Writing Practice

Writing Practice
The Schoolroom

Welcome to Homeschooling Sam and other adventures...

Hello friends, fellow homeschooling parents, and prospective homeschooling parents, this blog is for you!

My hope is that this blog will bless you as you create your own adventure homeschooling your child who has Down syndrome. My plan is to provide you with information that has helped me successfully homeschool my son, Sam. Every child is unique, so you will need to discover what works best for your child and situation. However, perhaps something you discover here might start you on your way or lead you in a new direction. Homeschooling a child who has Down syndrome can be a joyful adventure and one you will surely treasure.

Mother of Pearls

Curriculum, Educational Materials, And Such That I Have Used and Liked

The following is a list of some of the curriculum, materials, toys and such that I have used and liked. I have tried to place them in order from birth onward. However, there is so much overlap in teaching children with Down syndrome (because their skills tend to be scattered) that age limits that might apply for typically developing children don't tend to provide absolute guidance in selecting materials for our kids. My philosphy is to find curriculum or materials that meet the needs of a particular child's skill level no matter his/her age and move forward from there. It is important that your child have success in learning so that his/her confidence and love of learning will thrive. So choose items and curriculum that challenge your child while also allowing your child to be successful often.

Books, books, books

-books with rhyme schemes

-books that have touch & feel component

Puzzles, puzzles, puzzles

Toys that provide musical feedback

Toys that promote cause & effect

Toys that promote pretend play


Lekotek (http://www.lekotek.com/)

Love and Learning

( www.loveandlearning.com/)

See and Learn Reading Program http://www.dseusa.org/

Preschool software computer games

Earobics (http://www.earobics.com/ )

Handheld Leapster Games(sequencing, math, alphabet, spelling practice)

Board games which promote counting, turntaking, etc. like "Sorry" or "Candyland"

Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndome" by Patricia Oelwein

"Bob Books" phonetic readers by Scholastic

Site word reading books that provide lots of word repetition and site word flashcards

Bailey's Bookhouse reading software by Edmark

Bailey's Bookhouse math software by Edmark

Luke's Life List by Joyce Herzog //www.joyceherzog.com/ under "teacher helps"

Luke's School List by Joyce Herzong http://www.joyceherzog.com/ under "teacher helps"

"Fine Motor Skills in children with Down Syndrome" by Maryanne Bruni

Handwriting Without Tears (http://www.hwtears.com/)

Get Set for the Code, Go for the Code, Explode the Code phonetic writing series

-http://www.starfall.com/ reading website

"Teaching Math to People who have Down Syndrome," Book 1 by DeAnna Horstmeier

"What Your 1st Grader(2nd grader, etc.)Needs to Know" by E.D. Hirsch Jr.

Kumon Math (http://www.kumanbooks.com/) Mazes, Dot to Dots, puzzles, as well as number sense learning

Personal journal writing that begins with drawing, move to letters, words, etc. through the years

Magnetic letters for spelling practice and magnetic words for sentence building.

Copywork practice(many workbooks available)

Number Skills Development for Teenagers with Down syndrome(11-16 yrs) by Bird & Buckley

Reading and Writing Development for Teenagers with Down syndrome(11-16 yrs)by Bird & Buckley

Kumon Math Addition and Subtraction Workbooks-great to use with number line addition and subtraction and/or with calculator math addition and subtraction.

A talking calculator is great for the older child who is struggling with adding and subtracting. (see blog post on the subject 11-17-11)

*Explode the Code Online www.explodethecodeonline.com is fantastic! (Read blog post on this curriculum)

Bob Books App for IPAD

Friday, February 22, 2013

IPAD and APPS for education

I finally have an IPAD that I purchased largely for educational apps for my child with Ds and in anticipation of the upcoming adoption of our 8 year old with a developmental disability.  While there are certainly plenty of apps available, I was largely disappointed.  While there are lots of games to entertain and there is always some learning in games, I haven't found a great deal of teaching that occurs via apps rather more practice and most with very little repetition opportunities.  There just doesn't seem to be enough intermediate steps between advancing from one concept to the next, rather big leaps are made that most typical kids can handle, but my child needs instruction to be broken down into much smaller steps to progress.  I am longing for a online math curriculum that provides small step by step math instruction with loads of repetition once a student is beyond recognizing numbers and number sense and is ready to add and subtract.  There are so many possibilities and simple alterations that could be made to apps and online programs for typically developing kids that would  make a huge difference for our visual/hands on learners.  What I want is an Explode the Code Workbook and online version but one that teaches Math. 

