If you were to start over your homeschooling journey again, what would you do differently? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 24 Old 06-24-2012, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It looks like we have decided to homeschool both my children full-time.  Gulp.  I am more nervous than I thought I would be.  So just thought I would ask what you wise ladies here have learned from your experience.    

 

What would you have done differently if you were to start your homeschooling journey again? What do you wish you had known? 

 

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#2 of 24 Old 06-24-2012, 09:25 PM
 
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I was very careful not act like homeschooling was "better" than other peoples choices, so that my child would't be in the situation where she was talking bad about public school to her friends.  In retrospect, I wish I would have taught my daughter how special HSing is so that she knew, and not been so worried about offending the masses.

 

Otherwise, the best wisdom you can use w/ HSing is your gut, and try to not second guess everything you are doing in the moment.  HSing is tremendous fun and a wonderful gift to your family. 

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#3 of 24 Old 06-25-2012, 08:12 AM
 
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I would have done more work on my personal issues.

 

 I had always been a good student and had a lot of arrogance about people who were left-brained.  My first child was a lot like I was: verbally advanced, an early reader, very organized, etc.  I felt like I knew what made him tick, and it was easy to provide him with learning opportunities.  My second child turned out to be a lot like DH: right-brained, resistant to organization, wildly and messily creative, a later reader.  I floundered massively before really accepting that she had some incredible gifts and I had better let go of my way of doing things.

 

We are now joyfully unschooling, and I have a deep and real appreciation for DD and DH that I didn't have before.

 

Also, I wish I had read John Holt's Learning All the Time: How small children begin to read, write, count, and investigate the world without being taught much earlier in the process. 

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#4 of 24 Old 06-25-2012, 11:55 AM
 
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I've actually been really pleased with how things have gone for us (we're about to start on our second year of hs-ing, so we're still pretty new at it).  One thing that has really helped me is The Parenting Passageway blog, which focuses on developing an enriching family culture and knowing what things are age and developmentally-appropriate.  Also, lots of good Waldorf-inspired art and craft projects, which I've found are superior and richer than many children's projects.  I try and make our learning as 3-dimensional as possible, but I also like making sure we have lots of "down" time to explore and be creative, as well as interact with others in the community and do general house upkeep, which I think is really important for kids to see.  


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#5 of 24 Old 06-25-2012, 02:59 PM
 
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I knew my children would not attend school from the beginning, but I really wish I would have held off discussing our decision with extended family members, who later thought they had a say in what we were doing because I'd spent so much time trying to "enlighten" them.

I'd advise anyone new to home educating to state very clearly to any who questions that decision that only you and your partner get to make the decisions you know are best for your family- it is not open for debate, criticism, judgement, opinions, or unsolicited advice.
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#6 of 24 Old 06-26-2012, 04:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for you responses :)  My family seems to generally be shocked that I would take on such a challenge.  Friends are pretty supportive.  Kids are really happy.  Thank you for the books and website recommendations.  Will check those out.  I am feeling a bit wobbly but I think it is just because I understand the hugeness of the responsibility.  

 

Thanks again and keep them coming if anyone out there thinks of anything else :)

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#7 of 24 Old 06-26-2012, 08:22 PM
 
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I wish I had slowed way down with my first.  I feel like I taught him to read too early, and he missed out on a few more years of imaginative play.  Once he learned to read, he spent much less time playing and much more time absorbed in books.  The books are wonderful, but sometimes I wonder if he needed more little kid years.

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#8 of 24 Old 06-26-2012, 09:08 PM
 
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I wish I wouldn't have been so focused on finding a curriculum that fit my kid(s) in the early years (meaning those years between 4-8yo).  I now realize why there are a number of countries that don't bother introducing academics until after the kids are 7yo.  I spent a rather ridiculous amount of money on various curricula that either suited my kid for a short season of his life or didn't fit at all.  He's always been the same little personality with the same likes, but how he takes in information has changed in subtle ways that have made the difference in understanding how he learns.  Knowing what I know now, I'd have spent that time doing fun stuff, focusing on social skills and self-care--with a generous dose of "dancing with mommy" sessions and reading in the big bed.  kid.gif


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#9 of 24 Old 06-26-2012, 10:14 PM
 
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I wouldn't have tried to be such a tough homeschooling mom at the beginning. I wanted to do all sorts of fun stuff my it just turns out that my daughter is a late bloomer. All I did was make us miserable.

