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1GirlTwinBoys

Need cheap or free curriculum ideas for 9 year old.

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This is for someone else that is interested in homeschooling her 9 year old son.  He is very mild on the autism spectrum and somewhat behind on writing skills etc.. He will be home alone some and online programs will work well for him as he loves technology.

I wanted to give her some ideas of super cheap curriculum.  She is a working mom over 50 hours per week and on a fixed income.

Thanks for any input or suggestions you might offer. 

ETA: He loves his iPad and Youtube!

 

Edited by 1GirlTwinBoys

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Gently, with the child having special needs (being on the autism spectrum and "behind"), and the parent working more than full-time (50+ hours/week), and the family having limited funds (fixed income), I am very doubtful that homeschooling is the best fit for this situation. Special needs children usually require much MORE time for teaching than the average child; they need more supervision for longer, until they are older (rather than being able to stay home alone at age 9); and they often require specialized (expensive!) materials to help remediate their specific learning issues. 

JMO, but unless there will be a spouse, grandparent, aunt/uncle, or some other involved and caring adult at home full-time to oversee both the boy's schoolwork and everyday "living", perhaps she could instead look in to what special helps the public school system has to offer?

Edited by Lori D.
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She has but thought he may enjoy homeschooling and learn more.  The PS just are not good in the city she lives in.  He is made fun of and just hates being at PS so much.  

There will be a babysitter that's watching the two younger girls a couple days, but I don't know how much attention she will be able to give him with school.  It's a difficult situation for sure.

Edited by 1GirlTwinBoys

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I am quite shocked that someone would think of trying to get a 9 year old special needs child who is struggling in some areas to teach themselves alone with nobody to teach or even do supervising.

 9 year olds cannot really work independently without some guidance

 A child that is "somewhat behind" needs even more help. A child with special needs needs intensive help.

 I say this not only as a mother of many special needs children whom I have home schooled but also as a primary school teacher who has worked with many 9 year olds

 

 

 

is it even legal to leave a 9 year old home alone

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31 minutes ago, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

She has but thought he may enjoy homeschooling and learn more.  The PS just are not good in the city she lives in.  He is made fun of and just hates being at PS so much.  

There will be a babysitter that's watching the two younger girls a couple days, but I don't know how much attention she will be able to give him with school.  It's a difficult situation for sure.

Many private schools will work with the parents in situations like this.  Some may offer full scholarships.  She should exhaust those options before attempting the homeschool situation described. 

 

Afterthought:  :  even a different public school might work, especially if he was able to repeat a grade at the same time he switched schools.

Edited by Syllieann
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1 hour ago, Melissa in Australia said:

 

I am quite shocked that someone would think of trying to get a 9 year old special needs child who is struggling in some areas to teach themselves alone with nobody to teach or even do supervising.

 9 year olds cannot really work independently without some guidance

 A child that is "somewhat behind" needs even more help. A child with special needs needs intensive help.

 I say this not only as a mother of many special needs children whom I have home schooled but also as a primary school teacher who has worked with many 9 year olds

 

 

 

is it even legal to leave a 9 year old home alone

Yes, it is legal to leave a 9 year old home alone.  Also, I was not asking for opinions on if you think this is alright to do.  

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I wasn't telling you if it was all right.

 I was giving you some first hand experience of teaching children. not telling you what to do but rather giving you information form an angle you mightn't have thought of to share with your friend. That is the whole point of asking for advice on a public forum. not to just hear what you want to hear but get different experience to make better informed choices. 🤨

 sorry you got your nose out of joint. I didnt mean to cause offense

 

 by the way here you are not allowed to leave a child home alone until they are 12. that was the reason I was so shocked at the idea

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16 hours ago, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

She has but thought he may enjoy homeschooling and learn more.  The PS just are not good in the city she lives in.  He is made fun of and just hates being at PS so much.  

There will be a babysitter that's watching the two younger girls a couple days, but I don't know how much attention she will be able to give him with school.  It's a difficult situation for sure.


Ouch, that is a hard situation. And SO sad about him being mistreated at school. 😞 

For the mild autism spectrum:
Does he have struggles with social cues and understanding how to interact with others? A friend of mine with a DS who was high functioning, but struggled with social cues was able to find a free program (it was a community-based program, not through the school system) where her son would go 1-2 times a week for several hours to help him learn how to interact with others and develop social awareness. Perhaps there is something like that for your friend to take advantage of? And being on a fixed income might open doors to other special helps that would be free for her.

For the homeschooling:
To make this a possibility, could you and/or other homeschoolers be able to rally around and commit to take the boy for several hours a few times a week, to help oversee schoolwork and give him some positive peer interactions? Or a "retired" homeschool mom who could volunteer to come and help a few times a week? That way there would be direct help/instruction for learning, and no leaving the child alone during the day.

Or would an extended family member or family friend be able to come in and help with DS's schooling? Or would DS's LDs make him eligible for home tutoring assistance through doing a public school charter (so, the school's materials done at home, with some assistance provided by the school)?

I do strongly recommend getting thorough testing so the mom can understand exactly what the needs are, and from there, that would best help her learn what materials (or therapies) would best help her son catch up, or move forward with his schooling.

