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#1 of 25 Old 07-26-2012, 11:43 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son has completed kindergarten and first grade in public school. Our local school is very well respected in the community, and is a national "Blue Ribbon School." We're in district for it, but it also functions as a magnet school for "individually prescribed education" (which is a joke, more on that later). He also attended half day preschool at his elementary school, which he qualified for because of speech delays. I loved everything about his preschool experience there and he did, too, but, ever since kindergarten started, I've been getting more and more fed up with school.

 

Early in ds's kindergarten year I realized that, despite playing letter games at home and directly learning letters in preschool, he did not learn the alphabet. Thanks to lots of work at home, he did eventually learn the alphabet and letter sounds, but he wasn't catching onto reading the way it was taught at his school (mostly whole language, with some minimal phonics mixed in). I suspected dyslexia early on because my brother is dyslexic and my husband is dyslexic and my son has a lot in common with both of them in terms of the way he thinks. His teacher, however, was totally skeptical of the idea and kept telling me that she was sure DS would make a big jump in skills after Christmas as many kids do. When he didn't make the jump after Christmas she was sure he'd make it by spring break. When that didn't happen, she started talking to us about retention. We had no interest in retaining him in kindergarten. You would think, since he has an IEP for speech, that getting another evaluation for dyslexia might be easy, but no. Our district doesn't consider dyslexia a special need, and children can't get an IEP for reading in any case until third grade (because, of course, waiting until reading is essential to help struggling kids is the best choice apparently). He did go see the reading specialist for most of kindergarten, but the program she used basically just taught him to be a better guesser. They learned strategies like "picture reading." I'm sure that helps some kids, but not mine. 

 

Long story ever so slightly shorter, we had him independently evaluated for dyslexia at the end of kindergarten, and were not surprised to learn that we were right. He began tutoring at the place that did the evaluation over the summer between kindergarten and first grade. They use the Barton Reading and Spelling program, which is wonderful. His tutor, who is a licensed speech therapist, has also mixed in some speech theo rapy, which has been extremely helpful. Since the spring all the tutors have also been working on exercises to improve students' memory (often a problem for dyslexics) and ability to track words across the page. 

 

 

All of this has been great and helped my son a lot, but his reading (and his math, too) is still behind where the school expects him to be. First grade was enjoyable for him in some ways, but homework was always a huge battle because, even though homework at his school is "individualized", in that students are divided into groups by ability and different groups get different work, the work started being above his level by Thanksgiving. Add to this the fact that he had two hours of tutoring a week after school and wanted to participate in other activities (ballet class and Cub Scouts), and you had a frustrated and exhausted little boy. 

 

Despite the fact that he's officially "below level" in reading and math, there was no talk of retaining ds in first grade. So he's registered to go back to school for second grade in just under three weeks (the start date here is August 15th), but he doesn't want to go and I don't want to send him.

 

His best friends (whose parents are good friends of ours) has always been homeschooled. Ds started asking to be homeschooled partway through kindergarten. I told him there was no way I could do it and he had to figure out how to adjust to school. I gave it brief thought at the end of kindergarten when his teacher was talking about retention, but, with the dyslexia diagnosis, we were able to talk reason into her regarding him continuing to first grade. However, in March of this year ds started complaining about school almost every day and asking to be homeschooled. Every Sunday night he cried about going back to school on Monday. I started loooking seriously into homeschooling, found a curriculum I thought would be a good fit, and started to realize it might be something I could do.

 

My husband, however, is opposed to homeschooling in principle. He thinks every child should attend public school, and has little respect for families who choose private school (he has a bit more respect for homeschool, but not much). I too see much value in public education in principle. I really do like that our son is exposed to kids whose values are different than ours, whose skin is a different color and, in some cases, who speak a different language at home. But, when your son cries every Sunday night about school, it's very tempting to throw your principles out the window and try something new, even if only for a  season.  In addition, my son's reading tutor has noted that both his enthusiasm for the work and his ability to concentrate and do it well have improved this summer, when he's been going in the morning. At his last afternoon session, he knew three of his sight words. At the first morning session just two days later (with no studying in between), he knew 15.

 

I told my son I was looking into homeschooling, but that it was not at all certain we would do it. I honestly thought that, if I carefully researched the options and considered what I thought would be best for our son, my husband would come around. However, he won't come around. Despite agreeing that some of the curriculum I've shown him would be a great fit for ds, despite agreeing that the "individually prescribed education" in our son's school is a joke, despite thinking that public schools give way too many standardized tests, he still thinks ds (and every chidl) should go to public school. Come August 15th, he wins by default because not sending ds to school without having made arrangements to homeschool would be against the law. It breaks my heart, but I've been trying to bring ds around to the idea in recent weeks. He will hear nothing of it. He says he really wants to homeschool.

 

I really don't know why I posted this, really I just needed to get it all out in a forum where I'm not bashing my husband because non one knows him (or me for that matter). If you are able to remind me why public school really is valuable and it's worth pushing through this rough time, feel free to do so.  If you think you know of some magic way to make a stubborn husband agree to your point of view, feel free to comment, but I'd be surprised to learn of an avenue I haven't tried (at this point, I'm down to begging). If you think I'm an idiot for letting my husband make this decision, please refrain from commenting. You're not me and you don't understand the dynamics of my family. For the record, we're evangelical Christians, but we're egalitarian when it comes to women's issues, and we make most big decisions together. On this particular decision, though, the public school proponent wins just because it's the default position.


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#2 of 25 Old 07-27-2012, 06:28 AM
 
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You would think, since he has an IEP for speech, that getting another evaluation for dyslexia might be easy, but no. Our district doesn't consider dyslexia a special need, and children can't get an IEP for reading in any case until third grade (because, of course, waiting until reading is essential to help struggling kids is the best choice apparently). He did go see the reading specialist for most of kindergarten, but the program she used basically just taught him to be a better guesser. They learned strategies like "picture reading." I'm sure that helps some kids, but not mine. 

