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Old 11-17-2012, 06:24 PM   #1
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Homeschooling and learning disabilities

DH and I are starting to wonder if our DS has a learning disability, or maybe ADD, or both.
We are committed to homeschooling, and when I picture the future us, we are homeschooling all the way through. Of course I want what is best for my children, so if that was somehow public school, then that's what we would do.

Anyway, DS is 6. He seems to have problems focusing. No hyperactivity though. We also notice problems retaining information when we read to him (the problem today in that area was history). With Math we are trying to teach him slop counting by 5's, and it's very slow, he's struggling. Although he memorized it last night, but I don't think he could teach it back to me. With math it seems like he just answers with the first number that comes to his mind, without really thinking about it.

I don't know what I'm asking here...does everyone wonder if their kids have learning problems? lol How do you find out if they do? How/where do I get help with helping him learn/retain? Maybe it's just an age thing? I think his reading is average for his age; not advanced, but he can read, and not all 6 year olds can, so that's a plus. Lol

Thanks for reading.

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Old 11-17-2012, 10:21 PM   #2
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

My answer may be all over the map so forgive me, it is late and I didn't sleep much last night. First let me say I homeschool two boys with special needs that do include learning differences. My oldest is autistic with a slew of other things that go with it and my youngest is bipolar and ADHD. There are times that handling their learning needs just feels like too much. I do wonder if I am making the best decision or if there is some one out there who could do more for them. Ultimately I have always found ways to teach them and work with them or found the help I needed when I needed it. I haven't found a program that worked better for my kids than I could, that doesn't mean that there isn't one out there though.

Your son is young and it is possible that there is nothing more going on than normal kid stuff. It isn't terribly abnormal for a child of that age to answer incorrectly on purpose, have some focus problems (people say it is more common in boys but I don't know if that is true) or be stronger in one area than another. Some kids just aren't ready for formal learning at 6 and some need a different approach than others. My youngest doesn't learn math the same way my oldest and I do. That doesn't mean anything is wrong with him and as far as learning abilities go he is incredibly intelligent (his issues are all mood related, he is advanced for his age). If I want him to learn math we have to break out the manipulatives. That is just how he learns best. So it is possible you just haven't found the right teaching method yet. Or it is possible there is something going on. If your mother's intuition is nagging at you that something is up you can reach out and get help. Talk to your pediatrician about having your son evaluated. If you think he has a learning disability and ADHD start there. Usually you would get a referral to a developmental pediatrician for an evaluation. After the evaluation you will get suggestions on what to do next from therapy to medications depending on what if anything is going on.

You do have the option of approaching the school system and requesting an ARD and educational evaluation. Assuming your son is old enough to be in K (and since he is 6 he probably is) he is guaranteed free appropriate public education just like everyone else. The school will not diagnose your child, they will simply tell you if he would qualify for an educational plan. Often if you are unwilling to enroll him in public school and he does not have significant needs he will not qualify for help from the school. He may qualify for walk in therapy even as a home schooling student if his needs are significant (speech therapy ect) but a child who just needs academic support rarely qualifies.
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Old 11-17-2012, 10:35 PM   #3
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

Quote:
Originally Posted by iris0110 View Post
My answer may be all over the map so forgive me, it is late and I didn't sleep much last night. First let me say I homeschool two boys with special needs that do include learning differences. My oldest is autistic with a slew of other things that go with it and my youngest is bipolar and ADHD. There are times that handling their learning needs just feels like too much. I do wonder if I am making the best decision or if there is some one out there who could do more for them. Ultimately I have always found ways to teach them and work with them or found the help I needed when I needed it. I haven't found a program that worked better for my kids than I could, that doesn't mean that there isn't one out there though.

