I, Meredith, am homeschooling special needs. Both of my kids (now 13, and 10) are children with special needs. My daughter has dyslexia and my son has dyslexia, ADHD and Sensory Processing issues. Both had to complete twelve months of vision therapy, and my son will very likely need more. They have both undergone some of LearningRx's Cognitive therapy, and some days are still a struggle.
We used Learning Rivers for a multi-sensory approach to reading and writing, written specifically for special needs children. It's eight programs in one, so you don't need to add anything else to it, except maybe some reading comprehension. There are 100 lessons to go from learning your letters and sounds to knowing every sound and spelling in the English language. They learn handwriting skills, along with a "sound-to-code" approach. This means that they learn the sounds the letters make, instead of the letter name. They learn the letter through a picture that links to the sound. So, the letter "a" looks like an "apple" and they say /a/ as they trace the letter a few times with their finger. Then, they write the new letter and sound while saying /a/ the whole time. It's amazing how this changes the brain. When you are homeschooling special needs you can integrate therapy-type activities into your learning time.
The authors have included lots of ways to make the learning more hands-on, or tactile which is great for homeschooling special needs. The picture letters are also included as little cards in the back of each book so the kids can make their own words with their letter cards, picture or letter only. They are reading stories by the third lesson, and every time they learn a new sound, they "make" their own words with all of the sounds they know. This way, they are building on what they know, and it's amazing how fast they know LOTS of words, and they are reading them! It gives the kids with special needs a huge sense of accomplishment that they can do it.
Then, after they learn the sound, make new words with the new sound, and read a little story with the sounds they know, then they get to go to their own writing book and make their own story using all of the words they know. If they can't think of something (there are writing prompts and "story starters") then they can just copy the sample story. The stories are in their own book because then the kids can just read their book, and not have to flip through workbook pages to find what THEY made. It's all in one place. This makes homeschooling special needs fun and easy!
You can test spelling and mastery after they write their story. In the writing journal, there is a list of words specific to that lesson, that you can use for a test, if you want. You don't have to. They even teach sight words.
When my two finished the program (My Daughter was in 5th grade, my son was in 1st grade!) they were both very sad that it was over because they fell in love with the fun characters in the curriculum, and really enjoyed it. My son is now doing All About Spelling - which he loves because he has the solid foundation from Learning Rivers.
The Learning Rivers program is based on the best of the best language learning programs availble. The authors are PACE and Master The Code trainers with LearningRx, and have been paid $75/hour to teach special needs children how to read. They wanted to create a program where parents could be the "Reading Specialists" for their own children. So, they researched the best of the best, over 120 different programs, to create Learning Rivers. You can go as slow or as fast as you want to through the program, so there is no problem when homeschooling special needs.
If you have questions, or want to know more about homeschooling special needs with Learning Rivers, go to www.learningrivers.com, www.christiancottage.com or call 1-888-286-5494 today.
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