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Mom28kds

What curriculum has worked with a child with EF issues

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Long title I know. I've been HSing for many years but the last 2 I've had one of mine in public school. She will be in 8th grade next year. We've finally figured out that she has inattentive ADHD with definite EF issues. I've never heard about EF until now. I've seen the problems for years just didn't know what it was or what to do about it. I'll be HSing 3 next year including her. Are there any curriculums that I should look at that might work better for kids who struggle with EF? She has problems with memory, time, organization etc. If I give her more than 1 thing to do it totally stresses her as well as when I try have her change something or need to correct her. I want things that are simple but grade appropriate. Too much or too difficult would send us both over the edge. I am planning on HSing through high school. I did read the sticky on EF but I'm hoping for possible curriculum ideas. Thank you!

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Hi there,

I haven't read the sticky on EF (saw it and skimmed some but haven't read it through carefully) so hope this is helpful.

My first impression is that you'll want to seek out curricula that have things like checklists to help your DD make sure she has completed all the portions of an assignment. Off the top of my head, I know IEW uses checklists with their writing program, which I use with my ASD son with great success. (He's only a 4th grader, though, so I can't speak to how it works for older kids but I have been really impressed by how incremental it is.) I also know Pandia Press' History Odyssey program uses checklists, but that program also includes a lot of reading. I used that with my older kid, who is neurotypical, and she didn't particularly like it. (Too much reading, according to her.) Sorry, I don't know about other programs/disciplines beyond these two.

To help organize my older kiddo, I use breakfast to go over what she has to do & what she has to accomplish that day. Right now, it's all verbal, which I suspect won't work for your DD, but I have a friend who uses Google Keep (I think that's the one where you can create check lists?) with her kiddos with great success. Basically, her kiddos go through their various classes (some are outsourced, some are with mom) and they read through what's due, what's coming up, etc. Then they input into their Google Keep what they plan to do for the day & use it as a checklist to stay on-task. I plan to use her system with DD next year. But this might be a helpful tool to keep track of assignments. I suppose the key is to build in time every day to check it. 🙂 I use breakfast time to go over the day with my DD and then check in with her at each meal to see what she has accomplished.

Re: time management, use a timer. I use a timer for myself when I work with my ASD son. If I don't, I have found I can spend waaaaay too long on a particular subject (ahem, math) and sap his energy for the day. So, I set a timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off, I finish whatever problem we're on and then give him a 2-to-5 minute break and move to the next lesson.

Hope this helps!

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DS used a 360 Academic Planner and timers.  We used regular curriculum and accommodated, worked with a CBT for about 15 months, and took Sklar’s EF class.  At the uni, DS currently keeps up with classes electronically.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00889AVDG/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

eshop-download-pdf?product_id=2

Edited by Heathermomster
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21 minutes ago, 2Peanuts said:

Hi there,

I haven't read the sticky on EF (saw it and skimmed some but haven't read it through carefully) so hope this is helpful.

My first impression is that you'll want to seek out curricula that have things like checklists to help your DD make sure she has completed all the portions of an assignment. Off the top of my head, I know IEW uses checklists with their writing program, which I use with my ASD son with great success. (He's only a 4th grader, though, so I can't speak to how it works for older kids but I have been really impressed by how incremental it is.) I also know Pandia Press' History Odyssey program uses checklists, but that program also includes a lot of reading. I used that with my older kid, who is neurotypical, and she didn't particularly like it. (Too much reading, according to her.) Sorry, I don't know about other programs/disciplines beyond these two.

To help organize my older kiddo, I use breakfast to go over what she has to do & what she has to accomplish that day. Right now, it's all verbal, which I suspect won't work for your DD, but I have a friend who uses Google Keep (I think that's the one where you can create check lists?) with her kiddos with great success. Basically, her kiddos go through their various classes (some are outsourced, some are with mom) and they read through what's due, what's coming up, etc. Then they input into their Google Keep what they plan to do for the day & use it as a checklist to stay on-task. I plan to use her system with DD next year. But this might be a helpful tool to keep track of assignments. I suppose the key is to build in time every day to check it. 🙂 I use breakfast time to go over the day with my DD and then check in with her at each meal to see what she has accomplished.

