Special Needs - Ideas & experiences using MFW

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Special Needs - Ideas & experiences using MFW

Unread post by cbollin »

scmlg wrote:I have a dear friend whose son has been struggling for a long time. He should be in 3rd grade, but still does K work in many areas. She's a bit lost as far as where to go from here. I was wondering if there is anyone out there that may have advice or encouragement for her at this point. Thanks
First, {hug} to your friend. The shock of realizing that these kinds of things just aren't going away on their own can be very overwhelming. But the "becoming" the parent of a special needs learner is the hard part of the road. It’s a feeling that once the label is named, that for a brief time you feel a sense of grieving over the lost of the child that you dreamed about. But we do rise again to know and proclaim that Jesus is the Name above ALL names – even names associated with lspecial needs.

One of the most common prose pieces “out there” for parents with special kids is a piece called Holland, by Emily Perl Kingsley. Do a quick search for it and read it. Your friend is feeling like she just landed in Holland when she was expecting Italy, but you can never leave. Been there. Done that. Still living in Holland.

But yes, you can homeschool in these situations. It takes work and determination and commitment. But that’s true of homeschooling kids whose scores are in the neural typical range, isn’t it?

Starting point resources for homeschooling with special needs:
*Contact HSLDA and ask for their special needs department. Sometimes it is just nice knowing that you can do this. They have other tests available for rental to help with record keeping.
*Look at a company called Heads Up Now dot com
*Try to read a few general (non curriculum) books such as Learning in Spite of Labels (J. Herzog), or Homeschooling the Challenging Child by Christine Field.
*You might want to check another website called christianadhd dot com
*Look at a group called NATHHAN – NATional cHallenged Homeschool Associated Network nathhan.com Consider buying their resource called something like Homeschool IEP book. nathhan.org/ResourceRoom/iep.htm

There’s lots of really good stuff out there these days compared to even just 5 years ago.

Mom of 3 dd
Oldest with Cluttering and ADHD
Middle with language delays
Youngest with autism, language delays
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Unread post by crosscreekmom »

I just wanted to jump in a minute and let you know that all three of my younger children have been dx with MMR. Two are due to FAE, the other test could be wrong as he is deaf.

I knew for a few years that I was dealing with some real problems but like Crystal said, its very hard when you come face to face with the truth about what you are dealing with.

One thing that helped me so much was a friend told me that, "We lie to others saying that our children can all be rock scientist, but the truth is our children aren't all able to be rock scientists but they can be all that God wants them to be. " I was so caught up in the fact that they may never leave home, or be able to do this or that. When this friend said what she did it gave me peace knowing that God will equip them to be what he needs them to be.

Please tell her she is not alone. "Hugs" from me also.
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homeschooling kids with lower IQ

Unread post by Debbie/WMI »

Yes, we are not alone here. I have 3 adopted dd's w/ FAE also. It is hard when you come face to face with the reality of what should have been and what really is. The hardest part can be at the beginning.

Encouragement and prayer can and will help a lot so continue with these even when things seem to be getting better for your friend. I agree with what the others wrote about advice and would like to add something the Lord spoke to me; that the world may count the tests they give as worthy of what's important in life, God does not. His ways are not our ways, nor does He value what the world values. He looks on the heart. Some of the people the world looks at and admires for their intelligence are foolish to God because they do not believe in His Son. He reminded me that in Him, we have access to His wisdom and Knowledge and will have ALL we need through Him; doesn't this apply to our children as well?

Encourage your friend, as I am encouraged by these promises. Teach our dc these things. Teach first to love the Lord w/ all your heart, mind, soul and strength, then teach everything else second as the Lord shows and He will.

Debbie W/MI

Losing child's attention at the end of the day

Unread post by cbollin »

Mommyto2 wrote:We are in Adventures. We are homeschooling due to emotional and behavioral issues. This is our first official year. And I don't think my ds would love anything. Just about the time we have plugged along through most of the school work and are about to start fun activities, things fall apart. Ds told me today when we were discussing his behavior and sabotaging the fun activities that I am teaching him too much. I tried to break his day down to just 15 minute increments so he can stay on task. However, just about the time he has his brain wrapped around a concept we are hopping to the next subject. I wonder if I should bundle two days of one subject and skip another so he could "concentrate" on a subject?

Brendya, mom to ds 8 in Adventures and dd 5 in K
Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007

Many kids this age want to just go and play instead of doing their work. You might have to set a kitchen timer to get subjects done and let him see the teaching grid in the manual and actually check the stuff off as you go. Some people use a dry erase board to help with that.

One friend of mine who homeschooled her bi-polar, ADHD 8 y.o boy used to have to let him take 5-10 minutes breaks after each subject and have active things to do (chores, run around, bounce on a mini size exercise trampoline indoors, jump rope, etc.) because his brain was full.

