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... and I am NOT bragging. In fact, I am crying.


Have I completely ruined my children's lives? Have I totally devastated any chance at academic excellence for them in the future??


The test scores reflect the truth:

1. Two of my children are average.

2. Two of my children are very below average. Both of these have learning disabilities.


The test scores reflect:

1. The areas that I have not taught well.

2. The subjects that frequently get pushed aside.

3. The subjects they have trouble concentrating on.


I am constantly trying to get their attention back on thier work.

They are constantly wanting to play/watch tv/get on computer/ play outside/ play on the play station.

They are constantly trying to get through school as fast as possible to do those other things.

If they concentrated on school with the same amount of concentration as these other things, then maybe thier brains would/could process that educational information better.


I am feeling like a total failure:

1. My personal illness has GREATLY hampered school. Perhaps that is the single most influencial factor. A good teacher CAN NOT be sick all the time. A teacher that is sick all the time CAN NOT give her students the best education possible.


2. I have let discipline slide because of my illness.


3. I have let excellence slide because I am too tired to demand it.


4. I have not given the kids with real LD problems the one-on-one attention they need.


5. I have not given the average (yes, some scores were above average) students the individual attention they really need to excell. They both have the capability of really excelling.


I also think I have fallen into a category of homeschoolers that I personally hate. You know, those moms that say, "Academics is not important. What is truly important is _______(fill in the blank) ________." Possible choices to fill in the blank: spiritual growth, ministering to another family, serving a sick mother, knowing Christ, learning character, etc... You probably have a list yourself to fill in the blank.


But, the bottom line is:

Academics are important.

We must teach our children the skills they will need to be successfull in life.

Plumbers, mechanics, librarians, teachers, day care workers, retail managers, artists, cooks, chefs, waitresses, doctors, lawyers, nurses, administrative assistants... every single walk of life NEEDS a basic amount of academic achievement and excellence to be successful.


I feel like I am failing in teaching basic acedemics.


I think a back to basics, textbook, workbook approach might be what we need.


I KNOW we need a break.

I've been to the doctor twice in the past week, and I took one child to doctor today.

I am going to average grades for this semester. STOP school. REST a few weeks. Go on two family trips in May.

I am going to re-evaluate EVERYTHING.


Putting them in a classroom school is not an option. DH will not even consider it. He would not even consider it the couple of years that I ran school lessons from bed because of illness.


Praise God, I am physically better. He does heal.


If He can just pick up the pieces of this edcuational mess that I have made and help my children actually LEARN something, I will be so grateful.


To think of all the advice I've given out here on these message boards; it just makes me sick.


If you had to "go back to basics" what would you do? I'm thinking grammar, writing, reading, math.


My soon to be senior is very depressed over all this.


Add in severe financial difficulty and I am overwhelmed, overstressed, and feel like I am going to emotionally breakdown.


All of this is not brand new.

I deal with these thoughts and feelings every single day.


But today,

Those test scores certainly CONFIRMED my feelings and fears.


Sorry this has gotten so long,

Thanks for letting me vent,

Pam L

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It is not the books that are not working.. it is ME that is not teaching in depth. I really *need * to spend about 2 hours a day with each student. I've been relying on "independent study" and "guidance from mom" when I should have been




Ugh.. I just hate myself right now.

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What about something like ACE or abeka? Those are very complete without costing too much?


I think you can still do tons of literature from the library free with spark notes. Or llatl? That is pretty low cost and seems very popular.


Math...What about Saxon as it has tons of review.

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I realize you must feel overwhelmed. My advice would be to choose just one subject to work on, whichever you feel is most important, and go from there. It would be too much to take on everything.


Don't beat yourself up if you have health problems you have no control over.





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My heart goes out to you... Honestly, I think it is good that you are taking a little break to re-examine everything. Sometimes with the break comes new ideas and when you aren't as stressed, maybe some new approaches. I do worry, though, about your illness, and you being at the breaking point. I may be speaking way out of turn, so forgive me, but since your DH insists on you homeschooling, is there anyway he can pick one or two subjects and teach them for you? Given your circumstances, and your illness, coupled with his insistence that you continue, I don't don't think that would be asking too much. We can only do what we can do. Are there other homeschoolers in your area who could perhaps tutor your kids, or have classes that your kids could attend. I know you said finances were a concern, but perhaps there is something that could be traded or what have you...