From my own experience with a son with mild LDs, but no autism, it took me SOOOO much time to get his LDSs figured out, and then to research, research, research, to figure out what materials and ways of teaching might best help him catch up. Everything having to do with his weak/behind areas (math, reading, spelling, and writing) took so much extra time to teach, and it all had to be done with me at his elbow, up into high school. There was very little he could successfully do independently, and he would have been completely unable to complete any work on his own if left alone at home for several hours. Of course, your friend's DS and his LDs and temperament are different from my DS's -- just providing the perspective of personal experience with LDs, in case it helps.

For being behind/made fun of at school:
Can these issues be addressed with the public school and the situations improved by mom heavily advocating for DS? Some schools are beginning to implement zero-tolerance policies towards bullying, or are working on teaching positive/encouragement skills to students -- could the mom push for the school to get on board and get some of these programs going? Are there other schools that could be a better option? Is there the possibility of a parochial or private school, or a charter or hybrid school, that can "scholarship" a family with high needs -- both financial and the DS's LDs? 

Again, getting testing would help with finding resources within the school system or community to help DS. Also, Susan Wise-Bauer's most recent book, Rethinking School, has some helpful ideas for how to advocate for a child with special needs who is in a public/private/charter school.

For the fixed income:
Might it work better to remedy the overall situation by coming at it from the money side? Is it possible for the mom to advance at work, or find a better job with better pay and fewer hours, or get the needed training/education to move to a better job, or something that would allow her to work from home? From there, it might be more feasible to have the time and resources that homeschooling a child with special needs would require. Or have more financial means to move DS into a better school situation.

BEST of luck to your friend in finding the best way to help address her DS's special needs. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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I used a lot of free and cheap stuff when my kids were young, but it was mostly teacher intensive. I am not sure I have many ideas for this specific situation. Most of the free online stuff I know of is mostly supplemental. Sadly, I am just not feeling like this situation is going to work for your friend. 

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7 hours ago, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

Yes, it is legal to leave a 9 year old home alone.  Also, I was not asking for opinions on if you think this is alright to do.  


You may not have asked, but that's the elephant in the room.  I don't care if it's legal or not, leaving an elementary school child home alone to teach themselves is neglect.  This is not a good situation.  This is once that I would call CPS on and have them check on the child's welfare.

So no, you didn't ask.  But your well meaning attempt at helping your friend may do long term damage to her son.  So I'm not going to help you do that here.

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I do agree with the majority consensus that *most any* kid that age should not be left to essentially school themselves.  I have had one of mine who was very self-motivated around that age, but that child still needed an adult to introduce new concepts, talk things over with, check work for mistakes, etc.  A child with special needs is going to require MORE of this kind of scaffolding, not less.  Daily interaction with a vested adult will be needed. 

 

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You mentioned a babysitter.....will that person be there the vast majority of the time the child will be doing school.....just not capable of actually DOING the school?  If so, then perhaps the mom might want to consider one of the online public like K-12 or similar.  That way there are people there to teach him, he's got a class of sorts to attend, but he's not being subjected to the bullying and stuff.  Then, when mom gets home, she could still help him with "homework" just like she would have if he had been in public school.  And the babysitter can still be someone who says "hey kiddo, time to log on, if you need help getting the computer going let me know, but it's time for school now."

If there's no babysitter there, yeah I agree with others that having a 9yr old home alone and expecting him to teach himself, even without special needs, it's not really going to work.  

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Honestly, I think the mother needs to reconsider her priorities. I understand that it can be difficult to manage things as a single parent, but I think she’ll have herself in a legal situation fast if she tries to leave a 9 yo special needs child at home by himself and technically teaching himself.   Maybe it isn’t illegal there, but I’m guessing neighbors or concerned friends and family would be quick to contact child services. If the mother really wants him to be homeschooled, she’ll need to consider changes in her lifestyle, including her work schedule. If she’s dedicated to her child, I’m sure she can figure out a solution that will serve him well.  

Curriculum recommendations aren’t going to help a situation like this. 

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7 hours ago, HomeAgain said:


You may not have asked, but that's the elephant in the room.  I don't care if it's legal or not, leaving an elementary school child home alone to teach themselves is neglect.  This is not a good situation.  This is once that I would call CPS on and have them check on the child's welfare.

So no, you didn't ask.  But your well meaning attempt at helping your friend may do long term damage to her son.  So I'm not going to help you do that here.

 

Seconding this, and the other posters saying the same. It's not really about you, OP, whether or not a group of experienced homeschooling parents feel they should tell the truth. It is true that a nine-year-old child with special learning needs should not be left at home with YouTube instead of being in school. Responsible and researched homeschooling, public school, or private school are the options. These have supervising adults and educational materials. We don't even know this woman, and we're certainly not going to coddle her second-hand; we are going to say what we believe. It doesn't mean we think ps is terrific and she has no legitimate reason to want to homeschool. We're not stupid or naïve. But a bad ps situation, if that's what it is, does not make homeschooling possible. Move on to something else.

 

2 hours ago, Bay Lake Mom said:

Honestly, I think the mother needs to reconsider her priorities. I understand that it can be difficult to manage things as a single parent, but I think she’ll have herself in a legal situation fast if she tries to leave a 9 yo special needs child at home by himself and technically teaching himself.   Maybe it isn’t illegal there, but I’m guessing neighbors or concerned friends and family would be quick to contact child services. If the mother really wants him to be homeschooled, she’ll need to consider changes in her lifestyle, including her work schedule. If she’s dedicated to her child, I’m sure she can figure out a solution that will serve him well.  