It may be possible that he needs to bundle up his subjects as you described --- give it a try for a bit.

Try a day or two of "do the fun stuff first" to let him know what he is missing -- for some (not all) children this is an incentive to want to get through the tough stuff.

I know there are others over here who are dealing with this sort of thing as well. Praying for you {{{hug}}}}

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Unread post by mgardenh »

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007

My daughter has aspergers syndrome and and ADHD tendencies. I have some resources for you and suggestions. My daughter sometimes has a hard time with school. Take what you want leave what you want.

1. There is a book out there called Children In the Mix with subtitle something like Bipolar/adhd/autism and other things. Sorry I do not have exact title or author but it is about children who have multiple diagnoses or children who might be any of these but not quite fit any of them completely (my daughter is in this category)

2. Another book is Healing the New Childhood Epidemics Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies. THis book combines natural methods with medications. Your child can have just one of all all of these. This book address booth. written by Kenneth Bock. Little pricey but worth it. YOu can get it from Amazon.

3. There is the Feingold Diet to help with ADHD. Not sure I am spelling it write. We use medications as well but my understanding is you element certain food which have been found to be triggers for ADHD. Then you reintroduce the food one at a time seeing if it is a trigger. You'll know by behavior and attention span. You can try the diet and see what triggers his ADHD and remove those foods from his diet and that might help with attention span. I do not know enough about it but would guess you can still use meds and do the diet. For example Blueberries are a trigger and my daughter can not have them because they make her much worse even on meds.

On to ideas for school. Here are some things that work for us. You might think I'm crazy but it works and we get school done by noon usually. We will start MFW in a couple of weeks. We are using something more intense and we still often get done by lunch.

We home school year round because somedays Julia just is not able to handle school due to the Aspergers. She is just overloaded and can not cope. So for example we started in July 5 with 1st grade and are now on week 7, partly due to having to travel a couple a days a month for my youngest's doctor visits and we do not have enough room for all the school stuff. But because we do it year round I do not worry so much about missing a day.

If your son has a favorite toy or game incorporate it into school. My daughter loves dinosaurs (her thing)so she has to read to them for reading time. Several of her dinosaurs sit around while I read the read alouds or history, science books. SHe is teaching one of her dinosaurs to spell (because she is not a good speller). So I give Julia the word and she has to spell it to the dinosaur. For math and math facts I give her problems using dinosaurs. Or if she working from her math workbook I ask her to make up stories using the numbers about dinosaurs. For example 7 brontosaurs are eating leaves 3 go off to get water how many are left.

The other thing Julia likes is to draw. So I will have her draw while she listens to the reading. Often times the drawing will be what the book is about. Sometimes especially for science experiments I have her draw the experiment and explain her drawing to me.

The above suggestions were from our family therapist and have been a great help.

When it comes to LA I let her choose what she wants to do first (spelling, reading, handwriting, or her phonics book). She chooses one thing and does it then takes a five or ten minute break and picks another. It does take about 1 1/2 for us to get through LA because of all the breaks but because she can incorporate her dinos for the other things those have gone much faster.

I also try not to say we're going to do school now. I just come along side of her and join what she's doing, bringing the books and things and we play and do school together. I have not heard her say I do not want to do school in a while since doing this. ALso she has stoped saying she never gets to play or that she does too much school, all of which she used to do tell I changed it.

The other thing we do because we live in the southwest and to help her sensory issues is go outside and she swings on the swing set and I read to her or after a few minutes she comes and looks at the pictures and reads her stuff.

I know this goes against everything they say you should do but these things have made it much easier for us. Now I think your teaching more then one child I currently only teach one the younger sib is only 2. So she plays with us while we do school or she does her own thing.
Sorry this is so long but I hope something helps.

Praying that things improve for you.
Mike, SAHD (mostly)
Julia soon to be doing MFW 1st
Alexis see her story at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/alexisg
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Unread post by HSmommi2mine »

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2007 1:49 pm

Kids with ADD can hyper focus, as I am sure you know. Why not do science one day and history one day and math one day exc. Start with a fun activity or break up 2 work sessions with an activity in the middle - making sure your most important thing of the day is done first.

15 min. would never be enough for mine to focus. My dd has to hyper focus and really engage. I don't let lessons drag on once I know I have lost her but she would be very frustrated with 15 min jumps from one thing to another.

- Wife to one great guy. Mom to 10 yo with SPD, low tone and APD, 6 yo with SPD and suspected NLD and one crazy toddler. Four years homeschooling, first year with MFW - ECC.
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Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2007 1:06 pm

In our home it's very important to have extreme consistency and a specific plan laid out each day that my ADHDer can count on (not an easy task but one that is necessary for him). For us that means that my middle ds gets up earlier than the rest of my kiddos, and he and I work in the quiet early morning to get his school work completed that he does on his own.

