"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Home School Enrichment Magazine

If you are looking for a homeschooling magazine to equip and encourage you on your journey, you may want to take a look at Home School Enrichment magazine. Through our affiliate link you can receive an annual subscription for $16.97. That is a savings of 53% off the cover price.

If you would like to take a look at articles that have previously appeared in the magazine, you can find them here. When you are ready to order please use the affiliate link below in order to get the discounted price.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Homeschooling High School With A Special Needs Student

Many times people think a special needs student can not be homeschooled through high school and receive a diploma. My friend and I are trying to learn all we can in order to prove them wrong. This post is a collection of information and my thoughts. I am sure it will be updated many times as we learn more, but I hope it will be a help to others. 
:) Vicki

[ The following information is taken from CHEF of La:]

Homeschooling Special Needs Children
1. Join HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Association).
2. Assess the child’s learning style – visual, audio, etc. A parent may enlist the assistance of a therapist if the child is receiving speech, occupational or physical therapy.
3. Select and purchase curriculum with consideration of the child’s learning style.
4. Brainstorm on ways to modify/customize your teaching style to match the child’s learning style, e.g., use posters, videos and pictures for a visual learner.
5. Utilize catalogs to get ideas on how to stimulate the child in a special learning style and enhance the learning experience.
6. Continually familiarize yourself with your child’s special needs and special way of learning.
7. Frequent breaks may be of great benefit in educating a special needs child.
8. Use the child’s interests as starting points for studies.
9. Utilize a library to supplement purchased curriculum or study materials.
10.Explore items from nature and your general household to provide hands-on experience while teaching.
11.Read books on home schooling, both basic instruction and information as well as emphasis on special needs children.
12.Guard any and all personal information. Avoid participation in public/government surveys of medical or educational nature if at all possible.

What else can I do for my special needs child? by Joyce Herzog
Become a better teacher!!
A. Be very consistent in treatment of behavior.
B. Organize the physical setting where learning will take place.
C. Provide a warm, caring, positive, encouraging emotional climate.
D. Analyze the problem and find a next-step solution.
E. Keep your cool and don’t punish inability or confusion.
F. Reward effort and small signs of progress.
G. Find ways to repeat information in different ways and with different materials.
H. Ask for and use your creative child’s ideas when it is reasonable to do so.
I. Let down and play with your child.
J. Decide what is really important and concentrate on that!
K. Be on your child’s side. Remember, he is a person: your spiritual brother or sister.

Resources NATHHAN: National Challenged Homeschoolers Associated Network, www.nathhan.com.
HSLDA: Homeschool Legal Defense Association. Homeschooling Your Special Needs Child; www.hslda.org.

Does my child need a High School Diploma?
A student almost never needs a diploma. Few academic institutions accept diplomas for admission, and rarely do they or employers ever ask to actually see one. Academic institutions are most often interested in transcripts. Stating ‘yes’ and filling in the name of your home school or even writing ‘home school’ on the application is sufficient for most employment. You would, of course, need to research any institution or program that your child may be applying to in order to determine whether or not a diploma is required and if so, whether or not it must be from an accredited institution. If a diploma from an accredited school is desired, there are distance-learning programs offered by many accredited schools that cater to home educators. Be sure a particular school’s accreditations are recognized in your state and/or by the institution requiring the diploma before enrolling in any program.
Who issues the Diploma?
Unless your child will require a diploma from an accredited school, you, the parent, acting as administrator or principle of your home school will issue your child their diploma. A parent may ‘fill-in-the-blanks’ on a store bought preprinted certificate, print a computer generated diploma, order one from a local printer or purchase an impressive diploma from one of the many Internet businesses dedicated to serving home educators. HSLDA sells diplomas on their website as well.

Should my child get a GED?
In most cases, it is not necessary. There are some situations where it might actually be detrimental. If your child plans on attending an institution of higher learning of any sort, then you would need to research the institution’s admission policies. Most institutions have developed policies regarding homeschooled students. Some colleges treat them as equal to GED applicants, while others place additional requirements on persons with a GED than those who homeschool. The military no longer requires homeschooled students to obtain a GED.

