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What are realistic expectations/goals for this year?

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My 10 1/2yo dsd has learning disabilities but we haven't had her tested. I am 99% sure she is dyslexic and wondering about ADD since she usually takes 5 hours to do 2 hours worth of work.


Anyway, her handwriting, spelling, and grammar is that of a beginning 1st grader. Her math knowledge is full of gaps and is 2 years behind. She uses words incorrectly and pronounces multisyllabic words incorrectly. Common sense eludes her (such as asking me how long it takes to grow a 150yo tree and then asking if she could do that in her lifetime or asking to attend the high school on her favorite TV show).



So, these are the subjects I'm planning:




-Math 4x (identifying and filling gaps first, using Math on the Level)


-Phonics/Spelling 4x with activities daily (SWR)


-Copy Work 2x

-Dictation 1x

-Replacing words with a thesaurus 1x (should I do a whole vocabulary curriculum instead?)


-A story writing program (I'm thinking of replacing this with basic writing assignments I make up or a remedial curriculum, though I don't know what would be best for her - dropping Writing and doing extra copy work?)


-Logic 4x (Building Thinking Skills 1)

-Science and History will be explored as a family without added work demanded



Is this too much or not enough? I want to bring her up to speed as much as possible and focus on helping with life skills like logical thinking and word knowledge (phonics/spelling/reading for comprehension/vocabulary), but I don't want to overwhelm her.

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That is really subjective... in the case of a slow (as in not doing things quickly) child you have to weigh weather it is stubbornness, laziness or a true problem. I would get her tested for any auditory processing problems and developmental vision delays (which look just like ADD in many children).


At 10 the average child should be able to do about 4 hours of work a day, but that would be productive study. If it isn't productive I'd step way back and make sure she's got the basic skills and work up. Phonics for example shouldn't be taking more then 15 minutes out of the day while history and math should take about 30 minutes each. If you are doing SOTW with her then I'd read it to her and then have her give me a narration orally, then slowly work up to her doing it independently (over the course of the years). Reading should be about 15 to 20 min. until she hits 4th grade level then adding 10 more min. per grade level daily.


I would work on Phonics and Spelling together. Whatever she is learning to read learn to spell as well (I'd do that orally unless there is an auditory problem as well). I would not worry about Comprehension (while reading) until she can read at a 4th grade level... which could be within a few months if she's motivated. If she has a vision problem I would hold off until after the problem is fixed. In that case I would do most of the reading for her. Phonics Pathways is a good program for children with vision tracking problems.


For math I absolutely love Math U See because it is so gentle that the kids don't even realize how much they are learning. It is an AVKO approach that can really help the struggling mathematician. Also it doesn't go by grade level but rather skill level.


I would separate "writing" as in putting pen to paper with "writing" putting down thoughts. That is, I would have her do copy work (starting small) 4 days a week with a dictation of the piece on the fifth day (or 3 days and 1 day).




I would have her do a "writing assignment" each week, in which she tells me a story the first day (or narration), I become the scribe... writing exactly what she says w/o punctuation. The second day I would have her edit her work. This would require that she learn some basic editing skills such as using a / over beginning sentences. I'd work on one or two usage skills at a time, ie capitals and periods. After she has edited the work I would rewrite her edited work.


On the third day I would have her place a N, V, Adj. etc. above each word. Starting with nouns until she can identify them all every time and then move on to the other 8 parts of speech.


On the forth day I would have her write her most favorite and least favorite sentence as copy work or have her revise her writing by using descriptive words or replacing overused words.


So she would be doing only 1 writing assignment a week but it would be stretched out so that she could better cope with the intricacies of the English language.


For Word Knowledge you might try some word games this one has lots for free. And of course card games like Quiddler Game, Snap It Up! Spelling & Reading Game, Snap It Up! Word Families, Making Words Snap, and Sound & Sort Game are all great for children with early reading skills and can be used for older children as well.


You could also do a word-a-day program where she writes just one word each day in her own personal dictionary/journal. Or you could have her choose a word each day and have her find the definition, homonyms, antonyms and synonyms for it. Another variation would be for her to keep a list of words she doesn't know when she's reading (but I'd wait on this until she is reading about 4th grade level, because it could be discouraging before she has master a few hundred words).


I hope that all my babbling helps.

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I would first suggest considering some testing. If ADD is part of the issue, then addressing that might help the other areas. It also helps to know what you are facing so you can find programs that are proven to help those areas.


You didn't mention her reading skills. Is she behind in reading as well or reading well at grade level? If she is not reading very well, I would focus on that.


http://www.soundfoundationsbooks.co.uk/ I love the Dancing Bears program for reading and the Apples and Pears program is top notch for spelling. These are designed for kids with dyslexia and other LDs. They are a little pricey but effective and very easy to use at home.


http://www.iseesam.com is a wonderful learning to read program if she is not to a solid mid 3rd grade level (it goes K-3). http://www.roadstoeverywhere.com/3RsPlusRead.html is the same program from a different place. This is what got my girls reading.


Esp. for my 11dd, medication for her ADHD has been a huge help as it has allowed her to focus long enough to learn. I would also check out vision issues.

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We're still trying to get her insurance so we can get her tested. She was basically just handed to my husband, him having never met her before. We've been winging it for almost a year and finally got a birth certificate to get her insurance with.


I don't know how to tell her reading level. She reads poorly, swapping out prepositions changing the whole meaning, reversing letters of single syllable words like saw for was, reading multisyllabic words as something similar sounding but not correctly (though she often reads these fine and I think she's rushing through when she doesn't - but she messes up when speaking though knows the word, like 'pisgetti' and 'bisagna'). She is reading a lot at night now, but I doubt correctly. Will she correct some of these issues the more she reads? This is why I'm starting SWR with her, not to mention her spelling is atrocious ('him' spelled 'hem', 'used' as 'uons').


Her handwriting seems to have gotten worse so I think that's out of laziness or rushing through after she's stared out the window for an hour. Here's an example of her writing she typed (some of the spelling was corrected by SpellCheck):

One day there was a kid named Bill, Bill one day bill played a joke on his brother josh .bill thought of I tack my brothers watch it will be funny! So bill went and hide it soon it was his brothers prom night his brother was thought wear is my watch he kept looking. Bills mom side bill have you seen your brothers watch bill thought oh no! so he side no so his mom side well of you find it I will give you 10 dollars so bills mom thought wear is it so bill went and got it his mom side where did you find it was by the snick on the bathroom so hers your 10 dollars.
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