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TheAttachedMama

Thanks everyone! I think I have a working plan now!

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 Don’t have much advice, but I will wallow with you! I have a do the minimum, prone to cheating child and it is absolutely vexing. We do outsource with some online classes, but that might be giving me a false sense...lol. 

Since your kids are fairly close in age, can you combine some classes? Mine are five years apart, so not much combining anymore (3rd & 8th next year). Try and not take it personally (very hard for me!) and be patient. Eventually he/she will learn the value of hard work...

oh, and get a medical marijuana card! ???

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1 minute ago, MDL said:

oh, and get a medical marijuana card! ???

hahaha!  You are funny.   Right now, I am drinking large quantities of chamomile tea!  Probably not the same effect.  

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I sent my kindergartner to public school this year because he was using lack of attention to misbehave.

He's been a model student in kindergarten and his teacher loves him. He has learned a ton despite being a wiggly kid who is full of energy in a way-too-structured, way-too-long school day with a way-too-long bus ride. 

If the school near you is bad (as in "academically behind but a safe and caring environment"), I might look into sending your K-er. It might give you time and space to work intensively with your older kids without channeling negative energy into the younger, as was the case with use last year. For us, I've dealt with some of the fires I was not coping with before and am planning on having him home with us this coming year. He will finish the year out, though.

Emily

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How about hearing protectors (blocking sound) and a tri-fold whiteboard (to block sight) with everyone working at the same table but blocking sight/sound with these? This is a tactic my special needs teacher friend put me on to. 

Also, even with many "normal" kids, 5th/6th grade is still very much mom-at-elbow stage. My 5th grader needs me there for her structured subjects, though she can read on her own. Then she writes her own narrations (no teacher's manual for that) or orally narrates. I don't work with her, but I keep her on task. Even my younger, super-EF-skills kid in 3rd, who can work on her own, LEARNS so much more if I'm with her. I thought she'd been learning 3rd grade math because she did the Singapore problems, but it turns out she only learns the math if she interacts with mom over it. Sigh.

Emily

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I have a feeling you “know” this, but expecting children to work independently really isn’t a realistic expectation at those ages, unless the children are particularly precocious. Even in the public school or a more traditional classroom environment, students are not working independently - they’re being supervised by a teacher and accompanied along the way by other students. (Julie Bogart had an older Fb live video that she’s put up as audio only on her podcast that talks a little about this - https://blog.bravewriter.com/2018/04/09/podcast-back-to-homeschool/).

I think you also have to listen to what your child is telling you by her choices - she is in no way ready for the kind of responsibility that you are placing on her. No amount of trying to reason with her or try and make her do it is going to change the fact that she does not have the mental/emotional maturity to meet your expectations. I have a 7th grader who still benefits from me being an uninterested, silent table mate. Honestly, during school hours this is every much a part of my job as are the active roles I play in teaching my kids. I figure it’s my job, so the rest of it has to wait until I’m done with work for the day.

I have to go pick up my kids from their class, but I’ll try to come back later. I may be confusing you with another poster, but I feel like maybe we’ve discussed this before in a related way. Have we?

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1 hour ago, EmilyGF said:

How about hearing protectors (blocking sound) and a tri-fold whiteboard (to block sight) with everyone working at the same table but blocking sight/sound with these? This is a tactic my special needs teacher friend put me on to. 

Yes, I have noise blocking headphones and tri-fold boards up at our dining room table earlier.   However, they were still being too distracted at the dining room table by pets and little brother...and tracing the crack in our dining room finger with their finger (don't ask), looking around their board at the window, etc.   I put away the pets, but I cannot for the life of me get their little brother to not be distracting.   It is a bad combination of a kindergartner with two kids who are highly distractable.

58 minutes ago, mamaraby said:

I think you also have to listen to what your child is telling you by her choices - she is in no way ready for the kind of responsibility that you are placing on her. No amount of trying to reason with her or try and make her do it is going to change the fact that she does not have the mental/emotional maturity to meet your expectations. I have a 7th grader who still benefits from me being an uninterested, silent table mate. Honestly, during school hours this is every much a part of my job as are the active roles I play in teaching my kids. I figure it’s my job, so the rest of it has to wait until I’m done with work for the day.