 

 

No matter what, if you as a parent request an evaluation-- the schools have to comply within a set amount of days (varies by state but is usually 30 school days) to evaluate. And no- it is a matter of semantics, schools do not look for  'dyslexia'  but a specific learning disability (language per Federal Law) which can include reading, writing, math, written expression, etc.

 

Yes, IEPs can be given before 3rd grade for specific learning disability in reading. Most states/areas are moving toward using Reading Recovery/ RTI as a support prior to IEP. But given that your son has an IEP for speech already should make the school aware that he needs close monitoring since speech difficulties often can lead to difficulty with reading/writing/spelling since the sounds the student says/hears may differ than what it 'actually' is.

 

As for a solid program Barton is good- also one that is very good for dyslexia is Orten Gillingham. It uses multi-sensory ways to learn explicit phonics and decoding to help improve reading.

 

 

Look at www.wrightslaw.com   it is a great website that will h elp you shift through your rights as a parent and the responsibilities of the school per your sons IEP and reading difficulties.

 

If your son has a speech IEP, you can add speech related educational goals to help with reading (such as resource room support) and extra time/etc.

 

 

Long story ever so slightly shorter, we had him independently evaluated for dyslexia at the end of kindergarten, and were not surprised to learn that we were right. He began tutoring at the place that did the evaluation over the summer between kindergarten and first grade. They use the Barton Reading and Spelling program, which is wonderful. His tutor, who is a licensed speech therapist, has also mixed in some speech theo rapy, which has been extremely helpful. Since the spring all the tutors have also been working on exercises to improve students' memory (often a problem for dyslexics) and ability to track words across the page. 

 

Most schools will not take an outside evaluation. Since yes, kids can have a diagnosis-- but if it does not impact education or ability to function in the classroom- the school is not legally required to remediate or make accommodations.

 

See if your insurance will cover additional speech therapy, many will. Than if the school has speech therapy- you will get twice as much to work with.

 

 

All of this has been great and helped my son a lot, but his reading (and his math, too) is still behind where the school expects him to be. First grade was enjoyable for him in some ways, but homework was always a huge battle because, even though homework at his school is "individualized", in that students are divided into groups by ability and different groups get different work, the work started being above his level by Thanksgiving. Add to this the fact that he had two hours of tutoring a week after school and wanted to participate in other activities (ballet class and Cub Scouts), and you had a frustrated and exhausted little boy. 

 

If it is individualized- then no matter what he should be at his level. There is a wide wide range in K/1/2 grades and a good teacher should both adjust the work to your son and/or be aware that he is struggling and offer remediation.

 

Despite the fact that he's officially "below level" in reading and math, there was no talk of retaining ds in first grade. So he's registered to go back to school for second grade in just under three weeks (the start date here is August 15th), but he doesn't want to go and I don't want to send him.

 

How far below is he? If he is less than 6 months, often schools will not suggest retention. Actually most school would rather offer in school support than retain unless there are other major factors involved. Some schools also have different criteria for rentention. As for a Lights Retention Scale to be done- it is a good assessment to determine if a student is a candidate for retention. The best grade and most common to retain is K/1 since there is less social stigma and age-for-grade can come into play a lot more than older grades.

 

His best friends (whose parents are good friends of ours) has always been homeschooled. Ds started asking to be homeschooled partway through kindergarten. I told him there was no way I could do it and he had to figure out how to adjust to school. I gave it brief thought at the end of kindergarten when his teacher was talking about retention, but, with the dyslexia diagnosis, we were able to talk reason into her regarding him continuing to first grade. However, in March of this year ds started complaining about school almost every day and asking to be homeschooled. Every Sunday night he cried about going back to school on Monday. I started loooking seriously into homeschooling, found a curriculum I thought would be a good fit, and started to realize it might be something I could do.

 

The school may have recalled your reluctance to retain in K so did not approach it for 1st. Teachers from grades discuss and often consult each other. 

 

As for Homeschooling- state laws vary. Look into yours and see what is feasible.

 

  In addition, my son's reading tutor has noted that both his enthusiasm for the work and his ability to concentrate and do it well have improved this summer, when he's been going in the morning. At his last afternoon session, he knew three of his sight words. At the first morning session just two days later (with no studying in between), he knew 15.

 

Working one on one is a great way for your son to retain information, especially if the method the tutor is using works for him. Also the morning sessions are likely helpful since most kiddos at that age do better in the morning for academics (which is why early elem tend to do all math/reading as early as possible to help flagging energy levels in young students).

 

I would also try audio books, phonics based on song/movement (some good DVDs/CDs out there), alternative memorization techniques (such as writing in sand/clay letters, action spelling/reading/counting, etc.) Anything to keep it fun and physical- a lot of children that have difficulty reading do well if it is tied into concerete physical tasks- though each child is different. It may take some time to find what work for your son.

 

 

I told my son I was looking into homeschooling, but that it was not at all certain we would do it. I honestly thought that, if I carefully researched the options and considered what I thought would be best for our son, my husband would come around. However, he won't come around. Despite agreeing that some of the curriculum I've shown him would be a great fit for ds, despite agreeing that the "individually prescribed education" in our son's school is a joke, despite thinking that public schools give way too many standardized tests, he still thinks ds (and every chidl) should go to public school. Come August 15th, he wins by default because not sending ds to school without having made arrangements to homeschool would be against the law. It breaks my heart, but I've been trying to bring ds around to the idea in recent weeks. He will hear nothing of it. He says he really wants to homeschool.

