Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 9:21 pm
Location: Cartersville, GA

Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by mrsrandolph » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:53 pm

Hi! Let me say that I am so excited to begin using HOD this school year! I heard about HOD when asking about curriculum options on a Christian Women's Yahoo Group. A mom emailed me about HOD, and I was sold!

It is so very impressive to me that when reading all the reviews of HOD from various sites, I haven't read a SINGLE negative comment! WOW!

That said, I am a mother of 4. Their ages are 6 (Cassie), 5 (Will), 3 (Ellie), and 8 months (Jack). My daughter (now 6) began HS last year. We had a slow paced year due to my 5 year old sons medical issues (will explain more later). She (my 6 year old) is a fast learner and seems to be able to learn via a variety of approaches. She reads basic phonics readers and writes stories well. She learns math quickly and loves it. I think it is because she is Asian. We adopted her from Vietnam when she was 3 months old. Her dad & I were terrible math students!

My son (now 5) has processing issues. I know that sounds vague, but that is all we know definitively. If you can bear an explanation...

My son experienced birth trauma. By 3 months old, it was obvious that something was *off*. He had high muscle tone and some sensory integration issues. After a bazillion specialists evaluated him, each ruling our his own concerns & passing our son along to the next specialist, we found a partial answer via genetics.

Let me say that it took from the time Will turned 4 months old until he turned 2 YEARS old before we knew anything. During that time of *waiting* for answers, we started will on solid foods at 5 months. He rejected every form of food in his mouth by vomiting violently. At 6 months, I knew he was not trying to manipulate us in his reaction to food. Those were his physical reactions to food.

His only nutrition came from a specialized formula in a bottle and then we switched to Pediasure in a cup.

We learned that Will has a genetic condition called "Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease". It doesn't have anything to do with teeth. The disease is name after the 3 french doctors who named this disease.

Thr odd thing was that while genetics did tell us that will had CMT, it also told us thet he had a "variant" of CMT that had never been seen in the World of medicine. Believe me...nobody wants to be told that their child has such a funky disease to nobdy in the world has it accept your child. Much more difficult to her was when the doctors said, "We have no idea how this type pf CMT is going to affect Will's life.

Typical CMT disease is related to Muscular Dystrophy. But, instead of affecting degeneration of muscle, CMT causes degeneration of nerves, especially in the extremeties.

Since Will was tested, we learned that my husband, his 3 brothers, and their dad ALL have CMT and never knew it. Usually folks with CMT are wheelchair bound by age 40. Our family is doing great and has not developed any noticable neuropathy.

Will is the "odd bird" of the bunch. CMT is not known to affect children developmentally, or cognitively. But Will has very mixed cognition. When he hears a book read and can se the pictures, he has extreme recall and understanding of what he has had read to him. He knows al of his letter names in any order (both Cap and LC). He has the "Kindergarten Stuff" down phonics wise.

BUT, he cannot conceptualize much of anything. He has a VERY hard time following commands like, "Get your shoes please." He talks in very "off topic" ways about random things. He cannot answer "why" questions, and he can't answer "What would you do if?" questions.

His math is more tricky. Will is SO SO visual. If he doesn't see it, than you didn't say it (as far as he's concerned)

So, after ALL of that info (which was too much) I am wanting to teach them from LHFHG. But I don't know how to best challenge her at her level AND make sure he gets the resources he most needs.


I am certain I do not want to use Singapore. I have heard from too many moms who use it that it is too hard for their kids, AND that it is too hard for the parents! :shock: I am drawn to Math U See because of it's VERY visual nature. On the other hand, I also like Saxon because they use TONS of manipulatives & the concepts are introduced slowly.

My profession was as a Reading Specialist (specializing in early literacy). I feel I can cover phonics on my own. I don't want to commit a faux pas, but I really don't like either Reading Made Easy or The Reading Lesson. (sorry) (I got both books & REALLY TRIED to like them...)

If I had to choose a phonics program, I like The Phonics Museum (Veritas Press) and PhonicsWorks (by k12). But my favorite way to teach reading & phonics is Using 2 books by Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Those books are "Guided Reading" and "Word Matters". The philosophy is unbeatable, and it works for every child. These books are published by Heineman Press and are intended for public school teachers. They are not workbooks. They are just intros to what works & how to do it.

So, if you had 2 kids a year apart with the differences I have described, how would you use LHFHG? What resources would you choose.