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Maybe, you should concentrate just on Math and Grammar. This is what I did when we moved from one state to another and plus it was my seventh year of homeschooling and I wanted to a break from the usual routine. I had come across the Robinson Method and decided to focus on just Math and Writing for a year and allow the kids to read books for History and Science. I also took time to focus spiritually. I read "The Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster, focussed on totally simplifying my life, meditating, and renewing my mind with Scripture. We sang together as a family, meditated on Scriptures, exercised, ate nutritious food, slowed down, and relaxed. The children did well on their tests at the end of the year in Math and Language arts.


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Life can be so discouraging sometimes. I'm so sorry you're feeling like your hard efforts aren't paying off.


Homeschooling isn't easy anytime, and with an illness it's particularly frustrating. I have a girlfriend who homeschools three boys in spite of a chronic illness. She is such an awesome teacher when she's feeling well, so she plans curriculums that are amazingly creative. The problem is that when she goes down and needs to go to bed, the curriculum can't go on without her. She's thinking about changing her curriculum so that the basics can be run from bed. This means curriculums that teach to the student, contain good explanations, and are workbooks or internet driven. Then she builds a "bells and whistles" curriculum that she can add on for good health days.


There is a thread that you can get to if you search on "chronic illness". There are a lot of other women in your shoes.


As far as looking forward to next year... I always go by the philosophy that I do the best I can. Once I know better, I do better. The tests are supposed to point us to the areas that need to be improved. Thank goodness you're testing, right? Now you have some good input so that you can get some rest and formulate a new plan. It really doesn't have to be fancy. Look for simple solutions that are proven curriculum. It's important for them to be student managed. I love your idea of spending 2 hours per day with each kid. What about aiming for 1 hour and seeing where that takes you?

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One thing to consider is simply boxing up all of the electronic "distractions" for a given period of time.


I was very, very ill for a few years, and I know that, although kiddo got some education, he definitely did not get all that he deserved. I was grateful for the TV, Playstation, Game Boy, etc. during that time, as I was just so... exhausted.


Well, now I'm not. He's in high school, and he has to behave like it (eg: get lots of work done). Whenever he starts to slip, away goes the computer (he has an online game he plays). We're not big TV people any longer, so that isn't really an issue. I do wish, however, that there were more kids for him to play with outside - I envy you on that point.


Hang in there,




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I had thought about suggesting to you that your kids go back to public school, perhaps only on a part-time basis, but it sounds like your dh is opposed to that option.


The best advice that I could give you would be an online school or video school. For instance, both Abeka and Bob Jones have DVD school options, and I believe this is for all grade levels and subjects. This may not be your ideal, but it might help get you through this rough spot. However, I don't know how expensive they are, which is one of your concerns. There are other online options, like The Potter's School, Veritas Press, and Scholars Online. However, all of these would not necessarily be cheap.


I will be praying for you and your dh both to find some option that will work for your family.



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Thanks for all the replies.

I feel better after getting a good night's sleep.


We are in great financial difficulty right now, and anything that requires $ can not be done. So not tutors, tutorials, classes, videos school, dvd school, etc. Those are all excellent suggestions, but it is just not going to work this year.


I think some of the scores were low in some areas because we haven't had constant review. Example: no one has done any grammar or punctuation formal review since last fall. There were lots of punctuation questions on the test. I can get Daily Grams and that would cover the basic grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.


The test also had quite a bit of basic math. Well, the teens currently working in Geometry and Algebra may have missed some simple basic math problems.


Is there something like Daily Grams that covers basic math?


We did the CAT test and I looked on a bit as each child was taking the test. I also looked through the test after they were done to get a good idea of what was being tested. I like the fact that CAT really covers the basic 3 Rs.