 

I really don't know why I posted this, really I just needed to get it all out in a forum where I'm not bashing my husband because non one knows him (or me for that matter). If you are able to remind me why public school really is valuable and it's worth pushing through this rough time, feel free to do so.  If you think you know of some magic way to make a stubborn husband agree to your point of view, feel free to comment, but I'd be surprised to learn of an avenue I haven't tried (at this point, I'm down to begging). If you think I'm an idiot for letting my husband make this decision, please refrain from commenting. You're not me and you don't understand the dynamics of my family. For the record, we're evangelical Christians, but we're egalitarian when it comes to women's issues, and we make most big decisions together. On this particular decision, though, the public school proponent wins just because it's the default position.

 

 

I would try not to talk to your son that your husband does not want to homeschool. In fact, I would try to approach it that you and your husband are discussing his school for next Fall and that you will let him know what you both think will work for now. Yes, ask his opinion but also make sure that he knows that the adults in his family will support him and are trying to make sure that 2nd grade is successful no matter if you homeschool or go to public school.

 

It is hard when parents are divided on education. No- there is no magic answer. Could you and your husband have a set plan? Like try public school (and request testing for a full education eval!) until X date. If your son is still not happy and finding success then try homeschool for X time. Then you both will have full data to back up each educational option and also have a plan to present to your son. Or go to school in the morning for reading/math/speech support and homeschool afternoons (I know our area that you can do a 1/2 day per IEP or parent request regardless if the school is all day or not) or vice versa.

 

Also, try to meet with your sons teacher before school starts and see what she/he can offer. You may be surprised that teacher personalities/curriculum makes a big difference depending on each child. 

 

Yes, I agree that public school does too much stadardized testing- hopefully that will change with the current legislative changes to No Child Left Behind. But also maybe you can get an exemption. I know that different states offer exemptions to standardized testing. Contrary to what you may think- kids can be excluded from testing, you will have to see how for your state (it can vary depending on each state). 

 

Also, is there a pastor or minister you can discuss it with? Maybe that would be helpful so that you and your husband can find some solution/compromise that allows both of you to try to find a good educational solution for your son. Sometimes a 3rd party helps eliminate the win/lose mentality and allows couples to work better together to find a compromise.

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#3 of 25 Old 07-27-2012, 08:01 AM
 
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Have you looked in hybrid programs? In our area, there are tons of homeschool/public or private school hybrids. The kids go into class 2 or 3 times a week for group instruction and do the rest at home. There are public charters that offer this as well as private schools... particularly Christian private schools. I'd check around for something like this. It could be a nice middle ground for your DH... some actual class time with other children and teachers but also some one-on-one at home with mom and tutors more keyed into your DS's learning style.

 

Has the school tested him for learning disabilities? It's true, most schools won't put a child on an IEP for dyslexia but that's largely because dyslexia has turned into a sort of blanket term. They have  so many specific diagnosis now. In our state, if you formally request LD testing, they have to comply. You might try this route even though you have an outside diagnosis. They may find he qualifies under some other label.

 

As for the benefits of public school, I think it depends on the kid and the mesh of the school. We've had the benefit of well fitting elementaries and middle schools for our kids and I could rattle off a ton of positives. I've also seen what a poor fitting high school can do to a kid (and I'm not talking a bad social school... I'm talking a bad academic fit.) I highly suggest looking into ALL your public schooling options... maybe you can find something that fits your DS better!

 

Edited to add, have you had his eyesight checked by an optamologist? My DS had a visual tracking issue that didn't resolve itself until he was 7. He could read any individual word but he could barely get through a simple page of Dr. Seuss (he's also mildly dyslexic.) Some reading glasses really helped a great deal in 1st and 2nd grade. By 3rd grade, he didn't need them and he gained several grade levels in reading all at once.


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#4 of 25 Old 07-27-2012, 09:02 AM
 
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I think you already identified the huge huge huge benefit of public school: more diversity than homeschool or private school. This diversity will hopefully lead to more respect and compassion for other people.

At the same time, public school is the majority choice so by enrolling your kiddo in public school you're giving him a shared cultural experience that will benefit him in the future in regards to making friends and getting jobs.
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#5 of 25 Old 07-27-2012, 10:55 AM
 
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The diversity, the multiple subject areas studied in depth, friendships, and the intervention process are the reasons I prefer public school. I also homeschooled briefly and used a charter school but my dd still was very behind in math. I have had her in private tutoring at a good tutoring center and it has made a ton of difference not only in math ability but also in her perception of her abilities and her motivation. If you really want to homeschool maybe suggest intensive math and reading tutoring from a well known center to supplement what you are doing at home while you build his confidence at home, look into the homeschooling activities offered in the community and plan some to present so you put his worries about socialization at ease, and agree on a timeline for getting him.back into public school. Doing it for a year while he really focuses intensely on tutoring may be easier to agree to than doing it for an unspecified period of time with just you as a teacher.

Even if you do put your son in public school again this year I still suggest looking into the tutoring. My dd did six months of very intense tutoring, six hours a week broken into three days (two after school on Saturday morning) and though it was intense and we had to limit some other activities she still made great progress and gained confidence because the center we use has such an amazing program with really great tutors.
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#6 of 25 Old 07-27-2012, 02:35 PM
 
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I think talking to your pastor or another 3rd party about this is a really good idea.    I think talking to someone else might get to the root of why your husband doesn't repect those who private school or homeschool, and I think that is the main issue.   I know you both want to do what is best for your ds...so that may be public school or homeschool or private school (if that is an option, financially), but unless you both are open to considering all options, this issue could cause resentment in your marriage and that's not healthy for anyone, especially your child or children.  

