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Howdy ya'll! My name is Aamaal (Ah-MALL) and I'm new to the HMSC world. I have two step-children: a 10-year-old boy and an 11-year-old girl that I will begin homeschooling this Fall. Ds10 is a rising 4th grader in an IEP due to speech impediment. He's a math whiz, has an incredible vocabulary and high reading comprehension, enjoys video games, Minecraft, electronics, robotics, coding, and fishing. Dd11 is a rising 6th grader showing signs of RD and possibly a few other LDs + EF & WM deficiencies. This is my first full year with them and they've taken to me like little barnacles (I like barnacles so this is a win in my book!).


I have had them both read to me for 30 minutes and write five-sentence book reports each day for the last few months. At Ds10's last IEP meeting, he has improved tremendously across all problem areas. His handwriting has improved (lefty) along with his diction, sentence structure, and class participation. 


Dd11 is not in an IEP or 504 but it really seems like she should have been some time ago. From observing her work and casual interactions, I suspect CAPD as a starting point. I've kept my own records of her reading and comprehension, along with measuring her ability to follow directions, listening, etc. (Research habits die hard). I have noticed that she doesn't always get jokes, most metaphors are misunderstood, and she has trouble with spelling and reading aloud. I decided to give her the NRRF reading assessment to get a glimpse of where she is. I administered Part II and then Part I and her results were that she is reading at a Second Grade level. The current mission is to get a full evaluation before the end of school. But I have absolutely no problem going with a private evaluation. She's a very bright and intelligent girl whose self-confidence has been severely damaged due to being ridiculed in school because of her reading difficulties. And I do not want to see this spiral into a more several emotional situation for her. 


From the work I've been doing with her for the last few months, she is making some improvement, but I definitely can see she does not have a good foundation with phonetics and phonemic awareness. I did a small test with her to see if she could hear the difference between "columbia" and "colombia". She couldn't hear it. So I showed her the difference in my mouth structure in saying the two words. And she did the same and said, "Oh, I can feel the difference! I can't hear it but I can feel it." She often mishears words and transposes numbers and words when taking diction. There have been several times where she has thought her brother or someone else has called her a name when they hadn't and so forth. So I'm very anxious to get a complete eval for her. I don't want to see more time pass without it. When she was in 1st and 2nd grade, she had a reading specialist, but as soon as she was reading at level, they stopped working with her. It's my belief that she began to compensate by guessing and memorising words, much like she does now. But now, she doesn't understand what she's reading, so she's missing the full experience of the stories. I asked her the other day about books she likes to read. She was a bit embarrassed when she said that she didn't like to read books with difficult words because it takes so much energy to try and figure out what the words are. And understanding context clues is very difficult for her. 

So for this first year, I want to work on a split curriculum for them: structured plus interest-led. I believe this will be the best way to introduce them to homeschool and allow me to work with them on their weaknesses while allowing them to have a say in what they would like to learn. They're very good kids. And with a bit of structure to reinforce their foundations, I believe they'll be just fine. It will be work, but when I see the light bulbs go off in their heads and faces, I know it's all worth it. You can't put a price or limit on the joy of learning and curious exploration.

I look forward to learning and sharing more in the future!  :hurray:

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