Re: time management, use a timer. I use a timer for myself when I work with my ASD son. If I don't, I have found I can spend waaaaay too long on a particular subject (ahem, math) and sap his energy for the day. So, I set a timer for 30 minutes and when it goes off, I finish whatever problem we're on and then give him a 2-to-5 minute break and move to the next lesson.

Hope this helps!

Thank you!! Now I need to get myself organized. I'm so overwhelmed. Thank you for the checklist idea. I'll look into it. I plan to get a timer for sure.

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Like the others, I'm going to say the issue is how you STRUCTURE the curriculum, not what particular curriculum it is. So think HIGH STRUCTURE. Daily checklists, checkpoints and times when you check in with her during the day, everything very clear.

My dd is significantly ADHD and we didn't do meds until middle high school. She wishes in hindsight she had had them a couple years earlier and my two cents would be to begin now. Begin now so that you start on a fresh foot, in a totally new way. Like don't begin without them, get frustrated, have bad blood, and then start, kwim? Give her the tools NOW for an awesome year NOW. And if you're like no way jose, try a 4 hour med. Or try caffeine. But just try a 4 hour med then and see if it changes her life. See if SHE likes her ability to function. It's also good to work out those kinks now (dosing, etc.) rather than doing that in high school. It can be done, but I'm just saying I would start now. My dd was lucky and literally liked the first med, first dose. That's unheard of. She has talked with people who took a whole year to sort it out and find a set-up they liked. So starting now makes sense.

If you're working on STRUCTURE, then don't increase the demands on everything! This is her first year back, so maybe have one thing challenging and everything else idiotically smooth and obvious so she has the pleasure of a good year that just works.

She needs to begin doing some daily mindfulness to work on that anxiety. It will improve her EF by 30% (not replacing meds, just making her feel better) and may improve her self-awareness and self-regulation. Given what you're describing (and sort of hinting at around the corners that reminds me of things with my dd) I'm just going to say that working on that is a good thing. Don't be afraid to go to the Social Thinking site and get some books that seem appropriate to her. Our library had TONS of books from the ST list for teens. Improving self-awareness will improve her ability to self-monitor, self-advocate, and make better choices.

I really like the 360 Thinking seminars. Heathermomster has another ($$$) she recommends. Point is the dc will benefit from strategies. You're in Ohio. There is a KICK BUTT, really really amazing educational therapy practice in Columbus that has scads of educational therapists, works by phone. You could have her start doing this. My dd finally got this service in college, but now going into high would be great! Like 30 minutes a week emphasizing problem solving, responsibility, self-monitoring and realizing whether you're on the plan, etc. 

One of the best things I did with dd (besides meds and a thorough education and, I don't know, maybe teaching her to cook, lol) was teaching her to self-advocate. I SHOWED her the accommodations list from the psych and I said: 1) you only disclose your diagnosis when you want to, on a need to know, and 2) you OWN it. It is not unfair to use accommodations and it lets the bright child who is inside come out. My dd has very low processing speed relative to IQ, so one of her most basic accommodations has been receiving discussion questions ahead of time. Now in college she prescreens classes and professors because it's a huge issue. When she was your dd's age (7th grade) I put her in her first online class and I said these are your accommodations, we're going to send them to the teacher, you're going to get them. It kinda blew her mind, but she had SO MUCH FUN in that class, because she could actually participate with the accommodations, that she has never backed off that or been bashful about that. In some circles disabilities are embarrassing or called sin or considered something you should just try harder about, so it's really important to combat that with the FACTS of brain structure, wiring, processing speed, that this is fair and right, that it's ok to let what she is shine.

Can she type proficiently? This is the age to be filling in functional gaps like that. My dd struggled both with handwriting and typing, which was just the nightmare scenario where neither were really functional. We did metronome work (which Heathermomster told us about, love love) for free using our own hack approach at home, and it bumped her functionality enough to be able to get her thoughts out.