I do very much like the Bob Book series apps.  Great graphics and the practice and spelling component is fabulous.  If you like these, you'll like Explode the Code Online.
BTW, I receive nothing for promoting Explode the Code; I just really like it.

Explode the Code Online

I have been meaning to post about this wonderful online curriculum for a year now, but have been too busy.  For a year subscription of $60.00 you have a terrific online companion to the explode the code workbooks.  If your child has trouble holding a pencil or writing, but can manage a mouse, this may be the answer for phonics instruction and spelling.  It has all the positive elements of the workbooks but in an engaging online form.  Progress is monitored and the student cannot move on to a new level until complete mastery has occurred within the levels prior.  My favorite part about this curriculum is the high, really high amount of repetition.  While my son is currently in EC Workbook 3, I started him at the beginning of the Explode the Code online curriculum as a review and to help solidify earlier phonic reading and concepts.  One note, it can be frustrating if your student makes alot of mistakes due to inattention rather than lack of knowledge on a particular page, because the student will have to repeat whole sections of levels at near 100% accuracy to move on.  You may be able to adjust this, but I haven't looked into the possibility.  Also, my son loves that he has work to accomplish online like his sibs.  I can't say enough positive things about this curriculum.  I love it and so does my student! www.explodethecode.com .  

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Big Number Talking Calculator

I recently added the use of a Big Number Talking Calculator to Sam's tool box for math.  It allows him to be more independent when completing addition and subtraction problems.  Without the talking calculator, Sam requires frequent verbal cueing from me to complete math problems.  The verbal feedback the calculator provides is clear and consistent allowing Sam to correct any entry error he has made on his own.  Also, it makes completing problems like 4+4= easier because he gets immediate verbal feedback that he has actually entered the number 4 twice.  Calculators that provide visual feedback only, do not do this, and often Sam will enter the 4 only once, thus resulting in an error in his calculations.  Sam enjoys working math problems on the talking calculator and beams with pride upon his success.  I ordered from http://www.parentgiving.com/ and the cost was $34.95 with free shipping.  While calculator math does not replace continued work teaching addition and subtraction without the use of such an aid(one does not replace the other).  This kind of funcional learning is beneficial because some day Sam may need to carry a calculator to complete his grocery shopping, etc.  Anything that helps him to function more independently at home(where support is always available)will help him to be more independent in his living when he is moving into a work and leisure environment on his own.

Just in Time for Christmas-Toy Awards

Just in time for Christmas, http://www.playonwords.com/ has announced their Top 10 PAL(Play Advances Language)Awards.   See what play can do to promote language development in your child.

Special Needs Homeschooling Website

I came across a website that promotes and provides information regarding homeschooling children with special needs.  The site is not specific to students who have Ds, but there might be wisdom to glean.  Go to http://www.specialneedshomeschooling.com/

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Down Syndrome Educational Trust

Recently through our local Down syndrome association's lending library,  I discovered some educational resources that were not "new", but were new to me.  They were created by the Down Syndrome Educational Trust http://www.downsed.org/ .  Their website states that the organization "works across the UK and around the world to improve understanding and to improve the quality of support and education for young people living with Down syndrome." It's worth a visit.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Worthy Article about Homeschooling Children with Ds

One of the most helpful articles I have found on the topic of homeschooling children with Ds was written by Amy Dunaway and is on the web(see link under recommended links at the bottom of this site). Amy covers alot of ground from the benefits of home educating a child with special needs to the steps involved in beginning and suggestions for completing the process of homeschooling. This is a must read for those considering homeschooling their child with Ds!