Monday, June 30, 2014

Middle School Years!

I almost can't believe we are here already. The years are flying by so quickly. Following is an overview of plans I've been working on for the next three years of ds' education. We will still be using Easy Peasy for most subjects. He has stated that he liked it well enough and did not want to change that. I am looking forward to our studies. Yes, 'our.' I learn as much, if not more, as he does as we go along this road - and I love it.

Year 6 Year 7 Year 8
Bible EP Poetry EP New Testament EP Old Testament
English The Logic of English Repeat LoE? MaxScholar + EP?
Math Life of Fred/EPstep1 Life of Fred/EPstep2 Life of Fred/EPstep3
Science EP Biology EP Zoology EP Earth Science
History EP World-Geography Texas History EP Ancient History
Economics Toothpaste Millionare Common Sense Bus. & Capitalism for Kids Young Economist
Art/Music EP Cultures EP Early American EP Ancient 
Computer Programing for Kids Graphic Design Using Spreadsheets
Thinking Using Logic Art of Logic Course EP Foundations
Pers. Dev. Practical Happiness Boyhood and Beyond Do Hard Things
For. Lang. None Visual Latin 1 Visual Latin 2

Of course this is not all written in stone. And, as you see, I'm really not sure what we'll do for English, spelling, & grammar after this next year. The Logic of English can be done a second round with a more advanced spelling list - we will probably do that. But ultimately it depends on how it goes the first time around and what he is ready for after that. I also have no idea at this point what we'll do for Texas history, or even whether we'll spend a whole year on it.

But I'm thankful to have an overall plan - some direction as we do work out those details. I am also thankful we now have a better understanding of his learning strengths and weaknesses. That also helps in choosing materials and knowing what accommodations to make. We have used and enjoyed audio books in the past, and will continue to do so in the future. I will continue to do much of the reading this year, but will be transitioning in the following years to having him utilize those accommodations more independently. And, hopefully, he will also do more reading on his own. I realize these next three years will involve many leaps and bounds as he grows in so many ways towards that young man he is becoming.

Just When You Think You Have it All Figured Out

Back at the end of January I had written about how we were taking a pause from Teaching Textbooks and doing things differently than we had planned, with every intention of returning to Teaching Textbooks. Well, that did not happen as ds was quite adamant that he did not want to use that program ever again. So much for that experiment of letting him pick the program. We will not do that again - for a while anyway.

Since that time I also began to realize that we had hit a wall with reading and he was not improving and was struggling with comprehension when he read things himself. So I asked a simple question on my favorite homeschool forum about how to help with reading comprehension, one thing led to another, and next thing I knew I was researching dyslexia and how to have him tested for it. Thankfully Texas does recognize dyslexia (many states do not) and our school district does test specifically for that. He did a great job at the assessment and the tester was very complimentary (proud parent moment, there). But yes, he does have dyslexia.

Needless to say, those plans for middle school I thought I had all nailed down have changed a bit. But not too much, really. We are just doing something different for English and math. Thankfully the reading I've done about dyslexia has given me a better idea of what may work for him with math. We will be trying something completely different this next year. Which is such a relief, as math has really been almost torture for us. I have also learned that there is a specific type of program that works well for dyslexic students to learn/improve their reading, spelling, grammar and writing (Orton-Gillingham), and we have several options available as homeschoolers.

I will do a middle school overview and year 6 specifics in separate posts. Before I leave this one, though, I want to give a link that I found very helpful in understanding better what, exactly, dyslexia is. I really didn't have a clue. But this website helped to improved my understanding:

There are also several books on the subject that are on my list to read. I am currently reading The Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain, by Brock L. Eide, M.D., M.A. and Fernette F. Eide, M.D. Its an easy read and quite fascinating. Next up (both from my local library) is Overcoming Dyslexia: A New and Complete Science-Based Program for Reading Problems at Any Level, by Sally Shaywitz, M.D. Definitely a good start on my personal learning adventure.