Curriculum recommendations aren’t going to help a situation like this. 

 

Yes, "it can be difficult to manage things as a single parent!" Shaking my head. How cruel and callous to suggest that her priorities are wrong and she needs to consider changes in her "lifestyle!" She is working 50 hours per week to support and raise her child, because she is dedicated to him! What in the world...? She can be kindly instructed that leaving him home while she works instead of sending him to school is not a good decision, and she can hopefully be assisted in finding advocates at the school (or transferring schools, or whatever)...but I see NO reason to question her lifestyle, priorities, or dedication to her child!

What is she going to do, stop working to be a full-time hs'ing mom? And they will live where and eat what? She can "consider her lifestyle and work schedule" all day long, but that hardly provides for her family. You are offering the same kind of suggestion as, "Let them eat cake," or if you like the Bible, "How sad you are poor, why don't you eat something and get yourself warmed up from the cold," which do not help at all.

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19 minutes ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

Yes, "it can be difficult to manage things as a single parent!" Shaking my head. How cruel and callous to suggest that her priorities are wrong and she needs to consider changes in her "lifestyle!" She is working 50 hours per week to support and raise her child, because she is dedicated to him! What in the world...? She can be kindly instructed that leaving him home while she works instead of sending him to school is not a good decision, and she can hopefully be assisted in finding advocates at the school (or transferring schools, or whatever)...but I see NO reason to question her lifestyle, priorities, or dedication to her child!

What is she going to do, stop working to be a full-time hs'ing mom? And they will live where and eat what? She can "consider her lifestyle and work schedule" all day long, but that hardly provides for her family. You are offering the same kind of suggestion as, "Let them eat cake," or if you like the Bible, "How sad you are poor, why don't you eat something and get yourself warmed up from the cold," which do not help at all.

You read way too much into that.  Step back.  None of us knows what the living situation is or how she is spending her money.  She might be able to live with family to reduce hours, cut expenses, take a lower paying job that allows more flexibility, etc.  To me, flying off the handle and comparing the comment to an oblivious "let them eat cake" is insane, and Bay Lake Mom deserves your apology.

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11 minutes ago, Syllieann said:

You read way too much into that.  Step back.  None of us knows what the living situation is or how she is spending her money.  She might be able to live with family to reduce hours, cut expenses, take a lower paying job that allows more flexibility, etc.  To me, flying off the handle and comparing the comment to an oblivious "let them eat cake" is insane, and Bay Lake Mom deserves your apology.

 

I disagree, and I'm not taking instructions from you...? That is what I saw, and you saw something different. But there is no call to tell each other what to think or what to say, again, just my opinion. We could just speak for ourselves.

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[Speaking calmly and non-judgemental] When I mentioned reconsidering her lifestyle, I was referring to the many things we consider while planning our lives. Some things she might consider if she really wants to homeschool are moving to an area where she would have more family close by to help, or looking for another job that would allow her to either work less hours or even work from home.  I have great compassion for single parents. I realize that often they must make sacrifices daily to just get by. I am not speaking at all to how she spends her resources, including time.  I think it’s noble that you are trying to help a friend. However, I think your friend has limited choices. If she can not look for different employment, she could also consider moving to a nearby town in a different school district. 

It sounds like this thread has angered you. It is extremely difficult to communicate with “expression” in a forum. Often, we can feel defensive and interpret an individual’s advice as ridicule when that is usually not the case. I believe most are simply concerned and want to offer the best advice from their experience. I hope you have a good evening, and your friend finds a solution that will benefit both her son and herself. 

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2 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

I disagree, and I'm not taking instructions from you...? That is what I saw, and you saw something different. But there is no call to tell each other what to think or what to say, again, just my opinion. We could just speak for ourselves.

 

2 hours ago, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

I disagree, and I'm not taking instructions from you...? That is what I saw, and you saw something different. But there is no call to tell each other what to think or what to say, again, just my opinion. We could just speak for ourselves.

Seriously?  Read what you wrote to Bay Lake Mom and then apply you response to me to your own comment.  Freaking insane.

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Even if it is legal to leave a 9 year old home alone in most communities in this country, we can't be sure that this particular 9yo is functioning mentally and emotionally on a 9yo level. Even high functioning autism impairs how well an individual functions in emergency situations. You can bet that if CPS became involved for any reason, this would be a large part of their argument of why this particular child should not be left home alone despite the fact they are physiologically old enough by the law.

That matter aside, most free/cheap curricula require research, planning, supplies and parent involvement. If you want someone else to do those things for you, then you are going to have to pay them for their time and effort either by way of a tutor or by purchasing their curricula with the work done for you. A single parent working 50 hours a week and raising three kids, at least one of them with special needs, is unlikely to have the time or the money for homeschooling much less trying to do it for cheap/free which will be a huge time commitment. I was a single parent once. I had to put my kids in public school for a while not because I wanted to but because I could only wear so many hats as one person. Once my situation changed and I was able to devote the time, energy and money to homeschooling and the circumstances warranted it, I was able to homeschool some of my kids again.