Maybe I can scale back the assignments in history, literature, and science. And maybe I can concentrate on really TEACHING math and writing.


Thanks again,

Still need more suggestions if anyone has anything else to say.


Thank you all for being kind and understanding.


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There is a family here not just YOU. It's the responsibility of the father to take care of the family if you are unable to take half of that burden at this time. It's your husband's responsibility to do it! If he refuses to consider sending the dc to school then you ALL have to live with the consequences. Those consequences may be better or worse than you think - I don't know only your family and the Lord knows. Your high school dc are old enough to take responsibility for their own lives and education with the direction of the parents (or father, if you are unable).


I've been sick - for 5 months last year and I know what it's like not to be able to do what needs to be done. Everything was let go; the minimum got done. I had a LOT of help from my dh but school work wasn't a priority - my health was - basic stuff got done only!


Test scores are not the be all and end all of life. Look at the whole picture and you'll see more clearly. This is the stuff families are made of - working together to accomplish a goal and if momma is sick then the other family members step UP. Don't blame yourself.




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Test scores are not the be all and end all of life. Look at the whole picture and you'll see more clearly. This is the stuff families are made of - working together to accomplish a goal and if momma is sick then the other family members step UP. Don't blame yourself.





:iagree: Don't beat yourself up as a failure because the Almighty Test Scores were low!!! Please! I have done it before, so I know not only how badly it hurts, but also had damaging it is to your self esteem. I also dealt with illness last year---months of it. Using curriculum that requires you to "teach" when dealing with illness is a recipe for the teaching not getting done----and the kids not learning what they "should". I have lots of teaching intensive curriculum---but I am definitely changing that starting next year. Not only so my kids can begin learning more independently, but because LIFE happens in the midst of schooling. :glare: And public school---is most definitely NOT an option for us. Seriously---ACE is a great for covering ALL the basics every day, even for LD kids. Then you can add in what you want to, like reading great lit, etc, but the basics will get covered every day.

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Oh, Pam! My heart goes out to you. You've done the best you could in very difficult circumstances. Taking a break and sorting this all out is a very good idea!


On a positive note: It sounds like this testing has been a bit of a wake-up call to your your soon-to-be senior and that may really help that student to be more self-motivated. Perhaps sitting down with each student and going over their test results and discuss what is going to be needed from them if they want to have the opportunity to go to college -- and what kinds of jobs will (or won't!) be available without college -- would also help motivate??


re: tight finances

- Have you considered applying to Book Samaritan for some free materials?

- Is borrowing from a fellow homeschooler a possibilty?

- Is it possible to apply for a financial needs scholarship for an online class, co-op, or community college class?

- below is a big list of free online resources to supplement


I agree with focusing on the "3 Rs". Get solid with the math (lots of free math lessons and practices listed below). Write a 5 paragraph research paper *every week*. Practice grammar, punctuation, editing every day (see some of the free online resources below). Practice a timed essay from a past SAT writing prompt *every week*. Use the SAT prep resources from The College Board (http://www.collegeboard.com) and the Online Math Learning (http://www.onlinemathlearning.com) websites to prepare for standardized high school testing. For younger students, perhaps get a test prep booklet and go through that 1-2 pages a day for several months prior to the test -- that not only gives your students exposure to the material that will be on the test, but will also provide test-taking tips.



Most of all, hugs ((((Pam)))) and encouragement for you, Pam! Warmest regards, Lori D.




Free online math lessons and practice:


The Homework Spot

* Word Problems (gr. 5-12): http://www.homeworkspot.com/high/math/wordproblems.htm

* Algebra: http://www.homeworkspot.com/high/math/algebra.htm

* Geometry: http://www.homeworkspot.com/high/math/geometry.htm

* Trigonometry: http://www.homeworkspot.com/high/math/trigonometry.htm

* Calculus: http://www.homeworkspot.com/high/math/calculus.htm

* Probability: http://www.homeworkspot.com/high/math/probability.htm


Homework Help

- Pre Algebra: http://www.algebra.com/pre-algebra.mpl

- Algebra 1: http://www.algebra.com/algebra-1.mpl

- Algebra 2: http://www.algebra.com/algebra-2.mpl

- Geometry: http://www.algebra.com/geometry.mpl

- Word Problems: http://www.algebra.com/word-problems.mpl


Homeschool Math

List of online math resources/helps -- many are free



Online Math Learning





Websites for free highschool resources



- Ambleside Online Curriculum = http://www.amblesideonline.org/

- Hippo Campus (free online high school helps; variety of subjects) = http://www.hippocampus.org/