For work that we do with his older sister we do it as soon as she's ready - then my ds is free to play with legos, use the computer, etc. Now his older sister could sleep until 10 or 11 and begin school and there'd be no problem but they are wired differently!

If I gave ds morning time to do chores, play with siblings, watch TV, etc. and didn't start school until 11:00-11:30 we'd have a mutiny and nothing would be accomplished.

Some things that have been a lifesaver for our family: mini tramp, full tramp, squeeze balls, exercise ball, swingset with slide, climbing wall, etc. - when ds was 7 he'd work with me for 15-20 mins and then he'd bounce, swing, do sit ups, whatever for 5 mins and then return to work more.

Handwriting is difficult for him - esp copy work - so we minimize the work that has to be written and he does oral work. If he's doing copy work I type the work to be copied with a few words per line and then blank lines directly under it so that he doesn't lose his place and can focus more easily.

While I do read alouds he colors or squeezes a ball - I ask questions to help pull him in when needed - he needs to be doing something in order to concentrate on what's being read. I have another one who needs to follow in her own copy of the book in order to get anything out of a read aloud.

Immediate rewards - I have a treasure box and at the end of a week or a particularly difficult day if he's worked hard, stayed focused, etc he can select a treasure. When my middle ds was 6-8 he got a treasure every day that he did school without a melt down - in the beginning he was allowed two meltdowns and we worked to no meltdowns for reward.

You don't say that the attitude or focus issues carry through the day - only at school time. So it may be that what you are expecting for him is too much for his development/maturity level at this time.

My ADHDer is ADHD all day - prior to finding out about his ADHD and trying meds I couldn't have sent him to feed the dog without constant reminding bec he'd go outside to feed her and forget why he was there!

I also don't know if this is his first year to homeschool - if he's an auditory or visual learner - what parts of school are easier for him grasp - etc., so it's difficult to gage what might help. With four kids I've also learned that none of them learn in the same way - so I have to keep re-looking at what I'm using/doing to fit to their learning style.

Ill keep you in my prayers - I know how frustrating it can be esp with the different age levels.
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Unread post by TriciaMR »

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:52 pm

There was a front page article in the Denver Post today about ADHD. Some scientists followed some kids - 1/2 diagnosed as ADHD and the other half "normal" - from ages 6 to 16, giving the kids brain scans every year. (The reason they had started doing this was because they noticed some kids were "outgrowing" the ADHD around middle school age.)

Anyway, the brain scans showed that a certain portion of the brain thinned more slowly for ADHD kids than it did for the "normal" kids - about 3 1/2 years more slowly. (This is part of the brain that is supposed to thin as they grow older.) So, a process that starts when kids are normally about 7 (which I really have seen with my dd as the year has progressed; she was 7 in May), doesn't get started until they're about 10 1/2.

The other thing they stressed was if they can get a good start in math (which sounds like you're on the right track there), they'll be fine. (Reading scores did not predict future ability, but math scores did.)

So, it may be that he just needs more time.

He also may have a processing problem. A friend of mine (the same friend who video taped her day) said her son wasn't getting directions. She'd say something like, "We're going to go now. Go get your glasses, shoes and coat." And he would just stare at her. So she'd say it again and then ask him what he's suppose to do. He would only be able to say 1 of the 3 things back. (This is a kid who was able to memorize the Paul Revere poem.) So she'd say it again, and he'd only say one of the things back - and it would be a different one.

Finally she broke it down into 3 instructions and let him do each one between the next instruction. They were talking to another friend whose daughter was the same way. They got some "brain therapy" for her, and she can remember stuff now.

There is a really good book called "Smart Moves: Why Learning is Not All in Your Head" by Carla Hannaford (Chapter 14 specifically talks about using drugs to reign in ADHD). It's very technical, but some stuff called "Brain Gym" is based on her research (and one of the chapters of the book is totally about these exercises). These are exercises you can do with your kids that can help them focus. I have a different friend who does them with her son whenever he seems to lose focus, and it really helps.

Don't give up. Keep praying. We're pulling for you.
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MFW for older special needs kids

Unread post by tkbbrl6 »

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 8:58 am

Some questions for you -
How does your 14 yo ds do when you read the material to him and he answers questions orally? You say he's at a 6th grade reading level - is that just when he reads? Can he comprehend at a higher grade level when you read it to him? Can he explain what he's read - can he dictate a story to you - etc.?

What curriculum have you used in the past? What seemed to work? What didn't? Have you used any specialized materials to address your oldest's LD? What topics or things does he like and what does he excel at?

As the mom of kids with LD's - and former College Adm for Disabled Student Services - I think that MFW can work wonderfully when you have a house full of differently-abled learners. If he's struggling that much with "traditional" type school work - I think a workbook program will only serve to frustrate him.