I understand this child is not feeling good emotionally about going to school. Special needs kids are often targets for bullying. Is the school aware of what is going on? Has the mother contacted the teachers? The principal? The school district? Has she brought up her concerns with her son's IEP committee? What has been done to help this child feel better about going to school? Is homebound education an option with a tutor that will work with her son until he feels emotionally strong enough to try school again? Can he be in a segregated special education classroom instead of mainstreamed until he is emotionally stronger? Are they working with him on emotional coping strategies and social cues to help him cope with what has already happened and learn to integrate himself better to make himself less of a target for bullies with quirky autism behaviors?

There are literally thousands of avenues I would explore first for this child before I would recommend homeschooling for this family in this particular situation. Because the mother would have to literally change her entire lifestyle to make homeschooling a viable option for her family, I would only suggest homeschooling as an absolute last resort when everything else had failed and even then I would be hesitant. 

.

 

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Okay. I'm going to take for granted that the PS is unpleasant to the point of perhaps being hazardous to the child's physical or mental health (ASD has an anxiety component IIUC) and HSing has to be seriously considered as an option. So here's what she'll need coverage of:

Adult supervision - can basically just be "on call" for most 9yos (e.g., working in the kitchen or a home office while he is in the living room, possibly a next-door neighbor if he's good at asking for help), but available when he's stymied by the unexpected (a power outage, a food package he can't get open, internet being down so he can't watch an assigned video, worksheet directions he can't understand, etc.). He may not be a flexible thinker at all, meaning he's not likely to get far in solving problems without being upset by them. (I myself took safety instructions too literally as a NT second-grader and kept myself lost and unhappy longer than necessary when trying to get to a new location alone; he may be at a similar level.)

"Tutoring"-level intervention on writing, likely spelling, social thinking - This is where she should prioritize spending time and money. If he's receiving or needs to be receiving occupational therapy, that can be a significant obstacle, so that would need to be set up first. Then I suggest using BurningCargo.com (free typing, saves your progress), Moving Beyond the Page's online interactive spelling (free trial, then $75/year), and a penmanship workbook of her choosing (many people like Handwriting Without Tears materials). For social thinking, professional help is great if available, but she might also like to use MindUp (though it's meant for classrooms) and Zones of Regulation materials (I used the book, but I see there's an app now) with him. A journal like "Between Mom and Me" can keep him writing a bit. It would be ideal to work on these subjects 5 to 7 days a week to spread out what will be very hard work for him.

Basic instruction followed by independent practice for math, science, social studies; she should be able to do these in 45 minutes to an hour a day of teaching, and have him spend time on his own afterward. A lot of elementary science and social studies can be covered with books from the children's non-fiction section at a decent library if he's a solid reader, and narrating to her what he has learned will help build his composition skills. Singapore is a solid math if she's reasonably good at math herself--she can teach him and lead him through the textbook and have him practice in the workbook. Evan-Moor Daily Geography et al. are inexpensive and worth a look.

Physical outlet such as a community center-based or rec-league sports team, regular supervised access to a public pool, etc.

It may be that no one solution is very good, but she will need to choose the best from the set of options available to her.

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Wow! I can't even bring myself to read all of this honestly.  

First off, she's not single.  Her and her spouse work varied schedules so there would be short amounts of time her son would be alone 2 days per week..  A sitter is there the other 3 days but is not being paid to homeschool a child.  She's there mainly for the two younger girls.

They have limited time so I didn't want to recommend anything that's too hands on and intensive.

I was in a hurry when I posted and didn't have time to go into a ton of detail about their personal situation.  I just wanted inexpensive or free recommendations to get them started to see if it's something that may work for their family.  

Thank you anyway!

 

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The extra information really does not change my opinion on this situation. Homeschooling is still not very likely to be a good fit unless they are willing to make some fairly drastic changes to their lifestyle to make it work. Either they need to reprioritize their budget as a dual income family to be able to afford at least a part time tutor who has experience with autistic children or they need to figure out how to have one of them stay home full time to provide their son's special needs education. If neither of those are a possibility, then public school really is the best place for their son and they need to address their concerns with the bullying with the school.

Homeschooling a child on the autism spectrum is often nothing like homeschooling a neurotypical child. Even high functioning autism usually requires lots of curriculum tweaking and can be very time intensive on the parent's part. That's why ASD diagnosis pretty much guarantees the child qualifies for an IEP in public school. A run of the mill education is not likely to work for the majority of students with any form of ASD.

I am unaware of any free or inexpensive curriculum for homeschooling that I would blindly recommend for a family interested in homeschooling their autistic child. So many of the usual options are unlikely to be a good fit without significant modification that I would not feel comfortable recommending them without sitting down with the parent who would do most of the instruction and get more details on the child's specific needs and how much time and money they can realistically dedicate to educating their special needs child.

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48 minutes ago, sweet2ndchance said:

The extra information really does not change my opinion on this situation. Homeschooling is still not very likely to be a good fit unless they are willing to make some fairly drastic changes to their lifestyle to make it work. Either they need to reprioritize their budget as a dual income family to be able to afford at least a part time tutor who has experience with autistic children or they need to figure out how to have one of them stay home full time to provide their son's special needs education. If neither of those are a possibility, then public school really is the best place for their son and they need to address their concerns with the bullying with the school.

