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Help! Just help.....took DS8 out of school and he can't read or do math!


Gingerbread Mama
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I am really floundering for where to start with homeschooling my 8 year old. He was in first grade this year (we did age 3-6 in a SpEd preschool program, but he was considered "typical" and so received no services... he was able to be there an extra year - until 6 - because of how his birthday fell.) Let me tell you what he CAN do first:

 

He can recognize letters and tell me their sounds. He can sound out short words (CVCs mostly, he can also do CVCCs most of the time I've tried them.)

 

Our "can't" list:

Anything with a silent e stumps him. Phonics wasn't a big part of school at our old school, they taught letter sounds in preschool and some in kindergarten. By after Christmas of K, though, they were doing sightwords almost exclusively. He will randomly read words, but if I ask him later to read the same word he tells me he doesn't know it. Even simple readers are too much for him to read aloud to me.

 

Okay, math is another big stumbling block. He CAN recognize numbers, "read" number words 90 percent of the time, and he can count items and then write the number for me or tell me the number. He CANNOT add or subtract. This was HUGE for us in PS because they were already doing subtraction with borrowing by Christmas :confused: This kid couldn't even tell me 2+2=4 without counting it up and they wanted him to tell them 17-9=8!!!

 

I was in the early stages of having him tested for an IEP or 504...as in we had been at this (observations, charting his grades, etc..) for 2 years and we were ALMOST able to give him an actual test :banghead: It just got to be too much for me. He was falling further behind daily, I could almost SEE it happening before my eyes, and they were saying "We are going to move him from Tier 2 to Tier 3 and, THEN, in 9 weeks if he hasn't improved we can look at testing." The woman who was the "interventionist" for his grade level was VERY nice, though, and did a few of the tests on him "unofficially". She did a RAT (I guess that's the acronym, that is what she called it.) I think she did another one, as well, but I can't recall a name. She wasn't conclusive with anything. One thing she commented on was a part where she read him a word and he gave her an association. I can't remember what she told him, something like pickle, and he said "falling glass". She said he didn't seem to be making the connection and then verbalizing it, but was either making the wrong connection or was verbalizing something different than what he was thinking. She also worked with him, in the classroom, on math this year and said he didn't understand the VALUE of numbers. He doesn't get that five is always "XXXXX", but rather has to count it each time "one, two, three, four, five". FWIW, this kid can hold a conversation with adults. He can remember driving directions (You need to turn left up here) when we've only been somewhere once, long ago. So, it isn't that he isn't functional AT ALL. I'm just at a loss for what to do with him. Where do I start? Any recommendations for programs/curriculum we might use for those subjects?

 

His fine motor skills aren't good, either. That makes anything with a lot of writing very hard. It also makes doing a worksheet sort of beside the point, because when he looks back at it, it is filled in with chicken scratch. My oldest DS was very similar in that regard and has finally gotten much better with his writing (he is 12, it has improved in the last year or so!) I know that may come along on it's own, but I'd like to do somethings that incorporate strengthening his fine motor skills to help that along. We have been doing playdough, and he has been tracing words/letters/numbers I've written. I had to correct his grip, they had him using a pincer grip (index and middle on top, thumb on bottom) His hand does seem steadier using the tripod grip I taught him. They also had them doing some weird thing where they never took their pencil off the paper when forming a letter/number. His 4 ended up looking like an incomplete w, so I've taken him back to basics on that. We are re-learning it the way I learned it, small L shape and then the stick. It looks much improved when he does it that way.

 

Where do I start? Do I go back to preschool type stuff with him?

 

I know this was long, if you stuck with it.....Thank you!!:tongue_smilie:

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He sounds a lot like my ds who is now 11.

I'd use handwriting without tears for penmanship...

Maybe go with something like Math U See for math, start at Alpha.. It doesnt list a grade level so he wouldnt know if he were "behind" Also it's a program that is easy to skip the parts your ds already knows.

Other good programs are Math Mammoth, Saxon, and even BJU. My boys happen to LOVE BJU's online classes.

Phonics.. I'd go with Abeka Kindy, or 1st grade. (look at both programs ans see what you think. Kindy is easily completed in 6 months.) It's fantastic IMO, and I wouldnt have been able to teach reading without their program.

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I don't have time to write a lot, but I just wanted to tell you to please take a deep breath. Everything is going to be fine! Since he is so far behind, it can be easy to panic, but he is home now and things will be fine. I would take some time to deschool and to connect as a family. I would look at the Sonlight booklists and read a lot of wonderful books together. Don't make any rash curriculum decisions. If you want to start teaching reading, The Ordinary Parents Guide to Teaching Reading is a great start. Read the 3R's by Ruth Beechick. That will help you to relax. Welcome to the world of homeschooling! See if you can go to a convention this spring and look at curricula and attend some great lectures. This is a a great forum to get advice, but I would really think carefully before buying anything. Take your time and do your research! Best of luck!

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I forgot to add.. add in ReadingEggs for a "fun" game. It's a phonics program and my "littles" fight over it lol.

You can buy a subscription fairly cheaply at homeschoolbuyerscoop.com

 

Kristinannie has some good suggestions.

 

(((hugs))))

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:grouphug:

 

I would take a week or two and let him play on starfall and play my phonics concentration game--it's fun and the nonsense words help stop the problems that develop when sight words are taught. (You can just start with CVC words the first week, then add in CVCC then CCVC.)

 

Then, add in the I See Sam books. You can join the Yahoo group for ideas if it is challenging.

 

http://www.marriottmd.com/sam/

 

Then, you can work on silent e words.

 

You could also try Webster's Speller, here is how I did Webster's Speller with my son in K:

 

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208407

 

You can do some oral spelling and some spelling with magnetic letters (buy 2 sets of all uppercase letters, they are usually around $1 at Wal-Mart.) Adding in spelling really helps cement the phonics. Work on handwriting skills separately to build them up. They may be easier with chalk and a chalkboard or a dry erase marker on a white board at first. My children love being able to use the white board and pick their colors!

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I'm not sure I understand why the IEP testing was not done - there are strict rules about timeframes, meetings and so forth. In any event, if you could afford it, the first thing I'd do is private neuropsych testing for LDs. I would not wait any longer.

 

Another thing to look into would be OT for the fine motor issues. Also, please visit the Special Needs board!

 

:grouphug:

 

ETA, this sounds like a visual-spatial strength:

He can remember driving directions (You need to turn left up here) when we've only been somewhere once, long ago.
Edited by wapiti
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Second the advice to relax... you will get there. I would actually suggest "deschooling" for a while; just let you both breathe and decompress. Read lots of quality books, run around and see nature, hear good music, whatever you enjoy.

 

When I pulled my older ds out of school (grade 6, so a bit older), we continued with some of his curriculum but in a fun way - like, he was learning about the court system, so we spent a morning in Small Claims court watching litigants bicker (not nearly as fun as on TV, but still kind of amusing!). If there was anything he was doing that he enjoyed, you could keep it up in a similarly no-pressure way.

 

I'm not going to throw tons of curriculum at you (you can visit my blog if you want to see what we're using for Grade 1, which I like). Starfall is fun for reading and FREE. I wouldn't throw money into ANYTHING at the moment until you see where he's really at and he's had a chance to breathe and let his personality blossom.

 

Oh - but I will recommend our math curriculum: JUMP Math (not exactly the same as "JUMP At Home"; make sure you're looking up the right one). It's an oddity and hardly anybody here is using it, but the first 40 pages of the 1st-grade book are free online here (you MAY have to sign up to get access), so at least you'll have some mathy stuff to do until you figure out what you're going to do.