 

1

 

Mamaraby, can you please tell me how I do this?  I swear this is an honest question.  I am not trying to be snarky.  I am honestly racking my brain trying to find ways that I can give everyone the attention that they need.   If I only had one or two children, I feel like I could do this.   But at this point, some work has to be done with my divided attention.   There aren't enough hours in the day to give each child 100% of my undivided attention.

Given:   Kids have shown me that they are unable to work in parallel at the same table for various reasons.   Even giving my daughter my divided-direct-attention, she will do things like "pretend" to listen to her audiobook, "pretend" to read, "pretend" to study her flashcards, pretend to study her spelling words.  Anything that requires any output is done in such a half-baked way, that I have no choice but to have her re-do it most of the time.  (And I am not being picky in the work level I am asking for.)  The only way I can avoid that is to hover above her and give her 100% of my attention.   My son is highly distractable.  So even with headphones, and a board up, he still can't work at a group table.   

I think you misunderstand me and think that I am one of those homeschoolers who expects their kids to self teach or something.   I swear to you, I am not that person.   I would probably say that I am WAY more involved in my kid's schooling than most homeschoolers because their learning challenges dictate LOTS of teacher intensive remediation.  You know?

So, my honest question is, how do I do what you are suggesting? My daughter's school takes 5.5 hours.  (Breakdown below if you are curious).   My older son's school also takes about 5.5 hours (Breakdown below).   My kindergartener probably needs an hour of read alouds and school, but he also needs a lot of short bursts to fill his love buckets.   Plus, we have lunches, snacks, dog bathroom breaks, etc.  Adding that up, how do I find enough hours in the day to give them 100% of my attention?   

So if I were to do what you were suggesting, here is how it might play out:

7AM to 1:30PM:  School with first older kid giving 100% of my undivided attention.  (Taking break for lunch in there too.)

1:30PM to 9:30PM:  School with my next older kid giving 100% of my undivided attention.  (Taking break to eat dinner.)

When do I spend time with my kindergartner or my husband?  How do I help care for my mom?  

Breakdown of school for my rising 5th grader:
Phonics (for dyslexia):  60 mins.

Math:  60 mins

Composition and Grammar:  30 mins

Spelling:  15 mins

Cursive: 15 mins

Literature:  60 mins

"Afternoon Subjects":  Classical studies, Christian studies, Science, Geography (90 minutes)

Breakdown of School for my rising 6th grader:

Latin & Grammar (60 mins)

Math (60 mins)

Composition (30-60 mins)

Spelling (15 mins)

Typing (15 mins)

Literature (60 mins)

Afternoon Subjects:  (90 mins)

Kindergartner:

Practice reading, practice writing letters, practice counting and writing numbers, learning the days of the week, etc. +  Reading aloud  (1 hour)

 

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How about something like Acellus?  It's $9.99/month for up to 6 classes, and might free up some time for you even if you just use it for non-skill classes.   I use it for History, Art, Spanish and Geography, and for additional math explanation for my 5th grader because their videos follow enVision 5th grade math EXACTLY.  

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Do they need you while reading for literature? Could they follow along in the book with an audio book? (Not familiar with dyslexia...)

I would think about cutting down to the bone. Cut Latin and Grammar and plan on Jr Analytical Grammar in middle school for a year and Analytical Grammar for a year in high school.

Cut back on math time but add in computer/phone-based drill. 

Can typing be independent? There are great typing programs out there that masquerade as games. 

Totally combine all "afternoon" subjects.

My understanding is that kids with ADHD need a ton of support to be successful with online classes, so I'm not sure they would solve your problem.