Your son is young and it is possible that there is nothing more going on than normal kid stuff. It isn't terribly abnormal for a child of that age to answer incorrectly on purpose, have some focus problems (people say it is more common in boys but I don't know if that is true) or be stronger in one area than another. Some kids just aren't ready for formal learning at 6 and some need a different approach than others. My youngest doesn't learn math the same way my oldest and I do. That doesn't mean anything is wrong with him and as far as learning abilities go he is incredibly intelligent (his issues are all mood related, he is advanced for his age). If I want him to learn math we have to break out the manipulatives. That is just how he learns best. So it is possible you just haven't found the right teaching method yet. Or it is possible there is something going on. If your mother's intuition is nagging at you that something is up you can reach out and get help. Talk to your pediatrician about having your son evaluated. If you think he has a learning disability and ADHD start there. Usually you would get a referral to a developmental pediatrician for an evaluation. After the evaluation you will get suggestions on what to do next from therapy to medications depending on what if anything is going on.

You do have the option of approaching the school system and requesting an ARD and educational evaluation. Assuming your son is old enough to be in K (and since he is 6 he probably is) he is guaranteed free appropriate public education just like everyone else. The school will not diagnose your child, they will simply tell you if he would qualify for an educational plan. Often if you are unwilling to enroll him in public school and he does not have significant needs he will not qualify for help from the school. He may qualify for walk in therapy even as a home schooling student if his needs are significant (speech therapy ect) but a child who just needs academic support rarely qualifies.
Thanks for your reply. What is an ARD?
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:26 PM   #4
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

He sounds like a normal 6yo to me.

Children all learn at different rates. There are times when they move quickly through concepts, and other times not. It may take a bit for something to click, and then when it does there's no stopping them.

I'd give it time. Something like math just may not be his 'thing.' If that is the case, then you might see him always moving slow in this subject. And, that is okay. If he tries his best, that is what you want. Until they are 8yo, or even older, there are focusing issues to deal with.

I would just try to find more ways to teach these subjects. Have things that are visual and hands on, like counters. Have a number chart that he can put pennies on the numbers and uncover them as he answers what they are (or have pennies on some and not others and see if he can say the full chain - like '5, 10, X, 20, X, 30, 35, X, X' and so on). Have him draw things out, write it out, etc. The more ways he can see, hear, and do it, the better it'll stick since he'll have more things to pull from his memory bank on that one lesson.

Trying having him be the 'teacher' for a bit one day, and just have fun letting him 'teach' you. Keep it relaxed and the pressure off. Pretend you can't do some of the things and have him 'help' you do it, etc. This'll be a good way for you to see what he's retained/mastered, what he needs work on and you might all the sudden find an angle in what to do differently with him since he'll be providing all the clues.
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Last edited by 3girlymom; 11-18-2012 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 11-18-2012, 08:33 PM   #5
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

Thanks

The pennies on a number line/chart sounds like a good idea!

Today I realized he has seemed tired lately, and it seems like it's really been since he broke his collarbone last week. I'm guessing it's his body healing. Hopefully things will get better when his clavicle heals fully.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:50 AM   #6
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

Wow - any trauma like that can certainly affect the body/mind. I'd consider going half speed for a bit or maybe giving him a few days off to chill. If you decide to plug on with school, perhaps a little treat coming afterwards might make him feel special. Poor guy! That must be quite painful for him.
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Old 11-19-2012, 10:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Thanks

The pennies on a number line/chart sounds like a good idea!

Today I realized he has seemed tired lately, and it seems like it's really been since he broke his collarbone last week. I'm guessing it's his body healing. Hopefully things will get better when his clavicle heals fully.
Just a suggestion - how about using nickels instead of pennies. This way it'll reinforce the value of a nickel at the same time!
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Old 11-19-2012, 11:58 AM   #8
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

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Originally Posted by jnei View Post
Just a suggestion - how about using nickels instead of pennies. This way it'll reinforce the value of a nickel at the same time!
Yeah, I was thinking pennies in between nickels.
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Old 11-19-2012, 02:08 PM   #9
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Re: Homeschooling and learning disabilities

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Originally Posted by jnei View Post
Just a suggestion - how about using nickels instead of pennies. This way it'll reinforce the value of a nickel at the same time!
That's awesome!
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