You're not going to win at everything. I would encourage you to under-dream. There are a lot of voices that say xyz is "not good enough" and you need to SHUT THEM OUT and move on. Unless this dc has some significant goals, probably anything you look at will be "good enough." One "not" good enough option (per the crowd) we finally went to was MUS. My dd's ACT scores were top notch and I should have switched over sooner. I'm not saying it's brilliant math. I went to a school for the gifted and did plenty of math in high school and college. I can be prissy with anybody, but my REALITY was that I had a kid with autism and apraxia who needed significant attention and a kid who needed to work independently. MUS was good enough (not great, not amazing, but honestly good enough for an average person kind of scenario) and it could be done independently. It taught her some really solid skills for self-monitoring comprehension. She learned how to sit down with a textbook and video and go ok, I didn't understand this, I'm going to re-wind. That was REALLY VALUABLE. That was actually MORE VALUABLE than the math itself. You probably have a nemesis or things you don't have time for, and if math is it look at MUS.

I think it's ok to do delight-driven anything she's intensely interested in and create very loose accountability/structure. So my dd was into costuming and history. I did not need to make massive programs and syllabi for that, kwim? I just had her log hours or tick chapters. She sat there working rabbit trails. I also had her do things that just made her THINK. I compelled her to subscribe to multiple (3?) online new services so she could just flat learn the news and be educated. Then I said once a week rabbit trail something from those daily news briefings. She enjoyed that, and that gave us a subtle dip into geography. 

I used a lot of anthologies, with essay collections for science and nature writing, food writing, all sorts of things. They're cheap and packed with terrific stuff. She'd read 2 essays at a pop of science to count toward her science hours. Might kinda be why her science ACT score was tops, lol. The advisor who did her career testing was like you're going science, right? Hahaha, no way. For her, with her narrative, connected way of thinking, I wanted to put the science information into contexts. That's what fit her. Do what fits her. The book Dyslexic Advantage was an eye-opener for me and made me realize why things worked for her. Even though it says dyslexia, check it out, see what you think. It will be at your library.

We used the WWS sequence for writing, doing WWS1 in 8th and WWS2 in 9th iirc. Honestly I'm going to forget soon. I'm not saying it's like this ooh wow joyful amazing experience. I had to attack it with highlighters every week and turn it into something she could work with. I was able to make it completely independent and it was high structure. It was also insanely dry and torturous. But again, she is kicking butt with her writing I think. We just do the best we can. If you like something else, do something else. It's ok not to do things as well as you'd like because you're constrained by so many things that also need to get done.

Abeka grammar is good enough and includes writing. We fiddled with other things, but it's straightforward, idiotproof, easy to schedule and put on a checklist. Just trim it down and don't do it ALL mercy. Like do 3 in the section and STOP.

We used the K12 History Odyssey sequence of texts and dd liked them. They come with nothing else, but I hate history and don't really teach it anyway. Oh well.

I outsourced spanish, which had a lot of plusses (it gets done, competition, herd effect, structure) and disadvantages (aggravated dd's severely poor word retrieval). She's really not practical for speaking a foreign language and is doing everything she can to avoid it in college too. I think fit the reality of your dc. If all they need is credits, get credits and don't turn this into a statement on what an awesome homeschooler you are. YOU ARE AWESOME IF YOU FINISH THE RACE. Just finishing is good enough. You don't have to compare to someone else or do everything well or the best. I tried really hard and I did NOT get done everything I aspired to. I would have saved money had I tried less hard. Don't set your expectations unrealistically high is what i'm saying. Realistic will be good enough and even great, honest.

 

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This is not so much 8th (which I think should just be crazy and whimsical and ANYTHING YOU WANT) but more for 9th. Starting in 9th I made my dd response forms, and we used them extensively for almost anything where I wanted to create structure. So all those essay books had response logs. Lit anthologies, response logs. Science essays, response logs. She thought it was crazy, then she got to college and realized they were asking for response essays, lol.  So even a simple thing, done over and over, can be really valuable. I would roll with what you think has meaning for her and gets her to think and interact with the material.