Emily

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It's really hard not being in your home to see, but it strikes me that your dd doing things half-hearted when you are not focused on her is a character issue and should be treated as such.  If she can't do the assignment without you, that is one thing, but if you are clear about what you and and she doesn't do it, that is a problem.  Have you tried consequences?  (And, honestly, the reason classroom teachers recommend meds for ADHD is b/c of some of the problems you are speaking about--not being able to work in the presence of others being one.)  If your "talks" aren't getting results (and they don't in my house), I would try upping the ante with consequences (no screen time being the very first).  I do see you mention consequences, but htey don't seem effective.  Have you considered meds?

You need to just keep plugging away making her re-do and miss screens and activities and big consequences for cheating.

For you K-er--We school roughly 6 weeks on 1 week off (more at Christmas and summers) so I can reset with my youngest.  It started when she was a toddler.  That week was catch up for those who had fallen behind or needed extra attention in one subject (motivation to get things done).  But my main focus was her.  I also relaxed my standards and let her watch some TV.  She also came on errands alone with me a lot. However, your situation is more hands on than mine and you may need to consider to school.

Teaching kids with special needs is not easy at all.  You sound frustrated and exhausted.  Do make sure you get some recharging time.

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First, hugs and more hugs and sending you virtual chocolate.

A few trouble shooting type thoughts.

Your DD sounds, more than anything, bored. I’d consider whether your current curricula and style are best suited to her interests, learning style and learning differences. I don’t have much experience with dyslexia, but I do have one who needs to be moving all the time. This is the child who tries to write 359 but gets distracted after writing the 3 because he’s invented a new font... a workbook heavy curriculum does not work for him. 

from your other posts, I think you are doing the memoria press full cores. I agree with other posters that you may want to cut down. Multum non multa. Whatever you can consolidate, consolidate and do together. Focus on reading/ lit/ phonics, writing and arithmetic.  I’d drop Latin or move both kids to GSWL which you do together all three of you. Do it over two years and go super slow.  Takes 5-10 minutes. Drop formal geography and MP’s workbook based science. Since they are close in age can they do the same literature? Curl up on the sofa with your two oldest and do lit as a family.  take turns reading a paragraph each.  Your kinder will likely  enjoy and get a lot out of the story too.  Then have them narrate or orally discuss the curriculum guide’s questions. My kid does handstands while he narrates.  Do the same for classical studies/ history— read the same books, together, and discuss together. For science, watch and discuss lots of National Geographic documentaries and BBC science documentaries. 

 

Perhaps the dyslexia makes taking turns reading untenable - I don’t know your specifics, just brainstorming suggestions.  

60 minutes seems long for math- perhaps it’s due to the dyslexia issues. can you do some of the math orally?

Animal lovers, don’t hate me, but do you really need the puppy? Perhaps the puppy is wonderful for your family but if it’s more of a hassle and you’re first-call for an ailing family member, I’d sooner just tell the kids they can have the puppy in a few years when things calm down. 

honestly I feel like you need a hug and a break more than you need my suggestions for optimization, so take everything I wrote with a large grain of sodium chloride. Being a caregiver is extremely, extremely difficult.  Even if you aren’t primary caregiver, first back-up is a huge responsibility and you should feel ok about recognizing that. If There is no viable alternative or help for either caregiving or schooling, go multum non multa and don’t feel bad about it. Caregivers have to take care of themselves too.

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2 hours ago, TheAttachedMama said:

Mamaraby, can you please tell me how I do this?  I swear this is an honest question.  I am not trying to be snarky.  I am honestly racking my brain trying to find ways that I can give everyone the attention that they need.   If I only had one or two children, I feel like I could do this.   But at this point, some work has to be done with my divided attention.   There aren't enough hours in the day to give each child 100% of my undivided attention.

You sound stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted - burnout is real. What I hear you saying is, “It’s not possible for me to do this.” What I hear your kids saying via the behavior you report it, “It’s not possible for me to do this.” Honestly? I think you have to consider that it might not be possible without loading that up with a bunch of gravity and wrapping it up in self-worth. If it’s not possible, then as a thought experiment, what would the next step be? You say the school system is bad, but homeschooling as it exists right now is bad too, yes? 