 

The program was originally remedial and it has two areas of focus at the Grade 1 level:

- building confidence through heavily scaffolded instruction; every page builds from the previous page.

- making NO assumptions about what the child knows or doesn't know at the start of the year.

Also, it requires almost NO reading, making it simpler to understand than most math curricula.

 

My daughter doesn't NEED remedial math, she loves math, but we both adore this program!

 

(but seriously, don't think about curriculum as much as you should think about relaxing and HAVING FUN!)

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One of the coolest ideas I've seen for phonics remediation is doing words in all caps and different fonts. (Nothing too crazy, just enough to prevent the student from guessing based on word shape.)

 

Don Potter did a whole version of the Blend Phonics reader in all caps: http://www.donpotter.net/PDF/Reading%20Made%20Easy%20with%20Blend%20Phonics%20Reader%20-%20Upper%20Case.pdf

 

I also love Readingbear.org. For a student already established in sight word guessing, I'd make sure to look at how you can customize how each presentation is viewed. You can take out the sample sentences and even videos, and just have audio or silent flashcards.

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WOW... take a deep breath... in and out.... It is easy to get frustrated. My daughter has been failed by the system, always just 1% or so under what she needs to qualify for services and I had to take matters into my own hands early on.

 

If I were in your shoes, and of course I am not, I would start with focusing only on the 3 R's. As Elizabeth said, Starfall is a great place to start and I have read very good things about her phonics concentration as a lurker on this board. I would also recommend taking a look at Explode the Code (you can see samples at www.rainbowresource.com) and getting him going on that. I would think I would start at ETC 1 reviewing everything to reinforce it all. If it is major review, just go through it a little faster. There is writing in there and if writing is an issue, just skip that portion for now. Let him use letter stamps to from the words if you like (that is what I do with older DS).

 

If he cannot add, I would go back to basics. If money is not an issue, look at something like Math-U-See. If money is an issue, something like CLP Liberty Math K is an awesome program and starts with basic addition.

 

For penmenship, there are so many programs. Because my daughter had fine motor issues, we use D'Nealian because a child doesn't have to pick up a pencil as much.

 

I would still pursue an evaluation, even if you have to get a private one. You may be able to have issues pinpointed before making decisions as to where to go with him... saving time and money for you and more frustration for him.

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I would take some time off to just relax and get away from school mindset. If he enjoys being read to you could look up some great book lists (Five in a Row has fantastic picture books/my boys still enjoy those), take field trips, and take some time to ease into things.

 

If you can I really think formal testing for learning disabilities would be important. Having a clear picture will help you better meet needs.

 

Handwriting without Tears might be a good program for printing work.

 

I See Sam would be my recommendation when you start back with phonics. They really helped my struggling reader and were so enjoyable. Here are free ones for downloading if you'd like to try. http://www.marriottmd.com/sam/index.html You would follow the instructions on the 3rsplus site for the use of the program.

 

Math. I don't know what to suggest for sure. http://letsplaymath.net/2008/05/06/struggling-math-student/ You might look at this blog post. I've got some great ideas from that site for my math struggling kid. I'm using RightStart with him right now FWIW.

 

I'd ease into this stuff. Try to slow down and take the stress off as much as possible. You can do this at his pace now--that's the beauty of homeschooling after all!

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I agree with the de school. I thought I didn't need it and pushed through. We both hit a BIG wall. Relax, you have him home and you can fix this, just take it one step at a time.

 

I would then start with just math, reading, and maybe writing. Forget all the other subjects for now.

 

I see sam are a great set of books (and our local library carries them, maybe yours does too. Maybe look at All about reading pre level 1. It is okay if he knows some of the things (the alphabet and most sounds) It does a lot of things that will help kids with reading, like rhyming. Mostly it is done as games. We are really liking it.

 

Math, I would start with Right Start A. It is almost all manipulative based. We haven't done any writing yet. It is fun.

 

Once you are settled in and have these going, then look at other subjects. It might take awhile to catch up, but once you start with the one on one teaching, you will be surprised by what he picks up. Just go easy and slow and make it a fun and positive experience for both of you.

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It's time to get a neuropsych eval and find out exactly what's going on. You can buy tons of curriculum only to find you're fixing the wrong problem. Given his age, I would get him evaluated. The information you will get will be INVALUABLE. They can show not only the things you're thinking of (phonemic awareness, reading disorder, etc.) but a lot you're NOT thinking of at this point (whether he needs more evals for other things like auditory processing, whether he has working memory or processing speed problems, etc.). Then they can give you advice on how to apply the results.

 

I'd also get his eyes checked, just as a matter of course. I like a developmental optometrist, because they can screen to make sure there aren't any vision problems affecting his ability to do his school work.

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I just have a suggestion for conceptualizing numbers. My son fell in love with the game of war when he was younger. We played war all the time. He learned how numbers work from that. Just use the number cards, not the face cards. Maybe you could do this while waiting for evaluations and such.

 

Also, don't forget tracing letters in a sand tray or making them out of playdough. These things could be very beneficial, and you probably don't need to buy anything to do them.

 

Jennifer

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For the correlation between a number and meaning (1 to 1 correlation) perhaps he would benefit from a good amount of hands on time with manipulatives. We used frog counters (because they made me smile), but bears or other shapes also work, as do Matchbox cars, Lego or Playmobil figures, or even stuffed animals.

 

Saxon early grades introduces what they call some, some more & some, some went away stories. These are little stories you act out with actual items. Something like, there were three frogs at the pond (hop three frog figures onto a placemat). Two more frogs came out to play. How many frogs are at the pond.

 

One of the things to do is to repeat this (over several, many days) so that the child realizes that a number isn't just something in order, but a symbol for an amount. That amount is the same no matter what is being counted (3 is three for cars or bagels or dogs).

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I pulled my 11 yo DS out of public school because they weren't teaching him how to read. At the end of 4th (before I started after schooling him) he was reading at 1st grade level.

 

Once the school finally diagnosed him as "severely dyslexic" at the end of last Sept, in 5th grade, I had made up my mind to pull him out.

 

He had an IEP for six years and had made ZERO progress at school in reading. Heck his IEP didn't even have him working with anyone on reading. His team said one day he would "just get it". By this time, by working with him before and after school, I had brought him up to 2nd grade level, no thanks to his school.

 

IEPs aren't some miracle thing that would have brought your son up to speed so don't beat yourself up over your DS not having one. It sounds like his school didn't do the required testing.

 

For reading I highly recommend Apples and Pears. This spelling program has helped my DS more than anything. He can't believe all he's been able to learn and I couldn't be more proud of him. Dancing Bears is also wonderful.

 

I think you have made the best decision to homeschool him! I'm positive my DS's would have been illiterate if I had not taken action.

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Are you in TN? I taught there and we used the tier system so I can help you with that. He may not be as far behind as you think. Tier 2 is very minor. It's done in class, with the teacher. It's basically for kids who aren't doing as well. So the teacher assess the child once a week to see if he is falling behind or making progress. The teacher meets with the child small group or one on one through the week to remediate them for a set number of minutes each week. Its basically a checks/balances system for students who are not performing exactly where they should be. Tier 3 means that they aren't making gains in class with the teacher and need more help outside the class. I can see why they waited to test. I'm sure that tier 3 progress monitoring would determine a test. I would have given it about a month to see if any progress was made before recommending testing. Even in tier 3 my kids were only out of class 45 min every few days. I had 7 kids in the teir program and 4 of those were tier 3. I taught in a very nice suburb so this was a very typical class.

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I'd second just deschooling a bit. Read some good books, make some yummy bread, enjoy time at home with him. Public school is different than schooling at home and he may have preconceived notions about how "school" should happen.

