I've begun watching a 9-year-old boy a couple nights a week, so that makes things a little busier, but he's a sweet boy and a welcome addition to our family (Landon, who accepted Christ recently). His grandma told me when she accepted my offer to watch him that he has ADHD, Aspergers Syndrome, and depression. His mother died when he was 18 months old, and he deals with anger over not having a mom, since all the kids he knows have one.
Oh, Lord. So much for a young boy to handle. Please say a prayer for him? I've suspected he was on the autism spectrum for quite a while now, but I do think he will do just fine in life.
In 2013 Aspergers Syndrome became an obsolete name in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It's now called Autism Spectrum Disorder on a severity scale, but that change is still controversial.
On to homeschool news...
Beth, age 5, is learning to read with All About Reading Level 1, and Mary, age 7, is learning to read more fluently with All About Reading Level 2. These programs do not typically take a whole year, so Mary will be in Level 3 before her third grade year. The materials do help tremendously with dyslexia, but the lessons are long and we can't do everything everyday, due to my girls' attention spans.
I have Mary reread each story several times over several days, so I don't use the program exactly as written. Nonetheless, the difference in appropriateness in addressing Mary's needs is amazing. I'm so thankful to Marie at the All About Learning Press company, as the founder and writer of this program. I highly recommend it for any child struggling to learn to read, or for any child who has siblings with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia. All these issues require explicit, systematic teaching, with only one new skill introduced at a time. Each new skill is practiced with many repetitions over days or weeks.
I bought All About Spelling Level 1, but we haven't added that in yet. The boys will use it too as it is suggested that all students start with Level 1 to learn all the spelling rules from the beginning. The rules don't necessary repeat as you go higher, and more are added each year, so you have to try to fast track your older kids through all the Levels. It is intensive spelling training and leaves nothing out, which, again, is necessary for any child with learning disabilities. Peter has dysgraphia and definitely needs intensive spelling training, although he has made a lot of progress with Sequential Spelling (also for dyslexics, but not as systematic).
Both girls are doing Saxon Math 1, but Beth is starting from the beginning, and Mary is 3/4 of the way through. We do the Morning Meeting together. They enjoy schooling together, and also pair up for Sonlight's Core B literature and history (World History Part 1). Paul reads the non-fiction Core B selections to them, and I read all the rest (really loving the read aloud selections so far, like Little Pear and Homer Price). Not all relate to history, but they are charming nonetheless. I have the full program on hand now.
Both girls also do Sonlight Core B science (Animals, Astronomy, Physics), but Beth is less interested, unless it's experiment day. Peter teaches them science willingly (he loves science!). I have my hands full with everything else, and I feel like both my boys are reaping many benefits from becoming teachers at their young ages.
The boys, ages 11 and 12, join together to do Sonlight Core G literature and history (World History Part 1, but for older kids). They are enjoying their school year, and Daddy is enjoying doing their read alouds with them before bedtime.
The boys especially love Susan Wise Bauer's Story of the World Vol. 1. They will move into volume 2 (Middle ages) this year too.
I am doing WriteShop Junior Book E with both boys. We all really love this program, but we haven't abandoned Writing With Skill (Susan Wise Bauer) because that program is still excellent for teaching non-fiction writing, while WriteShop is excellent for fiction. The WriteShop company writes materials with learning disabilities in mind, just as All About Learning Press does. That's not to say all children wouldn't benefit from and love their materials! They're just excellent--hands-on, systematic, explicit, and fun. No more tears at writing time, that's for sure.
The boys are still both doing the same level in Teaching Textbooks (CD ROM) program for math, and let me tell you, I could hug and kiss the two brothers who wrote this program. It's excellent, multisensory, systematic, and with plenty of review. Peter has dyscalculia and really benefits from this program. He also needed the Times Tales multiplication DVD to learn multiplication facts, which we purchased about 2 years ago, when it became clear he just wasn't going to get it without a story attached to the facts. Teaching Textbooks is wonderful, but for your dyscalculic student, purchase something for fact memorization as well.
We still write in journals, and all my children really enjoy that time (about 10 to 15 minutes in the morning...any topic, or an on-going story).
That's all the updating for now. I hope all my homeschooling friends are having an excellent year!