- Cliffs Notes = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-305259.html

- Homeschool Math = http://www.homeschoolmath.net/online/algebra.php

- Highschool ACE = http://highschoolace.com/ace/math.cfm

- Extreme Intellect (free online math tutorials) = http://www.extremeintellect.com/ei20...help/math.html



- MIT (free writing and English course materials online) = http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/hs/intro-courses/writing/'>http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/hs/intro-courses/writing/'>http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/hs/intro-courses/writing/'>http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/hs/intro-courses/writing/

- Sparknotes (free lit. guides) = http://www.sparknotes.com/home/literature

- Glencoe (free lit. guides) = http://www.glencoe.com/sec/literature/litlibrary/

- Bookrags (free lit. guides) = http://www.bookrags.com/browse/Book%20Notes/

- Cliffs Notes (free lit. guides) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/...id-305321.html

- Awesome Library (books available to read online) = http://www.awesomelibrary.org/Classr...iterature.html

- Extreme Intellect (books available to read online) = http://www.extremeintellect.com/ei20...iterature.html



- English•Grammar Online = http://www.ego4u.com/en/cram-up/grammar

- Owl Online= http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/grammar/

- Cliffs Notes (punctuation, capitalization, word usage) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/...eId-29011.html

- Cliffs Notes (parts of speech) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/English.topicArticleId-28962.html

- list of online grammar resources = http://www.dmoz.org/Kids_and_Teens/School_Time/English/



- MIT (free writing and English course materials online) = http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/hs/intro-courses/writing/

- Cliffs Notes = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/...eId-29035.html

- The Five Paragraph Essay (instruction; prompts; etc.) = http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Atrium/1437/index.html

- narrative essay prompts = http://members.accessus.net/~bradley...eprompts2.html

- expository essay prompts (Writer's Web) = http://mh034.k12.sd.us/expository_essay_prompts.htm

- practice timed essays for SAT/ACT testing (scroll to bottom of page) = http://www.onlinemathlearning.com/sat-test-prep.html



- K-12 Lesson Plan index (writing lesson ideas by grade level) = http://www.readwritethink.org/lessons/index.asp

- Writing Fix (writing lessons) = http://www.writingfix.com/

- Writer's Web (list of links to writing lessons/assignments) = http://mh034.k12.sd.us/lessons%20and%20ideas.htm



- MIT (free online course materials from MIT) = http://ocw.mit.edu/OcwWeb/hs/home/teachers/

- Free High School Science Texts = http://www.fhsst.org/

- Cliffs Notes = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/Section/id-305260.html

- Highschool ACE (biology) = http://highschoolace.com/ace/biology.cfm

- Highschool ACE (chemistry) = http://highschoolace.com/ace/chemistry.cfm

- Highschool ACE (physics) = http://highschoolace.com/ace/physics.cfm

- Highschool ACE (earth science) = http://highschoolace.com/ace/science.cfm

- Extreme Intellect (science homework helper list of free online resources) = http://www.extremeintellect.com/ei2007/homeworkhelp/science.html



- Cliffs Notes (U.S. colonial to 1850s) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/U-S-History-I.topicArticleId-25073.html

- Cliffs Notes (U.S. 1850s to present) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/U-S-History-II.topicArticleId-25238.html

- Highschool ACE (U.S.) = http://highschoolace.com/ace/government.cfm

- Highschool ACE (world) = http://highschoolace.com/ace/history.cfm



- Cliffs Notes (government) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/American-Government.topicArticleId-65383.html

- Cliffs Notes (economics) = http://www.cliffsnotes.com/WileyCDA/CliffsReviewTopic/Economics.topicArticleId-9789.html