 

There are many good things about public school, but educational choice needs to be something that everyone agrees on (even in some families, the children, to some degree are involved in the decision.), not something one just resigns themself to.  The other thing, is that nothing is permanant.  One compromise might be to try homeschooling for just 1 year, perhaps just to see if you can get him past this initial reading/math difficulty and then together with your husband and son, re-evaluate at the end of next year, public school will always be there.

 

I'm sorry your going through this difficulty...good luck!


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#7 of 25 Old 07-28-2012, 02:04 PM
 
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When I read your post about your ds, it sounded just like my dd when she was in kindergarten.  By the way, she is now 17 and looking at colleges.  It has been a long journey for us, and my husband and I have had to be intense advocates for her.  It has paid off and she is doing great!   Unfortunately, I went through many of the same things with my school district that you appear to be going through.  We are in the 3rd largest school district in the country  (Fairfax--near Washington DC) and it is supposed to be really good too.  However, when she was tested, I was told that there was "no such thing as dyslexia" and that she was "too smart not to learn" and they denied her an IEP or services of any kind.  They told me she needed to be below grade level (i.e. failing) before they would help her.   Long story short- I had her independently evaluated and took the results back to the school. Our school was required to consider outside evaluations. They decided to give her the IEP she needed and she's had it until 9th grade when we switched to a 504.  I don't know about your state, but read the information on your school's website and see if they must accept an outside evaluation. 

 

In addition, we started multi- sensory tutoring at home (6 hours a week) for 4 years when she was 8.  The school also did Read Naturally for fluency.  I was blessed to have someone give me great advice when I was considering tutoring her myself or homeschooling.  They told me that there were going to be some really hard, frustrating times ahead (which there were!) and they told me that I needed to be her mom, not her teacher.  I needed to be the person she could turn to when she was frustrated--not the source of her frustration.  It was true--there were many tears during elementary school and I was glad that I could be there when the tutor sessions were hard for her. For us, that was great advice.  We kept her in public school for several reasons:

 

1) her older brother and friends went to public school and she didn't want to be different

2) by having an IEP in public school, there's legal accountabilty with special ed that you may not have in private school

3) she was very social and being around other people was good for her

4) she was exposed to a rich cultural and diverse community by going to public school

5) she was able to play in school sports which became very important in high school

6) by not homeschooling her, I was able to spend time finding tutors, monitoring her work, thinking about "future" things, finding technology for her and not preparing lessons.

 

My breakthrough moment came when I realized that there was nothing "wrong" with my daughter, but with me.  I wanted her to read  like me.  When I realized that while reading was hard for her, she also had some AMAZING auditory skills that were not being used.  I realized my job was to help her succeed in the ways she learned best and to stop trying to make her like me.    When I looked at her evaluations in 2nd grade, her auditory skills were at the graduate level.  As a result, we starting using books on tape (including textbooks--especially elementary social studies) and she LOVED it.  Her intellect craved higher level books and because she could only read picture books, the audio books really helped.  I worked really hard to find things that she was naturally good at (like photography) and helped her there too.

 

My dd is now a senior in high school and took IB classes  (including English) and now has a 3.7 GPA.  She has read only a SINGLE  book (poetry) since 5th grade.  She listens to ALL her books on tape and has an amazing memory.  Your son probably has great auditory skills as well.  She used Dragon Naturally speaking to dictate essays before she learned to keyboard.  She won a scholarship for her photography and also one for her essay on how books on tape have helped her (from Learning Ally). 

 

Good luck with your decision, you have to do what's right for your family and follow your instincts.  Your can always pull him out of public school later if you need to home school, but it may be harder to put him in public school if you home school first.  Good luck--it's been a long, but WONDERFUL, journey for us so far.

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#8 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 06:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your advice, everyone. Upon reflection, if we're going to keep him in public school, what we really need to do is push his school harder for an evaluation for specific learning disability, whether or note they initially think he'd qualify. This weekend we were on a campout with his Cub Scout pack, and I was encouraged to talk with a mom from the same school, who knows most of the teachers because she worked with the school's after school enrichment/childcare program. I was discouraged that his teacher assignment came recently and he was assigned a second year teacher. But this woman told me that that particular teacher really cares about helping all of her students succeed and she'll do whatever she can to make that happen. I'd still prefer to homeschool him and give him a more individualized education, but I'm more confident that we can make second grade work in public school with the right teacher.


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#9 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 06:42 AM
 
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My oldest has ppd and has had struggles since kindergarten (as in not speaking in full sentences when he started). It broke my heart to send him to public school but at the time, it was our only choice. I had a very long talk with his teacher during open house, and she became one of his biggest allies, advocates and fan. We were able to get him on an IEP for reading, math, and receiving speech therapy for language. My baby is getting ready to start fourth grade and has "graduated" from special ed and speech, and I honestly cried when they showed me the results of his last eval.

I would suggest talking to his teacher before the year starts. It was always important for me to let them know about my son, that he may have a little harder time or get easily distracted, and also that I wanted to be a big part of the "team". I also like to make contact with his teacher at least once a week to see how we're doing. He mainly has issues with behavior now so it seems we're always trying to brainstorm ways to help him deal with the wiggles and giggles that he gets.

All that to point out that yes, they can do a reading IEP before third grade. And they are required to evaluate if you request it. I think some districts are trying to discourage parents due to lack of funding, but they don't have choice in this. Good luck
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#10 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 07:10 AM
 
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Good luck with this new year. Scour the wrightslaw website for information. Know your rights and stick to it. You can also consider hiring an educational advocate, someone who knows the rules and the school staff, who can press the school on your behalf. We've had good success with that.

