I just want to share that we are a Special Needs Family. My oldest son has been diagnosed with ADHD, but he is also very low weight and considered Failure to Thrive, he is 11 years old. I am pretty sure that his ADHD and his FTT are connected, but we have yet to find what it is.
My 4th son, who just turned 4 in May has a Congenital Heart Defect. He has had 3 Open Heart Surgeries and will get 2 Pacemakers placed in the beginning of August.
I feel so blessed to be able to homeschool my 5 kids in a way that meets all of their needs.
We are a special needs family too.
My daughter, 7, is autistic. I tried our B & M school and it was a disaster. We did one year of cyberschool and it worked well however our chosen cyber changed many of its policies on the first day of school making it impossible to continue. (Nutshell version - We were required to attend all synchronous classes or be marked absent. Ten absences and off to truancy court. The classes for my two children - same grade, different teachers - were at the same time. Both are first graders and both needed me to help them with the classes but I could not "attend" both classes at once. Classes were also scheduled during social skills and speech and OT appointments which were impossible to change on short notice so we missed those. Cyber would not bend at all, would not place kids in the same class, would not allow asynchronous and worst part was we were halfway through first grade curriculum on day one of school since we had ESY - summer school and they wanted us to go back to the beginning and repeat everything we had been working on so we would be synchronous with the rest of the class. We lasted eight days and then withdrew to officially homeschool.) Since then I have been using the workbooks from the cyber to homeschool and looking for a place like this.
My son is in Chronic Renal Failure. I have managed to keep him stable (he will need a transplant in the next 3-5 years) and dreaded the thought of our B & M being responsible for his extensive daily health needs (and getting them right).
I had no intention of cyber or homeschooling my children but I now realize this was the path meant for us. I am just SO thankful I found this site. It is exactly what I was looking for and I wish more people knew about it. We are just starting this week and we are already excited!
Sorry you have had such a rough time with school, both public and cyber school.
We take the eclectic approach to homeschooling, which means that we use a little bit of everything, traditional curriculum, classical learning, montessori, unschooling, structured...every child is different and responds differently to each method so we mix and match to make sure that everyone gets what they need. We do get mad at each other, frustrated when things are not working, and bicker...but even more than that, I believe that learning should be fun, so we have fun. Some days we all work together and there are strict assignments and everything must be done properly as per instructions, but other days we do review games all day with the kids competing with each other. All 5 of my kids and I have been sick this week, so we have been doing homeschool from the couch, simple basic lessons, followed by documentaries and discussion and looking up questions on the internet. This works really well with history and earth sciences. Yesterday and today has been review days for our Classical Conversations homeschool group because we missed it yesterday due to illness. Next week is going to be a tough one as we catch up with writing and math.
We have spent a lot of time in the hospital and at dr appointments over the past 4 years and and 1 of those years I had my 2nd child in public school and it was such a hard year, he missed so much school and was late often. I got letters from the school several times a month, but there was nothing I could do about it. To me family is more important that a strangers and their schedules. As a homeschooling family we cover more in a day than they ever did in public school, we have more time together and don't have to worry about the school system. We also homeschool all year, there is no set vacation, but when we need time off, we just take it. If we do go on vacation, it is usually for a homeschool trip to historical sites, and we take our lessons.
I suggest that you look into homeschooling organizations in your area, they can help you understand the laws and the best way to comply with education requirement in your state. I can help you find an org if can tell me what state you are in. If you don't want to post publicly you are welcome to message me.
We take the eclectic approach as well. I only have two and they are both in the same grade so it makes it easier to go off on tangents. I would say the hardest areas I have are the basics - math and language arts. At this level there are a certain amount of worksheets and paperwork that must be completed and it is almost always a struggle. That being said whenever we are doing math and LA that does not involve worksheets it goes well. I can't avoid worksheets for first graders since learning to write letters, words, and numbers is an integral part of the curriculum. I change it up using many different resources.
I like the HLN curriculum for history, geography, art, science, world history, and music. It is perfect for us. I still use our former cyberschool's workbooks for math and LA but I supplement it with a lot of other resources (reading eggs, starfall, clifford's learn to read with phonics, ixl, and more).
My son and daughter work differently. He breezes through things, wants to work on his own, and asks for help when he needs it. My daughter takes a lot more time but if the concept is explained to her she will get it but she cannot regurgitate it right away. It may take days for her to verbalize what she learns but she does learn it.
I have checked out groups. I am fairly rural and limited to the groups around me. Of the two that are within reasonable driving distance one requires mandatory attendance at a Friday co-op session for five hours (not doable with our schedule) and the other is Christian-only. We are secular homeschoolers. So there are no groups for us. I will have to depend on online resources.
I am really good with the legal requirements. I am in PA and there is an excellent site (paulas homeschool pages) that goes into great detail about homeschooling in PA. It is an excellent resource for PA homeschoolers.
I am happier without the confines of cyberschools. Too many arbitrary hoops to jump through. Too many changes on the fly. And (new for this year) no chance of asynchronous learning. I would LOVE to have the brains behind these ideas get an autistic child to sit through two straight hours of online "classes". My neurotypical son cannot do it. Talk about turning kids off of learning! I believe learning should be fun and challenging in equal parts.
Thanks for the input. Glad to have found this site.