 

When that's going well, I'd start with some reading instruction and some cuisenaire rod play. When he is reading is good, add in a math program. Miquon is a discovery based program that might give him some confidence. If you want more than Miquon (and some do), you might look into MEP (which is free).

 

Once you've got reading and math going well, then I'd look into adding the others.

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What you are describing is where my son was at the end of 1st grade (at which point we decided to homeschool).

 

I'd recommend going through a solid phonics program starting at the beginning. For math, I'd find a program you like (and you think will be good for him) and have him take the placement test. Just start him where he places.

 

We just did reading and math our first year of homeschooling.

 

I also agree with the PP who suggested a neuropsych evaluation and developmental vision assessment. An occupational therapy assessment wouldn't hurt either.

 

Since he was in special ed preschool, he must have a diagnosis. Also, just because they said he is now typical doesn't mean that he no longer needs help. It just means that he no longer qualifies for services. A kid has to be very impaired to qualify, but lots of kids are struggling who don't qualify.

 

Good luck to you. One on one instruction with you will likely do your son a world of good. Also, be sure to check out the Special Needs board as those folks over there are a wealth of information.

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I hear Marva Collins in my head saying, "I love you" and, "You are the brightest child in the world" and, "I won't let you fail." Guess what I just read?:001_smile:

 

You've received great advice to relax and let him decompress. Make learning fun. Read aloud to your dc, get books on audio that are appropriate for him. I like the idea of the games that teach phonics. Go on field trips. Do nature walks. Watch science videos.

 

The only advice listed here that I would caution you against is attending a homeschool convention. It is a GREAT way to look at curriculum, no doubt. Nothing like hands-on, but I didn't go to a convention until I'd homeschooled for 2 years, maybe 3. I knew I'd be overwhelmed there. Maybe you wouldn't be. Do you have a homeschool shop near you? If not search for samples online and check out free options like folks have listed here.

 

Really, your son needs a mother who will teach him, and not a teacher who mothers him. Now more than ever! No one cares more than you do, so no one will do a better job teaching him than you will. You can do this. (((Gingerbread Mama)))

 

On a completely shallow note, I like your avatar!

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You got some excellent info, but I'm another who is saying RELAX.

 

When we pull kids out (I have, two times) and realize how far behind they are, we sometimes panic, and push too hard to learn too much too fast to "catch up". That's not going to work.

 

Homeschooling is a whole nuther thing. Really. And it takes some time for both of you to learn your ebbs and flow, how they learn the best, how you teach the best.

 

BUT to learn all that, you need to decompress. The structure of school itself is very stressful, and adds its own problems to a child who is behind the curve. Believe me, sitting at the table shoving stuff at him will not work, it will frustrate you and him and you'll be setting yourself up for failure.

 

So, for the first few weeks, just enjoy eachother. Do some laundry together, cook dinner together, make some cookies. Go to the library, take walks, draw pinecones. Watch some good nature shows together.

 

While you're learning how he learns, take that time ans start learning about curriculum, and what will work for you AND him. Read different books on homeschooling, there are different schools of thought out there.

 

Then start small-phonics and simple math. And lots of reading to him. It sounds like it's not enough, but believe me, it's amazing. You're filling thier brain with all kinds of wonderful yummy stuff that they'll be able to use later, they're learning by ear what good sentence structure is, how language works, and what makes a good story. You're filling their well.

 

:grouphug: Deep breath. It will be fine.

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I'm not sure I understand why the IEP testing was not done - there are strict rules about timeframes, meetings and so forth. In any event, if you could afford it, the first thing I'd do is private neuropsych testing for LDs. I would not wait any longer.

 

 

I would still pursue an evaluation, even if you have to get a private one. You may be able to have issues pinpointed before making decisions as to where to go with him... saving time and money for you and more frustration for him.

 

It's time to get a neuropsych eval and find out exactly what's going on. You can buy tons of curriculum only to find you're fixing the wrong problem. Given his age, I would get him evaluated. The information you will get will be INVALUABLE. They can show not only the things you're thinking of (phonemic awareness, reading disorder, etc.) but a lot you're NOT thinking of at this point (whether he needs more evals for other things like auditory processing, whether he has working memory or processing speed problems, etc.). Then they can give you advice on how to apply the results.

 

I'd also get his eyes checked, just as a matter of course. I like a developmental optometrist, because they can screen to make sure there aren't any vision problems affecting his ability to do his school work.

 

I also agree with the PP who suggested a neuropsych evaluation and developmental vision assessment. An occupational therapy assessment wouldn't hurt either.

 

Since he was in special ed preschool, he must have a diagnosis. Also, just because they said he is now typical doesn't mean that he no longer needs help. It just means that he no longer qualifies for services. A kid has to be very impaired to qualify, but lots of kids are struggling who don't qualify.

 

Good luck to you. One on one instruction with you will likely do your son a world of good. Also, be sure to check out the Special Needs board as those folks over there are a wealth of information.

 

Absolutely to all of the bolded above. One way or another, I'd try to get an assessment/testing ASAP. In order to plan the best approach to help him reach his potential you first need to know if there are any underlying LDs or other issues that need addressed.

 

In the meantime, lots of time reading books to him, playing games, Starfall.com, fun field trips, etc. can't hurt but I'd personally hold back from purchasing curricula and starting formal programs until you have a better grasp on whether there are any other educational issues going on.

 

Good luck!

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I know it isn't much consolation, but you are NOT the first homeschooler who has had that same experience. :glare:

 

On the up side, he's young, and he hasn't lost so much ground that he cannot catch up...to wherever it is he should be. :)

 

I like to keep things simple, so my recommendation would be Spalding (I always recommend Spalding, lol), as it will cover all English-related areas (reading, spelling, penmanship, capitalization and punctuation, basic composition) in one fell swoop; and R&S's 1st or 2nd grade arithmetic.

 

Spalding addresses all learning styles, and has a proven track record of helping children with all sorts of learning difficulties.

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My son had similar issues coming out of public school. I will tell you the program that got us past the hurdle of cvc and cvcc words and mastering the silent e was The Reading Lesson. It wasn't full of lots of flashcards or gimmicks. You worked through 1, 2, or 3 pages depending on your child's skill level and age. It has 20 lessons (each lesson is about 15-20 pages). Your child is reading on a 2nd grade level after the 20 lessons. There is an option for a computer cd to go with it.

I second Handwriting without tears. If you can, get a slant board and a claw grip. It will improve fine motor skills and the tripod grip. www.therapro.com has some affordable slant boards and remedial curriculum that may benefit your child.

Singapore math is excellent as well as Miquon math. Some rods and base ten blocks should help with the recognizing one to one ratio with numbers. I would finish Miquon first and then test into Singapore (they have placement tests).

We are 3 years into homeschooling. My son has thrived at home. It is scary to come home and find that the schools you trusted to help your child dropped the ball. The best advice I can give is to give your son the gift of time. One on one time with you helping him will do wonders.

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Ds had problem reading in 2nd grade last year in PS school. I have a few suggestions.

1. Get a strong phonics program. I used K and 1st Abeka.

2. Work on sight words. Sight words are like 80% of what we read. (Once we got the sight words ds took off.)

3. Handwriting- Have you thought about cursive? I started ds in cursive and his handwriting is a lot better in cursive than print.

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My son was not understanding ANYTHING I read to him; he couldn't read either (the only word he could read was cat). This was right before he turned 8. We did a little testing for vision issues (not just the need for glasses - a COVD doctor), and were told that his eyes were fine, but he was not visualizing things. He couldn't do abstract concepts. When asked to name a letter from a chart, he named a number on the chart.

 

So we stopped all phonics and did Visualizing and Verbalizing. What a difference! You might check this site and see if anything reminds you of your son. (It's a program similar to V/V, more expensive but more step-by-step.)