At the same time I do also think that you will need to work to beef up the "regular" 4 years to be able to call it high school when he gets to that level. I think it also depends upon what your ds is wanting to do, your state, etc. In our state we have different levels of diplomas or certificates of completion.

For example - and I know that this is not the same thing that you are talking about - one of the greatest disservices I've ever seen was a public school that graduated a special needs student who was EMH (Educable Mentall Handicapped) - not LD - and then helped him enroll in a large home-town University that had Open-enrollment/acceptance for any graduate of a state public high school. They even had high school counselors help he and his mother fill our financial aide forms to get grants/loans. Well, of course the kid flunked out the first year and owed back loan money that he couldn't afford to pay - he couldn't get a job making more than minimum wage bec he had not rec'd any basic training. He didn't understand and quite frankly neither did his mother why college had been so tough and why he hadn't succeeded when he'd been able to "graduate" from high school without any problem!

Some ideas -
If you want to keep them together in MFW. When it says "advanced" make sure that you do that with both your boys - while your 14 yo may not be able to read it on his own you can do it with him and the three of you disucss it.

For spelling if you are doing SpellingPower you will simply do a pre-test and begin both boys at their level - if competition is a prob I'd do their spelling at different times without either knowing the other's level.

For book basket I'd select various levels of books that both ds can enjoy - remember all the books in book basket don't have to be read - they can look at the pictures and sometimes some fo the easy picture book type books have great additional information. Moms and Dads can also select a book from BB to read aloud.

I would work on an English program appropriate for his level - I'd identify several areas that I wanted to address for the year and focus on improving those skills - like last year for my then 10 yo dd it was to improve her understanding/use of quotes, creative writing, use of reference materials and spelling.

At his age you also want to start giving him some study/life skills - reading the newspaper for information, library and internet research, using a dictionary/thesaurus to improve writing/spelling, etc. - all that though can be taught within the frame work of MFW.

Then select a math at whatever his level is.

When you move to high school for your oldest you will want to add in some books that MFW rec'd for high school at that level. If he can't read them, then either you read it to him or see if you can get it on tape (if you do not already have him signed up for your state Recordings for the Blind ask your local library what is req'd for your state and get it done.)

You'll also probably need to add in additional Science - again in my opinion Sci is an easy one to do with an LD kid if he/she likes to have information read to them and learns from hands on experiments.

Now in my state Literature is req'd so I'd need to get my ds Lit books dealing with the time period we're studying or I'd go to my local school district's web-page and print off their rec'd or req'd reading for 9th grade and select 4 books - one for each quarter to work on - then I'd get them on tape and do a Lit study - maybe using Progeny Press or another resource so I'm not re-inventing the wheel.

Last - and it probably should have been first - have you called the Hazell's?

Just rambling thoughts from mom without any coffee yet this morning!
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MFW for older special needs kids

Unread post by Debbie/WMI »

Posted: Sat Jul 21, 2007 12:04 pm

I just wanted to encourage you in using MFW with your 14yr. I am using CtoG this yr, having used ECC last yr with my 14yr dd and my 12yr dd. They also have learning difficulties, reading level 7th but comp. about 4th.

MFW is great for our children who learn differently because everything is integrated so it makes sense. I agree with others who said a workbook program would probably not be a good fit -- plus the grade levels are all over the pages to remind your dc they are NOT at level. This year my 14yr dd ( who was in a self-contained classroom learning manners for SS) said, "I love learning, it makes me feel so smart!"


Unread post by cbollin »

momma2kact wrote:Crystal, Mike, and/or anyone else that has knowledge in this area: would you please let me/us know what all of the abbreviations mean?

I really enjoy reading and learning about the things you post about, but I have very little knowledge/experience in regard to learning disabilities and the like. I would like to know more (have more understanding).

Thank you,
Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 11:44 am

Common ones that I'm using when chatting about special needs:

PDD NOS: Pervasive Development Disorder Not Otherwise specified. It is a type of autism, mostly milder side of symptoms. In my dd's situation she is severely language delayed, play skills are delayed (but praise God! are developing now), and she has the sensory issues commonly associated with autism spectrum disorders. She doesn't socially interact the way other kids her age do. But -- she likes to be around other kids. She'll interact with us to some extent if we are playing chase games or willing to sit with her while she does a puzzle. Always seems "out of sync" on timing of play with other kids.

If you're wanting to look online for some things, one quick source is childbrain.com There's lots out there.

AS: Asperger's Syndrome (another form of autism. high functioning). I'll let Mike explain that a bit more. But some of the differences are on that site I mentioned.

NT: neuro typical --basically a code word in autism circle for "normal kids". It sounds weird to type that out, but those of us who parent special kids understand.

