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Back to the drawing board: Dyslexia/Dysgraphia/APD/

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It's the end of January and I'm reassessing our school year and curriculum for my soon to be 12 year old son. This year has been a challenge for sure!


For the past year he was receiving speech therapy twice a week for expressive/receptive language delays and reading. The SLP used Barton and we were really making strides until the insurance company decided to stop the coverage.

A friend at co-op has the entire Barton system and has agreed to let me borrow the levels. I'm planning to pick up in level 4 where the therapist stopped.


Math- The pain in my sideðŸ˜. We started with Math U See, but this year we switched to Teaching Textbooks. He didn't like MUS much, to him it was boring and not enough variety.

I'm not 100% sure if TT is a good fit. He's in level 4 but at times he seems to be guessing. What can I do to help strengthen his basic math skills? He also has problems with short term memory and memorizing his math facts.


Handwriting- His manuscript writing is not to bad. He still has issues at times with spacing but other than that it's legible. Right now I'm using the Zaner Bloser cursive workbooks. He's having a difficult time automatically making the switch from manuscript to cursive. If I give him a passage in manuscript and tell him to write the same passage in cursive he's not able to totally do it.


Language Arts/History/Science/Latin/Math- I decided to enroll him in Classical Conversations Foundation and Essential class. Not a good idea! He abhors it especially the 2 hour Essential class. After an hour he is totally zoned out! I personally think it's good information but it just may not be a good fit for my guy. The class move way too fast for him! The mental math is too much and for some reason the diagramming doesn't seem to be clicking.

I'm learning a lot that's for sure. I can honestly say I like the way IEW is presented, therefore all isn't lost😀.


I can tell he's beginning to lose his joy for learning. Any suggestions as to how to get the fire back into our learning days? We don't seem to have time for anything fun anymore! I know he has a lot of struggles and the road ahead is long but he's such a bright kid.

I feel tired and he seems to be tired a lot! I mean a lot! 😀


Sorry if I did too much rambling😀.

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O.k. first, big hugs.   :grouphug: 


I am sorry you are so frustrated.  BTDT.  I totally get where you are coming from.  Hopefully you will get some great responses here.


I am just skimming since I have to run but here is what I was thinking off the top of my head as I read your post:


1.  When you start Barton, watch the videos for the first three levels well before you begin, then watch the video for the level you will start him at so you get a good feel for what you as the instructor are supposed to do.  You will need the manuals with you while you watch.  Try practicing with someone besides your child.  It is ESSENTIAL that your delivery is fairly smooth.  Don't wing it until you are very comfortable with this system.  Besides it possibly making the lesson extremely clunky and unproductive, kids can smell when the instructor doesn't know what they are doing.  They tend to tune out and not trust the instructor.  You might also look at purchasing the Spelling Success card games.  Great for reinforcement and breaking up the lessons into something more fun.  See if the person you are borrowing everything from has also downloaded and printed out the tutor support info and pages.  If you can get a copy of those that might help.  Stay organized.  There is a lot to keep up with.


2.  Math - I like TT, but it IS easy to cheat the system, so to speak.  Grades may look great but not actually reflect long-term retention or conceptual understanding.  If you want to stick with it you might add in lessons from something like Beast Academy or Life of Fred or Math Mammoth or even Math in Focus/Singapore.  Maybe use things like Hands On Equations and Dragonbox.


The other option might be to give him the placement test and put him in CLE math wherever he placed.  Go slow.  Lots of review, easy to slow down or speed up specific sections of the program, etc. and the lessons change around a bit so I find it less boring than some math programs we have tried.  Love CLE.  But I would definitely give the placement tests.  Start at the very beginning and work forward so you can see if there are any gaps that need targeting before you start him in the level he tested into.


I would encourage you to add in math games and practical application math.  Use manipulatives to explain concepts.


