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<span style="font-size:medium;">i am completely new to this area. i have no idea what i'm doing yet <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
i'm strongly considering pulling my 9yo ds from public school and homeschooling him next year. he is in favour of the idea. the problem is... i have no idea what i'm doing!<br><br>
here's the deal...<br><br>
he's going into 3rd grade. he has aspergers. the school insists that they are doing the best they can, but he can't read, can barely do math, and has as little interaction with other kids as possible. i know that they only have so much time and effort that they can put into one kid, but what they can give is just not enough for him. he's a pretty self-sufficient child as far as daily cares and so on. he makes his own sandwiches, does self-care and so on. it's really just his academic progress that is slow to non-existent.<br><br>
so i want to homeschool him for at least a year or 2, see if i can get him caught up and see how it works for him. he is happy about the idea, he's all set to pull his desk up by mine and start tomorrow!<br><br>
but<br><br>
i have no clue what to do, where to start, what the laws for wisconsin homeschoolers are... nothing. is there any education requirement for the homeschooling parent? i only finished jr high (tho i by no means consider myself uneducated). what kinds of programs are there? what might be good for a kid on the autism spectrum? what exactly is "unschooling"?<br><br>
help!</span>
 

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Hmmm... I can try to answer some of those:<br><br>
Unschooling has a good sticky in that forum that explains what it is.<br><br>
I'll admit, although I'm not super fond of HSLDA (Homeschool Legal Defense Association or something similar, just google HSLDA and you'll find them; they can be very religious and I'm not), they have very helpful lists of the laws for each state. For WI, it says that there are no teacher qualifications needed or standardized tests. There are some paperwork stuff you'll have to fill out and be in compliance, etc.<br><br>
I don't have a good suggestion on curriculum though. We use Moving Beyond the Page, which has hands-on activities, but it doesn't teach reading and has just a cursory take on math. I use headsprout for reading right now, which is web based and DD loves it, but as he's a little older, he might not like it. You might want to check out Homeschool Buyers Coop, which is where I ordered some of our materials from; they might have suggestions/reviews for good products.
 

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We are on the unschooling spectrum. Unschooling is allowing your child to explore the world and learn what they want to learn. It is about believing in your child.<br><br>
Some unschooling parents are hands off and let the kids seek out what they are interested in. My husband and I believe it our responsibility to show the world to our children. Our son is only 4 right now so what does he know of the world out there? That why I show him all kinds of science experiments. Recently we put an egg in vinegar to see what would happen. We've mixed vinegar with baking soda. We're going to make epsom salt crystals. If he's not interested in what I show him, then I drop it. The same with so many other areas. I've recently started buying him books about different times and different places. He now comes to me and asks me to read him these books. We are showing him the world and he is deciding to explore it.<br><br>
Read about unschooling in the sticky in the thread or just google it. Google Sandra Dodd who is big in the unschooling world. See if you think this will work for your son.<br><br>
Here's a bunch of articles by one supporter of unschooling: <a href="http://www.psychologytoday.com/search/query?keys=Peter+Gray+Unschooling&x=0&y=0" target="_blank">http://www.psychologytoday.com/searc...ooling&x=0&y=0</a><br><br>
We are using learning guides to give us a clue on what to introduce to our kids. <a href="http://www.fun-books.com/books/living_is_learning_guides.htm" target="_blank">http://www.fun-books.com/books/livin...ing_guides.htm</a><br><br>
I've recently learned of a website run by Discovery Channel. Our son is too young for much computer time (in our opinion.) So we haven't tried the free trial. However, this site has all the standards/competencies of all the states. If you wanted to go by your state's standards, you could find them there then find links to videos/games/tutorials on the subjects. <a href="http://www.cosmeo.com/welcome/what.html" target="_blank">http://www.cosmeo.com/welcome/what.html</a> We will likely use this site when our son is older.
 