You will need to continue to emphasize to your school that a lot of his present levels of performance are a result of the tutoring he has been doing. They many say that all is well because he's near grade level. This perfomance is only that high because of the tutoring specific to his learning disability.
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#11 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by kentuckymom View Post

Thanks for your advice, everyone. Upon reflection, if we're going to keep him in public school, what we really need to do is push his school harder for an evaluation for specific learning disability, whether or note they initially think he'd qualify. This weekend we were on a campout with his Cub Scout pack, and I was encouraged to talk with a mom from the same school, who knows most of the teachers because she worked with the school's after school enrichment/childcare program. I was discouraged that his teacher assignment came recently and he was assigned a second year teacher. But this woman told me that that particular teacher really cares about helping all of her students succeed and she'll do whatever she can to make that happen. I'd still prefer to homeschool him and give him a more individualized education, but I'm more confident that we can make second grade work in public school with the right teacher.

 

Your dh doesn't seem unusual in his reaction to homeschooling; ameliabedelia had some good points. It would be a good idea to access a third party to get to the bottom of his objections--what good is public school really going to do him if they can't teach him something as basic as reading? When I was considering homeschooling dh's objections were largely based on his brief experience that would be nothing like what was available to ds. Later, when I wanted to find another school for ds (long story), dh objected to the charter school I was looking at based on...nothing really; it took visiting the school, meeting the principle, and learning more about how charters operate here for him to consider it.

 

For dealing with public schools and special education I recommended reading "Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy" ASAP; it can be really helpful in advocating for your ds at school. I also recommend having "Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition," on hand as well. All About IEPs is also a good book to read at the beginning of the processes.

 

You need to learn the law regarding special education on the federal level and your state; the state has some leeway in how they apply federal law. Your state department of education website special education page will have the state special education law somewhere in there and a "procedural protections" document for parents. Whether the school uses the dyslexia label or not, they still have to appropriately deal with the disability to provide FAPE. The school is not following the law if they recommend retention instead of appropriately addressing his disabilities.

 

Comments on: “Dyslexia is Not a Learning Disability - Wrightslaw

 

Visiting the Special Needs board would be a good idea as well; I've seen a few posts about dealing with dyslexia and schools. There are also relevant links in this search: Google Search for Wrightslaw Dyslexia:

 

FAPE - How Can I Get the School to Provide an ... - Wrightslaw

 

ADD/ADHD, Dyslexia, LD: Who IS Eligible for Special Ed - Wrightslaw

 

Dyslexia – The “Invisible” Disability? - Wrightslaw

 

Special Education: Dyslexia, wrightslaw website, special education

 

I would also consider consulting with an advocate who has experience with dyslexia and special education.

 

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If you disagree with a school's evaluation you are entitled to request an IEE.

 

Independent Education Evaluations: What? How? Why? Who Pays?

Independent Evaluations: Must Parents Select an Evaluator from the School's Approved List?

How Can We Get an Independent Evaluation (IEE) by ...


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#12 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 01:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, everyone! I've talked more with my husband this weekend, and our current plan is to make our son's needs and quirks as clear as possible to the teacher before school starts (our school just started a "superior customer service" initiative that requires teachers to visit every family before the start of the year), support ds as much as we can without actually doing the work for him, and see how the first quarter goes.

 

If the first quarter is absolutely horrible and it seems clear that the school simply can't provide for his needs, dh is willing to consider pulling him out. If (which is more likely) the first quarter is ok but he's still not making as much progress as they want him to, we'll press hard for an evaluation and more services at school. In the meantime, I need to read the things that have been referenced. Getting ds' IEP for speech was a cakewalk because he came into the special needs preschool from the state special needs program for kids under three, so we all was had to do was attend a couple meetings. I know we'll have to push and keep pushing if we want to get him an IEP or 504 for anything else. That's not attractive to me, but I'll do it if it's what I have to do.

 

To answer some questions and clarify a few things....

 

I did look into the option of part time private schools. There are actually two schools in Lexington, where I live, that follow a "university model" schedule, where the kids go to school two days a week and do work at home the other days. Irrespective of my husband's anti private school stance (which I'll try to explain better below), I realized pretty quickly that, though the two days of group school and three days of homeschool plan sounds great, the curriculum at those schools would be a nightmare for ds. They both follow a classical curriculum model, which involves lots of reading and writing and lots of memorization, especially in the early years. Classical education advocates like to make broad statements such as "Young children are like sponges and love to memorize things." That may be true for the average child. It was true for me (incidentally, I think I would have thrived with a classical education), but it's pretty much the opposite of true for my son. It's impossible for him to memorize anything without great difficulty and at least ten times more work as the average kid.

 

There are no charter schools in Kentucky, and I'll be surprised if there ever are. A bill to bring in charter schools was just struck down in the state house for, I think, the 10th time.

 

Regarding my dh and private/homeschool, I was too harsh in saying he "disrepects" families who choose private school or homeschool. Especially in regards to homeschool, some of our best friends have chosen that option, and he really likes and respects those families. However, he disagrees with both choices on principle. His parents were both public school teachers, and he learned a lot growing up about how, when the families with means pull out of the school system in favor of private school, the school system goes downhill. He basically thinks it's irresponsible to pull out of the school system your taxes are supporting. In principle, I agree with that, but I feel like, if there comes a point at which the school system isn't serving your child, you need to disregard those principles in favor of your child.


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#13 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 01:44 PM
 
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Something else to point out with regards to private, is that they are not obligated to provide special educational services. Unless there's a school that specializes in teaching kids with dyslexia, then they won't beable to serve him appropriately. Likewise with homeschool, you should be well prepared to find methods and curricula that are appropriate to his strengths and weaknesses.