Homeschooling a child on the autism spectrum is often nothing like homeschooling a neurotypical child. Even high functioning autism usually requires lots of curriculum tweaking and can be very time intensive on the parent's part. That's why ASD diagnosis pretty much guarantees the child qualifies for an IEP in public school. A run of the mill education is not likely to work for the majority of students with any form of ASD.

I am unaware of any free or inexpensive curriculum for homeschooling that I would blindly recommend for a family interested in homeschooling their autistic child. So many of the usual options are unlikely to be a good fit without significant modification that I would not feel comfortable recommending them without sitting down with the parent who would do most of the instruction and get more details on the child's specific needs and how much time and money they can realistically dedicate to educating their special needs child.

But again, not asking if anyone thinks homeschooling would be a good fit for this family, or what your opinions are etc.. It was only what free or inexpensive homeschooling options are out there.  

I realize that it can be really hard for some to not give their input or opinions on everything. 

 

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7 minutes ago, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

But again, not asking if anyone thinks homeschooling would be a good fit for this family, or what your opinions are etc.. It was only what free or inexpensive homeschooling options are out there.  

I realize that it can be really hard for some to not give their input or opinions on everything. 

 

 

On 5/19/2019 at 8:18 PM, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

This is for someone else that is interested in homeschooling her 9 year old son.  He is very mild on the autism spectrum and somewhat behind on writing skills etc.. He will be home alone some and online programs will work well for him as he loves technology.

I wanted to give her some ideas of super cheap curriculum.  She is a working mom over 50 hours per week and on a fixed income.

Thanks for any input or suggestions you might offer. 

ETA: He loves his iPad and Youtube!

 


I think it would have helped if you wrote this as a JAWM and were clearer with your English.

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If all you were looking for is free curriculum suggestions and you weren't actually looking for any input on the reality of homeschooling a special needs child as your original post suggested, there is a sticky post with a curated list of free curriculum that is out there.

I know now that you aren't looking for input despite your OP but for anyone else who might happen upon this thread by searching, my intent was not to just give my opinion when it wasn't wanted. If I were asked by a friend with a special needs child, limited time and limited money for suggestions on curriculum out there, I would tell them the same things I said here. I wouldn't want to encourage a friend to do something like homeschooling without being completely real with them about the time and money it really takes to homeschool a child with special needs. By encouraging them to try something that isn't likely to work out well for them without major lifestyle changes, I would feel like I was throwing them in the deep end of the pool and I wouldn't want to do that to a friend. Sorry to rain on your parade but I felt obligated to warn you of the dark looming clouds. Having homeschooled a special needs child who also was mainstreamed in public school for part of his education and is now an adult, I felt I had valuable insight of the options available and how to advocate for special needs students and the reality of trying to educate a special needs student at home. 

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I didn't read all the comments.

Look into the Easy Peasy site

A potentially free trial of Mystery Science (or paid, depending on what is available). I did the free trial with ds... only problem was I wasn't always doing the discussions with him and I think it's better if we sit down and discuss together. Sometimes he would ask me to discuss with him and I'd enjoy that if I was there during the video, but other times he just watched without me.

Spectrum workbooks

Not exactly cheap, but you can use Time4Learning for some subjects if you want. You pay per month and can stop whenever you like or pay a dormant fee.

 

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Is there a virtual charter school in your state? A babysitter and parents working could probably supervise that better than most homeschooling programs, and special Ed would be easier to access than for a homeschooler. The main ones are solid, and if the big problem with PS is the group setting, maybe that would be a good option. 

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https://www.fossildlp.com/

is an example of a tuition free home based school program that could conceivably work — if there are relatives or babysitters or neighbors to help — and if a similar program exists where you are

 

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9 year old with ASD home alone with an iPad sounds like one of the worst educational scenarios I can imagine.

Please encourage your friend to exhaust every other educational option before considering such a thing. This child needs human interaction with a parent or tutors or teachers who are aware of his specific needs and are willing to help him work not just on academics but on his social and emotional development.

I have special needs kids, I've done a mix of homeschooling independently, using virtual charter schools, and sending them to public school to help them get the education they need. I've sat through many IEP meetings, made extra appointments to meet with teachers, worked with speech therapists and tutors. I've needed every bit of extra help and support I could get from other experienced adults and these kids still need more than I can give.

Your friend is in a tough situation but it does not sound to me like homeschooling is likely a good fit. I think she needs support and resources to help her advocate for her child within the school he is currently at or at another school.

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Mobymax is online free and cover most subjects. Its certainly not ideal but things in life rarely are.

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CLE math is not terribly expensive.  It's very user friendly, open and go.  In fact, CLE might be useful for reading or LA as well, but I wouldn't use it for more than two subjects at most.  Super cheap would be CLE math, lots of library books (across genres - fiction, non-fiction, biographies), and mini-reports or posters on favorite book once a week (or every two weeks) according to his ability.  And then add in high interest, educational videos - Liberty's Kids, etc - if they can be found free online or at the library.  A 50 hour work week means getting creative with library trips unless someone else can take him.  Or reserving books/videos ahead and grabbing them coming and going from work.  A minimalist approach in a safe environment can definitely be more beneficial than a bad, damaging public school environment, imho.      