- Free online tutorials in various computer topics = http://www.lausd.k12.ca.us/Jefferson_HS/lscomp.htm



- Wikipedia (free online encyclopedia) = http://www.wikipedia.org

- Extreme Intellect (list of free online reference materials) = http://www.extremeintellect.com/ei2007/referencedesk/encyclopedias.html

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and no, you have not ruined your children. Your two non-LD children are average, this is not terrible. I don't know the extent of the others LD so I can't comment. The tests where a good thing, now you know what you need to do. You need to stop pushing aside those subjects, you need to come a up with a reasonable plan you can stick to. Making drastic changes may not be the way to go. Think of it as trying to change all your eating habits at once, doesn't usually work. Try making one new habit at a time. What is the worst subject? Find a way to make it work for you, then the next etc. until you wonder why it seemed so hard in the past.;) Time to think postive and take the first step!


ETA- I just re-read your post about your illness, another reason to make small changes and don't try to do to much overhaul at once. Just start with the basics and try to be consistent, being as consistent as possible in the little things will go a long way.

Edited by Happyhomemama
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One thing to consider is simply boxing up all of the electronic "distractions" for a given period of time.


That sometimes has to happen here. One of mine gets VERY addicted to electronics/screens. Very. She's also my LD/ADHD one.


We do use medication for her ADHD. The difference between using it and not using it is dramatic. She's dyslexic and strongly strongly dysgraphic. With meds, she is actually able to read at grade level. Without it, she cries, can't sound out words and her reading fluency drops to about the beginning of second grade. The difference in writing fluency is also dramatic. Without meds, she writes at a kindergarten/first grade level. It's illegible. With meds, her writing can look like typical fourth grade writing, if she's trying extremely hard, however, her output is still limited to several sentences.


It is difficult difficult, esp when special needs are thrown in the mix. I worked with her 4 hours a day, one on one, 5 days a week to get her back up to grade level across the board (except in writing).


This past week, she just started at a private school for kids with ADHD. I was going crazy b/c of her resistance to doing anything academic.




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Guest Sindaena

Can I add Shmoop for free online literature (and some history)? http://www.shmoop.com/


They have book summaries and analysis, complete poems and short stories with analysis and background information and some American history sections.


I discovered this on a random search for Poe's The Raven. The line by line explanation was great. It was thorough, covering the needed vocab and Greek history references, and fun, holding the attention and interest of my kid. The technique section explained and name the rhyme and meter pattern as well as noting other literary techniques used such as alliteration. There are some built in aids for writing papers and links to show how to correctly cite the website as well that I haven't explored yet.

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Hi Pam,


Definitely don't beat yourself up. John Taylor Gatto has a great section on testing in his latest book, "Weapons of Mass Destruction". I register myself as a test adminstrator one year when my co-op were short on testers. After reviewing the questions that were on a very popular elementary/middle school test, I have learn to take this test with a grain of salt. I wish more parents would demand to see the test that is administer than just the results. If you could see some of the questions that were being ask, you will find them ambigous and confusing.


You know your children. You know their strengths and weaknesses. If you want to know specifically their weaknesses, get yourself a self test at grade level and see for yourself where you need to concentrate. You'll be surprise what they do know. Good luck to you!

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...Praise God, I am physically better. He does heal.


If He can just pick up the pieces of this edcuational mess that I have made and help my children actually LEARN something, I will be so grateful.




God will have the final say in your situation! He is so faithful, and will make sure your dc are above and not beneath, not matter what the tests say!



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Pam, I know of a christian university that did a long-term study of their incoming freshman to track how the homeschooled students did compared to regular students. Those who had been homeschooled, REGARDLESS OF THEIR PREVIOUS SCORES AND DEFICIENCIES, had basically caught up and evened out with the pool as a whole by the end of their freshman year.


I'm not saying blow off things, but offer your son that consolation. Do the best you can this coming year, graduate, and then for college go someplace where he can get the help he needs to succeed. (tutorials, small class size, committed faculty who give personal help, etc.)

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