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Homeschooling Three Unique Kids- What's Working (2021 update)

Curriculum for 3 special needs grade school kids

I was just discussing with my husband tonight how confident I have been feeling lately about our homeschool journey.  It is February 2021, so we're well into the school year, and I thought I'd share with all of my readers what is working for us.  I am schooling three "unique" kids (as they all are), who are currently 9, 8, and 7.  School has been a struggle with us so far, so my kids are roughly in 2nd grade, kindergarten, and 1st grade.  I will be referring to my my children as Dragonfly, Skimmer, and Tadpole.


READING

Dragonfly (9) has been a reluctant reader so far, but she has recently come back to wanting to be taught how to read.  Previously, she was wanting to slog through "real books" and learn how to read from them.  After seeing her brothers work on reading with the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" book, she has decided that she is also willing to learn some phonics and sight words in a more methodical way.  She's now blazing through the book and should be on her way very soon.


Skimmer (8) is almost halfway thought the "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Lessons" book, and he seems to have hit a wall with his learning.  He's very enthusiastic, but he is having trouble keeping up with the faster pace of the book as it moves into the advanced lessons.  We're currently exploring a few other ways for him to practice and solidify all that he has learned so far.  When I was researching some ideas, I found this mom-made additional printable resources for the book.  I'll also probably make my own soon, so watch for that to appear on the blog.


Tadpole (7) is also working through the same reading book.  He's about a third of the way though the book and is eager to catch up to his siblings.  I think he will be reading very quickly.


HANDWRITING

Dragonfly just started book #2 of the "Reason for Handwriting" series.  She is working on improving her printing, but I'm hoping to move her into cursive when she finishes this book.  She does one side of the page a day.


Skimmer is highly motivated to learn how to write, but struggles with workbooks and gets overwhelmed by lots of text on a page.  We've found that plain handwriting paper (Hi Write brand) with words that he choses every day works best for him.  Besides working on capital letter formation, we're also focusing on "keeping the shark in the cage" aka- writing within the lines.


Tadpole is also doing "A Reason for Handwriting" workbook.  He's much more reluctant to get it done, but the book is set up for him to only do about 4 lines or 1/2 a page per day.


MATH

Dragonfly is working through the 2nd book of the Horizon Math second grade book.  The book recently introduced multiplication to her, and I'm very relieved that she's understanding it so far and is feeling confident for her mathematical future.  I'm really hoping her optimism continues.


Skimmer has several special needs and has struggled with the traditional math book.  Over the summer, I discovered Sylvan Learning math workbooks, which are bright, colorful, and feature only one task per page.  He blasts through the worksheets and is confident that he's very good at math.  He's been working on geometry and clocks right now, which appear to be his strengths.


Tadpole is doing kindergarten with Horizon Math.  He seems to be good at math, but is very reluctant to actually get his work done.  Scroll down to read how we motivate all the kids to do well with their schoolwork.


SOCIAL STUDIES

As a family, we're reading through Notgrass's "Our 50 States" geography curriculum.  We're all enjoying learning about the U.S. states that we already know and getting introduced to states that are new to us.  You can read more about the U.S. Geography curriculum on my blog by clicking here.


SCIENCE

We tend to be a very science-minded family, so we're not using a particular science curriculum this year.  We bought a microscope and slides this year and have been exploring that frequently.  The kids will soon be building a simple computer kit with help from their dad.  They enjoy video games with him like the Microsoft Flight Simulator, which teaches physics, navigation, and more (read all about it here).  The kids watch a lot of biology documentaries and shows like "Wild Kratts."  We also attend a weekly co-op, which always includes a science class.  I'm sure there are more ways our family dances with scientific ideas.


BIBLE

At the new year, we started reading "Long Story Short" devotional book together after dinner.  The book goes through the Old Testament and includes some Bible verses to read every day, a small summery, and some questions.  The kids love buckling their seatbelts on the "Bible Bus" and working their way though new and familiar Bible stories.  The book has over a year's worth of lessons, so we'll be in the same book for a long time.


I hope other homeschool parents find this encouraging.  If you're looking for themed printables and ideas, check out my unit studies materials.  For more encouragement, follow me on Facebook!


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Homeschooling kids is always a challenge to know what will work best for them.  Here's what's currently working for my 3 special needs kids.




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