ST: speech therapy
OT: occupational therapy
PT: physical therapy

SI: sensory integration usually talking about a child who has processing problems with the so-called hidden senses of
proprioceptive --that's being able to know where you are in relation to other objects
vestibular -- your sense of balance
tactile -- the processing of touch
kids with SI disorder can present either as "sensory seekers" or "sensory avoiders"

LD: learning disabilities or the more gentle term learning differences.

IEP's: that's fancy paperwork in the system for Individualized Educational Plan (or is it program). Basically it's writing up goals and objectives and how you are going to tackle it. Usually used in group school or clinic settings. Easy in private sector, and less easy in public sector. I pray for my friends at clinic whose children are in the public sector schools and dealing with it. It's not easy.

If there is another abbreviation that you've seen, just ask.
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Unread post by mgardenh »

Posted: Sat Jan 12, 2008 12:20 pm

ASD-Austism spectrum disorder
PDD-Pervasive developmental disorder (delay), basically a place to throw in kids they cannot figure out what is going on. considered on the autism spectrum but some may not really be.
NOS-not otherwise specified

Aspergers (AS)-Has a wide range. Someone as an adult will be "odd" socially, does not have many friends and it doesn't seem to bother them especially if they have one friend. THey make lots of social blunders particullarly if they have not been diagnosed and do not know why they make them and seek out help. Adults will have SI issues that will come out as not wanting to go to places that are loud like movie theaters, concerts etc. Adults with AS are very rigid in thinking. Can be very difficult if in a work situation you change how things are to be done.

Children with AS often have sensory issues but are not usually delayed speech-wise (whereas everything else on the spectrum will be delayed). They will have speach issues but they are being formal in lanquage when the should be informal and visa versa. These kids will often converse with adults very well (adults will tolerate it because it is cute and wow they're talking to me).

CHildren with AS do not usually get diagnosed until later (unlike my daughter because we had a team of specialists evaluate her), usually 10 or 11. Although it is starting to get done at younger ages because they know more what to look for. Children with aspergers are highly intelligent (actually they think now all autistic kids/people are, they just do not know how to cope with the issues). Like Julia could recognize all of the alphabet around 20 months. Could count to 100 at age 2. Yet she would and still falls apart when we are in rooms with high ceilings (echoey) with lots of people. Like church for us is most difficult. Often times other adults will think "gosh they have a bratty obnoxious kid." The kid will seam odd or strange or delayed, particularly socially.

Kids with aspergers usually have a hyper focus on something. With my kid it's dinosaurs. It is not just like it is an obsession to an nth degree. For Julia if she is unable to handle the situation or does not know what to do she will revert back to talking about dinosaurs even though you were nowhere near the topic. It is how she copes and is the only thing she knows to do.

Tracy feel free to add more.
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Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by mgardenh »

4littlehearts wrote:We are using Adventures this year but are having a hard time fitting in History and Science after the 3 R's. I have 4 dc, one having a physical disability (the one doing Adventures), an older dd, a 5 year old tagging along, and a 19 mo. old. Every other day, my ds needs a medical procedure done that takes about an hour or so in the morning. I really struggle with a consistent schedule because this procedure is done every other day and falls on different days each school week. Some days, Mon., Wed, and Fri. and on the next week Tues. and Thurs. By the time we get to the Science and History, I am already frazzled from the day and ready to be done. ( Alot of that comes from dealing with a 19 mo. old and a fiesty five year old.) My ds loves History and Science so I do not want to neglect these subjects. Any suggestions?
4 Little hearts. Could you do school in the afternoon? Then you do not have to worry about the every other day medical appointment. Just thinking maybe the 19 month old is taking a nap. We do adventures and do it in 3 to 3 1/2 hours. Just a thought I do not know if that would work for your family.
DH to Laurel
SAHD (mostly) to
Julia - 10 years old, Explorations to 1850
Alexis-7 years old, Explorations to1850 see her story at
Have used MFW, k, 1st, Adventures, and ECC, CTG, RtR
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Unread post by wisdomschool »


I just want you to know that you are not alone in this! I have four children also(and one on the way). My oldest is the one doing Adv. and then I have an almost 6y.o. doing "K", a 4 y.o. coming along in "K" for preschool, and a very busy 2 y.o. boy!!

I think the "idea" of schooling in the mornings is a great one, but it simply doesn't work for my family right now! We do usually do school or at least some school in the afternoon while my 2y.o. is napping. Of course here lately with the constant nassau and a seriously painful head cold that I am having we have been lucky to get in the three r's every day!

We love History and Science as well, but struggle to get to them.....I love Adv. and couldn't wait to get started, my son is really enjoying it too, but we are certainly not acomplishing all we want to right now, but we are doing our best!

Blessings to you, just know you're not alone in this Journey :)
Momma & Teacher to my super seven:

Elijah-3 y.o.
Micah-2 y.o.
Eden-3 mo.
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I like Mike's idea of the afternoon.