 

Anyway, he is 9 and 1/2 now, he has struggled at every step of reading. We are currently working on longer words (Webster's) and fluency. Keep going though, step by step. My son just surprised me by reading a chapter ahead in our read aloud (far beyond his current level - it contains odd names and vocabulary we don't often use) and being able to tell me 2 things that happened!

 

You might check the special needs board too - they are so helpful.

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My son was not understanding ANYTHING I read to him; he couldn't read either (the only word he could read was cat). This was right before he turned 8. We did a little testing for vision issues (not just the need for glasses - a COVD doctor), and were told that his eyes were fine, but he was not visualizing things. He couldn't do abstract concepts. When asked to name a letter from a chart, he named a number on the chart.

 

So we stopped all phonics and did Visualizing and Verbalizing. What a difference!

 

Once again demonstrating why you WANT to get the evals! Evals cost money upfront, but they save you time, money, and heartache later as they help you focus your efforts on what he really NEEDS.

 

Even at worst case scenario a neuropsych eval is around $1500. That's a lot of money, but so many of these curricula are $300 a pop, it's easy to get there fast. With insurance that eval cost can go down DRAMATICALLY. And a vision eval with a developmental optometrist, at least in our area, is only $250. So literally for the cost of one mistake in curriculum you can have an eval that might show you where the problem specifically is.

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I am really floundering for where to start with homeschooling my 8 year old. He was in first grade this year (we did age 3-6 in a SpEd preschool program, but he was considered "typical" and so received no services... he was able to be there an extra year - until 6 - because of how his birthday fell.) Let me tell you what he CAN do first:

 

He can recognize letters and tell me their sounds. He can sound out short words (CVCs mostly, he can also do CVCCs most of the time I've tried them.)

 

Our "can't" list:

Anything with a silent e stumps him. Phonics wasn't a big part of school at our old school, they taught letter sounds in preschool and some in kindergarten. By after Christmas of K, though, they were doing sightwords almost exclusively. He will randomly read words, but if I ask him later to read the same word he tells me he doesn't know it. Even simple readers are too much for him to read aloud to me.

 

Okay, math is another big stumbling block. He CAN recognize numbers, "read" number words 90 percent of the time, and he can count items and then write the number for me or tell me the number. He CANNOT add or subtract. This was HUGE for us in PS because they were already doing subtraction with borrowing by Christmas :confused: This kid couldn't even tell me 2+2=4 without counting it up and they wanted him to tell them 17-9=8!!!

 

I was in the early stages of having him tested for an IEP or 504...as in we had been at this (observations, charting his grades, etc..) for 2 years and we were ALMOST able to give him an actual test :banghead: It just got to be too much for me. He was falling further behind daily, I could almost SEE it happening before my eyes, and they were saying "We are going to move him from Tier 2 to Tier 3 and, THEN, in 9 weeks if he hasn't improved we can look at testing." The woman who was the "interventionist" for his grade level was VERY nice, though, and did a few of the tests on him "unofficially". She did a RAT (I guess that's the acronym, that is what she called it.) I think she did another one, as well, but I can't recall a name. She wasn't conclusive with anything. One thing she commented on was a part where she read him a word and he gave her an association. I can't remember what she told him, something like pickle, and he said "falling glass". She said he didn't seem to be making the connection and then verbalizing it, but was either making the wrong connection or was verbalizing something different than what he was thinking. She also worked with him, in the classroom, on math this year and said he didn't understand the VALUE of numbers. He doesn't get that five is always "XXXXX", but rather has to count it each time "one, two, three, four, five". FWIW, this kid can hold a conversation with adults. He can remember driving directions (You need to turn left up here) when we've only been somewhere once, long ago. So, it isn't that he isn't functional AT ALL. I'm just at a loss for what to do with him. Where do I start? Any recommendations for programs/curriculum we might use for those subjects?

 

His fine motor skills aren't good, either. That makes anything with a lot of writing very hard. It also makes doing a worksheet sort of beside the point, because when he looks back at it, it is filled in with chicken scratch. My oldest DS was very similar in that regard and has finally gotten much better with his writing (he is 12, it has improved in the last year or so!) I know that may come along on it's own, but I'd like to do somethings that incorporate strengthening his fine motor skills to help that along. We have been doing playdough, and he has been tracing words/letters/numbers I've written. I had to correct his grip, they had him using a pincer grip (index and middle on top, thumb on bottom) His hand does seem steadier using the tripod grip I taught him. They also had them doing some weird thing where they never took their pencil off the paper when forming a letter/number. His 4 ended up looking like an incomplete w, so I've taken him back to basics on that. We are re-learning it the way I learned it, small L shape and then the stick. It looks much improved when he does it that way.

 

Where do I start? Do I go back to preschool type stuff with him?

 

I know this was long, if you stuck with it.....Thank you!!:tongue_smilie:

 

I've not read other people's replies yet, but having faced something like this wanted to reply before I have to leave computer for the day.

 

I went through pulling my son out of school at same age, and also with similar situation of being behind in certain areas--mine was way behind yours in reading, but did not have fine motor issues (though his prior teacher had thought he did).

 

We have made tremendous progress -- though the road has not been easy.

 

For us, best math program overall seems to be Math U See (since he cannot add, seems like you would start right at the beginning--we were a bit past that). Instructor plus student part. My son watches the DVD explanations himself often. The page lay out is clean and neat and generously spaced which for my son helps because of dyslexia type issues, but for yours might also help because of the writing trouble. And the manipulatives would, I think, help to see the connection between 5 and XXXXX

 

I am also really loving Life of Fred math as a supplement, but possibly its first level Apples would be too hard for him still--but maybe not. You might give it a try. Apples level works over and over on adding things up to seven. Pencils, elephants, apples, etc., so maybe that would also help with the idea that 5 is xxxxx or yyyyy etc. And it reads like a story so lends itself to the way many children enjoy hearing the same story over more than once.

 

Our starting point on reading that actually worked (after many other attempts that did not) was "]High Noon Books. Intervention plus Sound Out Chapter Books--got the whole caboodle with teacher guide to follow.

 

We use Zaner-Bloser for handwriting (and other components also), but since your son has writing trouble, I think something we use as a supplement, which is the Italics writing program from Portland State University would work much better. Rainbow Resource Center carries it.

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I'm not sure I understand why the IEP testing was not done - there are strict rules about timeframes, meetings and so forth.

 

Technically, they appeared to be following the correct procedure. I had begun asking about therapy/intervention when he was still in the preschool program, but he was enrolled as a "neuro-typical" peer so he wasn't eligible for any of the services. At the end of K, his teacher got me some paperwork together to sign, giving the school my permission to start the process for testing HOWEVER they don't test until they fall behind in 1st grade....so I had to wait until he had been moved through all 3 tiers in 1st (a minimum of 27 weeks) before we could even start testing. My problem with that was that 1st grade was marching grandly on without him. They were reading 3 page stories, taking spelling tests of up 15 words, and had moved on from basic introductory arithmatic (3 apples + 2 apples is 5 apples, I have 5 apples and eat two of them so now I have 3 apples) into doing things like borrowing for subtraction. It was maddening and we were doing reams of workbook pages each night that he hadn't completed in class as he couldn't move as fast as the other students.

 

Oh - but I will recommend our math curriculum: JUMP Math (not exactly the same as "JUMP At Home"; make sure you're looking up the right one). It's an oddity and hardly anybody here is using it, but the first 40 pages of the 1st-grade book are free online here (you MAY have to sign up to get access), so at least you'll have some mathy stuff to do until you figure out what you're going to do.