Thanks for reading such a lengthy email and for your advice!! And may I add that I typed this at close to 2am, so forgive my errors :)

Shannon Randolph
Cartersville, GA
Married to Chris (11 years)
Mommy to
Cassie (6),
Will (5),
Ellie (3), and
Jack (8 months)
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: Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by eazbnsmom » Tue Aug 05, 2008 7:31 am

Hello Shannon,

I don't know if you will remember me, but I am kayinpa from AR! Congrats on your new baby, last I heard you had just had Ellie. I am not sure how much I can help because I will be doing LHFHG for the first time this year also with a K & 1st. My 5yo doesn't have the issues that yours does, but he is definitely not on the same learning sphere as his brother. I personally like and recommend Math U See. Not sure how much help I would be, but wanted to say "hello" and wave. :)
Kay in PA

Mom to dd12, dd11, ds9, ds7 & ds3 1/2

BHFHG with dss 7&9 and dd11

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Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:24 pm
Location: GA

Re: Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by water2wine » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:30 am

Welcome to HOD. First let me just say that we have a lot in common and you have absolutely made the right choice in curriculum for your family. I have six ages 4-11 in a few days. We are using BHFHG and LHFHG, in particular LHFHG with my 4 and 6 year old dds. I also have been blessed both by the miracle of birth and the miracle of adoption. And I also have three Asian children but I think it was proven that Asian kids are not necessarily smarter by race. :wink: I believe it was found to be a culture thing where education is more valued. Actual IQs are similar to Americans. :cry: I wish it was true. :lol: It would make my job easier. However you could have got yourself a smarty. :D And we have found it interesting to see how that plays out in our family because our birth children seem to be very similar and our adopted children are all over the board. The other thing we have in common besides both living in the same state is I also have one with special needs. Mine has cerebral palsy. And of course that is different but she does have some processing issues and finding things that work can be the same kind of battle. :roll:

So having said all that I have spent many a day hanging out with other moms who have kids with special needs and some that homeschool. For the one that have visual kids and processing issues they almost all swear by MUS. We used R&S but my dd is different she does work by memory and rules so it worked better for her than MUS. I would think for you it would be a very good bet. On the phonics please use the one that works best for your child. I will tell you that I have had to use several programs with my dd. Phonics is hard to teach to children with special needs. It just takes a lot of resolve and a lot of being willing to use whatever works at the time. :roll: I think you absolutely have the right idea on that. And don't worry nobody here is loyal to brands. The only brand we are all loyal to is HOD, math and phonics are what works for your family and even we understand if you use HOD your own way. Mom's here want the best for your family and only you can know that. :D And it sounds to me like you are doing an excellent job. I think you absolutely have the right attitude for getting the job done and doing your best for a child with learning differences. It is hard but it is so worth it. PS can't come close to what you can offer your child in this area. Please believe me on that been there done that myself. You will be able to do this and you will be able to give your child the best, even better than the experts. That is why they call us mom. :wink:

Ok so last thing I think, :D will LHFHG be great for your child with special needs and still be challenging to your 6 year old. I believe as long as it is the best fit for your six year old by the placement chart it definitely will be. That program is so rich. There is the actual program and then there is a ton of wonderful extra resources if you choose in the appendix. My concern would be is your son ready for it. So I might look at how much time you think he needs to get through phonics and where he is as far as attention span and being able to listen to the books being read aloud. If you think on the chart he is fitting better into LHFHG than LHTH (forget age but look at ability for him) then definitely it will work. I run it with a 4 and a 6 year old and when we started they were actually younger. It is working great. I have had no problems working between the two levels. Math and phonics is separate so you work on your own level. But if you had to do two programs between the two I want to encourage you it would not be a big deal. I have run LHFHG at half pace (doing one side one day and the next the other day) for a while to give my then three year old some time. There was plenty there to keep my then five year old occupied so if you decide even that your 6 year old fits better in Beyond that is a good option for you. I don't want to confuse you more but the bottom line is the chart is the key to placing them. It's best to go with the best individual fit and if they can combine do that. LHFHG is a great program. And I do have a 4 and a 6 year old in it together and it has been wonderful! But just make sure you get the best individual fit and then if you need help making whatever combination you find is the best fit there are plenty of moms to help you.

Welcome to HOD. To me this is the best program for families that are large and have special needs children. You really can meet everyone at their needs and give everyone the absolute best at the same time. You will love it! :D
Last edited by water2wine on Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children. Isaiah 54:13
~Six lovies from God~4 by blessing of adoption
-MTMM (HS), Rev to Rev, CTC, DITHR
We LOVED LHFHG/Beyond/Bigger/Preparing/CTC/RTR/Rev to Rev (HS)

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Re: Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by joyfulheart » Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:54 pm


I also have a son that is a medical wonder. He has things the doctors say are impossible too! LOL

I tell my son all the time that God makes us all unique, and he made my Ben REALLY unique!

Anyway, as a mom of a visual learner with issuses (different kid though), my BEST advice is to not have a plan set in stone.


Because, with visual learners you cannot predict what will work. You can pick what you think is the best fit for that kid, and try it. Then if that doesn't work, you have to find something different, or come up with your own way. I bolded that part because sometimes there's nothing in the market that works, and you have to find a way to teach them on your own.

I cannot tell you how many times I have WHINED to my poor DH that XX program is SUPPOSED to work, but it's NOT! It worked for all these kids, WHY isn't it working for my kids??? LOL Then he reminds me that ALL kids learn differently. What works for some people makes no sense to others.

As mom, you are lucky to be his teacher! You know him better than anyone!

