Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our Curriculum Adaptations

We began homeschooling our younger children last year.  Our boys (ages 10, 8, and 7) have varying special needs which make learning and accessing curriculum difficult.  And we have a toddler (3 year old girl).  Not only are we focusing on academics, but our children are also in various types of therapy (speech, occupational, physical, and behavior).  We continue to work on life skills as part of our daily routine.    

One approach we found which really seems to work for our family is unit studies.  We choose a topic and all of our learning is based on that one topic, generally for 2 weeks.  We try to make our learning as hands-on as possible, including various field trips.  Our older children (ages 18 & 20) sometimes join us for fun activities or to share their knowledge.  

Reading:  I feel strongly that children of any ability can learn to read.  It has been my desire to teach all of our boys how to read and to actually enjoy it.  I love the multi-sensory approach of the All About Reading program.  In January we started with Level Pre-1 giving the kids a good foundation of naming and writing the letters (capital and lowercase), as well as the letter sounds.  We are beginning this school year with Level 1.  The program is so easy to follow with clearly written lesson plans and our kids enjoy the games!

Amada singing the alphabet song
Playing "get out of the wagon"
We supplement with many other reading/learning games to reinforce the concepts they are learning.

Amada using Hot Dots to find the beginning sound
James working on his letter writing
Using velcro to order the alphabet pieces and find the missing letters

Math:  We are using the TouchMath program, another great multi-sensory approach.  This is the math program our children were using in the special education classroom, so we continued using it.  It is a costly program, but they do offer free sample worksheets on the websites.  One way I was able to cut down on costs is by just purchasing the worksheets instead of the entire program.  We also play math games, as well as computer and iPad games.  

Our touch-dot math reference page
I have found a couple of homeschooling mom bloggers that I love and who offer printables which I have found to be very helpful.  One of these is Confessions of a Homeschooler.  Here is a link to her math page.  She has a game called add it/subtract it that I printed and laminated.  We use little manipulatives with it and the kids have a great time!

Science/History/Art:  These subjects are covered during our unit studies time.  We do not teach every subject every day, but rather pick a topic of focus and do an in-depth study of it.  Here is a link to our unit we completed recently on the solar system.

PE:  While we do not use a formal curriculum for PE, we do have a lot of structured outside time playing baseball, freeze tag, riding bikes, going to the park, swimming, or an occasional obstacle course.

I utilize our public library for resources, as well as the internet.  I guess I am eclectic for most of our curriculum and that suits us for right now.  I am a proud mama when I look back and see how much progress our children have made over the past year, and more than just in academics.


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