A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

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A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by my3sons » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:06 pm

Ladies, please provide some wisdom and encouragement for this sweet lady who has asked me to post this anonymously on our board - thank you!
In Christ,

Okay, here goes….
I am 6 years into homeschooling. 2 of the 6 years were taking care of a very dear friend who was going through breast cancer….then followed a year of grief when she “lost” her battle with cancer BUT gained her eternal reward.
Hardly any schooling was done during this time. I LOST 3 YEARS!! I was terrified. So I spent 2 MISERABLE years trying to “catch up”, which in actuality made us move backward…she AND I hated school and the curriculums we used.
Then I found Heart of Dakota and last year was our FIRST successful year. Awesome….right?!!? Yes, I did and do rejoice BUT she is soooo behind in the most important of all subjects reading, handwriting, and writing papers. I am so very tempted to give up but after last year’s successful year I don’t want to throw in the towel. But she is feeling the stress from friends and family because she is in behind. When someone asks her what grade she is in we both freeze and the every present feeling of failure hits me in the heart and mind again. My munchkin is 11 years old and we are just in Bigger Hearts for His Glory. I’m still feeling like such a failure. She doesn’t have anything that would cause her to not excel, it is just the foundational years of her reading was taught on the go or half taught or taught in a hurry. I must say I am TOTALLY freaking out. She is supposed to be in the 6th grade next year (age wise) but she isn’t even close. My family is pressuring me into putting her into public school because she is obviously behind and let them help catch her up. She can convey her thoughts verbally when I’ve read to her aloud. Her communication and comprehension skills are spot on. She really is brilliant but we have lost so much time. It’s the actually reading and writing that is her weakness. (That’s 2 of the 3 main R’s!! See why I’m freaking out?!?!) I’ve tried to find free placement/assessment testing but haven’t been able to find anything that would help. (I have tried some but found nothing that was helpful.)
I would without a doubt pay a tutor or buy a super expensive reading program if the $ was there for us to do so. I have asked for help from ladies in my group of homeschool moms. Unfortunately, they end up telling me how they didn’t have any problems with their kids and how their kiddos are just natural readers. Or they recommend some expressive program that is totally out of my price range. Both options leave me feeling more like a failure.
I have been praying and asking the Lord for help. Asking you ladies for words of wisdom was my only thought….and because of the shame I feel about being behind in schooling my child….It caused me to ask the moderators to post this lengthy post for me.
This is what we are doing….
We are in week 15 in Bigger Hearts for His Glory
Doing Math-U-SEE (which she loves)
And just started…..

We are also using Preparing to Build English 2 (doing to lessons at a time….till she hits something that is hard for her.)
Spelling Words of Wisdom and Using Language Well
(These are the reading programs that I have used thus far……
I will continue with the above curriculum and keep putting the proverbial foot in front of the other. I am praying that the Lord will both bless our schooling and my relationship with my munchkin.
In advance, I thank you for any words of wisdom that you could pass on to me. (If I can personally message you please let me know in the comments.)

Blessings to you all!!
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
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Sister to Carrie

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by StephanieU » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:29 pm

I wonder what grade level she is reading at now. Maybe doing the Emerging Reader books would help her. My daughter really blossomed with them because they made her really want to read. And most can be found at a public library, making the cost very affordable (out public library had all but four- Bible, nature reader, Prairie School, and Animal Adventures).

Another thing to remember is that Charlotte Mason didn't recommend much writing outside of copywork until about 10 years old. So if she can physically write and copy things, she may not be as far behind as you think. Since she just had a few years of limited formal schilling, she will probably catch up on the writing very quickly. Reading she will probably catch up quickly on as well if there are no signs of problems.
Last edited by StephanieU on Mon Mar 21, 2016 5:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mom to 4
DD (12) MtMM (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CtC, RtR, and Rev2Rev)
DS (10) CtC (completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, and Preparing plus some of LHTH)
DD (8) Preparing (completed LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, and Bigger)

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by snadig » Mon Mar 21, 2016 4:36 pm

Your are more than welcome to call me. You can send me a pm and I will give you my number.