 Have you looked at soror's Relaxed Math thread somewhere buried in the Gen Ed board?  Here it is:



3.  I found Classical Conversations to be a truly, horrifically poor fit for my kids.  Absolutely not an option for my kids, at least the way it is done down here.  I can't speak to how to help your child with getting through it since we couldn't.  For the future, if you don't put him back in again next year, you might look at doing IEW at home or starting a small group that does IEW together.


4.  To generate a love of learning again, find something he is really interested in.  Then tie as much of his learning to that topic.  If he loves sports, do sports.  Do the history of sports and the physics of sports.  Do math problems with sports themes.  Read historical biographies related to sports.  Etc.  DS loves history.  When I can tie anything to history (including math) he is interested.


5.  Find a skill that he would be interested in developing and do everything you can to help him achieve mastery, even if it is underwater basket weaving.  Help him see that he has something unique to share with the world and he can be really good at it.  DD loves art and photography.  So we provide her with as much instruction and experience as is possible for those two skills.  It has reinvigorated her desire to learn.


6.  Help him be independent as much as possible without yanking the rug out from under him.  For example, DD likes a checklist each morning of what she is expected to do.  Things she can do on her own she can knock out if she chooses to before I am even up (such as her typing lesson).  Any reading that she does on the Kindle with Immersion reading she can get out of the way, too.  Then she and I tackle the things she needs me for, such as Barton and math.  With math, though, I try to just work briefly with her on whatever new concept CLE is introducing then step away and let her finish the review problems on her own.  I do stay nearby, though, doing other things and if she runs into trouble I can step in immediately before stress levels climb.  Also, she uses a multiplication chart she filled in herself, she has a stop watch to time her own speed drills, and she has a reference chart to refer to when she gets stuck on measurements.  It gives her some independence without making it impossible for her to function without me.  She craves being independent.


I'm not sure I have helped much but hopefully others will respond with something you can use.  We still have struggles and tough days, here.  But mostly things are going pretty well right now.  :)  I hope things will smooth out for you, as well.


Hugs and best wishes and good luck.

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My dyslexic could not diagram a sentence until he learned to parse one first.  One year of Winston Basic in 7th grade took care of that.  For dysgraphia, teach him to type or get very familiar with a voice to speech software such as Dragon.


For history, DS prefers a WTM type of history using a timeline software and 3-ring binder segmented into people, narrations, maps, religion, and technology.  We use documentaries, audio books, and lectures, plus DS uses mindmapping for the outlines. I taught him both full sentence and topical outlining in 7th grade.


I teach math using manipulatives.  DS prefers a more hands-on science.

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You started the post with "It's the end of January."  It's January and you're homeschooling.  Mid to late winter presents challenges all of their own for many homeschoolers even without learning challenges like dyslexia, dysgraphia or APD.


In winter, one of my primary goals is to stay warm and survive until spring.  Hibernation sounds good. Staying home in front of a warm fire with a cup of tea or cocoa, reading a wonderful book out loud to my children helps me survive. Winter can be an excellent time to focus the JOYS of reading. Does his APD prevent him from enjoying books read out loud to him? Find a book that you think he'd love,  something that's a little above his reading level but not above his comprehension level, and read it TO him.  Not textbooks but real literature.  Perhaps start with a short story that can be read in one sitting.


I'd re-think about any co-op class that's not working out well. Too much information thrown all at once can confuse matters for people with dyslexia. However, on the pro-side for going to co-op, it's great that your friend from co-op loaned you her Barton levels!  That (and friendships with other homeschoolers) may make continuing to go to co-op worthwhile.  When it comes to co-op classes, the reality is that dyslexia, dysgraphia and APD make group learning more difficult. 


Learning disabilities make learning and sometimes life in general more difficult, which can leave both child and parent may be more prone to being depressed. On top of all that, it's January. One book that you may want to look at reading is "Winter Blues" http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Blues-Fourth-Everything-Affective/dp/1609181859/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421868338&sr=8-1&keywords=winter+blues .





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