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41 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

Like the others, I'm going to say the issue is how you STRUCTURE the curriculum, not what particular curriculum it is. So think HIGH STRUCTURE. Daily checklists, checkpoints and times when you check in with her during the day, everything very clear.

My dd is significantly ADHD and we didn't do meds until middle high school. She wishes in hindsight she had had them a couple years earlier and my two cents would be to begin now. Begin now so that you start on a fresh foot, in a totally new way. Like don't begin without them, get frustrated, have bad blood, and then start, kwim? Give her the tools NOW for an awesome year NOW. And if you're like no way jose, try a 4 hour med. Or try caffeine. But just try a 4 hour med then and see if it changes her life. See if SHE likes her ability to function. It's also good to work out those kinks now (dosing, etc.) rather than doing that in high school. It can be done, but I'm just saying I would start now. My dd was lucky and literally liked the first med, first dose. That's unheard of. She has talked with people who took a whole year to sort it out and find a set-up they liked. So starting now makes sense.

If you're working on STRUCTURE, then don't increase the demands on everything! This is her first year back, so maybe have one thing challenging and everything else idiotically smooth and obvious so she has the pleasure of a good year that just works.

She needs to begin doing some daily mindfulness to work on that anxiety. It will improve her EF by 30% (not replacing meds, just making her feel better) and may improve her self-awareness and self-regulation. Given what you're describing (and sort of hinting at around the corners that reminds me of things with my dd) I'm just going to say that working on that is a good thing. Don't be afraid to go to the Social Thinking site and get some books that seem appropriate to her. Our library had TONS of books from the ST list for teens. Improving self-awareness will improve her ability to self-monitor, self-advocate, and make better choices.

I really like the 360 Thinking seminars. Heathermomster has another ($$$) she recommends. Point is the dc will benefit from strategies. You're in Ohio. There is a KICK BUTT, really really amazing educational therapy practice in Columbus that has scads of educational therapists, works by phone. You could have her start doing this. My dd finally got this service in college, but now going into high would be great! Like 30 minutes a week emphasizing problem solving, responsibility, self-monitoring and realizing whether you're on the plan, etc. 

One of the best things I did with dd (besides meds and a thorough education and, I don't know, maybe teaching her to cook, lol) was teaching her to self-advocate. I SHOWED her the accommodations list from the psych and I said: 1) you only disclose your diagnosis when you want to, on a need to know, and 2) you OWN it. It is not unfair to use accommodations and it lets the bright child who is inside come out. My dd has very low processing speed relative to IQ, so one of her most basic accommodations has been receiving discussion questions ahead of time. Now in college she prescreens classes and professors because it's a huge issue. When she was your dd's age (7th grade) I put her in her first online class and I said these are your accommodations, we're going to send them to the teacher, you're going to get them. It kinda blew her mind, but she had SO MUCH FUN in that class, because she could actually participate with the accommodations, that she has never backed off that or been bashful about that. In some circles disabilities are embarrassing or called sin or considered something you should just try harder about, so it's really important to combat that with the FACTS of brain structure, wiring, processing speed, that this is fair and right, that it's ok to let what she is shine.

Can she type proficiently? This is the age to be filling in functional gaps like that. My dd struggled both with handwriting and typing, which was just the nightmare scenario where neither were really functional. We did metronome work (which Heathermomster told us about, love love) for free using our own hack approach at home, and it bumped her functionality enough to be able to get her thoughts out.

