Fifteen or so years ago, I began homeschooling my oldest child, and I’ve been homeschooling ever since. I’ve homeschooled five of my kids from preschool through sixth to eight grade. Even though my children differ widely in temperament, I eventually settled on a piece-meal curricula that worked well for everyone with some minor variations and changes over the years.
And then Junior came along. Junior, with his extra special chromosome, his zest for life and learning, and his gritty stubborn streak. Very early on, I realized that teaching him would be a whole new adventure. So I was not surprised when I came across the following:
Research has shown that young people with Down syndrome not only take longer to learn new skills but also learn differently in some key areas. Additionally, they benefit from some teaching strategies that are different to those typically used in education. Down Syndrome: Guidelines for Inclusive Education, International Down Syndrome Society and Down Syndrome Education International, Dec. 2021
As I read and researched about teaching children with T21, I began to keep a rolling list of best teaching strategies and practices. These have been incredibly helpful for homeschooling Junior and teaching three more little boys with T21 who come to my home for a Down Syndrome co-op.
Today I’m sharing these strategies with you and how we can use them at home.
Continue reading “Homeschooling a Child with Down Syndrome: Effective Strategies for Teaching” →
It’s winter! So here are some winter-themed picture and word cards to build your child’s sight-word reading vocabulary. This free download also comes with a book that allows your child to practice reading the new sight words. The book is best suited for children who have completed See and Learn Phrases 3. But the cards can be used at any level.
Check it out:
Continue reading “Winter-Themed Picture and Word Cards” →
As many of you know, my son Junior, who has T21, has become a voracious reader. Hence, we make several trips to the library to keep him well supplied. To simplify my never ending job of finding reading material, I find a publisher/series that I like and order as many books from that series that I can from the library. Here are our favorite books and publisher series for emergent readers.
Continue reading “Our Favorite Books and Publishers for Emergent Readers” →
Last fall, I began teaching Junior how to decode words. Having taught my five other children to read, I knew that I would have to make each step along the way very incremental and use materials that were hands-on and visual. I was ready for the process to be slow and bumpy, so I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly Junior learned to decode CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words.
So today I’m sharing with you some videos of Junior at work and the resources and methods we used that worked best.
Continue reading “Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read: Our Top Ten Resources for Beginning Phonics” →
Can you believe it’s autumn already?
Here are eighteen autumn-themed sight word pictures and word cards. They’re great for building vocabulary, too. Use them just the way you use the See and Learn kits. And since books are always so motivating, here are two books that go with the words:
Continue reading “Autumn-Themed Sight Words and Pictures, See and Learn Style” →
I am so excited to share the news that my daughter Carolyn has just published her seventh novel. Set in the Dark Ages, The Tale of Finegan Patches is the story of an impoverished young serf and his epic battle against evil.
For centuries the sinister, blood-thirsty dragon Trepezard had lain asleep in his lair. But something mysterious has awaken him and his wrath. In one fiery breath, the dragon can burn entire villages. The peasants of Leatholin live in mortal fear of their lives. Yet the treacherous and corrupt lords and knights are too afraid to protect their people. Meanwhile, there are threats of the the wild and powerful invaders from the North. The situation is dire and hopeless.
Until one insignificant, simple-hearted farm boy sets out to fight the dragon.
Continue reading “Just Released! The Tale of Finegan Patches” →
As promised in my last post about our top ten resources for teaching beginning phonics, here is a collection of Short Vowel Stories adapted for children with T21. I wrote these for my oldest child when she was learning to read. Since I’m all about adapting materials for children with T21, of course I had to adapt these stories for Junior. I spent a fair amount of time adapting the stories for him, increasing the font size, putting double spaces between each word, and adding a lot more visuals to help with reading comprehension. So, when he buzzed through these stories, I have to admit I was pleased, but I also had that unsettling feeling you get when you spend two hours cooking up a wonderful meal and then your teenage sons devour it in five minutes.
Anyways, I think this collection of very short stories will help your children (with or without Down Syndrome) enjoy success as they first read phonetically. And yes, for you they’re free.
Continue reading “Short Vowel Stories Adapted for Children with Down Syndrome” →
For those of you using DSE’s See and Learn Reading Program, here are ten more free books. These books are meant to go with See and Learn Sentences 1. Each book reinforces new words and reviews old ones. New books keep my little guy highly motivated, which I why I keep making them 🙂
Continue reading “Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read with See and Learn: Ten More Free Books!” →
Just over a year ago, Junior began learning to read sight words using DSE’s See and Learn Reading program. We have been amazed at how quickly he learned to read, and since then he has completed all three of the See and Learn Phrases kits and the See and Learn Sentences kit (which is huge!). Now there are no more See and Learn Kits for him to use, but I don’t want to slow down his momentum. We have since moved onto phonics. However, the process of matching, selecting, and reading sight words is such a powerful learning tool for him that I want to keep using it in addition to learning phonics.
So I am making my own picture and word cards, See and Learn style. It’s a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort, especially when I see how quickly and eagerly Junior learns new words. Here are two sets I am sharing with you today: A Nativity Set and a Christmas Vocabulary Set.
Continue reading “Nativity and Christmas Picture and Word Cards” →
As many of you know, I’ve been teaching Junior to read using Down Syndrome Education’s See and Learn series. Teaching Junior to read has been one of the most gratifying experiences in all my years of homeschooling because he is so eager to learn. One of the things that keeps him motivated is getting to read new books. Every time I bring home a big bag of new books from the library it’s like Christmas… he’s that excited. Then Junior sits on the floor and digs into the bag, happily flipping through each of the books and lining them up neatly as he finishes each one.
To keep him motivated and to give him continual review of previously learned words, I make him books using the words he has learned from See and Learn and from the Faith and Freedom Primer.
A few posts ago, I shared some books I made to go with See and Learn Phrases 1 and 2. Here are ten free books to supplement See and Learn Phrases 2 and 3.
Continue reading “Teaching Children with Down Syndrome to Read with See and Learn: More Free Resources” →