 

So...I'd say to start out gradually. You don't have to do everything at once.
 


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#10 of 24 Old 06-29-2012, 12:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geemom View Post

I was very careful not act like homeschooling was "better" than other peoples choices, so that my child would't be in the situation where she was talking bad about public school to her friends.  In retrospect, I wish I would have taught my daughter how special HSing is so that she knew, and not been so worried about offending the masses.

 

My kiddos have been to school and they do not like it much.  So, they know they are not missing anything.  This gives me a great advantage.  My son and I spoke about doing the work at home without too much whinning and resistance.  I think he is gonna keep his end of the bargain.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by Savoir Faire View Post

I wouldn't have tried to be such a tough homeschooling mom at the beginning. 

 

I am very much trying to keep this in mind as I go forward.  Thank you for reminding me again :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

I wish I wouldn't have been so focused on finding a curriculum that fit my kid(s) in the early years (meaning those years between 4-8yo).  I now realize why there are a number of countries that don't bother introducing academics until after the kids are 7yo.  I spent a rather ridiculous amount of money on various curricula that either suited my kid for a short season of his life or didn't fit at all.  He's always been the same little personality with the same likes, but how he takes in information has changed in subtle ways that have made the difference in understanding how he learns.  Knowing what I know now, I'd have spent that time doing fun stuff, focusing on social skills and self-care--with a generous dose of "dancing with mommy" sessions and reading in the big bed.  kid.gif

 

My DH worries about reading.  Right now we are doing some reading instruction.  The rest is their time.  They draw a lot.  Today, the made a chef hat both for me and DH.  Son also wrote out a recipie for bread. He wants to try to bake bread over the weekend.  I am going to keep it at this pace for a while.  We will see how things unfold as we go.  

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dovey View Post

I wish I had slowed way down with my first.  I feel like I taught him to read too early, and he missed out on a few more years of imaginative play.  Once he learned to read, he spent much less time playing and much more time absorbed in books.  The books are wonderful, but sometimes I wonder if he needed more little kid years.

 

Keeping this in mind too.  The time passes so fast. The grow up in a blink of an eye.  No need to rush it further.

 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luckiestgirl View Post

I would have done more work on my personal issues.

 

 

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Great comments you guys.  Thank you for sharing.

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#11 of 24 Old 06-29-2012, 05:29 AM
 
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It took me a while to find out that Waldorf best suits our family, so I guess I would have started off with Waldorf. I didn't push reading or writing, but I guess I wouldn't have stressed so much about it.


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#12 of 24 Old 06-29-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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Reading is such a tough issue because some kids truly do NOT get it until they're 8 or 9.  By the time they're teens, you don't know the difference, but it doesn't stop the panic of our society's insistence that it happen at 5 or 6yo from setting in.

 

There was a woman that spoke at a homeschool conference about unschooling and I landed in that session quite by accident (I am still not an unschooled, btw).  She started her talk by saying that the only goals she had for her kids when starting out were that they could read and write enough to fill out an employment application and do enough math to balance their checkbooks.

 

jaw.gif  <-- (that was my reaction, but I couldn't get up and leave without being obvious because I was RIGHT up front of a VERY crowded room)

 

I sat and listened to her, and really, she made more and more sense.  These were the things she planned to IMPOSE on her kids if they didn't manage to get it on their own (they far outdid this, btw).  I was still uncomfortable.  On the heels of this we had 2 years filled with 5 moves (all related to a single job relocation), 3 deaths (my would-be mother, the only other person that loved me and a 2nd trimester baby girl) and a lawsuit that left my family unsure if we'd wind up with custody of another child.  We were minimally engaged with our kids let alone dedicated to formally educating them.  Suddenly, it was clear that all my son had learned in that time was truly on his own--and given how much he "got", I suddenly let go of my concerns.


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#13 of 24 Old 06-30-2012, 08:01 PM
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Reading is such a tough issue because some kids truly do NOT get it until they're 8 or 9.  By the time they're teens, you don't know the difference, but it doesn't stop the panic of our society's insistence that it happen at 5 or 6yo from setting in.