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Perhaps, your friend might need to look at the wrightslaw website so she can advocate for her the child to get the education he deserves.  Homeschooling a ASD child is very intensive ( been doing it for years). And with the social issues that ASD children have, he might have more with being alone and with an iPad. 

In my opinion/experience, most materials that are free and cheap will need to be modified a bit to fit the learning needs of a child with ASD.  

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8 hours ago, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

But again, not asking if anyone thinks homeschooling would be a good fit for this family, or what your opinions are etc.. It was only what free or inexpensive homeschooling options are out there.  

I realize that it can be really hard for some to not give their input or opinions on everything. 

 

come on. you were asking for advice from experienced homeschoolers for curriculum that a child with learning difficulties could use completely independently and somehow teach themselves .Oh,  and this curriculum was to be free

Everyone said basically the same thing

 THIS SCENARIO WILL NOT WORK

 Your didn't like what you heard from people who have been working with this for many years. you were not happy with the reality of what we were saying and you telling us off for stating FACTS has upset you.

 

I so wish I could throw a computer and an Ipad at my children, give them a bunch of curriculum, go off and leave them for a few years and have educated people walk out of their bedroom... it is not going to happen ever.

 

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Based on my experience having a child with ASD and how the public school treated him and failed to teach him, he would probably be better off home alone than in school, if it is anything like what we went through.

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OP, based on what you said, it sounds like she needs three types of materials: 

1) something he can use during the few hours two days a week when he actually alone alone.

2) something he can use that is self-teaching with minimal oversight that he can use while the babysitter is there.

3) something he can use with Mom and/or Dad that addresses his areas of weakness -- writing, and probably social skills?

For the first situation, she is going to want things that are "fun" and self-motivating.  We like Prodigygame (math).  It feels like a game, but if the parent chooses "teacher" for the parent login, which they recommend for homeschool parents, you can set learning objectives and get reports and stuff like that.

Is he good at following a checklist?  My ASD son was at that age.  That would open up a few more things he could do completely on his own.  If so, she could assign him so many minutes or badges at Khan Academy, and so many minutes in a typing program (which will help with writing and is a common accommodation for ASD).  My youngest (also ASD), who is currently nine, has been working on Typing.com with her SPED teacher.  It's another free program, and looks pretty good.

For the babysitter days, he could do more of the same, or he could do something like K12 -- sometimes provided for free if her state offers a virtual alternative through the public school system.  Our local eSchool also offers IXL.com, lexiacore5, MobyMax, iReady, and Odyssey (which is the school version of Time4learning).  As mentioned above, Time4Learning is not terribly expensive if she can't use an eSchool to get the others provided for free.  These types of programs all provide the teaching, so all the babysitter would have to do is make sure he is on the computer and not messing around on other sites.  More expensive, of course, are other "teaching built in" programs like Teaching Textbooks.

For his areas of struggle, self-directed is not going to work.  Have his specific problems in writing been identified?  ASD children can struggle with the mechanics of writing, with comprehension, with composition, with inference, or any combination of the preceding.  This and any other areas of weakness will require the most time investment from the parents, and the most financial investment in appropriate programs.  The neuro-pysch who evaluated my older two actually recommended WWE/FLL, and All about Spelling.  Neither is free, but both provide the "rules why we do this", incremental learning needed.  Free samples are great to check for fit, and good programs can sometimes be found used to save costs.

 

All three of my children have ASD.  Two are level 2 (used to be called Asperger's); one is level 1 (used to be called PDD-NOS).  In some subjects, they are just as capable of self-educating as any other children.  (In fact, they have a tendency to hyper-focus on topics of interest.)  I had a couple of months while my youngest was getting evals and we getting her IEP in place where I didn't supervise my older two in their schoolwork.  I assumed they'd accomplish nothing and that we'd need to do some serious catching up/getting back on track when the eval/IEP process was done. 

My level 1 girl actually did walk out of her bedroom having educated herself.  "Just for fun," she'd located an online youtube series that teaches how to draw anime, and another that teaches Japanese, and worked through both.  She picked up enough Japanese that my niece, who just returned from a three-year contract teaching English in Japan, understood what she was saying.  She's 14, so a little more mature, but she's done that kind of thing for years.  My oldest studies all things train-related in his spare time, including checking out books intended for adult rail-fans and devouring them when he was only seven or eight.  (He read out loud even to himself until he was almost ten, so I know he actually read them.)

I currently don't work outside the home, though I did work part-time a few years ago, but because I have three ASD kids, and a husband with diabetes, heart-disease, and OCD, I have had times where my kids have had to be self-directed.  It's hard, and less than ideal, and they are less good at it than typical kids, but it can work.

The trick is to divide it that way, so that he is studying his strong subjects/passions during the self-directed times, and getting good, direct instruction for his weak areas.  And building off what Janeway just said, it doesn't have to be perfect; it just needs to be better than what was happening in the public school.

Edited by Maus
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OP, some curric ideas that might work:

Computer based ideas:

Does your state have a virtual charter, such as Connections Academy (or something else similar)?

Easy Peasy -- I know that it gets a bad rap from some as being too lightweight, but I think it would be easy to place a child in different levels for different subjects and make it work.  Honestly, if EP was done consistently and with understanding, it would be more than many kids get in some public schools around here.