 

The program was originally remedial and it has two areas of focus at the Grade 1 level:

- building confidence through heavily scaffolded instruction; every page builds from the previous page.

- making NO assumptions about what the child knows or doesn't know at the start of the year.

Also, it requires almost NO reading, making it simpler to understand than most math curricula.

 

Thanks, I have visited your blog and seen the JUMP math mentioned. I had checked out their site and registered, but hadn't located the workbook samples.

 

Are you in TN? I taught there and we used the tier system so I can help you with that. He may not be as far behind as you think. Tier 2 is very minor. It's done in class, with the teacher. It's basically for kids who aren't doing as well. So the teacher assess the child once a week to see if he is falling behind or making progress. The teacher meets with the child small group or one on one through the week to remediate them for a set number of minutes each week. Its basically a checks/balances system for students who are not performing exactly where they should be. Tier 3 means that they aren't making gains in class with the teacher and need more help outside the class. I can see why they waited to test. I'm sure that tier 3 progress monitoring would determine a test. I would have given it about a month to see if any progress was made before recommending testing. Even in tier 3 my kids were only out of class 45 min every few days. I had 7 kids in the teir program and 4 of those were tier 3. I taught in a very nice suburb so this was a very typical class.

 

Yes, we're in TN. Above, I explained my frustration with the tier thing. It wasn't that I didn't get it........just was at boiling point with him falling further and further behind, and we couldn't get ANYTHING done for him in the meantime. Also, as a tier 2 he went to an interventionist daily, along with having another interventionist pull him aside in class. The problem with GOING daily was that he missed his snack time to do this. He has problems with having to eat small meals regularly, if he doesn't he winds up with a horrible migraine and vomits for hours. Many a day, I took him home throwing up and screaming with his head only to find out that he hadn't eaten that day because "I was in intervention and I didn't have time for my snack." He is 8 years old and under 40 pounds, I didn't feel like we could keep losing what little he HAD managed to consume to the vomiting. FWIW, they wouldn't let him eat his snack in intervention because it was done on computers and the school has a no food/drink at computers policy. That's understandable, but it put us between a rock and a hard place - either continue intervention and migraines OR pull him out of intervention and then we couldn't proceed with moving through the tiers. In tier 3 he would have had yet another (a third) interventionist work with him at some point during the day. They managed to "squeak him in" to some of her classes, when his regular teacher could turn him loose from the lesson in her room. THEN we had even more workpages to complete at home, tier 3 intervention was during grammar. It was getting to be too much for him to be in a seat 6.5 hours a day, working on worksheets, then come home and do the six pages of regular daily homework AND 2 or 3 packets of make up sheets that he'd missed. I felt like if we were doing all that at home, we could drop the school....KWIM? I have to take TONS of breaks for him, he is probably ADHD and, if he gets regular breaks, he focuses much better than trying to push through hours of work at once.

 

Since he was in special ed preschool, he must have a diagnosis. Also, just because they said he is now typical doesn't mean that he no longer needs help. It just means that he no longer qualifies for services. A kid has to be very impaired to qualify, but lots of kids are struggling who don't qualify.

 

He was never enrolled as a non-typical child. Our SpEd did a program where they did 1:1 peers. For every SpEd preschooler, they started out with a neuro-typical child as their peer. Supposedly, this would help the non-typicals socialize with the typicals, and pick up positive work traits. Anyway, he was enrolled as a typical because the teacher said her non-typicals would be children with down syndrome, or severe delays and medical issues. The non-typicals could recieve speech, OT, and PT. DS couldn't because he was considered typical. As a favor to me, the therapists did observe him in class and declared they didn't find him in "enough" need of their services. He was sort of in limbo, not quite typical/not quite severe enough to be "not typical".

 

My son was not understanding ANYTHING I read to him; he couldn't read either (the only word he could read was cat). This was right before he turned 8. We did a little testing for vision issues (not just the need for glasses - a COVD doctor), and were told that his eyes were fine, but he was not visualizing things. He couldn't do abstract concepts. When asked to name a letter from a chart, he named a number on the chart.

 

So we stopped all phonics and did Visualizing and Verbalizing. What a difference! You might check this site and see if anything reminds you of your son. (It's a program similar to V/V, more expensive but more step-by-step.)

 

Anyway, he is 9 and 1/2 now, he has struggled at every step of reading. We are currently working on longer words (Webster's) and fluency. Keep going though, step by step. My son just surprised me by reading a chapter ahead in our read aloud (far beyond his current level - it contains odd names and vocabulary we don't often use) and being able to tell me 2 things that happened!

 

You might check the special needs board too - they are so helpful.

 

You have no idea how much better that makes me feel. I know that we may never be "on age level", or it may take years to get there.... there are times, though, that I wonder if I'm doing "enough" to help him. I think the bolded applies to all my kids. They seem to have a harder time "holding" things in their minds as we work on them. The older son has gotten better over the years, and my daughter has either worked it out on her own or it never applied to her.

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The problem with GOING daily was that he missed his snack time to do this. He has problems with having to eat small meals regularly, if he doesn't he winds up with a horrible migraine and vomits for hours. Many a day, I took him home throwing up and screaming with his head only to find out that he hadn't eaten that day because "I was in intervention and I didn't have time for my snack." He is 8 years old and under 40 pounds, I didn't feel like we could keep losing what little he HAD managed to consume to the vomiting. FWIW, they wouldn't let him eat his snack in intervention because it was done on computers and the school has a no food/drink at computers policy. That's understandable, but it put us between a rock and a hard place - either continue intervention and migraines OR pull him out of intervention and then we couldn't proceed with moving through the tiers. In tier 3 he would have had yet another (a third) interventionist work with him at some point during the day. They managed to "squeak him in" to some of her classes, when his regular teacher could turn him loose from the lesson in her room. THEN we had even more workpages to complete at home, tier 3 intervention was during grammar. It was getting to be too much for him to be in a seat 6.5 hours a day, working on worksheets, then come home and do the six pages of regular daily homework AND 2 or 3 packets of make up sheets that he'd missed. I felt like if we were doing all that at home, we could drop the school....KWIM? I have to take TONS of breaks for him, he is probably ADHD and, if he gets regular breaks, he focuses much better than trying to push through hours of work at once.

 

 

 

 

You have no idea how much better that makes me feel. I know that we may never be "on age level", or it may take years to get there.... there are times, though, that I wonder if I'm doing "enough" to help him. I think the bolded applies to all my kids. They seem to have a harder time "holding" things in their minds as we work on them. The older son has gotten better over the years, and my daughter has either worked it out on her own or it never applied to her.

 

I tried a long reply, but it didn't take.

 

So, shorter:

 

All this sounds very very familiar. We have to be careful about curriculum choices from the POV of health issues. The migraine headaches you mention are familiar to me too. Electrosmog can be an issue, and also odors (molecules emanating) from some paper, ink, plastic manipulatives etc. Fragranced products, cleaners, perfumes, laundry products, etc. etc. are huge problems for us. Second hand materials often have fragrances or old tobacco odors which makes them impossible for us to use successfully. Sometimes our curriculum choices have been influenced quite strongly by such matters. You might want to consider such issues as ambient electrosmog, chemicals etc. for your son also, and how it might relate to what curricula you choose for him. That he had trouble with interventions in computer lab may be in part due to computer exposure, as well as not eating. In addition to the issues commonly thought of with LD, Visual processing, etc., there are things that are related to metabolic function that affect brains and learning. I think that might go off topic though. But it is a whole other area of concern that your thread makes me think highly likely in your son's case. Pretty clearly though one cannot focus on academics while having a migraine with nausea and vomiting. And short of that there may be "brain fog" that is so much a part of his life that he does not even know to complain about it, but it could clear up, possibly, if changes were made in his environment.