You're not going to win at everything. I would encourage you to under-dream. There are a lot of voices that say xyz is "not good enough" and you need to SHUT THEM OUT and move on. Unless this dc has some significant goals, probably anything you look at will be "good enough." One "not" good enough option (per the crowd) we finally went to was MUS. My dd's ACT scores were top notch and I should have switched over sooner. I'm not saying it's brilliant math. I went to a school for the gifted and did plenty of math in high school and college. I can be prissy with anybody, but my REALITY was that I had a kid with autism and apraxia who needed significant attention and a kid who needed to work independently. MUS was good enough (not great, not amazing, but honestly good enough for an average person kind of scenario) and it could be done independently. It taught her some really solid skills for self-monitoring comprehension. She learned how to sit down with a textbook and video and go ok, I didn't understand this, I'm going to re-wind. That was REALLY VALUABLE. That was actually MORE VALUABLE than the math itself. You probably have a nemesis or things you don't have time for, and if math is it look at MUS.

I think it's ok to do delight-driven anything she's intensely interested in and create very loose accountability/structure. So my dd was into costuming and history. I did not need to make massive programs and syllabi for that, kwim? I just had her log hours or tick chapters. She sat there working rabbit trails. I also had her do things that just made her THINK. I compelled her to subscribe to multiple (3?) online new services so she could just flat learn the news and be educated. Then I said once a week rabbit trail something from those daily news briefings. She enjoyed that, and that gave us a subtle dip into geography. 

I used a lot of anthologies, with essay collections for science and nature writing, food writing, all sorts of things. They're cheap and packed with terrific stuff. She'd read 2 essays at a pop of science to count toward her science hours. Might kinda be why her science ACT score was tops, lol. The advisor who did her career testing was like you're going science, right? Hahaha, no way. For her, with her narrative, connected way of thinking, I wanted to put the science information into contexts. That's what fit her. Do what fits her. The book Dyslexic Advantage was an eye-opener for me and made me realize why things worked for her. Even though it says dyslexia, check it out, see what you think. It will be at your library.

We used the WWS sequence for writing, doing WWS1 in 8th and WWS2 in 9th iirc. Honestly I'm going to forget soon. I'm not saying it's like this ooh wow joyful amazing experience. I had to attack it with highlighters every week and turn it into something she could work with. I was able to make it completely independent and it was high structure. It was also insanely dry and torturous. But again, she is kicking butt with her writing I think. We just do the best we can. If you like something else, do something else. It's ok not to do things as well as you'd like because you're constrained by so many things that also need to get done.

Abeka grammar is good enough and includes writing. We fiddled with other things, but it's straightforward, idiotproof, easy to schedule and put on a checklist. Just trim it down and don't do it ALL mercy. Like do 3 in the section and STOP.

We used the K12 History Odyssey sequence of texts and dd liked them. They come with nothing else, but I hate history and don't really teach it anyway. Oh well.

I outsourced spanish, which had a lot of plusses (it gets done, competition, herd effect, structure) and disadvantages (aggravated dd's severely poor word retrieval). She's really not practical for speaking a foreign language and is doing everything she can to avoid it in college too. I think fit the reality of your dc. If all they need is credits, get credits and don't turn this into a statement on what an awesome homeschooler you are. YOU ARE AWESOME IF YOU FINISH THE RACE. Just finishing is good enough. You don't have to compare to someone else or do everything well or the best. I tried really hard and I did NOT get done everything I aspired to. I would have saved money had I tried less hard. Don't set your expectations unrealistically high is what i'm saying. Realistic will be good enough and even great, honest.

 

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out. This will definitely be a resource for me. Thank you for letting me know it's ok to not do it all. I'm concerned about that and my ability to teach her what she needs. I don't want to fail her. I will check out the things you shared. Thank you very much!

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3 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

This is not so much 8th (which I think should just be crazy and whimsical and ANYTHING YOU WANT) but more for 9th. Starting in 9th I made my dd response forms, and we used them extensively for almost anything where I wanted to create structure. So all those essay books had response logs. Lit anthologies, response logs. Science essays, response logs. She thought it was crazy, then she got to college and realized they were asking for response essays, lol.  So even a simple thing, done over and over, can be really valuable. I would roll with what you think has meaning for her and gets her to think and interact with the material.

What is a response log?

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I have three kiddos with EF deficits, though they are all still pretty young.