If that doesn't work & you need to do mornings, I'm wondering if the *time* of the procedure is consistent? If it is, then what about making 2 plans for that time of day? We do something like that to allow for my husband.

Plan 1 - for days when we do the procedure
Kids do XXX independently (book basket? art project that you have introduced ahead of time? instrument practice? etc)

Plan 2 - for days when we don't do the procedure
All kids do XXX subjects (things that can be done every-other day, such as science? music?)

Then *every* day, whether procedure or not
During the times you would not be doing the procedure do all the rest of the subjects not listed above.

Clear as mud?
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by 4littlehearts »

We do school in the afternoon as well. Ds likes to sleep in. School starts on the days that we do "his procedure" at about 11. That's terrible ( I know I need to wake him up earlier)! I wake him up around 9 am. He takes forever eating breakfast. He is not much of a breakfast eater. I tend to the other younger girls, get them breakfast, help them get changed, beds made etc. We do not end up doing his procedure until 10 am which lasts to about 11:15. So on those days, school does not start until 11:15-11:30. On non "procedure days" he begins his school day around 10 am. I have been tempted to wake him up almost as early as his older sister at 7:00-7:30 but he groans and moans, and he is the type of kid that needs alot of sleep in order to function. Older sister begins her school day at 7:30 am sharp. I have to say that I do like her getting up and starting earlier than her siblings because I can start off the day with just her and deal with any of her questions at the beginning of the day without alot of craziness going on. With all that being said, we usually take about 30 minutes or so for Bible, 45 min. -1hour for Math, Abeka Phonics (which includes English, and I lump Spelling in there) 25 minutes, and Reading from Readers 30 minutes and then he does his phonics, language, math, handwriting, and writes his spelling words(These papers total can take him about 20 minutes or longer depending on what kind of mood he is in, and if he needs to redo them due to messiness. We do struggle with transitions from Breaks back to subjects again, due to interruptions from other kiddos and such. In the meantime the other kiddos are trying to grab some of my time and attention. Sometimes, my older dd ,who by the way does Abeka DVD this year, needs me to listen to her read, or time a test, or grade something of hers, or answer a question. It is so easy to get off tract in a schedule due to so many variables. Those are my struggles as of this moment. Thanks for your helpful replies!
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Unread post by ShanMom »

I want to encourage you to remember that your family is unique and your needs may be different. It's okay if while your children are young you are not able to get alot of extra's done. Maybe now that you have been doing MFW for a few months, you want to re-evaluate and cut out some things that need to wait for another season. Maybe you might just have your goal be the 3 R's and on days where there is grace/time/energy to do more on some days, than you can simply choose something from the history or science. I don't have special needs children and I sometimes have a hard time doing it all. Don't be discouraged my sister. You are not failing if you can not get to all these things. I would take a mini-retreat, sit down with the curriculum and prioritize, make any necessary adjustments for your life...and highlight what you feel you can do with peace and joy. Much grace to you.
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Jenn in NC
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Julie, I love this idea:
Julie in MN wrote:If that doesn't work & you need to do mornings, I'm wondering if the *time* of the procedure is consistent? If it is, then what about making 2 plans for that time of day? We do something like that to allow for my husband.
I have been trying to think of a way to deal more effectively with the baby's fussy days, and I think this is what I will do -- come up with an alternate plan. Thanks :)

4littlehearts, I wonder if your older dd has any time in her day to play with the younger two and free up a bit of time for you with your ds? Not sure what your situation is, so that may not work for you. But even 20 min. of one-on-one time can accomplish so much!

The other thought I had when I read your post was to ask you if you are using mfw recommendations for LA and math, and if you are sticking fairly close to the timeframes mentioned for each subject in the front of your teacher's manual? (The section called "Help! How do I fit it all in?") I find if I let myself or my kids stray too far from those guidelines, our day really drags on. On the other hand, if we are staying within the guidelines, I am often surprised how little time these subjects actually require. Just a thought :)

Just realized that it may have sounded like I am suggesting that you follow the schedule posted in the front of your manual. I'm not! I realize you are saying an early morning schedule isn't going to work for you. I was intending to point out the *amount* of time that is suggested for each subject... iow, 15 to 20 min of PLL daily, or whatever applies to your dc. I have this feeling I am not making any sense. Oh well, hope something in all this rambling helps you. :)
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Jenn in NC wrote:The other thought I had when I read your post was to ask you if you are using mfw recommendations for LA and math,
I thought of this later, too. It can make a world of difference.

And even if you use the MFW recommendations, you can use them differently in a family than you would in a classroom. Many things can be done orally, combined, or otherwise tweaked according to what you are doing in other subjects that day.

