Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Homeschool High School and Special Needs - Social Studies

For High School our state requires the following for Social Studies:

Three units of history and government, which shall include world history; United States history; United States government, including the Constitution of the United States; concepts of economics and geography

Here is how I plan to meet the requirement and teach my daughter who has Down syndrome.

Veritas Press is a product I have continued to use since reviewing it. In middle school Gess has completed the first two in the self-paced history courses which were Old Testament and Ancient Egypt and New Testament Greece and Rome. This year she will be completing Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation. That will be part of "world" history.

The self-paced series is considered an elementary level curriculum but it offers a way for me to give her one class that I don't have to teach. It allows her some independence that way. Gess loves the way it is presented and with quizzes often done via games, activities, and songs she has not only learned the information well, she retains it! She loves telling me all about the emperors of Rome, or Greek architecture, or whatever the current subject happens to be. The program even keeps her grades and hers is currently 95%!

While Gess is going into high school I will be continuing these as our main curriculum. I want her to finish the series which will also include Explorers to 1815 and 1815 to present.

Along with this we will be focusing on Geography. Every two weeks she will study a country around the world. I am pulling out some old Memoria Press geography books to start with. We will re-read the information about these countries and then supplement that with information learned from other sources. At the end of the two weeks Gess will give a report, cook a meal, or do something to highlight what she learned about the country. She will then place a marker on her map to show that she can identify where the country is. We will use the United States units in a similar way during the year that we focus on US History.

For American History and Government I plan to use Homeschool Legacy's Once A Week Unit studies. We reviewed one on the weather and some holiday ones and they were great. While these are to be used once a week, with Gess' special needs we found a day's worth took us about a week to get through anyway. I currently have the We the People from the Founder's Series. We will do that and several others for their history selection.

These are a really fun and hands on way to learn. This shorter "mirco study" looks delicious!

I think the economics aspects of it will be the toughest part. We will be working on personal money management but to understand the entire scheme of things will depend on how that goes. I am sure we will cover it at some point. Here is what I am using this coming year for our personal finances. We tried it before but she wasn't quite ready. I think she is now.

Along with all of these we will supplement with various field trips, documentaries, videos, books, and other things we find. At the end of four years Gess will have a firm foundation on both world and US history as well as geography.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Record Keeping for High School and Special Needs

With Gess entering High School I have to make sure that she completes the requirements for graduation. Because she has Down syndrome I am able to adapt the subjects to her current level of learning and capabilities. As we start the 9th grade I am trying to make sure that I have a plan in place. I know that parents who homeschool their child with special needs often want to know what to do for high school. I know, because I am one of them! Well, I am learning as I go but I think I have it figured out!

Before I get into the curriculum we need to talk about record keeping. I have been using My Student Log Books since I reviewed them a couple of years ago. It has been helpful for Gess to track her own work and keep her on task. Here is an example of that from my previous review.

While I used it as a visual check list, it is so much more than that! If you utilize all the functions in this book you can keep track of your student's work and easily transport that information onto a high school transcript. They have detailed information and videos about how to do just that. They are very informative!

I will be following the second option mostly, creating my own curriculum based upon hours spent on a subject. So now instead of just filling in an X when Gess has completed a subject she might put a time slot in the box instead, or a grade if it was a test. I even got a timer to use to see how long it takes her to complete a task to make sure that we are getting our full hour of subject time in each day. She has been practicing with it this summer timing how long it takes her to read a book.

On the timer she can just press start and then stop when finished and write in the number of minutes spent. It can also be set for an amount of time in which it will count down and then stops when her time is up. She had no trouble learning how to use it or remembering to do it.

In the back of the logbook are pages to log books read, events, projects, field trips, presentations, activities, and record test scores. 

Now when I am ready to fill in my transcript I will have all the information I need! I am using the transcript templates provided by the Homeschool Legal Defense Association. I am a member and highly recommend them. Besides legally representing you if you ever get questioned about homeschooling they have a lot of helpful information and forms for you to use. As a member they will even review the transcript for you! These templates are available for anyone though.

One last thing, I am writing my own version of an IEP. Instead of saying what I need to work on since I am already aware of that, it is mostly just to document what level Gess is on at the start of each year. That will help explain why she was able to do things on a lower grade level. It will also show advancement when compared to the year before. This link has templates that I found helpful. http://www.cherylmjorgensen.com/Resources.html

I am now working on ordering curriculum and planning my schedule based upon my state's graduation requirements. In Kansas we need:

*Four units of English language arts, which shall include reading, writing, literature, communication, and grammar. The building administrator may waive up to one unit of this requirement if the administrator determines that a pupil can profit more by taking another subject.

*Three units of history and government, which shall include world history; United States history; United States government, including the Constitution of the United States; concepts of economics and geography

*Three units of science, which shall include physical, biological, and earth and space science concepts and which shall include at least one unit as a laboratory course

*Three units of mathematics, including algebraic and geometric concepts

*One unit of physical education, which shall include health and which may include safety, first aid, or physiology

*One unit of fine arts, which may include art, music, dance, theatre, forensics, and other similar studies selected by a local board of educatio

*Six units of elective courses

I will blog about what we are doing for each subject in the weeks to come. I am having a blast working it all out. I just love teaching at home and am excited about entering the realm of high school this fall!


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