Friday, December 26, 2014

Year 6 - Moving Right Along

So, a couple posts ago I mentioned discovering that ds is dyslexic. We have made great strides in the reading department. But, as usual, not in the way I initially thought. The Logic of English Essentials program turned out to be too painful for both of us to use in full. The phonogram and spelling lessons are not laid out in a way he can get his head around; and memorizing spelling rules was not at all compatible with his working memory. I'm very thankful that I decided to start it during our summer term so I figured this out before beginning year 6 in September. I was seriously considering purchasing the first level of Barton Reading - the gold standard of homeschool-ready Orton-Gillingham programs. But my husband was not on board with the idea of switching programs, so I had to compromise. Ultimately, that has turned out to be a good thing as we seem to have found something that works well for him.

ABeCeDarian is not an Orton-Gillingham program. It is phono-graphix. While Orton-Gillingham methods have been found to work well for teaching dyslexics to read, it seems some kids do better with phono-graphix - which is still explicit, multisensory reading instruction. This article briefly introduces this method. The main thing for us was not having to memorize those rules. We recently completed ABeCeDarian Level B (short version) and have seen improvement not only in his reading, but also in his attitude and willingness to read. When we resume after the new year we'll begin Level C, along with the Spelling Patterns book. In addition, we have continued to use the grammar lessons from Logic of English, and their game cards to play phonogram 'Uno.' Roughly once a week we read a selection from McGuffey's Third Reader.

For reading outside of school work, I signed ds up for Bookshare. This is a wonderful thing. It is a free (in the US) service for students with print disabilities, so does require an official diagnosis to subscribe. They have well over 300,000 books available as e-text that can be read with text-to-speech, and the text is highlighted as it is read. Many of those are text books, scout books, and lots of great literature. We have set it up on an Android tablet that he uses strictly for reading, which we are requiring daily outside of 'school.' He also uses the tablet's voice reader for the reading he is assigned online for history and science. We are embracing technology in this house.

Aside from the reading, We are still using Easy Peasy for Bible, History, Science, Art, and Music, which works very well with the tts accommodations. In addition I supplement science reading with videos we find on YouTube. We are loving Life of Fred Math, and ds plays Math Blaster and other math oriented video games. I read aloud from books we are using for health, character study, and economics. He's learning to cook some meals. We try to get moving for PE most days. And we're listening to some wonderful literature on Beginning in February, we will begin participating in a co-op, where he will take classes like jujitsu and chess. He's learning to play the guitar, and also learning to play hockey. I can barely keep up. But so far, we're having a great year.

ETA: I forgot to mention programming. Twice a week he works through the Khan Academy Intro JS course. He does not love it, but is able to complete the lessons and projects. It has given him a good taste of what it takes to write programs to create games - something he thought he wanted to do. :)