Good luck. Have you sought out anadvocate?
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#14 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 03:58 PM
 
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I think I'd concentrate on not so much getting services for *dyslexia* if they're treating that like it's a non-issue, but concentrate on him being behind in reading. My son didn't have a diagnosis until after he was getting services through the school, and when I told the school that he had an actual diagnosis, they said it really won't make any difference, he'll get the same help regardless of the reason why. I guess the way they see it, for kids who have XYZ, not all of them need help, and for those that do, they  may not need the same levels. So, if they're shrugging their shoulders when you say "dyslexic", then change your tune to "below grade level in reading". I really hope this isn't coming across as critical of you, because it's not meant to be. I wish our public system could be more individualized, but I know for our district, funds are short so they concentrate more on getting the kids to pass those tests instead of providing special therapies for those who would probably benefit.

 

I was also told that since my son has an IEP, it would take some major act to be able to retain him. I have to admit, I was worried this would be something suggested his first couple of years, but they just can't. I'm thankful he wasn't, he's entering fourth grade and is now right on target.

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#15 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sillygrl:  I'm  not the least bit offended. In fact, this spring, when we had his IEP review for the speech IEP, we raised some questions about him being behind in math and reading, with no reference to the term "dyslexia." We were told that, while we had the right to request an evaluation, he wasn't far enough behind for the school to recommend an evaluation without us pushing for it. We chose to drop the issue at that point. It may or may not have been the right decision. 

 

Geofizz: You're right, and that's another strike against a traditional private school. Incidentally, there are a lot of kids at the place where he's being tutored from one of the local Catholic schools, and that particular private school has done an awesome addressing the needs of dyslexic kids and partnering with that tutoring service (tutors get to see those kids in school for one hour a week). That's a big exception to the rule, however, and, anyway, if we ever considered a private religious school, we wouldn't choose a Catholic one.

 

There is actually a  private school in Lexington that's specifically for children with language based learning differences. In an ideal world, I'd love to send ds there. There are a few problems, however. One is that the tuition is $25,000 a year. I don't work outside the home, but my husband has a high enough income and we have enough savings that, if we put ourselves on a super tight budget and were willing to use some savings, we could pull it off for two or three years (which is the length of time they suggest). However, it would be a huge sacrifice for those years and put us in the hole in terms of having savings to fall back on if we needed them for any other reason (say, if the company dh works for went under, which is always a possibility in this economy). The other problem is that it's a small school within a school - within the most expensive, elite private school in town. This is exactly the kind of school we wouldn't consider sending our kids to because of our principles of supporting the local public school and raising our kids in a diverse environment. So, even though it sounds good on the surface, that option isn't going to happen.

 

I should probably move over to the special needs board and see if anyone there has some helpful advice for advocating for dyslexics within the school system. Thanks again for your comments and links, everyone!


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#16 of 25 Old 07-29-2012, 10:21 PM
 
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I have my son in a private school and used the public system for his evaluation - I was considering putting him into public if they could answer our needs at the time we had our second IEP - I was not happy with the private school we were in - but when the public school were offering a complete pull out and in a system with children with severely disabilities I had to find somewhere else for him to be.  The Key to any IEP is to ask questions, listen and take notes.  In our second IEP we were given a list of accommodations he could having including teachers notes, books in Audio format (which we get from Learning Ally - many of his text books are recorded), extra time on testing etc and when we found a public school that would integrate him and offer Christian values we felt we as a family really needed him to be around we felt a sense of relief.  Now the best thing I have taught my child is how to advocate for himself and I have to say I have to be on top of things too.  Before we found this school I was considering homeschooling as my last resort but my husband felt it would not work.  He felt we would clash too much, without being to trite I have to say I really had to call on my Faith that somehow it would all work out.  Last two years have been excellent but I can see we are going to have more classes this year and perhaps more work but we will keep working at it.  Use your child's IEP to advocate and though you can't have them tested every year in some areas you can go back every year and ask for re-assessment.  

 

The school our son is at has an Academic center - and they were not really keen to have our son on one level but on another level some advocates there were of the opinion children like him are very special and have a lot to offer.  Plus when the Principal heard the school district we were in (it's not the best sadly) I think a part of him took pity on us, he having been a public school principal for many years.  Anyway we are where we are and so far it is working out.  Unfortunately, with these children there is more effort work and support that goes into keeping them ahead of the game.

 

I would say you are a great mom because you are doing so much research and investigating and at times this journey is such a challenge.  But these kids are going to be such a wonderful asset to the world!! 

 

I would also add if it wasn't for the public school I would not have really learnt about what accommodations he could have and that he could get his books in audio format.  I have friends who have not fit in the public system and are homeschooling and are fearful of the public system - I think you can really only determine that when you talk to the schools involved and teachers and know your own child.  I appreciate you and your husband have values and expectations because we were the same but we felt our public school would be the wrong environment for our child.  Though some days I feel we have protected him too much to send him into the Lions den was not the right place either.  

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#17 of 25 Old 07-30-2012, 12:24 PM
 
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This is not so much about PS as about dealing with DH. I don't know if your DH is like mine, but mine is a "knee jerk response then dig in your heels" type when it comes to decision making. Luckily, he is also kind of lazy and soft-hearted when it comes to follow through. He loves to send down edicts and then expect others to implement (not bashing here, we all have strengths and weaknesses, and it is helpful to have strategies). I find it is very important to include DH in implementation, even if that just means a shift in my expectations. Don't take implementation of his choice for school onto yourself. If upset typically starts Sunday evening, busy yourself at that time. Tell DS "I have to run an errand, call grandma or whatever, why don't you talk to dad about that." Enlist DH in the morning prep and drop off. Maybe he can drop off two or three mornings a week? Maybe he could adjust his schedule for the first month and do drop off the whole first month (to change the routine up a bit). Expect DH to step up a bit. You should not think or act like you are punishing DH for his decision, just that you need his help to implement. My DH does not have much endurance when it comes to unhappy, fussing children, so his edicts don't last very long (like, 5 minutes) when he has to follow through on them.