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<span>I think you'll find it all a lot less complicated than you can possibly imagine at this point. The best way to get started is to relax as much as possible and not try to make any decisions right away about how you're going to do it - you'll have lots of time for all the pieces to come together, one at a time. I'm going to list a number of links to various threads here, as well as articles and resources in other places, but don't think all this means there are a bizillion things to figure out! Just kick back, take your time getting a comfortable overview, and know that you can keep bookmarks and get back to details eventually when you're all settled.<br><br>
You'll obviously want to get those legalities figured out, though, and here are two good listings of information on your state laws that pertain to homeschooling:<br><a href="http://www.homeedmag.com/groups/state/laws-regs/" target="_blank">Home Education Magazine</a><br><a href="http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/directory/Legalities.htm" target="_blank">A to Z Home's Cool</a><br><br>
You can find some good suggestions for <i>special needs</i> resources for homeschooling on <a href="http://www.hsc.org/snperiodicals.php" target="_blank">this page</a> of the HomeSchool Assn. of California's website (Note: the caption, "Periodicals," is an error - they meant to say Periodicals & Books). Home Education Magazine has a nice <a href="http://www.homeedmag.com/gettingstarted.html" target="_blank">Getting Started</a> resource, and a section on <a href="http://www.homeedmag.com/resources/lists/learning-styles/special-needs/" target="_blank"><i>Special Needs</i></a>.<br><br>
Here's a good MDC thread on basic questions - <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1067478" target="_blank">Homeschooling, can we talk?</a><br><br>
There's also an MDC thread you might want to look through on <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=417993" target="_blank">decompression/deschooling</a>. It's a rare child who doesn't need some decompression time after leaving school, especially if he's had a tough time, and it's actually a good investment of time.<br><br>
And you can do a Search in this forum for any specific subject you'd like to hear more about - you'll find a cornucopia of things such as <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=631548" target="_blank">math games</a>, or other <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=736596" target="_blank">educational games</a>, <a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/showthread.php?t=1102184" target="_blank">free audio resources</a>, or whatever! My favorite place to look for materials is the <a href="http://www.fun-books.com/" target="_blank">FUN-Books website</a> - it's an assortment of good materials that have been chosen by their homeschooling family as things that will be most likely to support a lifelong enthusiasm for learning as compared to methods of trying to pour in facts.<br><br>
Home Education Magazine also has a set of articles on <a href="http://www.homeedmag.com/closerlook/334/deschooling/" target="_blank">deschooling</a> (and if you look over on the right when on that page, you'll find a whole list of subjects you can find more on, such as <a href="http://www.homeedmag.com/closerlook/at/subjects/math/" target="_blank">math</a>).<br><br>
As for what "unschooling" is, here's a <a href="http://www.homeedmag.com/closerlook/3/unschooling/" target="_blank">good introduction</a>, and there's a whole U<a href="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=439" target="_blank">nschooling Subforum</a> here where you can read a lot and get into more specific questions that may come up as you go along (and it has a section at the top where it lists Unschooling Resources).<br><br>
In summary, there's lots of information, support, and resource information as you need it - but you really won't need to absorb a lot right away.<br><br>
Lillian</span>
 