I know the behind feeling and it has taken many years and the leaning on the Lord to realize that we are not in control. The Lord had carried you this far He will not leave you nor for sake you. Don't let the world tell you how to do this, lean on the Lord. He will lead you!

I have a Junior, freshman and fifth grader. I have been homeschooling for 7 years. My older 2 did some years in a private school, but have been home the last 7. You are not a failure, but a mother, daughter to the king, and a wonderful example to your daughter of what Christ looks like.

Now take a deep breath and all this school stuff will work out. She has learned more about real life in the last couple of years than any book could teach her. It will be fine.

Stacey in Co

Married 21years to my best friend
my wonderful kids:
19-dd-College student Aug 18
17-dd-US 1 Histroy -Aug 18
13-ds-MTMM - Aug 18

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by Rice » Mon Mar 21, 2016 6:21 pm

My DD, too, started HOD very behind, but for different reasons.

I was told many years ago that reading fluently was to be expected some time between ages 8-12! (Of course, we often teach them -even push them- at younger ages, but it takes that long for the brain processes to be in place to read well.) At 10 1/2 I finally decided to have my DD tested. She didn't have any symptoms of Dyslexia as a toddler, but did by age 10, so I wanted to be sure I wasn't missing something crucial. I wasn't! She had no LDs and tested at the "low end of average" pretty much across the board. Whew! (Though he still couldn't explain her delay in learning to read!)

So, for our first year of HOD (she was 10 1/2) we started her in Preparing and because her reading was only at a Grade 2.7, she couldn't handle the work load, so we moved her down to Bigger. We also dropped all of HOD's LA for a few months in order to fit in Diane Craft's Brain Training, which, in her case I felt was needed. Once we moved back in to LA we started in R&S 4 (one lesson each day scheduled), the ERs, and dictation at her level (which happened to be near the beginning of Level 3).

Fast forward another year and she is now newly 12, is finishing Preparing (we even worked in some of the Extension books on a modified schedule this last few months) and will move into RTR now! (I don't normally advocate skipping anything but if we move ahead she will no longer qualify for Extensions and we can take till the end of next school year -15months- to complete the guide, if we need to. She has improved so much, I believe she is ready for the challenge.)

All this to say, not that your daughter will follow in my DD's footsteps, but that starting here (1/2 through Bigger around age 11) is not the end of the world! Do what she can do now and add slowly as she is able. Patience and diligence WILL pay off. :D

If she is doing well enough to fit in two lessons of R&S I might be tempted to skip to the beginning of 4 now and progress from there.

Work on her reading, even judiciously omitting some of the "extra" activities, to make time for it, like the occasional History Project or Science Lab if they illustrate things she already knows and won't move her forward by doing them. (Because she is older than the recommended age range, I often made my DD fill out the Lab page *as if* she had done the lab. If she could effectively communicate that she understood the concept, she would not have to physically do the lab; if she obviously didn't understand or couldn't explain it, we would go back and do it.)

When/if she is ready, you can also have her work more independently than the guide suggests. (Preparing suggests Science be done independently. Depending on the book in Bigger's Science, she might be able to read it on her own. I know some were more difficult than others, so my DD would come back to having me read those ones.)

It can be a delicate balancing act to know what she needs to complete because of the learning she will gain from it and what to skip because it is obviously intended for someone younger. But the guides are just that: guides. Feel free to adapt it to her level to give her practice in the skills she needs but not bog her down with busy work.

I encourage you to continue on with Bigger and be prepared to see her blossom! :)
Blessings as you decide!

DS 18 (GRAD: after WG, 2020)
DD 16 WH w/different lit (DONE:Bigger-WG [-CTC]; Irlen S.)
DS 14 non-HOD @ US1 level (DONE: CTC-WH)
DS 10 CTC (DONE: Prep)
DS 8 +
DD 6 Storytime + 3Rs
3yo DS

Little Women
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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by Little Women » Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:49 pm

First of all, you have not failed your daughter! Each child learns different things, and she has learned a great deal about compassion, mercy, and other things that will stand her in good stead as an adult. Also, most kids, once they start moving in the right direction, will move a lot faster through the easier levels and will slow down when they get to things that are closer to their true level. You may well find that with more regular work, she will gain more as she goes along. Not only that, but though it may seem like she's writing less than grade level (maybe a paragraph or two instead of a page or two), her work probably has a lot more depth than a younger child's work would--which is evidenced by the way you talk about her comprehension and ability to discuss orally--these things will cause her writing to jump, eventually.