Now, having said that-- HOD has been wonderful for us. My kid that's right brained, visual learner, dyslexic and multiple LD's and my kid that has Cystic Fibrosis and multiple health related issues (left brained no LD's), both do well. Because there's a healthy mix of auditory info, visual info, etc.. And I can easily add any interventions I need into the program without panicking!

Also, I can tell you how EASILY HOD transports to the hospitals! I have a tote bag that I can throw everything into and bring with us. HOD is a wonderful distraction when in there!

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Re: Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by Jodi » Tue Aug 05, 2008 4:40 pm

Hi! Although I haven't started using HOD yet I will be using BHFHG with special needs children. The thing I like, from what I've seen so far, is that I can expect more (extra readers etc..) with the typical learners and less from the children with LD's. For instance I have a 14 yo with autism, typical 12 yo 6th grader, typical 10 yo 4th grader and a 9 yo approx. 2nd grade ability with both developmental and significant growth delays. We don't know exactly what's up with our 9 yo, just in the process of diagnosing since he too doesn't seem to fit into any one diagnosis. One thing my 9 and 14 yo's have in common is that they're very visual learners. For math I use alot of manipulatives and for my 14 yo I write a short lesson on a big white board to work through with him. With the info bigger on the board he can understand it better than on the small cluttered page and also writing with a chunky marker on the board is do-able for him whereas writing with a pencil can be quite hard.

I guess what I'm trying to do with HOD I use it as the base for our studies next year and then add or take away (or even use exactly as is) depending on the specific child's ability. My 12 yo will do extensions and extra reading, my 14 and 10 will use it pretty much as written, even though their ages are different their ability level is about the same, with videos added for that very visual 14 yo. My 9 yo will do what he can and we'll spend extra time on his specific needs seperately. Everyone will have their own math completely independant of the program because the abilities are too different there. Some of the kids will be taking some classes at a co-op too. My contingency plan for if it turns out to be on the easy side where my kids are older is to speed up the reading some and then go into PHFHG mid-year. I've had a few weeks to look over the guide though and I really like what I see and think the way this is written if will be a good fit for my particular kids. Plus there is the fact that I want them to have some US history this year!

I see MUS has been suggested and I do think that's a good one. For some reason it didn't click well for us but I still have some of it around here and watch the DVD's myself sometimes for teaching ideas. another one I've used is called lively Lessons-Noble Knights of Knowledge. It's manipulatives and games and a story with the math.


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Re: Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by Tansy » Tue Aug 05, 2008 5:11 pm

Just wanted to wave Hi *waves*

I have 2 adopted children one china (home 2 months age 6) one from india age 9, who just brought back her math to me same problem 5th time still won't put the 3 in the unit spot.. by the time she reaches her desk she will have forgotten where she was supposed to put it...sigh... is it rebellion or is it confusion hard to tell.

She also can't seem to follow simple instructions like "put on your shoes"... yet I have found her to learn with HOD.

She has sensory integration issues as well and has been sick most of her life bouncing form one Dr to another... but nothing weird just yet another sinus infection/ adinoids/ asthma/ not asthma./ allergys/ not allergys . So in part I feel your pain and stand with you.

Mine also can't handle questions "why" is a mystery to her at 9 years old. We got who and where and what down by repeatedly modeling and training her to respond with the right answers. But original thoughts are a rare occurance. But on the whole she is a sweet child and a blessing from the lord. Many times in HOD I would just let it go.. like narration..if she is interested in the topic she will retain some of it but for the most part she doesn't. Once I find something that interests her I hang as much stuff on that as possible. HOD allows that kind of flexiblity.

I also use MUS for her math (as much manipulatives as need) and I used teach your child to read in 100 ez lessons, after much trial and error with other programs. And I'm sure Carrie is not offended I did so. :) I'm sure she would have never made such a flexible program other wise. I think she wants to bring good quality inexpensive homeschooling product for us to use. And MUS is not inexpensive. In defense of Singapore Carrie gives us hands on manipulative activites to do most lessons it not just workbook work. My dd couldn't get the concept 6 marshmallows were the same as 6 raisins because as u know marshmallows are better than raisins... So MUS works because it never changes.
Dyslexics of the world Untie!
Adoptive Mom to 2 girls

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Re: Help w/ Choosing Resources for my special learners

Post by Carrie » Wed Aug 06, 2008 3:38 pm


The ladies are giving you such wonderful advice. They are a HUGE blessing and very giving with their time and encouragement! :D

The nice part of HOD is that you can substitute in a different language arts and math, if you desire, to fit your style and your family goals. LHFHG is not tied to a particular phonics program, leaving that choice up to you.

As far as math goes, you are welcome to substitute in whatever you feel suits your kiddos best. It can be a search to find the best math program, and what works for one kiddo may not be a good fit for the other. Only you can truly know what is working and what is not. :D

You will have to see how your 5 year old does with LHFHG and have the idea of possibly using LHTH for him as a back-up plan if needed.

We're glad to have you here!


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