I don’t run into many who home-school other children besides their own. It is not something I recommend anyone take on lightly. Everyone’s circumstances differ and will call for various different solutions. A year ago, I would have not considered helping my niece and nephew. I was sure they had plenty of help with their IEPs in the public school system. However, this past summer when my niece was visiting more and more frequently, I realized the 7 year old whirlwind couldn’t read. She didn’t even know the entire alphabet.
I was rather shocked, I admit. I knew her teacher and felt (still do) that she was very good at her job. We had my niece for 2 years and she attended the same school and made regular progress. So, what went wrong? I could name several factors, some of which is not the business of the general public. I can say with certainty that the first time they send this child home to her parents, the teachers made a mistake. They gave into her behavior (Notably worsening over time) and sent her into the very environment that promoted this negative and extreme behavior. They knew of some of the factors involved and were concerned.
So, why did these great teachers send her home knowing it was not going to actually improve her behavior? It was due to the fact they did not have the resources provided to them to give my niece what she needed to succeed educationally and they had quite a few other children to work with. Some of which had their own challenges.
My sister has many challenges herself and could not home-school her own daughter. Home-life was no better, if not worse, when it came to teaching the 7-year old. So, what was so challenging about this little girl? She has a sensory integration disorder with hypo-sensitivity. This means she does not feel physical sensation quite as well. The more stimulated she becomes, the less she feels. She has been known to hurt herself and others if stimulated too much. A full classroom of children do that quite nicely. Heck, a busy parking lot can do it!
She was also born with a throat defect and had surgery to correct some of the issues involved at 3 weeks of age. This resulted in some severe speech issues. If anyone has worked with a person who has a speech challenge, they may know that the more stimulated the person gets (be it anger, excitement, fear, etc), the harder it becomes to understand them. Considering my niece is very easily over stimulated, this was a regular problem in a busy classroom setting.
Now, before you go into the ‘rights and have to provide’ etc of the public school system, we already know she was SUPPOSE to be provided certain things. She was not, for whatever reason, and therefore the system failed her. However, the system is not actually responsible for making the best decisions for our children or family members. The parents and/guardians are. So, we got together and came up with a plan to help my niece.
She made it obvious she was ready to learn, just needed the right environment and a lot more one-on-one to make it happen. This is where I am very grateful for the LDS Church. They supported the decision and decided to help with the costs of getting what my niece needed to get us started. You see, I didn’t have anything for a child at her educational stage. my youngest is 12. I paid to have her evaluated and she wasn’t even quite at a kindergarten level. Been awhile since I’ve had children quite that young educationally.
So, I am now in week 6 of the My Father’s World Kindergarten curriculum and having great success. She learned within days her ABC’s and began reading some words from the Bob books I purchased. I’ve learned she seems to have a natural knack for numbers as well. she LOVES coming to “Aunties” house 4 days a week and is much calmer and able to concentrate then she was before.
Not every day works out perfect. Just last week we had to run her to the ER because she stuck her hand in the car door right as her brother went to close it. That really throws the schedule off, and she REALLY needs to have some structure. Messed up the entire week! Things are much smoother this week and she went through her work boxes easily and happily (I use the Sue Patrick Work box System to implement the curriculum with great success). Even her mother, who keeps her on Thursdays because the boys are just too jam packed that day, is able to run her through that day’s work. Perhaps, one day, the situation will be such her mother can take full responsibility for her daughter’s home-schooling.