 

 

We also go year round with only short breaks because of the problem of "holding" material. But very intensive intervention work is paying off. My son is caught up in math, and getting close in language arts areas. I will keep my fingers crossed for yours to have this happen too.

Edited by Pen
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Heh, I had the same problem with a long reply. Then, I split it into two and it didn't post the second one! The first reply from me (above) is the first half of what I was going to submit...oh, well. I can't even remember ALL of what I had in the second one :001_huh:

 

I do know that I was going to address the testing.....I have been wanting to take him to a COVD. He has one eye that sort of doesn't "line up", I can't imagine that isn't causing some issues with his vision/focusing. I have had TWO eye dr's tell me they "can't see" his eye drifting a bit. His ped when he was a baby DID see it, though. We may have to go back to him...I really like our current family doc, but I haven't talked with him about anything like that. Anyway, point being - I looked on the COVD website but could only find 1 person anywhere near us, it seems like she was lacking something - are there different rankings on the site? IIRC, it was like the difference between a therapist and a psychologist....she appeared to have less training or not hold some certification. I could be wrong, maybe I can dig her qualifications up and ask then?

 

I would LOVE to find a neuro-psych to test him. We actually had ODS tested at 7. Our family doc reviewed the files from that test and he said it seemed thorough and the doctor seemed very knowledgable. I can say I was underwhelmed. the NP told me that ODS was "mild/moderate ADHD and normal IQ. Have him sit close to the teacher so she can give him cues to stay on task..." I don't know, maybe that was all anyone would have turned up. I would take the eight year old to him but he had to close his practice due to funding. Finding him was like finding a needle in a haystack, I don't know where to start looking for someone now. Any ideas? FWIW, we live in "the sticks" and it's hard to find people with obscure specialties nearby (like anyone besides a GP, dentist, or Optometrist LOL)

 

We are also in the process of switching health insurances. I was the one who carried our family up until I quit at Christmas to homeschool. DH will be picking us up, but my insurance will run out the end of January so his won't be effective until then. I kind of don't want to start with a dr on my insurance and then find HIS to not cover that dr (we've done the health care swap before and had that happen as his insurance is based in Illinois...however, this is a new provider so we shall see.)

 

I totally agree that we need to go with a basic curriculum, and he may need to deschool more than a month......OTOH, he is my youngest. I have 2 others (9 and 12) that ARE ready to do some stuff. If he would play quietly or SIT quietly by...but he doesn't. Leaving him un-occupied is asking for a disaster *sigh* He doesn't play alone and is afraid to be outside alone or in a different room of the house from where we are. I have no idea why, he goes through these stages, sometimes he will wander off by himself for an hour or so. Right now he is in his under foot stage, literally, I have turned around and fallen over the child :glare:

 

He is doing MUCH, MUCH better with being "around but not part of" some of the lessons, though. He is sitting through read aloud time (mostly) without interruption and the older ones and I are doing Life Of Fred and he shows some interest in the story, though he isn't doing the arithmatic at the end. I'm just thrilled to see him finally show some spark of interest in ANYTHING. He has, up until recently, been totally uninterested in being read to or playing with toys. The only things he liked were "ripping and running" type stuff like climbing trees, riding bikes, etc.. and "passive entertainment". He all out resisted anything that would require him to "visualize" like being read to, or anything that would require developing a story line on his own (like playing with toys.) Within the last few weeks I have noticed him actually picking up Imaginext and Playmobil people to play, listening when I'm reading aloud, etc.. I'm hoping we are headed for a breakthrough in that area. I think those skills would be helpful to him.

 

Pen, do you have more information on off-gasing of materials. I think his headaches were mainly caused by a combination of mold in the classroom (his unit flooded fairly regularly and the air conditioners didn't function at full capacity), poor lighting, and the fact that he eats like a bird which probably causes blood sugar issues. He does have allergies, though, and is super sensitive to stuff - it wouldn't suprise me one bit for him to have a sensitivity to something being used in class.

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Have you tried feeding him more fruit? That will up his enzymes and hence his hunger. As you say, he needs to eat more to get his nutrients in to grow.

 

There is some connection between allergies and ADHD. We've had some people on the boards say they were told by their ENT that removing the swollen adenoids would chill ADHD. I don't think that's true for all people (certainly others here have done it and not had it happen!), but it's all sort of curious. I definitely think there's something to not sleeping well, mouth breathing, low oxygen, and the ADHD. Our OT was the one who said there are studies linking ADHD and low oxygen. So whatever, it's definitely something to pursue.

 

I missed the comment on off gassing. I used to be chemically sensitive, and indeed paper, etc. does have formaldehyde. Formaldehyde and other chemicals are produced by certain molds and people *can* become sensitized. But that would be pretty uncommon, kwim? I'd give him lots of fruits and veges, a big salad every day (by that age my dd was eating 3 cups daily) and see what that does for him. He can eat fruit for breakfast, fruit for his midmorning snack (a banana), fruit for his afternoon snack, and fruit before bed. Cleans out the gut and heals the immune system, reversing sensitivies. At least that's what my nutritionist had me do and what worked for me. But yeah, that would be pretty uncommon for a dc to be to that point. If he is, I'd be pretty stinkin' upset at the school.

 

He may not have the attention (executive function, which has age equivalents) to attend to books the way you're thinking. He's 8 now? If he had the neuropsych eval at 7, then I'd dig those papers out and see if there are some scores. That might make things more clear. Like if he has the EF equivalent of a 3 yo, then he'd only be likely to sit and attend to the level of a 3 yo. You can play games or get the Linguisystems EF workbooks specifically to try to bump that up. It can be done, and it would reap big rewards in your school time. See the way our np explained it, the EF will go up, but it just goes up in relation to themselves, at their own rate. So it's not like he goes from a low EF to "normal." He'd just keep getting a little better and a little better and always be way behind his age. So you get in the middle of the process with things to try to nudge that. You actually *can* make headway with the EF. It's not like you have to leave it alone and let it develop at its own pace. EF is in a part of the brain, and anything you do that works that part of the brain will make new pathways and make it grow and develop. So games that use lots of working memory, VT (yup, VT!), the Linguisystems workbooks, etc. can improve EF by working that part of the brain.

 

My concern with what you're saying with toys is that there's a fine line between ADHD and spectrum. Does he have imaginative play? Not does he remember to play with his toys, but when he does, is he imaginative? Does he act out stories? Does he have an imaginary friend or pretend things with pretend toys?

 

That COVD doc could be fine or not. You want to get some feedback from people who have used her, meet her, see her therapy room, etc. The practice we used was large, so they had some docs who were Fellows and some who were not. The doc we used was not, but the therapist we used was certified by COVD. That's not even to say a non-certified therapist can't do a good job, because actually most of the therapists at our place were *not* certified. I tend to think the certified was the best (which is why she was the lead), but other people were happy with their progress too. So you really just have to look at what you're seeing in that particular practice, see if the feedback is good, see what you think when you meet them. I would drive farther if necessary to get someone you feel confident in. VT is usually in terms of months (depends on the kid, but usually), so if you did it this summer it wouldn't be an intrusion on your other kids' schedules and school work. Start the process now, because it takes a while to get in, get the eval, get started on the therapy. Like I think we started in March and really had the ball rolling by May.