P.S. More Special Needs threads are linked here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1737
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Re: Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

4littlehearts wrote:I do have PLL, but have struggled whether to just use that. Should I drop his current phonics instruction in Abeka to save time? It is just really a review of what he has already been taught with some spelling hints as well. It also teaches ABC order and helps out with sounding out of larger words. The Spelling curr. in Abeka does not really teach these spelling rules, the phonics does though. Does Spelling by Sound and Structure teach these spelling rules?
Yes, it does.

I'm sure the other more experienced moms (and dad) will jump in on this, but it sounds to me like you may be overwhelming yourself with curriculum. There's so many good things out there - that's why a homeschool teacher with a visa card at convention is dangerous! :-) Abeka is one of those good things. Is it the best? It is for some people. But it is way more time consuming for the student, and does have them reading/working more on their own.
4littlehearts wrote:With all that being said, we usually take about 30 minutes or so for Bible, 45 min. -1hour for Math, Abeka Phonics (which includes English, and I lump Spelling in there) 25 minutes, and Reading from Readers 30 minutes and then he does his phonics, language, math, handwriting, and writes his spelling words(These papers total can take him about 20 minutes or longer depending on what kind of mood he is in, and if he needs to redo them due to messiness.
FWIW - we could not do this schedule at our house. My dd is an advanced reader and loves school, but she couldn't do that much seat work in a day without getting really frustrated. An hour on math and she'd be cooked. And even with as good a reader as she is, I always read aloud to her everyday - even simple easy readers. She enjoys it and is learning to pronounce clearly and use voice inflection when she reads. That's just our world.

I better back off now and let the experts answer! Saying a prayer for you.
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Re: Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by Julie in MN »

4littlehearts wrote:Should I drop his current phonics instruction in Abeka to save time? It is just really a review of what he has already been taught with some spelling hints as well. It also teaches ABC order and helps out with sounding out of larger words.
When my ds was in 3rd (using ECC), we used PLL and still had time to do a bit of catch-up in phonics. He was a strong reader but used strictly memorization, so I needed to teach him alphabetizing, as you mentioned, and other phonics rules.

We did quick things, like:
* ask him to put a set of alphabet cards in order across the floor
* with an alphabet in place on the floor, jump to "T" quickly! (he had to know whether that T was towards the back of the alphabet, etc)
* discussion of rules, either pre-planned by me or on-the-spot when it came up during his writing or PLL etc
* some days I had him copy a rule & a couple examples into a spelling/grammar notebook I had him keep
* I had him make some large phonics flashcards, that we went thru sometimes

These types of things often served dual purposes -- I used it to wake him up between readings, or instead of copywork, etc. And I felt they stuck better than a workbook, IMHO. But most of all, they added only minutes to my day!
4littlehearts wrote:45 min. -1hour for Math,
I totally agree with Cyndi! Not until this year (7th) have I had my son spend 45 minutes on math per day, and even that is not every day (just during the review weeks).

Is this because you are teaching several kids, or because you spend a lot of time on drill, or because your child isn't focusing, or do you do MANY Singapore lessons per day? Singapore shouldn't take that long...
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Re: Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by Poohbee »

I would highly recommend PLL and Spelling by Sound and Structure, as MFW recommends, for your language arts! It takes very little time, and yet my dd has learned so much, in a very gentle way. This week in PLL, we learned about using A and An. In two different exercises, the book asked for my dd to copy the sentences and then fill in the blanks or circle the right words. Well, I typed them up so she could do them as worksheets rather than doing copywork with those exercises. That is one of the things I love about PLL is that I can adjust it to fit our needs. If we have some other writing that day, such as copying the memory verse or writing a summary for our history notebook, we do PLL orally rather than doing copywork. Other days that are light on writing, we go ahead and do the copywork or dictation. For the most part, though, using Spelling by Sound and Structure and PLL, our language arts take no longer than maybe 20 minutes. It's wonderful! So, switching some things might be the answer for you so that your day isn't so long.

Also, does your son seem to need additional phonics instruction? Did he complete MFW1? My dd did complete MFW1, and I had planned to add some extra phonics instruction this year as we do Adventures. However, I realized that it would just add busywork to our day. My dd reads okay. She still needs help with some words, and that is okay. I don't think extra phonics instruction would benefit her. She learned the rules in MFW1. She just has trouble remembering them sometimes, and I need to gently remind her. During our reading time, I just ask her to choose an easy reader to read to me, and that has been more beneficial than additional phonics worksheets would have been. However, if your son really seems to need that extra phonics practice, I would try to add it in a way that doesn't bog you down...like Julie suggests in her post. I wouldn't add phonics just because you think he should have it in 2nd grade. That's what I was going to do, and I'm so glad I didn't. :-)
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Re: Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by 4littlehearts »

He does have a good grasp of Phonics by now. I know that for reading purposes he does not need the phonics, only to help him with the spelling of words. If those rules are covered with Spelling Sound and Structure than he should be okay. I am unsure of some of the phonetic symbols that they use in that course, though. Does the teacher's manual have a good explanation of them?