The only thing I keep in mind when choosing curricula, is to only stretch the kiddos in one or two areas at a time.  For example, I knew I wanted to work intensively on writing with my older two this year, so I deliberately chose to keep history and Spanish and most other subjects a bit lighter. 

OTOH, I put a huge amount of thought into how to structure materials in order to help them succeed.  For my kids, it is all about developing routines and breaking curricula into concrete, manageable, predictable, easily verifiable pieces. 

Some structures that have worked for us:
- Do the same thing every day.  For us this is math.  I mark stopping spots right in the book, and the kiddos work on math immediately after lunch each day.  They work until they get to the stop sign and then bring the book to me for checking.

- Work through repeating units.  We use this approach for any curriculum that has consistently structured units.  For example, my son worked through Caesar's English on a five day repeating cycle: Day 1:  Write Notes, Take Quiz, Day 2:  Work through Analogies Section, Day 3:  Spanish Section, Word Search, Day 4:  Grammar, Add New Words to Anki, Day 5:  Finish Chapter.  He only worked on it three days a week, so for each schedule work time he just completed the next assigned day.  Throughout the cycle there are designated times that he has to come check in with me and tell me about what he has learned.

- Follow Mom-created schedule.  This is what we did with science this past year.  My 7 and 9 year olds could gets started on the lessons pretty independently because I created a document showing exactly what they were to do each day (though I never tied it to a particular date, it was always just do the next day's work).  So one day it might have a link to the chapter (pdf) for them to read, and then they would record an oral narration about the chapter.  The next day might have a link to a YouTube video for them to watch, a place for them to each type one sentence about what they learned in the video, and then instructions for them to read through the next science experiment in their booklet and to gather the supplies.  The next day they would carry out the experiment and then present it as a demonstration to me and their two younger siblings.  

Along the way I have accepted that supporting their EF weaknesses, requires huge EF efforts on my part.

Wendy

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1 minute ago, Mom28kds said:

What is a response log?

I just made something. Sometimes I just bought a cute journal and put on the checklist to write a response. That was the assignment I had for a semester in high school, literally that vague. That's part of the point, that they're thinking through what WOULD be important in a response, so I wanted to let her grapple with that. I expanded saying it meant to let her reflect, make connections, show what it made her think of, ask questions.

For lit one term I used an anthology and I created some forms, just basics like source/author/date and blah blah, I don't remember. It was maybe 1/4 page. But for the Nancy Pearcy books I gave her blank journals. It was different for each thing, just whatever made sense to me.

Dd is a huge humanities person. If your dd is different, do something different. My point is more to develop and nurture these strengths they have, rather than spending 4-5 years combatting and making them into someone else you think they temporarily need to be. Find some strengths you want to nurture, some things she does WELL that you want her to do more of.

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8 minutes ago, Mom28kds said:

I don't want to fail her.

I know, that's why I wrote all that. It's the normal thing you'll feel going into high school. And if you look around and listen to people's stories, you'll find that kids succeed IN SPITE of us. She's probably going to do well because of the basics you're going to give her (character, work habits, making her bed, diligence). She's going to have some strengths you're going to find and nurture. She's going to blossom. And there will be some things you don't do well, and she'll succeed in spite of them.

Lots of people live just fine lives without Ivy League educations or perfect educations. Don't neglect her, but do what you can and it will probably be ok. Honest. Especially if you can get HER engaged and owning it. When you say you want to help her, what does she want to accomplish, what doors would she like open, then it's a really different relationship from just dragging someone through, kwim? You'll get there. :smile:

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9 minutes ago, wendyroo said:

Along the way I have accepted that supporting their EF weaknesses, requires huge EF efforts on my part.

Yup. I spent 1-2 hours a week, usually on the weekends, just making the checklists and organization for the next week for my dd. This was through most of high school. 

The biggest oops was not having enough check-ins. Don't ask how I know. 1600 Pinterest pins later, apparently the child had learned a lot about the history of ballet tutus...

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