Do I need to keep records?
Yes, even if your child does not plan to attend college, you will need to keep accurate records of your child’s academic history. Some states may require a student’s academic records in order to obtain a student’s driver’s license, some auto insurance companies calculate their rates based on the student’s records or they may be required for admission to a special program for high school students. A program your child wishes to attend in the future may not require any documentation at present however; the policy may change by the time your child applies for admission. A young person’s career choice may change many times during the high school years. Your child may decide to attend college, after all. Some colleges require transcripts and some do not. Transcripts might be required when applying for a particular scholarship. In any case, it is much easier to maintain documentation as one progresses, than it is to backtrack in order to collect the necessary information. What type of records should I keep? Transcripts are the documentation of the academic courses your child completed along with the grades they received (GPA). There are many books, computer programs and websites that offer various reproducible forms that will help you generate a traditional transcript with instructions on calculating a GPA. A typical transcript will not be sufficient in recording all of the information you might need or wish to compile. Assemble a portfolio in which you would keep a complete history of your child’s high school career.
The documentation you may wish to put in your student’s portfolio could include:  
· Transcripts
· Annual standardized test scores (CAT, IOWA, Stanford, etc.)
· Scores from college entrance exams (ACT, SAT, etc.)
· Letters of recommendation
 · Student essays
· Commendations received through participation in clubs and organizations (4H, Scouts, civic and political groups, etc.)
· Certificates earned through instructional courses (CPR, life guard training, foreign languages, cake decorating, computer programming, etc.)
· Music and dance competition scores
· Records of sports participation and statistics
· Records of employment and apprenticeships
· Records of community service projects and hours of service Anything that shows your child has demonstrated leadership skills, responsibility, ability to learn, and ability to finish a task should be included in your record keeping.

Not all of this material may be necessary, but as stated earlier, you may need it down the road.

[The following information is taken from HSLDA]

High School Diplomas: “[A] high school diploma awarded by a home study program approved by the State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education shall be deemed by all public postsecondary educational institutions, all state departments, agencies, boards, and commissions, and all other state and local governmental entities to have all of the rights and privileges afforded to a high school diploma awarded by a state-approved nonpublic school.” La. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 17:236.1(G).

A renewal application [to be an approved home study] “shall be approved” if … a teacher certified to teach at the child’s grade level writes a statement that he has examined the program being offered and that in his professional opinion the child “is being taught in accordance with a sustained curriculum of quality at least equal to that offered by public schools at the same grade level” or “at least equal to that offered by public schools to children with similar disabilities.”

(NOTE: It doesn’t say how many years a student is required to register as an approved home study if they want a high school diploma but not TOPS. My best guess would be 11th and 12th grade would be required.)

The best I can tell from looking at the La DOE website, minimum high school credits should look something like this:

Subject               Credits
English                   4
Math                      4
Science                  3
P.E.                       1.5
Health                   .5
Social Studies        3
Electives                7

Total                      23

This is just a general guide for what to take and the actual course content can vary according to the interest/ability of the student. The decision of what to include in each class and how to assign grades is up to you. If you know someone (maybe a counselor or teacher) who works with special needs students they should be able to give you some guidelines of what is expected. This will help ensure that what you choose is at least equal to what is offered by public schools.

Your plan may look something like:
English classes = Ancient Lit, British Lit, American Lit, and Business English. Read books (can use audio books) from these time periods and do a report on one. Throw in a Grammar workbook if you feel the need. Bible class can also be used as English if you consider it Literature.
Math classes = General Math I, General Math II, Personal Finance, Business Math.
Science = Just choose three: General Science, Physical Science, Geology, Astronomy, Earth Science. Read short biographies of scientist in these fields, and watch some PBS shows.
Social Studies = Geography, American History, World History. Do map work, read biographies and historical fiction from time period you’re studying, and watch some movies.
Electives = Options are endless. Home Ec, Nutrition, Speech, Word Processing/Typing, Music Appreciation, Art Appreciation, Church History, Ag, Woodworking, Quilting, Auto Mechanics, Drafting, Photography, Cinematography, Pottery, Basket Weaving, Choir, Theater, Computer Science, Ethics, Carpentry, Plumbing, Fashion & Design, Animal Care, Cosmetology, … I think the topic of any 4-H book can be an elective. ( I got ideas from http://www.lpssonline.com/uploads/1011Courseguide.pdf).

Work through each class at the students own pace, but keep a record of hours worked because 1 credit is earned after approximately 150 hours of work. (30 weeks of school, 5 hours a week). It doesn’t have to be “book work”. Any time spent on the subject counts – i.e. watching movie about historical event, visiting science museums, etc.

I found an interview with a woman who runs a Christian school and had great ideas on homeschooling high school with a special needs student. Her school offers a “General Education” diploma. It is designed for students who can work at or near high school level with modifications and who are not meeting all of the courses for a “college ready” diploma. For example, they may need to work more slowly through the materials or may need to have their textbooks on tape or to use some of the lower reading level textbooks for more difficult classes. These students often skip the foreign language requirement that would be necessary to go straight to a 4-year college. (the whole interview is at http://creation.com/high-school-with-special-needs-yes-you-can).