One thing I learned with my child who struggled in school: we have to begin where they are, not where we think they should be. The more I thought, "This year, we will catch up!" the less she was actually able to do the type of work I was asking for. When I finally figured out that this was simply where she was, and we started from there, she actually began to move forward more quickly! But I had to change my expectations. (In my case, not using HOD, I went back to the 3rd grade level of the LA I was using, and looked at what they expected--a short sentence or two instead of a long paragraph. So I started asking for that instead of the 5th grade expectation. Once she found she could do it, she was able to do a bit more, and start moving better.)

On a practical level, it might be worth it to look into dyslexia. There is a very good book called Overcoming Dyslexia, by Sally Shaywitz, which talks about signs at different ages, that might help you. A lot of normal kids, given a basic education in reading and a lot of free time, especially if sitting around a lot, would pick up the reading and do a lot of it. If she is still struggling, it might well be a symptom of actually having dyslexia. (If it's just that she can't do reading comprehension worksheets very well, I wouldn't worry about that--just reading will help that, if she does it regularly.)

As far as what grade she's in--if she were in public school, she would be put into a grade based on her age. Period. They almost never hold a child back and also rarely move them forward. If a child is struggling, they give them a more personalized program, but they don't change the grade. Therefore, it is perfectly legitimate, and probably best for all, to simply say she is whatever grade her age would indicate. If you want to consider that she's been held back, then you could say one year lower, but I'd pick a grade and stick with that. It doesn't matter if she's doing different levels in different classes--lots of kids are working at different levels than their ps says.
Long-time homeschooler, short-time HOD user.
Mom to
K21: college senior
L19: college sophomore
C15: high school sophomore
J12: 7th grade

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by MelInKansas » Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:30 pm

You have been through so much! A big hug to you, for caring for someone in need for so long. It seems to me that you feel you've done irreparable damage by not being able to focus on school work with your daughter. I don't think that is true at all. I think with some time and work you and she will make amazing progress in a relatively short time. I think just trusting the Lord for guidance and moving forward from where you are is what you should be focussing on. Definitely put in the extra time to work on reading and writing (though as one person mentioned, you aren't far behind in that area with HOD, actually composing their own writing starts a bit in Preparing but an official writing program is in CTC). Enjoy where you are at right now. Bigger is great, and I would guess as long as there aren't any major learning issues to work through, your daughter will probably be forging right ahead, and maybe even skipping ahead in the next year or two. Not that you should push for that, I like just going through the guide as it comes and you will probably realize when she gets to a point where she needs more challenge.

I also agree with another person who said you should just pick a grade level for her and let her know this is what you tell people when they ask you what grade you're in. Even kids in that grade in Public School will range very widely on their abilities in different subjects, but they are still identified as X grade. There is absolutely NO shame in not being "up to reading level." Part of the benefit of homeschooling is that our kids don't need to be labelled in that way. They are doing what they are doing and we can meet them where they are at (obviously trying to work out any problems if they seem to be having any).

I hope this is helpful. You are a wonderful follower of Jesus, mom and friend.
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
His mercies never come to an end"

DD12 - Rev to Rev + DITHOR 6/7/8
DD10 - CTC + DITHOR 2/3
DD7 - Bigger + ERs
DD2 - ABC123
2 babies in heaven

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by Lynn3ggb » Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:35 pm

Your post really tugs at my heart because I have a very similar story. My children went to public school until my oldest asked to be homeschooled in the 6th grade. I had to deal with comments from my family like “you are going to make them stupid”, and “you need to put those kids back in school where they belong”. During the time I was learning to homeschool a 7th, 4th and 3rd grader, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with colon cancer. I became her sole care provider for 3 years before she lost her battle and went to be with the Lord. I was also caring for my father-in-law who was handicapped and unable to walk. After she passed, my father-in-law went into diabetes related kidney failure and I cared for him for until he also went to be with the Lord.

