October 17, 2014

Dear Frannie Friday--Homeschooling

Kaden, my oldest son, has ADHD.  He is currently retaking the 7th grade.  He has been in public brick and mortar schooling all of his life.  And he has struggled.  He has pretty much failed every class every year.  But he has been continually pushed through the system from one grade to the next.  We have tried everything we can think of to help him--putting him on medication, taking him off of medication, putting him in tutoring, taking him out of tutoring, getting progress reports back from teachers, leaving him alone, giving rewards for good grades, giving punishments for bad grades.  So far, nothing has worked. 

This year, we have decided to try Connections Academy.  It is an online school with actual virtual teachers.  Because of Kaden's severe ADHD, I have been 110% involved as a learning coach to him.  It has been a transition for sure.  While I (and Patrick since we got together) have always been very much involved in Kaden's schooling, it is a WHOLE different ball game to essentially be a teacher to him.  I am, however, 110% satisfied with our decision to put Kaden in Connections.  He has C's, B's and even an A--this has never happened.  His teachers are very involved, the courses are flexible and he recently got on a 504 plan--something we weren't even aware was an option for him.

If your child is struggling, I highly recommend trying out Connections, or something similar.  It has been an awesome experience.  However, it is a transition.  And here are some tips I would pass on to you to keep you on track:

1.  Organization

I cannot stress how important organization is when you are doing homeschooling.  You must keep track of due dates and class times.  The great thing about Connections is that you can get caught up if you get behind.  The bad part is that once you get behind it is soooooo much work to get caught up.

2.  Workspace

A workspace that is conducive to a proper learning environment has many key items--a computer, a wastebasket/recycle basket, a clock, a printer, paper and pencils.  It also is free from as much distraction as possible.  This may include chairs with wheels on them, televisions (or visibility of televisions), phones and MP3 players.

3.  Communication

Above all else, the key factor in homeschooling or any schooling is to maintain good communication.  This means student to teacher, teacher to parent and parent to student.  Without good communication, you're not going to get anywhere.

Do you have a suggestion or question for Dear Frannie Friday?  Feel free to email me at franniepantz@hotmail.com 

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