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Your state's laws seem easy.<br><br>
If he were mine once we had a break/deschool/you figured things out I would focus on the core areas:<br>
reading, math, spelling, writing. Pick the most important to get going first. Once you're comfortable add the next.<br><br>
Since he's not reading that is a good place to start immediately by trying to determine why he's not reading. This doesn't mean you have to start school right now. But you can try to determine if there is an underlying issue making reading a struggle. Does he have dyslexia? <a href="http://www.dys-add.com/symptoms.html" target="_blank">http://www.dys-add.com/symptoms.html</a> A learning disability? Has he had any testing? Can testing happen?<br><br>
Once you're ready to start something more formal I See Sam readers might be a place to start with him for reading if you don't yet know exactly what you're dealing with.<br><a href="http://iseesam.com/" target="_blank">http://iseesam.com/</a><br><a href="http://www.3rsplus.com/" target="_blank">http://www.3rsplus.com/</a> (the free resources link has a file "getting started" that you can read to know how to use the books)<br><a href="http://www.teacherweb.com/CA/PomeloDriveElementary/Mrssakamoto/printap2.stm" target="_blank">http://www.teacherweb.com/CA/PomeloD...o/printap2.stm</a> This has the first two sets of readers free. Ignore the instructions--use the ones on the 3rsplus site instead.<br>
I'd encourage you to try this first since it begins free and see if it helps him.<br><br>
There is a yahoo group Beginning Reading Instruction with lots of helpful people (paid reading tutors, creators of phonics programs, etc.) who will answer questions and help you as you use the I See Sam books. They've been a great help to me with my struggling son.<br><br>
If it's looking like dyslexia you may need a more specific program. I would be putting most of my attention to his reading when you do begin.<br><br><br>
Outside of that have fun! Explore his interests, read him wonderful books on those topics, etc. Make it enjoyable for him.<br><br>
Once you get yourself going with your phonics/reading I'd put the next subject. I think I'd do math.<br><br>
For math I'm not sure what would fit your situation best. I like Rightstart for my spectrum kid but it's a different type of approach. Whatever program you chose assess him (the company should be able to help or move on to another) to figure out where he is and start from there. Don't worry about where he should be--go from where he is. So if he's able to do level two (or whatever) that's where you start. You want him successful and build from there in my opinion. <a href="http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/reviews/curriculum/default.aspx?id=93" target="_blank">http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/rev...ult.aspx?id=93</a> Lots of math options with reviews.<br><br><br>
I'd start where he is with grammar, writing, etc. as I could. But focus on the first things first and figuring out what's going on with reading would be a first thing for me.<br><br>
You can do reading and exploring for much of the other areas. Your library will be a good resource. I'd focus my curriculum money and effort on the core area weaknesses.
 

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I think you have gotten some great advice, and perhaps I am inappropriate mentioning this in THIS forum...<br><br>
BUT... homeschooling may be just what you want. OTOH, if it's NOT what you want for him? You may have to battle the school district. I have a nephew with Aspergers and his Mom ultimately had to hire a lawyer to get the school district to accomodate him in a fitting manner.<br><br>
Schools find it easy to "ignore" our wonderful children with Aspergers because they have high IQs and they can label them as "smart but lazy" but not in need of services. BUT, he has a legal right to his IEP, you just may have to battle.<br><br>
Sorry to talk about public schools in the homeschooling forum... I think HSing can be GREAT if it's what you want, but just wanted to throw that out there if it's NOT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
<span style="font-size:medium;">i reallyreallyreally appreciate all the advice. and all the links! you guys are great. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/love.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="love"><br><br>
i've been arguing with the public school system about this for years. he started in the early childhood program at 3 1/2 and, ever since, it's been one battle after another. this years' main issue was that he refused to do his homework and turn it in. he's basically failing everything, but they just keep passing him through, b/c they "don't believe it's right to hold kids back".<br><br>
that is unacceptable to me. if he can barely read, can't do basic math, can barely write, etc, how is he supposed to function at the next level? 3rd grade is when they start expecting more writing, book reports, etc. there is a serious problem if they both expect him to do these things, but won't help him do it, imho.<br><br>
sbgrace, he is not dyslexic and as far as we know he has no learning disabilities. the school did an IQ test after kindergarten and he scored a 70. the teachers believe that he could and should have scored at least in the 90-100 range, but he just shuts down and won't answer questions after awhile. so i am not really sure, but i don't think there are any real learning issues.<br><br>
i figured that we would start with basic reading and math, and work spelling in with the reading. my mom was a first grade teacher for years, so there is a lot of stuff that she kept that i may be able to use for him, for starters.<br><br>
i guess we'll just fly by the seat of our pants and see what happens. hopefully, if i can get him on track, he'll learn to love learning!</span>
 

