculadder to brush up on math fact skills.


They also have a penmanship course that looks good but I have never used it.


As for handwriting I would recommend handwriting without tears printing power if you are working on manuscript. It doesn't take long and really helps with poor handwriting. I also recommend HWOT for cursive. I have 2 children with horrid handwriting out of my 4 and HWOT has been a lifesaver.

I would try something like spelling power that doesn't have a specific grade attached to it but rather is for 3rd grade to high school.


If it were me, I would take a semester or about 6 months and seriously just focus on the weak spots. Then I would do placement tests for math and such and put him in where he places.

Don't stress about it. Just work on it solidly for a semester. There are plenty of 13 year olds that still have trouble with the facts and there are plenty of grown men with horrible handwriting. You have recognized the weak points in plenty of time to correct them.

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