We use Abeka Math, which does include a lot of drill, and yes it takes long at times because he has a difficult time focusing on some lessons. His math page though only takes him about 5-7 minutes. How long tops would you devote to math a day? Also how much time do you consider to be the maximum amount of time that a child should devote to workbook/writing papers before it becomes too tedious for them? I know that Abeka expects a lot especially if you are using their whole program seatwork lesson plans and all. (BTW, we do not use the seatwork lesson plan book from Abeka. At this age, a child would be doing about 13 different things for seatwork including his workbook pages.) Thanks again for all of your responses!
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RE: Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by mgardenh »

I have a second grader and most days 15 minutes. When we cover a new topic it might be 30 min. I use math-u-see. I try to follow the guidlines of 15 to 20 min a subject. For elementary that is definetly enough time. There are lots of other things kids do that they are learning from the day. Let him explore his interests this will getting him extra reading time.
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RE: Struggling to fit in more than just 3R's

Unread post by cbollin »

This year. If he doesn’t like to eat breakfast, let him skip it and get his Bible/History and Science from ADV done before doing your medical procedures in physical therapy.

You already answered your own question to drop the phonics program.
Go with MFW’s recommendations for spelling and language arts and MATH.

Another person saying go back and look at the section called Help How Do I Fit it all In? and look at those time boxes. That might answer your question about how long to spend in a subject at these young ages of your children. Do work orally. less twaddle. I'm happy that you realize that you don't have to do all of the seatwork.

For your older daughter who needs your time to check work and all of that, may I suggest that you set “office hours” to get that done. It can be in the evening, or first thing in the morning to check previous day’s work. It might be before son wakes up or while he takes his time with breakfast. She also needs to be involved in helping with little ones while you can work one on one with son on his school time. (it's just an opinion)

Consider getting David Hazell’s workshop called Occupying Toddler and Preschoolers while teaching older children.
you might find some tips in there for those little ones. It is a juggling act at times. (((hugs))
Also, may I recommend "Help My Homeschool is Chaos" and "Working Dads can Homeschool too"

I would look for ways to get dad involved in helping with school. and I get out the Chaos CD from time to time when I let Chaos take over. It's a favorite talk for me to hear. too often I create the chaos and need the reminders. Don't worry, David's talk is gentle. ((((hugs)))

Can your son listen to books on CD while getting his physical therapy treatments? I don’t know. It might be a dumb idea, but if he is having a procedure done to him instead of an active therapy where he does the work, it might be something to think about?

Consider having him go to bed earlier so that he can wake up sooner and get done with school first.

The programs you are using (for language arts and math) do not take into account that homeschoolers need to homeschool in the real world. They are first and foremost designed for classroom use. They don’t seem to be working very well for your real world needs.
My Father’s World curriculum takes into account that you have a real world with real children at different ages and stages, and that some of them have special needs therapies and all of that. (My youngest is autistic.) MFW is designed for homeschooling in the real world. I have found that when I use MFW I can get a lot done in a day in my real world.


4littlehearts wrote: I have decided that I really need to shorten lesson times with my ds and maybe that is the reason he is having trouble focusing. That alone should help alot, as well as sticking to the schedule and time limits in MFW recommendations.

My older dd does try to help me with my toddler during her breaks but her program is so intense that it leaves her with little spare time to do this. I am hoping for a change for her next year as well. I know schooling is important especially at her age, but because she is so meticulous it takes so long. She starts at 7:30 and with homework is not done until around 2:30-3:00. That is another story in and of itself (Abeka DVD). Thanks again for your guidance. Jan
Postby cbollin » Sat Nov 22, 2008 12:54 pm

even if you can't change everything this year, maybe next year?? Using 2 full programs from different companies with 2 kids is a lot to manage for anyone. So, maybe next year you'll be able to use something like ECC to be the base program for everyone so that you aren't running 2 different programs from different places. That's hard!!!!

I know last year when my youngest (who is autistic and gets speech and occupational therapies) was in 2 different outside schools 5 days a week plus getting individual therapies and whatever I managed to get done at home with her, it seemed that the end was never in sight. It was never easy, but it was doable. So, I understand the wear and tear on mom and family with the Monday/Wed./Fri at one place and T/TH at another place to meet special situations and such. I don't have the same situation as you. But I had that routine for 3 years and used MFW and got in a lot of subjects. I didn't do a good job with art history. I got Bible, history, science, 3 R's done with 2 kids and dealt with the realities of different out of the house schedules on different days. T/TH was morning. MWF was afternoons on some years and mornings in others.

never easy, but it is doable. and of course, I had bad days and weeks :)

My oldest is 7th grade and does well in school. so many many many ((((Hugs)))) to you for keeping on keeping on. ((and hugs to your oldest)). That's a long school day.

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