 

Just for your trivia, if one has problems, it's possible for the siblings to have vision problems as well. My ds3 has the same nearsightedness and astigmatism as me and my dd. So you might get a regular exam for the others as well and let the doc screen them. Yes, it's pretty common for regular docs to miss these problems. That's why you go to a developmental optometrist. The one we went to is KILLER. It blew mind my how easily she got my script, and it's better (less headaches from the computer, etc.) than my other scrips with my other doctor ever were. And she is so thorough with eye health and tracing down things. It's the same price about as any other eye doc, but the care is more thorough and more specific when you have problems. I think every eye doc should do the extra study and be done with it. Everyone should have this level of care. :)

 

ADHD kids need STRUCTURE. That's the buzzword I've been told 20,000 times, and I never really got what it meant. You figure it out for yourself. I'm just saying advice to de-school is sort of the opposite and can really backfire with a kid who needs STRUCTURE. They need clear expectations and a plan. They need to know why they're waking up and where they're going next. Deschooling is a question of WHAT he does. Don't toss structure, or you could have behavior problems. There's no need for that. Deschool him with kits, playmobil or lego sets, models to assemble, art projects, audiobooks he listens to while he plays, learning to type, graphic novels, anything from Timberdoodle, anything you want. Just have a plan and STRUCTURE to it. It could be pretty straightforward, either with times or just a general flow, kwim?

 

eat breakfast

jumping jacks and 5 minutes on trampoline

independent play while listening to audiobooks with headphones

snack while doing family devotions or memory time

laps around the house

work on typing on computer

watch worthwhile show on PBS

lunch

EF workbook from linguisystems

math games and games to sneakily work on working memory, etc. with Mom while junior naps

play outside

 

Put all the toys up in baskets so you can have the STRUCTURE of pulling out and putting away. The putting away part is where these kids flop, whew. Build that structure in through the way you create his environment. And in your structure/plan for his deschooling, get him accustomed to the routines you'd like him to have when he actually starts his school work. For instance, I put some morning exercise in after breakfast, see it? Well that's something you might not think he needs now but that would help him settle and be ready to focus when you're wanting to do spelling next. So build that routine now, only inserting play stuff for the subjects. Then you slowly accustom him and transition him over to school work, adding one thing at a time. You notice I snuck math games in. I like to play games with my dd after lunch, and it's very intentional. Puzzles are good too btw, and you can alternate them. They work on attention, visual memory, figure/ground (vision), etc. Those puzzles and games are as important as any other school work we do. Seriously. And because they're important, I schedule them in. Because they're fun, she doesn't know they're work and doesn't buck. :)

 

Sometimes we feel like we have to make excuses to have fun with our kids. This play stuff, with puzzles and games, gets squeezed out of our day and left to intentions that we never get to. Don't do that. He's young (all your kids are), and you'll actually do him a lot of good with that time! You know when you've hit on his weak spot, because he'll buck the game. Back up then. Like with puzzles, I had to back up to 25 pieces with my dd. On games, back way up, till he enjoys them.

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That is interesting about the fruits. I will try that, fruits are actually one thing he seems to like on a fairly regular basis. Also interesting was the part about low oxygen. He tends to be stuffy often, lately I've noticed him mouth breathing more. I hate to take him to the dr, they just want to give us antibiotics and send us out the door. I really feel like my kids have taken too many medicines, KWIM? Maybe I should ask for a referral to an ent?

 

For clarification - he didn't have the evaluation. My oldest son did, five years ago. The only reason I mentioned it was because that was such a struggle to find him for my oldest and now even he has shut his doors. I kind of don't know where to start looking for my eight year old. My kids are 12, 9, and 8 btw so the one in my OP is the youngest.

 

Play? Mmm, if he ever gets out toys to play he does do some imaginative things with them. He doesn't like anything "fantasy", no dragons or even dinosaurs, etc.. He only likes realistic looking people figurines (the new imaginext are fine, he won't really use the playmobil people, and flat won't touch the old imaginext people that my 12 year old had from years ago, they look less real) that may be neither here nor there. But, yes, he has finally started to use toys with a storyline he makes up. That is pretty new, until recently he wanted nothing to do with that sort of thing.

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I broke this up. I was afraid it would get too long again. I did want to say that I think you might be right about structure. His favorite questions are "now what" and "and then?" As in, he gets up and says "now what?" and when I tell him that now we will eat breakfast, he says "and then?" He seems to need to know that there are things for him to do. We kind of joke about it because he will ask forty times. "And then?" we will go to the park "And then?" we will eat lunch "And then?" It can wear on you after a bit as he will keep going.

 

I do think that was one thing he liked about ps. You never varied from your schedule. It was the same subject, activity, whatever at the same time every day.

Edited by Gingerbread Mama
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Yes, that stuffiness isn't helping. I understand not liking the antibiotics. Is he eating flour/wheat? Flour clogs the gut, turns to paste, and makes mucus. I'm not meaning to be cruel. Diet is just the number one place to look when you have symptoms like that. My dd has never been on an antibiotic ever, but we avoid bread and rarely eat flour, etc. For pasta we eat corn pasta or whole grain spelt. Even cheerios can be clogging like that.

 

Yes, neuropsychs CAN be hard to find. I think there might be one in our town, but the feedback I had heard was mixed. I decided that since it only takes a couple appointments (or can be done all one day) that I was willing to drive basically anywhere in the state (2-3 hours). I found someone about an hour away who was excellent. So maybe broaden your search. You could google your state name and terms like dyslexia and see what you get. Ours was on the state dyslexia association board. You might find some organizations like that and check their boards for ideas. I'm with you on not understanding why it's so hard to find them. They stay busy without advertising I guess, lol. Oh, I also found our doc's name on referral lists for various peds. You could call some popular peds in your state capital or a big city near you and ask who they refer to. That will probably give you good leads. When you find the same name confirmed several places, you're probably onto someone good.

 

You could ask for a referral to an allergist if you suspect allergies and a basic thing like Flonase isn't working. At least our friend ped said that's what he would do, rather than heading right to the ENT. At least you have options.

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I broke this up. I was afraid it would get too long again. I did want to say that I think you might be right about structure. His favorite questions are "now what" and "and then?" As in, he gets up and says "now what?" and when I tell him that now we will eat breakfast, he says "and then?" He seems to need to know that there are things for him to do. We kind of joke about it because he will ask forty times. "And then?" we will go to the park "And then?" we will eat lunch "And then?" It can wear on you after a bit as he will keep going.

 

I do think that was one thing he liked about ps. You never varied from your schedule. It was the same subject, activity, whatever at the same time every day.

 

ABSOLUTELY! In fact, our np said to "recreate school" and the structure of school. No joke. Don't let all this talk about de-schooling make you lose your head about what you see in your own kid. There's a huge difference between THEORY and REALITY. You have to teach the reality in front of you. It doesn't matter what the WTM says or anything else. If your kid needs structure and clear plans and expectations and things all written out, give it. If he has certain developmental/functional needs, those could be more important than academics right now because they create the foundation for the academics. Or you do gentle academics using them as a way to focus on those foundational, developmental needs (working memory, EF, ability to write comfortably, etc.). Just look at your child and what he needs.

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It sounds great that he is playing again. If he wants to, and you have a video camera, he might like to tell / act out / explain his storyline on video.

 

One of the nicest scheduling things I've done is made a one word schedule. It has what everyone is to do in just one word. So it might say for my eldest:

 

7:30....Chores

8:30....Breakfast

9:00....Group

9:30....Box 1 <-- (refers to our workboxes)

10:00..Box 2

10:30..Outside

 

And I read that idea here, of course. So many good things on this board!