 

True, but there is also the small group of kids who just won't get it without lots of help.  This is a small percentage, but it is a very real group and my middle child is one of those.  She is nearly 10 and moderately dyslexic.  Perhaps she is closer to moderately severe.  Regardless, she needs a LOT of help with the reading.  This wasn't done through drill or tears, but it was still needed.  I noticed that she was "different" (for lack of a better word) early on.  I didn't realize that it meant dyslexia until the middle of first grade.  For her, I really wished I would have homeschooled her from the beginning.  We truly take it at her pace at home (and she doesn't have a classroom full of kids to compare herself to).  At home, learning & teaching focuses on her strengths.  Anyways, waiting until she was 8 or 9 wouldn't have helped us.  

 

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#14 of 24 Old 07-03-2012, 04:47 PM
 
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True, but there is also the small group of kids who just won't get it without lots of help.  This is a small percentage, but it is a very real group and my middle child is one of those.  

 

Totally agreed.  I didn't mean to imply that this isn't a reality; but truly, most kids don't have these issues and yet they still vary widely in when they will "get it".  Even without issues, it seems to be a trigger point for panic in many parents.  Honestly, if not for mine teaching himself to read at THREE and my now 3-1/2yo taking a very genuine and active interest in learning, I'm not sure how I would handle things, either.  I don't know how comfy I'd be if mine were on the 9yo end of learning to read.  Of course, I also know that a lot of that are my own issues.  :/

 

I should note that the one that taught himself to read has PUH-LEN-TY of other issues... so I'm not unfamiliar with that territory--it's just that mine isn't in the area of reading.


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#15 of 24 Old 07-03-2012, 06:14 PM
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Totally agreed.  I didn't mean to imply that this isn't a reality; but truly, most kids don't have these issues and yet they still vary widely in when they will "get it".  Even without issues, it seems to be a trigger point for panic in many parents.  Honestly, if not for mine teaching himself to read at THREE and my now 3-1/2yo taking a very genuine and active interest in learning, I'm not sure how I would handle things, either.  I don't know how comfy I'd be if mine were on the 9yo end of learning to read.  Of course, I also know that a lot of that are my own issues.  :/

 

I should note that the one that taught himself to read has PUH-LEN-TY of other issues... so I'm not unfamiliar with that territory--it's just that mine isn't in the area of reading.

I think we are on the same page.  nod.gif

 

I can honestly say that I have had to deal with my personal issues regarding all of it.  My oldest taught herself how to read, and I was naive enough to assume they all would.  Additionally, it took me a while to determine if I was just (unfairly) comparing children or if dd2 actually had a problem.  And then I continued to second guess myself because I know that many kids really don't "get it" until they are older.  It has been a personal struggle for me. . . which may be why I wanted to point out the minority of kids that do need the extra help.

 

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#16 of 24 Old 07-05-2012, 05:46 PM
 
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Some things I would have done differently, are spending much more time outside instead of letting the kids watch a lot of tv. Not been so teachery, (read overbearing) by turning everything into a lesson. Let the kids help me more, instead of doing everything myself. And been more physically active. And less time on the computer. And slow down and not worry so much about making sure they met with someone else's idea of where they should be developmentally. Sigh.
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#17 of 24 Old 07-06-2012, 10:09 AM
 
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I would have done more structured work with my oldest on handwriting and spelling when we were first starting out, rather than having to correct it so much now.


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#18 of 24 Old 07-11-2012, 01:35 AM
 
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I live in PA, where we have to have a portfolio and evaluation done every year. If I were starting over, I'd interview evaluators and find one I could talk with and relate to well. I have now used my fourth evaluator in eight years of homeschooling. I wish I'd had a better match from the beginning!
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#19 of 24 Old 07-18-2012, 08:13 AM
 
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I would have homeschooled much earlier in my kids lives when it would have been more "fun" for all of us.  I would have worried less about the amount of work we completed the first year and let them deschool a bit more.  I would have tried to get dh more involved in coming up with our philosophies and also somehow tried to get him to help problem solve more (logistics, etc).  I would have worried less about people's opinions (they think I am nuts, dc really picked up on this and it was hard for dd especially since she is used to people seeing me as a little crazy as a teacher but I wasn't her teacher).  I would probably have made sure I made it to a homeschool convention first to help with the planning, etc.  I would have made a bigger effort to find other homeschoolers in the area and actually do things together socially (I knew of one co-op group and arranged my work schedule around that, but ended up not participating in that group), it was lonely.  There is probably a longer list of could have, should have, would haves but I don't want to be too depressed, lol. ;)  Good luck in your journey!!!
 