Just to clarify, this was more of a change in mindset for me, as opposed to anything concrete I ever did. Maybe a change in mindset will help you too.

Good luck!
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#18 of 25 Old 07-30-2012, 05:49 PM
 
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kentuckymom - we all come in as parents with certain fixed ideas in mind. and i think its important to really try and make that principal work. till it really doesnt work for your family. public schools is it for your dh.

 

yes there are many good things about public school - for the typical child (meaning those that go with the set curriculum). but for children behind or far ahead public school is a huge challenge and sometimes very detrimental to their emotional growth. i have seen it on both sides while volunteering in dd's class. it was sad to see how some kids changed by the end of the year. 

 

i am glad your dh is open to taking a different path. 

 

i think its CRITICAL that your son gets the best emotional support he can regarding schooling so he does not develop low self esteem issues. 


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#19 of 25 Old 08-01-2012, 07:22 PM
 
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I think all the previous posters had excellent tips for navigating the public school systems, Wright's Law, etc. I just wanted to pop in to encourage you to present the upcoming year as a fresh start to your ds. I talk about "fit" with my kids. My dd2 is really a pretty adaptable, easy kid (unlike dd1), but she just had kind of a so-so year in 2nd grade. Her teacher was just okay. I didn't really have a particular problem with her, but she didn't really have a dynamic personality and didn't click with dd2. She wasn't a great "fit" for dd2. She wasn't a horrible fit, either, but just kind of in the middle, so I have encouraged dd2 to view her upcoming 3rd grade year as having the potential for a really good fit.

 

FWIW, I think part of the reason that dd2 didn't love school this year is because she wasn't challenged. Someone told me that 2nd grade as a whole is sort of a catch-up year where they try to get all the kids, including the kids who struggled in 1st grade, reading and doing addition and subtraction, so it may be that the fresh new teacher will be a better fit for your ds and be able to work with him w/in the 2nd grade curriculum to get him caught up. 

 

My quirky kid, dd1, will be moving to a new school this year which we hope will be a better fit on the whole for her. It is a charter and I think (fingers crossed) that it will be really good for her. 


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#20 of 25 Old 08-02-2012, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Beanma and everyone else. I like the idea of presenting this year as a fresh start, and I've already started doing that, with some success. It helps that we went on a Cub Scout campout last weekend and learned that one of DS's best friends will be in his class. The friend's mother, who has worked for the school's after school program and knows most of the teachers, also had good things to say about their teacher. She said that this particular teacher did a great job last year of figuring out the best way to help each of her students advance. She said the teacher's concern is not, "What's wrong with your kid?" but rather, "What am I doing that's stopping this kid from learning the material?" Then she does her best to fix that problem. If this plays out the way I hope, DS may actually get the "individually prescribed education" that his school is supposed to give him. The teacher came for her pre-semester visit, and she was very friendly, listened carefully to my concerns, and seemed willing to work with me and with DS.

 

Later in the evening, I was cycling around the neighborhood with my 18 month old and passed through the campus of the closest middle school, which happened to be having the first football practice of the year (I don't envy those kids in football gear in 90+ heat, but that's another story :)). I was hailed by one of the kindergarten teachers from DS's school, whose son is apparently on the football team. She wasn't DS's  teacher, but the way the school is set up all the teachers get to know the all kids in their grade at least a bit. She asked if DS is looking forward to school and who his teacher will be. When I told her, she heaped all kinds of praise on that teacher and said that her second graders progressed in leaps and bounds last year. 

 

DS will probably still mention homeschooling if he has a bad day, but I think his attitude toward school is beginning to change and he's remembering what he liked about it. I'm remembering what I like about it as well. Public school isn't perfect, and it's not going to the right for every kid, but I'm ready to do what I can to try to make this school work instead of backing away. Thanks for listening and giving me advice, everyone!


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#21 of 25 Old 08-02-2012, 01:15 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kentuckymom View Post

DS will probably still mention homeschooling if he has a bad day, 

i think that's a good thing because then he knows there IS a way out. there is hope if things dont work out at school. 

 

however i wanted to share with you one strategy that REALLY helped my dd. 

 

i think if we had 4 days of school with wednesdays off she would have coped better. 

 

so what i did was take 'happy days' off. it helped dd GREATLY emotionally. 

 

the teacher knew. and that's when i realised K and first have loose policies on K and first attendance. we had to buck up in 3rd grade. 2nd grade she didnt want to miss a day of her teacher.

 

the thing is when i could tell my dd had had enough we took a day off. it really, really helped dd. we did mostly k and first. the school did not complain. we took anything from once or twice each month a day off. sometimes even more.  


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#22 of 25 Old 09-23-2012, 09:22 AM
 
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Hello,

Im responding mainly because I feel your pain. I have 3rd grade daughter who

started hating school in first grade. No one I know of,  but someone who really

has lived this walk with their child being dyslexic, really gets it. 

My child hates school. School can make her sick.  She prefers getting sick

to going to school. I fear it will make her emotionally sick or just suck away

her love for learning, if I just blindly agree with the teachers and the husband

that public school will do a "good enough" job.  This is the first year that her

teacher and IEP team seem to be actively working against her.

 

My "end date" for homes schooling is Oct 1.  Check your state. You can pull

them anytime if its the first time, just need to pull off the proper paperwork to

file with the school or state within 2 weeks.  I am currently waiting for administration

to come up with a good legal reason why I can not bring a Barton OG system

to her school and do the MN statue of  parental curriculum review (120.20b).  Given

1 out of 7 kids are dyslexic, and our town serves over 50,000 kids every year, I can

not believe how slow they are in responding to my request. I am in new territory.

