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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

How to Adjust Homeschool Curriculum to Fit Special Needs

We are just about to finish up week 2 of our newly restructured homeschool.

The most important change is our schedule.
We are working hard to do the same things in the same order every day.

We are using My Father's World- Kingergarten for curriculum.
I decided to take 6 weeks and follow it exactly as written, or at least the best we can before we evaluate and make changes.

Two weeks in, and I already know I'm going to have to tweak some things for Maddie's learning style.
We actually tried this curriculum a couple of years ago and I know now why I tossed it aside.
The pace of it all is a bit too overwhelming for Maddie.
For example, the activity to trace the letter in the salt (great idea!) is only set up to do two days of the week.
We followed that model, and by the second day Maddie was actually successful in writing the letter "s."
But this week, we were already moving on to the next letter and when I asked her to review the letter "s", that skill was gone.
It was like starting back over.
Maddie needs a lot more repetition than that.

I really like the themes and fun activities to go along with it, but I'm thinking a lot of it is a bit too advanced for her still.
For example, the first week is all about the sun.
The fact that the sun is 92 million miles away, is made of helium and hydrogen, and is big enough to fit a million earths inside is all lost on her.
We had to simplify to just learn that:
1. God made the sun.
2. The sun gives us light.
3. It hurts our eyes to look directly as the sun.
4. The sun is really hot.

They also have a spiritual component that correlates to the theme.
For the sun, it's Jesus is the light of the world.
We talked about it, but I felt like it was too abstract for her to understand.
I will stick with it, but now I know adjustments are going to have to be made.
I don't think two years ago I knew enough about Maddie's needs and learning style to do that.
I definitely think we can do that now.

Here's a tour of our homeschool room!
Maddie and I both love it.

Here's some photos of our activities from week one:

Reviewing the seasons. 
She says our current season is "snowball fights!"

Oh boy, scissors!  
I'm glad this is part of the weekly curriculum.  
We'll need the practice.

She counts the numbers each day.
Most of the time she can make it to twelve without any help.
Some days she may forget 10 and call it 8, but my favorite thing is when she calls twelve "two-teen!"
So cute!

She loved the salt tray!
What a great way to learn letter formations.

She was so proud of herself when she did it all by herself!

These envelopes are for her letter box.
Each week she cuts out pictures that begin with the letter of the week and we put them in the letter envelope.
Next week, there's a fun game we do with the two different letters.

We read several books about the sun...

After reading Moonbear's Shadow, we went outside and measured her shadow each hour.

And had some fun with chalk...

Another project was making raisins.
We were supposed to put the grapes out in the sun and chart them each day to see how they change.
This was one activity that I felt was a little too much for her attention span, so we just talked about the fact that raisins came from grapes and then we had a tasty snack!

I just wanted to say thank you to all who have been praying for us and wishing us well on this homeschool journey of ours.
I seems like we are at least heading in the right direction!

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