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#20 of 24 Old 07-20-2012, 02:07 PM
 
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Ive wanted to homeschool if I had children before I 100% knew I wanted to have children.. However I wish I would have slowed down and just enjoyed them being toddlers.. I was so anxious to "prove" that it would work (our families aren't supportive!) that I rushed a lot with my first.. Now with my 3rd Im realizing how much I really missed with my first by rushing through this time.. Its wonderful to see my youngest exploring things on his own instead of being expected to sit down and "learn" like I did with my first.. My oldest is 5 now and I actually do less with her now than I did when she was 18 months duh.gif This potion of their lives are so precious and pass so quickly, its time to cherish it, there is time for "serious learning" a little later.

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#21 of 24 Old 07-22-2012, 09:31 PM
 
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Oh Yes! I think you mamas said it all for me! 

 

Well, I would have made DH read the same books I did! He does it with me and ohhhhhh, he is still not deschooled! He has got some things in his head that are seriously all about success at this age, mistrust, slacking.. ugh.. and then we do have that one local friend that does more and seems like she is trying to serve us each time we get together. I know for a fact that we are her only friend and feel really sad that we keep feeling like she is showing off. Her kid is going to K... It just makes me really uncomfortable when he "performs" knowledge... I am not sure why. I guess that isn't the "point" and the "point" is the biggest lesson I deeply feel is "the question" at the mere age of 5. My kids want to feel loved, celebrated and they also need help showing each other. They want to communicate. They dearly want to play. They need more and more healthy food and time outside. One of the biggest things I am happy I did was find Waldorf and not strickly follow it as an unschooler (semi- due to DH). Today my love was going on about singapore math for $23 a workbook. It was clear to me that there was no toys involved and this was going to be instruction. I got a long lecture on scientist studing people and finding out best how they learn. The same week my close friend got my son a toy that shoots bullets. OT, I am pretty upset. 

 

I tried to nap with the baby. Then I got an idea. I got up and made a cone out of felt, which we made into a toy strawberry and gave to his sister when she woke up. I made sure that the "cone" lesson got spelled on the chalkboard and that DH was in the room. I made other cones of smaller circumference. When sister woke up her gave this to her and said "I love you with all my heart!" It was very sweet and in the end I collaborated and got my way. I pointed out that learning in the early years shouldn't start with "ABC" but "I love you, I love me, and I love the world" It is hard to explain this to many people.

 

You ever watch a movie that makes you feel like the important things can get so lost and we always see these people realizing the moment has passed and it is all to late? That is probably what I wish I would have learned from the very first day of holding my son. My life has changed tons since then and I feel that I am %80 there. I wish for certain I would have ripped the TV out of the house! I wish also that I lived in one place! I really wish that I would have followed the Waldorf environments and toys more carefully than all the rest! (or as a true starting place). I do half and half now because DH use to see me as almost a open ended toy, anti-mainstream smoother... and it has taken me so long to hear him say that he really admires the way our children play... and yes, we see the difference a lot! 

 

I wish I would have gotten in tune with my own imaginative side while my son was an infant. I have not had time to read about Waldorf but I have flocked that way and gotten information that I can believe with my whole heart! One key was about health and nature being a huge part of life before age 8. It all makes a ton of sense to me now. And it isn't from the point of view like you are a dentist telling them their bodies will rot. It is far more celebrated, everything is way more positive.  It is for every kind of person, even urbanites, because it is a foundation to a healthy life -Love, food, activity, creativity. 

 

My fav book was by David Albert " the journey of the self-seeker" I have not read many others..

 

My up side of unschooling has been that I ask my child questions and hear the answers and they are always my fav part of the day. I also celebrate their birthdays by staying up all night and giving them a grand day (I nap... it could be better if I had more time to prep). I am planning on journalling really soon with both of them and this is were writing 101 will begin and also give us all something meaningful. 