They had no insurance. We spent every dime we had paying for their care, medications, and all of their household related bills as well as our own along with the added expense of homeschooling. Then, my husband lost his job of 15 years. To say we struggled is a severe understatement. A year later my husband finally found a good job and we were getting back on our feet when he had a heart attack and was out of work for three months. We lost our land, home, cars, and pretty much everything we had worked our whole lives for and were forced to move several times.

My oldest was affected the most. There was pretty much two years when we did little to no school. Not only was I not schooling as I should be, we could barely keep a roof over their heads. She was so behind in math I thought there was no hope of ever catching up. I felt the same shame as you. It was consuming me. Fast forward to today…and that same daughter is graduating in a few weeks. She will be graduating a year after her public school peers because of the extended time we were forced to focus of things other than homeschooling. And guess what? She still aced her ACT and has been offered multiple full tuition scholarships by several very good private colleges. She is a brilliant & happy young lady who is well adjusted, full of spunk and loves the Lord. Everyone who criticized and discouraged us in the beginning has been converted to homeschool supporters.

I have been where you are. The best advice I can give you is…
*You MUST stop listening to the negative comments of your family. I am sure they are concerned, but their concern is off target. They can’t possibly know what the Lord has in store for you or your daughter.

*Never compare where you think you should be with the public school systems ideals. People ask “what grade are they in” questions because they need a way to pigeon hole your child. A way to fit them into their perception of what success is. As homeschoolers, this is a very inaccurate way to measure our children’s progress.

*Don’t hesitate to switch gears if a particular curriculum is bogging you down. I wanted my daughter to use HOD, but it was too involved. We were literally running out of time. She needed something we could master and move on. Switched On Schoolhouse, Lifepacs and Christian Light Education booklets worked wonders for us and she was able to get caught up in math using Tablet Class Math. (My younger two are using HOD with great success and loving it.)

*Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Look at the big picture. Try to temper the urgency you feel right now and realize that you have a very long time to get where you need to be by the end of the race. Your child’s achievement timeline will look very different from everyone else’s and this is a good thing.

*Pray without ceasing. Every day. EVERY DAY! I asked for wisdom, guidance, courage and fortitude. And Every day God gave it to me in abundance.

If you get confused or find yourself making decisions out of fear, you can use this quote I heard once. “Order your priorities to eliminate your confusion”. When I couldn’t decide what to do next, I would write this quote on the top of a piece of paper and then write my priorities in order. My #1 priority was always to give my children a Godly education in a safe environment. This grounded my decision making more times than I can count.

Hope this helps. I truly know what you are feeling and you will be in my prayers.

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by mrsrandolph » Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:40 pm

I think she would find the short book "Teaching From Rest" by Sarah Mackenzie VERY uplifting and encouraging. It is a quick and easy read.
Shannon Randolph LOVING HOD & Running 4 Guides & DITHOR
Mommy to 4 Precious Blessings
Cassie (15- World Geography),
Will (14- Rev2Rev,
Ellie (12- Res2Ref), and
Jack (10- CTC)

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by countrymom » Thu Mar 24, 2016 1:20 pm