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WI requirements seem pretty easy to deal with.<br><br>
I googled the required form you have to fill out to see what that's about and found it here: <a href="http://dpi.state.wi.us/forms/pdf/pod1206.pdf" target="_blank">http://dpi.state.wi.us/forms/pdf/pod1206.pdf</a><br><br>
I think between what the law requires and the fact that your child is not being well-served in the public system you'd have no problem homeschooling him.<br><br>
I'd even suggest that the school system would prefer it...because honestly it seems like they could be made to hire someone to work individually with your child. Some school districts do exactly that because they are required to by law.<br><br>
best wishes,
 

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I hope you don't mind me answering this, as I'll admit that I don't really know what I'm talking about, but I wanted to throw my two cents in anyway. It is the internet after all and if you ask a question, you have to take the ignorant advice with the good <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment"><br><br>
But I wanted to say that your school sounds lazy. Unbelievably and indefensibly LAZY. Not only the moving him forward without basic skills. They tested him a few years ago and he scored a 70, but they think he's probably about 100? I assume this is the standard type of IQ test where 100 is the exact normal average, and 70 is the line between average and severely developmentally delayed. Um, that's a HUGE chasm that they're just not really sure about but they don't really care to figure out?<br><br>
I would be (word that I'm probably not allowed to say here) about that issue alone. And it wouldn't be so bad if they seemed to be working with him, instead of just ignoring whatever his needs are. Which they obviously don't know, and don't seem to be interested in finding out.<br><br>
I think that you have every reason to pull him, and I probably would, but I would not do it quietly. Even if he is homeschooled, he is entitled to adequate services. I would go in there and demand adequate testing and a realistic IEP plan. And if they come back with "um, either 70 or 100, we're not really sure" I wouldn't accept that. If you have health insurance, you should be able to get a private evaluation. If you don't, I don't know what your options are but I would talk to a lawyer about the district meeting their FEDERALLY MANDATED obligations towards your son. Another thing I don't know about, but I would be really surprised if you couldn't get free or very low cost legal advice on this.<br><br>
I would make certain that you know exactly what he is entitled to, and that you get every single thing that you can out of your district. And, yes, I would homeschool him. It's bad enough that the school is failing him, but that they don't seem to really care is just awful.<br><br>
I would contact advocacy groups in your area that deal with ASD or special needs children and find out exactly what the school is obligated to be doing. They may or may not have experience with homeschool families, but may be able to point you to further groups that do. Like the above poster, I'm not big on HSLDA in general, but I'm also not entirely sure that they're who you need anyway. They deal more with legal issues about parents' rights to homeschool. Personally (and this is just my opinion) you should homeschool and pursue your rights to still receive whatever services your son needs from the school system.
 

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I agree the school has failed him and he deserves (deserved) more services. To get those it sounds like you're going to have to fight.<br><br>
But unless a person is experienced with autism accurate IQ testing with a spectrum child is notoriously difficult. I don't think they could accurately test my child.<br><br>
Phonics Road I can be used as spelling and reading together (it's all language arts so includes handwriting too but I'd use Handwriting Without Tears instead I think). All About Spelling could be used for reading too but it would take much longer. Both those programs go through all the phonics rules. I'm still partial to I See Sam for teaching a struggling child to read and my son found the stories very interesting and so motivating. It's worth checking the site with free ones (and reading instructions on the 3rsplus site) to see if they go over well with him.
 

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Look up your state homeschool laws. I would spend the summer reading to him...a lot. Try not to push him before he is willing to read himself. I think it is good to know all you can with the eval esp if you still want therapy or services..but at this point you probably don't have a lot of faith in what they tell you anyway. I think you will learn what he needs as you go along. I didn't know much when I started and had a few bumps along the way. If your ds is willing to listen to you then I think that is the place to start. Find out his interest and make it fun. Read together and observe him and his learning style. You don't have to know it all..you can learn together.
 
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