 

I understand the side of extended family. A really sweet member gave me "the talk" one late night and said the point of life was to compete.. I barely could speak when I said I thought the point of life was to love. Many people can't understand my views on my dedication to my family. These are my children! I don't expect some other better bird to teach someone else's bird to fly and I am really annoyed that people don't think it is enough for me to teach my own children how to shine. They honestly are making it out to be a sad statement of wealth vs passion, or them finding a passion that will make them the most money. I get it, I am not walking away from that idea and I think that art vs. math - then I stand with art.... but really - it is to teach a whole rich life approach. Sadly.. we still aren't in our own home yet and the garden is not great. We have been trying to explore. 

 

I think I would try starting my own art coop as soon as possible with high quality materials. I would also try to get the whole thing tax free. 

I would get in with the holistic moms ASAP (just for GD really). 

I would plan to celebrate the seasons with more real life than crafts... I feel like the shut up in a room learning is really where this came from.. kids are totally aware of the outdoors :). Let them wander! I would keep my crafts to ones that come out really well done. 

 

Over-stimulation is something I never worried about until I had two kids. It seems I compete with everything. You want them to be "on" during certain times - you might not have a child that likes to cram- they need down time. TV is not down time, in my house, running around is more like it. 

 

I guess my biggest point is I wish I had more DH support to create and support my DS's imagination vs ANY kind of other academic materials. So - think etsy? Think all that kind of stuff! It goes by soooo fast!!!!! 


Leslie, organic semi-unschooling mama teaching my children 5 and 2.75, that love & happiness is most important. Letting their light shine, finding out they are teaching me. Love being in the moment & nature.

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#22 of 24 Old 07-27-2012, 10:47 AM
 
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What a great, useful and encouraging thread!  I have 'unschooled' my 6 year old b/c it is what came naturally to us.  He's a left, linear, logical and very into numbers, and I felt that giving him more time to nap, play outside, and think outside his lines would be a nice break for both of us, and he agreed he didn't want to try school at the age of 5.  I was so happy when he started begging me to write him math problems, and then to give him harder and harder math problems.  We spent 3 days learning map/time zones/earth spinning stuff when he wanted to learn about clocks and times.  By Christmas, we were gifted some Kumon math books, 2-3 grade.  Without any oversight, he took off and taught himself advanced subtraction and addition, followed quickly by multiplication.  We stopped in May in division with remainders.  All without me having to 'teach' by setting up a plan and overseeing his learning, but just coming alongside and answering his questions and showing him what he was interested in.  He also has learned baseball and loves stats.  He has no interest in reading, except for my chats/texts, books on trains, or baseball.  And he's catching on.  We'll be doing more formal and organized school in the fall, but this experience of learning in a laid back way has been so good for the two of us who are totally opposite in personality, but not in learning style. 

 

He is my first of 4, and they are all totally different in personality and learning.  My mother home-schooled us for a couple of years, and I respect both school, but also the freedom and learning curve that can be accomplished at home.  I'm going to be lurking here for tips and advice, and going to check out some of the books too!  My husband and I had unique and non-standard learning styles, so we both felt that school might not be the best choice for our kids simply b/c it's what people do.  I also love the fact that I am getting these extra years to get to know my kids and to listen and grow with them.

 

thanks to all you mama's who have been doing this, and blessings to all those starting out!  I think home-schooling was probably the best choice (and one of the hardest) my mother made with me and my sisters when we were young.  I wish we could have done more with it.  and I look forward to the challenge and adventure ahead for my little people.


joy.gifSAHM and Holistic Health Counselor with  angel.gif 1/05, DS1 blahblah.gif 3/06, angel1.gif 5/07, DD1 dust.gif 3/08, DD2 thumbsuck.gif 11/09, DD3 energy.gif 4/11, and DS2 babyf.gif 2/13.  expecting a surprise stork-suprise.gif 8/14!
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#23 of 24 Old 07-28-2012, 10:06 PM
 
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I would have researched curriculum more....we had such a hard time with finding phonics and math programs that work for ds.

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#24 of 24 Old 08-01-2012, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all, for sharing your experiences :)  I am paying close attention! smile.gif

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