I didn't have time to read all of the responses so far, just sort of skimmed them. Here are some of my thoughts:
1. You are in charge of your daughter's education and the "public system," as well as friends/family circle are not in the equation. Now, I know that is hard when you are around family and friends, but if you can look at it differently, rather they do or not, it will actually change your ability to cope and be confident. We are in a situation where we have decided to call next school year 3rd grade again due to my son's dyslexia. He functions 2 grade levels behind in some areas, but at or above in others. Fortunately we have been in this long enough and I have done enough reading that I now (wouldn't have been the case at one time) have the confidence to do this and know we are fine, because we are. We have a plan for our son and he is excelling according to our plan and standards.
2. If education was done according to childhood growth and development instead of the Prussian educational system adopted in the late 1800's, your daughter would be right where she should be. Children were not meant to do "seat work" at the ages we require them. Children that have been held from school until age 10 have consistently (barring learning disabilities, and even with at times) caught up to their peers and performed at expectations.
3. I sense you are defeating yourself with your fear. This is understandable and my heart goes out to you, but this comes back to my first point, you are in charge of your daughter's education. Give yourself permission to relax, let go, and pick up under a new vision - one in which your daughter is succeeding because she is consistently learning and progressing. Don't fret the guide or the grade, just develop a plan that is right for your daughter.
4. I am not sensing from your post that there are learning disabilities, just some time lost. With that in mind, I wouldn't worry about finding a program or testing, I would just spend quality time with your daughter. You should be the "teacher", but involve her with your plan as well. I get a sense your daughter is struggling because of the pressure she is feeling. Our children pick up on our fears, anxieties, etc. So make a pact together that from today, you are not behind - you are on track because you are exactly where the plan you have put together places you. Your daughter needs to pick up positive vibes from you and feel confident that she is ok.

I will be praying for you as you move forward. Honestly, when I read your post I know this is a very salvageable situation. Now you and your daughter need to know it. God bless you as you move forward.
Wife to J
Big J - LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, R2R, Rev to Rev, Modern Missions, beginning parts of World Geography
Little J - LHTH, LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, working in CTC

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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by Kteni » Sat Mar 26, 2016 11:44 am

I have children who are "behind" in provincial learning outcomes. Reading did not come easy to the first 2 but DC3 seems to be running with it. I had my son read through the emerging reader set at age 9/10 year and it helped immensely. He needed a steady incremental reading track. I wish I had known about it for my oldest. So, we are using Bigger for my son this year who just turned 11. He is growing in reading and writing for certain. I believe it is because I am challenging him where he is at and just focusing on his needs. I plan on putting him in Preparing next year. My oldest did Preparing for her grade 6 year and it was EXACTLY what she needed to become a more independant student, an avid reader, and start her researching and writing better. She did the extension pack. It was a blossoming year for her and I could not have produced that growth with out Carrie's well laid out plans.
I mistakenly dropped HOD the spring of last year as I was trying to "catch up" with topics and benchmarks for the province. Even the first half of this school year we tried to simply, Charlotte Mason our way along and meet those PLOs. It just stifled us completely. My children needed to be steadily challenged where they were at and that is what we are back at doing. I can see the fruit of the guide's assignments. Like any true good lasting growth, it takes time. Doing it steady and correctly builds strong foundations. I won't bend again to appease others expectations. I now choose to build up my children in faith and academics by using HOD. It is a solid working force I have seen edify my children. It takes time. I deeply encourage you to stay your course. Take time to pray and be encouraged that The Lord equips you to be her mother and her teacher. You will make more impact that any other teacher she could have if you will stay committed to her now, and each day forward. It is my gut feeling that Preparing will very much benefit and develop her next. Do NOT get hung up on age or grade, challenge and build up your dear one where she is at. You can do it mama, He is there to help lead you on in it.
in {heart} 17 years
yarngirl 14- CTC w/extensions, MUS, DITHOR
legoboy 11 - Bigger w/extensions, MUS, DITHOR
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Re: A Plea for Help from You Wise Ladies!

Post by my3sons » Sun Apr 10, 2016 3:28 pm

Ladies - thank you so much for pouring out your hearts and helping a fellow mom here! You have been such an encouragement to this mom, which I know from a PM in FB. I'll be visiting with her this week. She is quite private about this due to opposition from family. Even though she has not responded, know she is 'hearing and appreciating' you. You have been an inspiration here. We simply have the best moms ever on this board! Thank you!

In Christ,
Enjoyed LHTH to USII
Currently using USII, MTMM
Wife to Rich for 25 years
Mother to 3 sons, ages 20, 17, and 13
Author of Women's Devotional https://www.ebay.com/itm/293355757184
Blogger https://my3sons-julie.blogspot.com/
Sister to Carrie

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