Khan Academy for math. 

 

Book based ideas:

CLE for math or reading --it is written to the student.

Spectrum workbooks --  these are actually not badly done; some kids might need *more* practice and *more* instruction than these provide, but these do provide a decent baseline that is on par with your average public school.  I know a family that used Spectrum workbooks + lots of outside reading, and projects around the house (gardening, light carpentry, etc.) for their boys through most of 2nd -6th grade; their boys transitioned to public school in jr. high and did very well.

 

OP, I do hope your friend can find a solution that works well for her and for her son.  I know it can be so difficult to think through options when you feel that none of your options are ideal.  We all want what is best for our children, and it can be so hard to figure out just what that best is. My prayers will be with her and with you as you try to help her.

Edited by Zoo Keeper
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On 5/20/2019 at 12:18 PM, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

This is for someone else that is interested in homeschooling her 9 year old son.  He is very mild on the autism spectrum and somewhat behind on writing skills etc.. He will be home alone some and online programs will work well for him as he loves technology.

I wanted to give her some ideas of super cheap curriculum.  She is a working mom over 50 hours per week and on a fixed income.

Thanks for any input or suggestions you might offer. 

ETA: He loves his iPad and Youtube!

 

 

On 5/20/2019 at 3:50 PM, Melissa in Australia said:

I wasn't telling you if it was all right.

 I was giving you some first hand experience of teaching children. not telling you what to do but rather giving you information form an angle you mightn't have thought of to share with your friend. That is the whole point of asking for advice on a public forum. not to just hear what you want to hear but get different experience to make better informed choices. 🤨

 sorry you got your nose out of joint. I didnt mean to cause offense

 

 by the way here you are not allowed to leave a child home alone until they are 12. that was the reason I was so shocked at the idea

And in NZ it is 14.  If you took a 9 year out of school and left them at home alone you would be arrested.  The other problem is he is behind which makes it harder for him to self direct.  If there is absolutely no other choice she could try khan academy and you tube with a pile of picture books.  

Is it really legal to leave a 9 year old at home alone all day?

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On 5/21/2019 at 6:15 AM, Lang Syne Boardie said:

 

Seconding this, and the other posters saying the same. It's not really about you, OP, whether or not a group of experienced homeschooling parents feel they should tell the truth. It is true that a nine-year-old child with special learning needs should not be left at home with YouTube instead of being in school. Responsible and researched homeschooling, public school, or private school are the options. These have supervising adults and educational materials. We don't even know this woman, and we're certainly not going to coddle her second-hand; we are going to say what we believe. It doesn't mean we think ps is terrific and she has no legitimate reason to want to homeschool. We're not stupid or naïve. But a bad ps situation, if that's what it is, does not make homeschooling possible. Move on to something else.

 

 

Yes, "it can be difficult to manage things as a single parent!" Shaking my head. How cruel and callous to suggest that her priorities are wrong and she needs to consider changes in her "lifestyle!" She is working 50 hours per week to support and raise her child, because she is dedicated to him! What in the world...? She can be kindly instructed that leaving him home while she works instead of sending him to school is not a good decision, and she can hopefully be assisted in finding advocates at the school (or transferring schools, or whatever)...but I see NO reason to question her lifestyle, priorities, or dedication to her child!

What is she going to do, stop working to be a full-time hs'ing mom? And they will live where and eat what? She can "consider her lifestyle and work schedule" all day long, but that hardly provides for her family. You are offering the same kind of suggestion as, "Let them eat cake," or if you like the Bible, "How sad you are poor, why don't you eat something and get yourself warmed up from the cold," which do not help at all.

I agree with this.  If she can get  a job that allows her to be home all day she is likely have to leave them all alone at night.  The only way round this I can see it to offer free board to someone who can be there all night (paying someone will cost too much) and it is unlikely she has a big enough place for this.  If she has a parent in town maybe the kids could sleep there if she could get night work.  But that only works if her job skills work for that.  If she has a better than minimum wage job she probably has to work office hours. She may be able to work towards working from home but it won't happen overnight.

I work 30 hours mostly from home as a solo parent to 2 kids and it is really hard and I was very lucky to find the job.

 

Eta.  OK I assumed she was a single parent.  If she isn't then there is more flexibility and I would really suggest her and her husband try and alter their work schedules so the child is not alone - of course this may be a bit of a long term aim  Does he play well with his sister's or alone? If so maybe he could just play, read and watch stuff then do school either before or after work.

Edited by kiwik

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On 5/20/2019 at 8:33 PM, 1GirlTwinBoys said:

Wow! I can't even bring myself to read all of this honestly.  

First off, she's not single.  Her and her spouse work varied schedules so there would be short amounts of time her son would be alone 2 days per week..  A sitter is there the other 3 days but is not being paid to homeschool a child.  She's there mainly for the two younger girls.

They have limited time so I didn't want to recommend anything that's too hands on and intensive.

I was in a hurry when I posted and didn't have time to go into a ton of detail about their personal situation.  I just wanted inexpensive or free recommendations to get them started to see if it's something that may work for their family.  

Thank you anyway!

 

 Thanks for clarifying.   Hadn't answered earlier and I'm glad I read this first.  Being by themselves most of the time is very different than for a few hours 2 days a week (might help stave off other misunderstanding comments to go back and edit your original post to add that).   If the child's autism is mild that doesn't sound too bad (I've known some kids with mild autism that could handle that at 9, and others with more severe Autism that couldn't).  

