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Upper Elementary/Middle school writing curriculum with the least writing?

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47 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

School backpack:

Math reference chart from CLE (that has a built in ruler as well)

pencil bag: pencils, three colors of highlighters, pink eraser, colored pencils, scissors, glue stick, $1 store calculator, 

clipboard, clips (to keep workbooks that have had pages torn out together---totally gave up on binders years ago



Thank you!  

47 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Is he wheelchair bound? Does he have a tray slide for his wheelchair? 



He walks short distances, sometimes, usually at home or PT.  He uses a chair most of the time out side the house, but the chair we have right now was chosen on the assumption that he would self propel so it’s super low and light weight and doesn’t have a tray.  Usually in something like a hospital waiting room his preference is to transfer to a regular chair so that he is at the same height as those around him. 

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Sorry, I missed that you replied twice!  I was on my phone.

Thank you for all the detail!!!  This is super helpful.  I'm glad someone else gets the combo of giftedness and medical stuff.  

3 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Got your ping...I only have a few minutes because we spent the morning in a doctor's you're getting my random thoughts:

1. Depending on what your state rules are re: homeschooling (ie required hours, etc.) you may have more flexibility staying in the public school system and doing a home study program with an IEP. I'm not talking about the charter programs out there--but the specialty programs most school districts have for medically complex kids. The other advantage of this is that some states require public school enrollment to access their equipment bank, but you can get a lot of high end equipment that insurance won't cover.  In our previous state, almost all pediatric services for the deaf and blind ran through schools, and our insurance had a ton of hoops to get a dynavox and some of that other stuff--way easier to get it through schools. I just have a minute, but if you want to talk more about this pm me. I think there are a few others on this board who have done similar things, but not many.

We're in a state that is pretty easy as far as requirements, and the homebound program in our area is a mess.  We did it from Feb. to June this year, with a break for a hospitalization, and they were constantly cancelling and reassigning him to new people.  If we need something like AAC at some point, I'll go back to it, but right now I just don't see it as worth the effort or the disruption.  

3 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

2. Our goal has been education rather than life skills/bonding/etc. given the particular needs of our children. Between my 5 kids, the two with the most medical issues have also been gifted. Not just bright, gifted. I'm making this distinction specifically because being gifted is a blessing and a curse. (curse---the challenges that come with the emotional intensity of gifted children is not to be minimized.)  If you are dealing with a kid who is gifted (and it sounds like he is) you cannot put school on hold. You've got to feed that brain and engage that curiosity or, IME, there are repercussions. Find that thing that makes your kid's eyes light up and make sure that happens on a regular basis. In your case, keep the math tutor. Make that every bit as important as a therapy appointment, because it is therapy, iykwim. With my average or bright kids who are healthy, it's not a big deal if school happens irregularly.  For my gifted ones, they've needed a lot of structure and consistency and they've needed school time. Does this make sense? It's been a very different dynamics in contrast to, say, Maria Montessori's  "Play is the work of children" notion.  For my non-gifted kids, spending time doing science experiments or an art project or building a Roman aqueduct with clay was this bonding moment. My gifted kids just kinda eyeroll me on that. As much as possible, and I know it's hard, try to find a routine and keep to it.  We did M, W, F hospital days and T, R were for at home. We also tried to find facilities where we could knock it all out at once--I found a combined SLP/OT/PT practice close to the pediatric hospital and it was worth it. 

3. Embrace the reality that you're in.  For my kid that's severely dysgraphic, there's just no point in belaboring handwriting beyond a functional signature. Likewise, if you're looking at the big picture of what gets you from where you are at currently to what he needs to graduate---prioritize. Math up through Algebra 2 (ideally, calculus) and the ability to write/organize/dictate a coherent essay are probably the most important things. If he's going to have an independent life, those two things will nail standardized testing and get you college ready.  I think sometimes homeschoolers get caught up on content (19th century british writers! history in 400AD! the kreb cycle!) and neglect skill.  You are working under so many other constraints that you must operate with a surgeon's scalpel rather than a blunt hammer!

4. Utilize audio whenever you can.

History: I recommend Story of the World for history (even though book 1 is aimed at 1st graders, we have---all of us---listened to it in our vehicles multiple times and enjoyed it. We kind of roll our eyes in the first few chapters of book 1, but only there).  I would say the 4 books can be comfortably used through 8th grade.  We've used her adult series for high school with our oldest. We started with CDs back in ye olden days, but they are available through Audible. If you can get the school district to hook you up with Bookshare (qualifying physical disability--or you can do this independently--we did), they are there also.

Science: watch Nature and Nova. These are easily downloadable. (Look into PBS passport!) I also put 2-3 books on hold each week, and tucked them into the book bag. There are a number of good science magazines also.... I think I saw somewhere else on the boards that he's hanging out in an infusion lab. I'd preload content onto an iPad and hand it over. Bill Nye the Science Guy, Kratt Brothers, Blue Planet, whatever he finds engaging.

Math: Christian Light Education and Singapore Math Primary Series are both slender and tuck easily into a backpack and require no manipulatives. 

Language Arts: We did grammar and writing together, usually with me scribing, and then the stack of books method for reading.  If holding a book is hard, go to audiobooks. I was very picky about what books we read. I usually allowed one popular fluff book (like the Percy Jackson series) and we had two non-fluff books. I gleaned those titles from the Story of the World Activity guide, the Moving Beyond the Page catalog, the classics list, or from non-fiction titles in the science section of the library. Ds was able to find nearly everything he needed on audio. For grammar, I'd look at Exercises in English. The Spectrum workbooks for reading and writing are decent as well.  

We have watched a ton of PBS shows over the years.  At 9, I don't recommend a ton of Khan Academy lectures or CrashCourse lectures.... I'd aim for things that are going to give him some context, some vocabulary, and that are just interesting. If learning is a place his mind can escape to, lean in, iykwim. 

I'm going to grab the school backpack currently and see what supplies are in it...

We already do a lot of what you suggest.  I get everything you are saying about education as therapy, and also about managing expectations.  We're definitely taking it one step at a time.  I am hoping that having more of a "school" program will help him organize himself a little, and provide some distraction in the hospital.  I also think that, from an attachment/adoption point of view, having familiar things that come from home to the hospital and back.  

 We use an iPad instead of a stack of books, because he can turn the pages more easily, and because it's easier to carry.  Plus, if he's tired, and wants to close his eyes, or he's in a moving vehicle, or if we're taking a walk and he's in the jogging stroller, and feels motion sick, it's easy to switch back and forth between audio and reading.  Plus, the backlighting works well for him.  If you want to put a blanket over your head and pretend you're not in the PICU, it's easier to see an iPad screen than it is to read a book!

Khan Academy is an obsession.  Not mine, his.  I think that it was familiar when nothing else was, and so it was soothing.  When he first came home it was all he'd do, and he's pretty fast to go back to it if things are stressful.  Other than that, videos don't work as well for us. We use some, but not as much as many other homeschoolers seem to use them.  Audiobook, on the other hand, work really well.  They work in the car, where there's no Wifi, they work in the stroller, they work when he's too tired to open his eyes.  

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