You mentioned you felt you could do it with two, but not three. What if you sent one off to school for a year?  Evaluate after the year is over. Some kids do better with teachers who aren’t also their parent. Some relationships between parents and kids are better when mom is just mom and not also mom/teacher. Homeschooling is great, but it isn’t for everybody, in every phase of life. Alternately, maybe the question becomes, if I were a teacher and I were in a school environment, what would they do in my situation? How can I try to rework our environment to take some of those accomodations into account? You’re talking about kids with learning challenges so the solutions are going to require something different than any of us with NT children would use.

Maybe you end the school year right here. Start summer early. What do you do over the summer with the kids? Do you go places? Can you shift into summer mode while you work on a plan for the next year? Or maybe you unschool and turn the kids loose. What would they be doing if left to their own devices and not battling you over school? Or you cut back entirely. You don’t need grammar every year. Good-bye grammar. Good-bye Latin. Typing and handwriting we’ll do once a week. Geography as a separate subject? Nope. Let’s learn about it together when we cover history or take an hour at the beginning of the day and read about it in super small chunks mixed in with other super small chunks of reading to check other boxes. Drop history or science for the rest of the year and just cover one.

Speaking personally, I can’t be everything to everyone. Some things I just plain don’t do because it’s outside of the limits of myself. I’ve had to be honest with myself and those around me about my limits. If you continue to homeschool, how can you address those limits? Are you an only child? Do you have siblings who can also help with mom? Can some school happen when dad is home so that you can divide and conquer? Mother’s helper?

And lastly, a puppy is like having a baby. What would you do if you had a baby? Do that until puppy is no longer a puppy. Then, start again.

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I have similar age kids and find it pretty hectic.  There's definitely no way I could fully separate them.

I would have cheating child work beside me even while I worked with someone else.  If you can't be trusted to work alone you have to work next to mum.  I would work pretty hard on dealing with the cheating and attitude issues over academics for a bit.  Even if academics slides slightly in the long run they will do better if they develop a work ethic.

when mine get too bad with the don't want to attitude we read books that feature kids that don't have the opportunity to be educated and the lengths they go to for an education.  I remind them that they are cheating themselves of the opportunity to learn and understand skills they need to live as an adult.  That they get one go at this education thing.

as a separate thing are you doing a little too much?  Mine are around the same age and most days are four hours with an occasional 5.  It's possible that the constant attempts to get out of work are a sign that they are feeling overloaded.  Most kids here have around a 5 hour school day at that age but at least some of that is PE and design and tech and fluffy subjects and assemblies etc not academics.  

 

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Ok I read your list and your 6th grader is doing 2.5- 3 hours of language based stuff.  I definitely think that's too much and would cut back.  We do 1 hour total of independent language work then we do a group morning time with everyone which has some language based stuff.  You can alternate spelling and composition and you could alternate Latin and grammar rather than doing them all every day.  For literature you could look for something that both the older kids can do together rather than separating them so it can all get done in one time block.

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(((Hugs))) I can totally relate to that helpless feeling when you can't see how to make any changes. 

When I look at your breakdown of their days, it seems like you are taking much longer for most subjects than maybe you need to. My 5th grader takes about 30-40 minutes for math, so that's what I'm comparing to - I can't imagine him being able to sustain his attention for an hour - even what he does now is pushing the limits a bit. 

Have you considered combing spelling, grammar and cursive all into one by doing studied dictation and copywork?  That would take about 10-15 minutes tops every day. 

A pp suggested GSWL - I totally second that idea. It takes a few minutes and you can combine everyone for it. 

Can you combine for literature? It may not be an ideal solution for long term, if you have specific books you'd like each of them to read, but for now maybe you could choose one to focus on together, just to give yourself a chance to breathe while you figure out your longer term solutions. 

You have so much on your plate. Give yourself permission to let go of some of the non-essentials for a time so you can have the space to think clearly and evaluate rightly. 