I would suggest asking for  free/cheap recommendations for writing curriculum that would be easy for a new homeschooler to manage in the the Learning Challenges board on these forums.   I started writing late with my son and was still looking when he returned to school this year so have no recommendations there.   If spelling is also an issue, I loved All About Spelling for my kiddo who struggled in nearly everything.   It is not "cheap" but it is easy to find the books used (and are not too expensive), and all the words on the cards are also listed in the chapters so they can make those themselves, and the letter tiles you only have to buy once and they'll even replace I think up to 5 of them free if you loose some (or they could get the letter tiles app in stead, since he likes doing things online).  It's hands on but easy to use (pretty open and go...not a ton of prep).

Here are two places with lists of free curriculum, but I can't say which would be easy for the parents or good for him.   I've only used, on the 2nd list below, Progressive Phonics (which he's likely to be past) and the Experimenting With the Vikings unit study (which is great, especially if he likes science or Vikings, but is hands on), and Kahn Academy for math, which is great but I feel like at that age maybe not enough on it's own.  

http://imaginativehomeschool.blogspot.com/2016/07/complete-curriculum-for-free.html

and

 

Another thing for them to look into is if there is any way that he could continue to get services.   Sometimes it's possible.   Here in California it's sometimes possible to homeschool through a charter, and get both services and funds to use for tutoring and curriculum.  That's not available everywhere but I have heard of some states where if you are homeschooling a child with a special need you can get services for them without having to send them to school. 

Edited by goldenecho
adding something at the end
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Maus suggested Prodigy, which is great for math practice; my kids have played for many cumulative hours. There is a free version but the subscription price is only $14 per year if you jump on a group buy (there are prodigy group buy groups on facebook) and worth it in my opinion so the kid isn't dealing with constant "if you were a member you could have this cool thing in the game!" reminders.

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I don't know if this is helpful or not, but we sometimes use them. Those huge workbooks that say "grade X." We got one at Sam's Club several months ago. It's hit and miss with inventory, usually available during back-to-school shopping. I have one that says Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills. This might be the right level for him?  https://www.amazon.com/Comprehensive-Curriculum-Basic-Skills-Grade/dp/1483824136/ref=sr_1_9?keywords=Comprehensive+Curriculum+of+Basic+Skills&qid=1558494568&s=gateway&sr=8-9

I would not rely on that to be done completely solo, but could be a good way to touch on various topics in a given grade level. Notice the Amazon price is like $14. The last one I bought was tagged $8.47. 

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Some REALLY great suggestions! Thanks to all of you that took the time to give such detailed suggestions.  I really appreciate it. 🙂

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No, you can’t do part time K12. Not the program I researched. First of all, it’s not offered in every state (not offered here). More specifically it has very rigid (imo) hours. You must log normal school days more or less hour-wise.

For an online program that is flexible I only have experience with Time4Learning but I was not a fan of their math so we switched to Math Mammoth. ASD or not, I think it’s important for the parents to be available to assist with the material and hope that they can. 

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5 hours ago, heartlikealion said:

No, you can’t do part time K12. Not the program I researched. First of all, it’s not offered in every state (not offered here). More specifically it has very rigid (imo) hours. You must log normal school days more or less hour-wise.

For an online program that is flexible I only have experience with Time4Learning but I was not a fan of their math so we switched to Math Mammoth. ASD or not, I think it’s important for the parents to be available to assist with the material and hope that they can. 

In our state you can do part time k-12; you can also do stuff like enroll part time at regular public schools. I wish all states were as flexible.

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2 hours ago, maize said:

In our state you can do part time k-12; you can also do stuff like enroll part time at regular public schools. I wish all states were as flexible.

Oh wow. I stand corrected. I thought it was public school at home and therefore not available as PT. The YouTube videos I’ve seen on it talked about logging 8hrs/day or something like that. The parent complained about lack of flexibility which was supposed to be a pro in homeschooling. 

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41 minutes ago, heartlikealion said:

Oh wow. I stand corrected. I thought it was public school at home and therefore not available as PT. The YouTube videos I’ve seen on it talked about logging 8hrs/day or something like that. The parent complained about lack of flexibility which was supposed to be a pro in homeschooling. 

Most states probably are like that unfortunately 😞

Part time enrollment is specifically permitted in our education code in this state, all district schools have to allow it and lots of homeschool families enroll their kids for just a class or two--even in elementary, some enroll just for PE; charter schools (virtual or brick and mortar) seem to have a choice, some are very flexible with part time (our K12 seems to be one of the flexible ones) others require at least 80% enrollment. I don't know if anyone has ever tried to challenge that legally or not.

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9 hours ago, maize said:

In our state you can do part time k-12; you can also do stuff like enroll part time at regular public schools. I wish all states were as flexible.

 Mind if I ask what state?   Just curious.  Might be useful to know at some point.

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Netflix is only about $9-$11/month and has some amazing documentaries! 

If she can take a day off, or even a half day off, now and then, field trips to local museums or historical sites would be good, too.

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Discovery K12 is free. I would say a NT 9yo would be hard pressed to be that independent though.

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