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I do know that I was going to address the testing.....I have been wanting to take him to a COVD. He has one eye that sort of doesn't "line up", I can't imagine that isn't causing some issues with his vision/focusing. I have had TWO eye dr's tell me they "can't see" his eye drifting a bit. His ped when he was a baby DID see it, though. We may have to go back to him...I really like our current family doc, but I haven't talked with him about anything like that. Anyway, point being - I looked on the COVD website but could only find 1 person anywhere near us, it seems like she was lacking something - are there different rankings on the site? IIRC, it was like the difference between a therapist and a psychologist....she appeared to have less training or not hold some certification. I could be wrong, maybe I can dig her qualifications up and ask then?

 

I would LOVE to find a neuro-psych to test him. We actually had ODS tested at 7. Our family doc reviewed the files from that test and he said it seemed thorough and the doctor seemed very knowledgable. I can say I was underwhelmed. the NP told me that ODS was "mild/moderate ADHD and normal IQ. Have him sit close to the teacher so she can give him cues to stay on task..." ...Finding him was like finding a needle in a haystack, I don't know where to start looking for someone now. Any ideas? FWIW, we live in "the sticks" and it's hard to find people with obscure specialties nearby (like anyone besides a GP, dentist, or Optometrist LOL)

 

We are also in the process of switching health insurances. I was the one who carried our family up until I quit at Christmas to homeschool. DH will be picking us up, but my insurance will run out the end of January so his won't be effective until then. I kind of don't want to start with a dr on my insurance and then find HIS to not cover that dr (we've done the health care swap before and had that happen as his insurance is based in Illinois...however, this is a new provider so we shall see.)

 

I totally agree that we need to go with a basic curriculum, and he may need to deschool more than a month......OTOH, he is my youngest. I have 2 others (9 and 12) that ARE ready to do some stuff. If he would play quietly or SIT quietly by...but he doesn't. Leaving him un-occupied is asking for a disaster *sigh* He doesn't play alone and is afraid to be outside alone or in a different room of the house from where we are. I have no idea why, he goes through these stages, sometimes he will wander off by himself for an hour or so. Right now he is in his under foot stage, literally, I have turned around and fallen over the child :glare:

 

He is doing MUCH, MUCH better with being "around but not part of" some of the lessons, though. He is sitting through read aloud time (mostly) without interruption and the older ones and I are doing Life Of Fred and he shows some interest in the story, though he isn't doing the arithmatic at the end. I'm just thrilled to see him finally show some spark of interest in ANYTHING. He has, up until recently, been totally uninterested in being read to or playing with toys. The only things he liked were "ripping and running" type stuff like climbing trees, riding bikes, etc.. and "passive entertainment". He all out resisted anything that would require him to "visualize" like being read to, or anything that would require developing a story line on his own (like playing with toys.) Within the last few weeks I have noticed him actually picking up Imaginext and Playmobil people to play, listening when I'm reading aloud, etc.. I'm hoping we are headed for a breakthrough in that area. I think those skills would be helpful to him.

 

Pen, do you have more information on off-gasing of materials. I think his headaches were mainly caused by a combination of mold in the classroom (his unit flooded fairly regularly and the air conditioners didn't function at full capacity), poor lighting, and the fact that he eats like a bird which probably causes blood sugar issues. He does have allergies, though, and is super sensitive to stuff - it wouldn't suprise me one bit for him to have a sensitivity to something being used in class.

 

Yes. On that and tons of others stuff too. Mold, yes, big problem for many--can be directly neurotoxic, as well as allergenic, or related to release formaldehyde etc. Also there is some relation with it and the electromagnetic radiation area. And some people have a lot of trouble with florescent lights if that's what they were--usually in classrooms it is.

 

My son also had amblyopia btw (clearly so, no question--and so too does my nephew), but that was not what seemed to be critical in the problems (and also not hard with some home exercises to fix). And my post that vanished had some on the trouble with finding good help/doctors/evaluators; getting started into school anyway, etc.

 

I've never used PM function before, but am going to try to PM you for easier contact, and because of my concern also that we are off topic of "curriculum" at this point.

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Yes, that stuffiness isn't helping. I understand not liking the antibiotics. Is he eating flour/wheat? Flour clogs the gut, turns to paste, and makes mucus. I'm not meaning to be cruel. Diet is just the number one place to look when you have symptoms like that. My dd has never been on an antibiotic ever, but we avoid bread and rarely eat flour, etc. For pasta we eat corn pasta or whole grain spelt. Even cheerios can be clogging like that.

 

Yes, neuropsychs CAN be hard to find. I think there might be one in our town, but the feedback I had heard was mixed. I decided that since it only takes a couple appointments (or can be done all one day) that I was willing to drive basically anywhere in the state (2-3 hours). I found someone about an hour away who was excellent. So maybe broaden your search. You could google your state name and terms like dyslexia and see what you get. Ours was on the state dyslexia association board. You might find some organizations like that and check their boards for ideas. I'm with you on not understanding why it's so hard to find them. They stay busy without advertising I guess, lol. Oh, I also found our doc's name on referral lists for various peds. You could call some popular peds in your state capital or a big city near you and ask who they refer to. That will probably give you good leads. When you find the same name confirmed several places, you're probably onto someone good.

 

You could ask for a referral to an allergist if you suspect allergies and a basic thing like Flonase isn't working. At least our friend ped said that's what he would do, rather than heading right to the ENT. At least you have options.

 

I hadn't thought of googling with other terms, that makes sense. The guy that I took my oldest to was 2.5 hours away, he was the closest one we could find. That was a big city, though, so maybe I can find someone else there who practices. I may try calling ped offices there, hadn't thought of that either. My problem is, that if I ask our local dr's, they want to refer me to a local "family talk therapist". I don't want to go that route because they don't hold specialized degrees and they are constantly labeling kids as having social disorders and what not, they put them on meds (a dr oversees them and signs off on the meds but doesn't see the kids.) I saw so many kids in school who were on ADHD meds/anti psychotics/anti depressants, I can't imagine they ALL needed them. I want someone who actually knows what they are doing. I would happily go wherever we needed to, maybe if I go to our dr and say "Don't refer me next door, I will go wherever if they are qualified."I think they get a lot of parents who don't want to leave town, so that is how they ended up refering to these people off hand.

 

One of the nicest scheduling things I've done is made a one word schedule. It has what everyone is to do in just one word. So it might say for my eldest:

 

7:30....Chores

8:30....Breakfast

9:00....Group

9:30....Box 1 <-- (refers to our workboxes)

10:00..Box 2

10:30..Outside

 

 

That might work, he could look at one word and, even if he couldn't read it, know what he was supposed to do (if they didn't change.) My kids are funny ducks (to me), I never had a problem occupying myself. If I didn't have something I was *told* to do, I was reading or writing or playing with my dolls. My kids tend to be more like their dad, if they haven't been told what to do, they fall back on watching tv and "being entertained". I have put a HUGE ban on tv and video games, though, and am slowly seeing an improvement in their ability to find other things to do. I don't know, I think I assumed they would be like me, I was never denied television but there was so much ELSE that I would rather be doing....It never occured to me to restrict it. I'm learning that I'm not dealing with mini-me's with MY personality, I'm dealing with mini-DHs with HIS personality. Our 8 year old is DH made over, which isn't necessarily the best thing, DH was a wild Indian and into a LOT of trouble as a kid. I try to remind myself that I am NOT my MIL, I do not have to say it's just how he is or that I can't do about it.

 

Angie, I'm going to look at that diet. I try to feed my children well - we aren't fast-foodies, and I try to stay away from over-processed foods, but I'm sure there are MANY things I could change in their diets.

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On the florescent lights, sometimes the issue is the buzzing (a sound sensitivity) or a photosensitivity (zinc deficiency) or a sensitivity to the flicker. Sound sensitivity is an OT thing.

 

No, I wouldn't let them refer you off for just counseling and meds, mercy. You deserve a full, proper eval so you can have the info you need to TEACH him.

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