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It sounds like maybe the curriculum might be a mismatch for her as she is exhibiting boredom. I am wondering if she needs something more hands on, creative, open-ended perhaps. If you are using Memoria Press which is pretty workbook heavy and repetitive. Maybe she needs something for a season such as MBtP. Sometimes with ADHD there is a higher need for novelty. 

Another idea is to put together a mini elective...such as "child development" where she can learn about ways in which kids learn, different learning theories and then work directly with the kindergartener and taking part in the teaching piece. Even 1 day per week might be helpful. 

What are her passions? What is she most excited by? Talents?

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*hugs*

I offer these suggestions as a fellow MP-user, with a mildly dyslexic 10-year-old, exasperatingly distractable 8-yr-old, and rambunctious, attention-seeking 4-yr-old with speech delays:

If you go to the Latina Christiana teacher manual, and go to the back to the History Guide, (p.83), you will find:  "The Charlotte Mason approach of asking students to tell the story back to you would also be a very valuable exercise."  The context of this is how to handle Famous Men of Rome WITHOUT the guide.  So, even though on the MP forum NOW mention of CM methods are quelled from well-meaning users, there is actually proof that Cheryl Lowe herself valued narrating. 

So, my suggestion to you would be for Literature and classical history-- use the reading notes, people to know (practice pronunciation), and vocabulary as a warm-up(done orally and quickly).  Laugh over learning to pronounce those names!  Use that laughter as a time to be "mom" and build a warm memory.  Buddy-read (at whatever proportion doesn't frustrate you) and then train her to narrate, which is oral composition. Example: she reads a paragraph aloud and then tells you, without looking, what just happened.  Then you read a paragraph, or two, and she narrates again.  Maybe you go on to read a whole page, or two pages, stopping each little bit for her to tell that back to you.  Then it is her turn again.  It is very subjective how much, but the key in our home is that it can't take too much struggle on her part reading or I grow frustrated.  After all, I have two other children who need me, etc.  

Anything she doesn't mention in her narration is fair game from the comprehension questions.  For example, I might get a narration that doesn't mention the characters' names, just plot line.  I might hit that first question in the guides that asks for main characters' names.  I usually use the rest of my time with my daughters on the questions that draw inferences--the ones that I feel I can disciple them best through.  This would nullify her chance to cheat, and keep it quick for you to manage other children.

If you need the composition exercise, do as suggested on the MP forum and pick one or two to compose together, then leave her to copy it. OR 

We also have a cheap composition notebook going for written narrations.  There would be no chance of copying from a teacher manual this way.  Just a blank page.  

It might not keep you on the lesson schedule from the curriculum guide, because you will have to budget your time, but on Tuesdays when Classical Studies is scheduled, we just don't do Literature; the classical studies IS literature.  We either work ahead on Monday or catch up on Wednesday (theoretically) but it will keep you moving, keep her reading, thinking, and composing, and build your relationship.  (Christian Studies on Mondays isn't usually a very difficult subject because of our familiarity already).   

BTW-I know I have misused parentheses like crazy! Don't hold it against me! ;)

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I have a sneaky kid too. Maybe not to the extreme like yours, but it's maddening because I know she's capable of the work. We were just at convention and I saw Colleen Kessler speak about "Smart Underachievers" and basically her son was just like ours because he was bored and understimuled. I'm *not* saying that's the case here and that you need a huge curriculum overhaul or something drastic like that. Honestly, with mine, I think it's both a character issue and a self image issue (I want to be perfect but I can't be perfect so I just won't do it well and then when/if I fail I"ll know it was because I didn't try, not because I wasn't good enough to start with).

Listening to this talk made me think that I might be able to head off some of the more major problems with my sneaky/lazy one by feeding her passions a bit more so that she feels both competent and content to do the more ho hum stuff.