Apparently parents blindly do whatever school says, or get fed up

and pull  their child to homes school- seems the only two options.  If our children

were blind, we would not tolerate the school telling them to "try harder and

sit closer to the board"  These kids can not learn reading under the sight

memory method used.  They can learn somethings, but certainly not as much

as they have the potential to learn and not without soul sucking frustration at being

told to just do it. 

 

I am waiting on the school and then my decision will have more say.  My husband

will not like it, but he has more say in most things and he has admitted one to many

times that the school system is failing our daughter. He struggled with a lessor form

of it in school.  He thinks it gives him more say, I say it gives him less.  Just because

his school and parents failed him, does not give him the right to let it happen to his

child.  Us moms really are their first and best teachers.  We have the ability to

see our childs hearts breaking. It is our responsibility to protect them, teach them

and love them. 

 

Good luck with your decision. You are not alone.

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#23 of 25 Old 09-23-2012, 12:21 PM
 
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you are definitely not alone.

my own mother struggled with me, when she found i just wasn't learning in public elementary school up to 1st grade. i was good with art and creative processes, but couldn't grasp much of anything else. she transferred me into a private catholic school in 2nd grade up until 6th, and it was awful. they all thought i was learning impaired and pulled me out of math and reading classes to go out to a trailer in the parking lot with the kids who actually did have disabilities. i've managed to block out a lot of this, but i wandered into this forum today and had to comment. i cried every day i went to that awful school. five years of tears. i was never diagnosed with autism, but there is a video that my dad took of me reading a sign at the park backwards, and i still mix numbers up daily.

i went to public school for middle school through high school, and was put in honors art and english (i placed out of regular classes) and excelled. i don't know what it was, or why i had problems. i couldn't even tell time until 5th grade, and math was the most humiliating subject for me. i'm still awful at it, but went through college and my master's degree. i think a lot of kids just need time, and for their parents to be patient with them. i don't remember how my mom was, but i think if she knew how horrible every day of school really was for me, she would have taken me out of that school a lot sooner. i think you're wonderful for caring so deeply about your son's feelings about school. it really will stick with him to know you understand his feelings.


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#24 of 25 Old 09-23-2012, 12:38 PM
 
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I didn't read all of the responses but I skimmed and didn't think I saw anything like this.

 

You mentioned that he does better in the morning than in the afternoon. Does he have food allergies? Have you ever tried cutting dairy or grains from his diet? I ask only because I am the same way. Even as an adult- I'm good to go in the morning. I am alert, focused, learning, working, productive. If I eat anything with dairy in it on my lunch (including caramel color, natural flavoring, caseinate, or whey), I'm useless all afternoon. I can't think or focus. My mom is the same way and we're positive it's why we always did so bad at math in school. we drank milk at lunch and then went to math class "drunk on milk". Food allergies don't make us hyper like they do so many kids. We actually feel drunk when we consume dairy products. Sleepy and unable to pay attention and learn.

 

Just thought I'd throw that out there on the morning vs afternoon learning. good luck with this school year!


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#25 of 25 Old 09-24-2012, 05:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for reviving this thread with new replies!

 

Doingourbest:

 

I hope you're able to convince your school system to let an OG tutor come in. It's amazing to me that so  many schools just don't get what it takes for dyslexic kids to learn to read. Don't even get me started on the totally unhelpful "reading strategies" that my son was taught when he went to the reading intervention teacher in kindergarten. Okay, I got myself started: he was taught to look at the first letter of a word and then guess what it was from context. He was taught to guess the words based on the pictures. And those are just the two he still tries to use two years later. I guess those strategies must help (or at least not hurt) some kids because I know the kids from his class who went to intervention with him and they're all reading on grade level now, but those strategies just give dyslexic kids even less motivation to try to decode words. The good news is, my son doesn't hate school this year. He still says he'd prefer homeschool, and I'd still love to pull him out, but he's not crying or feeling sick about school at this point, and the first month of the year was the absolute worst in first grade, so there's hope. It helps that he's started to make a lot of progress with his OG tutor outside of school and that has helped him in school. Last night he read all of GO DOG GO to me and half of ARE YOU MY MOTHER? Sure, a lot of his classmates were reading those books at the end of kindergarten, but at the end of first grade he was struggling through phonics readers, so that's great progress.

 

Kellybeth:

 

I'm so sorry to hear you had such a horrible experience in school, but I'm glad that it did finally click for you and you did well and enjoyed school in the end. You're right that some kids just need time that most schools, public or private, can't give them. According to my husband, that's likely to happen to our son when it comes to math. DS just learned to count to 20 over the summer, and he's in the lowest math group at school and still struggles. However, he gets on the computer and plays "math" games that deal with spatial and logical thinking, and he blows me out of the water. When the math changes from arithmetic to mathematics, he'll probably shoot ahead. However, we have to get him through the arithmetic first. DH is in engineer. He'll ask me to add two numbers for him, then he'll do the rest of the calculus problem in his head.

 

librarygirl:

 

I appreciate you bringing up the food question, because that's always something to consider. DS does have some food issues (a lot of fruits give him diarrhea, as well as most things with artificial coloring), but he actually drinks milk for breakfast every day and water for lunch, so I know it's not dairy that's giving him problems in the afternoon :). That said, I'll have to reflect on whether he ever does better in the afternoon based on what he's eaten. Thanks for turning me on to that!

 

Everyone: As I said above, homeschooling is still attractive to me, but school is going much better for DS this year than I thought it would.


Happy transplanted resident of the "not so deep" Southsmile.gif. Married to a great man for 9 years and countinglove.gif. Mom to two wonderful gifts from God: DS (8) jog.gifalways moving, atypically thinking, ballet dancing boy and long-awaited DD (2) fly-by-nursing1.gifcuddly, curious, fearless, book loving girl.

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