 

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 I've never had to school multiple kids at home, so feel free to ignore my thoughts, but I do work full time and have one at school at home. My DS15 has ADHD and reading issues (diagnosed as LD but not dyslexia specifically). He is noe in the 10th grade and still does not work independently for most of his subjects. If I don't watch him closely he will say he did his work, but have no real understanding of what was in the lesson which means that we have to do it all over again. The only thing that helps motivate him is when he can go to a friend's house and/or have one weekend day off school. Then he will sometimes get his work done more quickly.

You can't do everything for everyone. I work form 8am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday, then we do school together. It is not unusual for us to be working until 10:00pm with short meal breaks. We also work at least 6-8 hours or more on weekends. My house is a mess. I try to keep the kitchen relatively clean, but that is it. The kids clean their own bathroom, and I don't even look in it unless a guest is expected. I cook several meals on the weekend and we eat leftovers during the week. Unless it is freezing cold, the front door stays open so the dog can let herself in and out at will (she can open the screen door on her own. I don't spend much time with my husband right now. We visit for a few minutes here and there during the day. In the evenings when DS and I are doing school work, DH is off doing his own thing. 

All this to say that you are going to have to cut out something. You could reduce the kids' work load, Chang curriculum, send the kinder to school, send the older to school, hire a housekeeper to watch the dog, clean and cook, and/or have your DH help with school in the evening. Not saying that you need to all of these things, but there is no humanly way to do everything on your own (or if there is, please share with me)

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Looking at their schedule, that's where I'd start. Rather than do a lot of subjects poorly, cut back to the very basics and work on getting those done well. So for this older kids just math, spelling, handwriting only if they really need the review, and some kind of writing. Then there is reading......I'd have them take turns reading aloud from the same book, the older two. That way if they are reading aloud you KNOW they are reading, can't fake that! Plus, you can ask discussion questions and maybe they will compete to answer them, so actual pay attention?

As for "at elbow" I'd start older on say, math, in the kitchen. I'd spend 15 minutes teaching the lesson, then leave him/her to do the work, telling him I'l be back in 15 minutes and if he has any problems he can't figure out to skip those and I'll help when I come back. I'd walk into the living room or dining room or whatever and start next oldest on his math. Spend 15 minutes teaching the lesson. Then walk back and forth between the rooms, supervising and answering questions. When they are done, and it is all correct, they get a short break. Maybe they will stay on task if they know their sibling will be available to play with them when they are done? Then when they have their break you work with kindergartner on either school or just hanging out doing chores together or whatever. If the competition will be demotivating, the don't do that part, but it might help? Assuming this is more character issue than learning issue. (faking doing work, etc)

Another thought, what if you started grading his work? So work done poorly would get an actual grade, and grades would be reported to Dad? Just a thought. 

But mostly, I'd cut WAY back to the basics of Reading, Writing, and Math and then watch documentaries together as a family after dinner to touch on science and social studies. 

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I have a rising kindergartner, a rising 2nd grader and a 5th grader. The 5th grader has ADD + mild ODD and the rising 2nd grader has ADHD.

A thought to help with the kindergartner getting the attention he is seeking is to do his school work for 5-10 minutes between subjects of the older ones. If he finishes he work quickly still take the 5 minutes to hug and talk about what he did for the last 45 minutes and what he is going to do next.

If Math takes an hour every day perhaps you could do several placement tests from different curriculum to see if it maybe there is one little concept that she just doesn't understand. My 5th grader doesn't want to tell me he doesn't understand so he will do everything under the sun to "get" the right answer without admitting he doesn't understand. The need to feel smart trumps all. Add that to the ADD + ODD I have to word things very carefully.

Also I honestly feel that an hour of composition everyday isn't necessary. If you must do some form of composition everyday you could try just 10-15 minutes of free writing. It would free up 45 minutes for each kid. If that seems too much start with 5 minutes and work your way up a minute at a time until you get where you want to be.

Take a minute and really think of what would happen if you put an ADHD + dyslexic kid in public school. With a learning disability would it really matter to the school if they actually learned anything.

Most importantly how much you care about your kids and their education is abundantly clear from your message. Take heart mama and know there are others who stand with you.

 

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