Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Homeschool Progress Report

Following, is a copy of the report I mailed to the school district today:

Reviewing last semester’s progress report has given me both a sense of hope and a feeling of dismay. Such is the world of the Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) student.

Z’s TS has not yet reached it’s peak. Every month, we hope that THIS is the peak; only to be disappointed when one of his conditions worsens. At this time, Z has several debilitating tics. These current tics make it difficult for Z to read, write, eat, or anything else that involves small motor skills. A positive attitude and the support and encouragement of his family, friends, and medical team are the only things that keep Z striving to learn.

As parents, our biggest worry is Z’s ability to fit into the working world as an adult. Life skills are a huge part of his education. ADD, OCD, and Executive Dysfunction make everyday living extremely difficult for Z. We’ve found that extreme structure and repetition help immensely. Z’s psychologist fears that his Executive Dysfunction will probably never improve. She laughingly says his best bet, as an adult, is to marry a super-organized woman.

Z’s greatest asset is his superior intelligence. Between our research, psychological counseling, and Z’s amazing efforts; his OCD behaviors have lessened considerably.

Z learns at an accelerated pace, when we give him free rein with a subject. Unfortunately this doesn’t work with all of his subjects. This learning method resulted in Z’s greatest accomplishment this semester: building his own computer.(for pictures go to: This is why I incorporated his math and science grades into one grade. With very little guidance, Z has learned binary code and basic electrician’s skills. On his own, Z successfully rewired an Xbox controller to work on his computer. He also programmed his computer to run both the Linux and Windows operating systems.

This semester, we are trying to channel Z’s accomplishments into his other subjects. English composition and literature have proven to be the most difficult subjects for Z, at this time. My research has found that this is quite common with ADD students. I KNOW that, together, we will find a learning method that will work for Z, in this subject.

Math/Science A
History C
English D
Phy Ed/Health C
Art/Music B


At 9/27/2006 8:39 PM, Blogger Nancy Drew said...

WOW Math and science A!!! Holy frig you must be very proud, tshsmom!!! I sure would be. Those are great marks.

My mom would flip if I brought those marks home. And forget art/music, was never ever good at that.

Seriously. Impressed.

Thoughts on jobs? Just wondering. That psychologist's comment is not helpful (there ARE super organized women out there).

At 9/28/2006 7:04 AM, Blogger Laura said...

I have serious trouble concentrating while reading, especially if it's something I don't want to read. What about writing composition and reading in subject areas Z finds interesting already? I'm sure you've tried that already, but just a thought.

I'm amazed how you can do this all yourself!

At 9/28/2006 4:04 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

ND, theoretically, Z should get STRAIGHT A's when he's homeschooled. He has a real hard time staying on task. :(

Laura, that's exactly the problem. IF he's interested in the subject, he stays on task a lot better.
Z's biggest problem is he has a hard time picking the important passages out of his learning material. He'll read a page, and when we question him on the material, he'll say that the answer wasn't in that material. Yet, his brain will glom onto some irrelevant fact, on the same page, that he'll remember forever.
We have discovered that cause and effect is the best way for him to understand and REMEMBER history.
Z's brain works in bizarre ways. ;)

At 9/28/2006 5:15 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

How's the eye? You folks sound so on top of it, what good parents you are. I'm impressed with the computer! There is so much need for IT people everywhere. I'm telling my daughter to check this blog out for encouragement - our little grandson has a chromosonal thing....which makes learning more of a challenge. Some of these things, the kids are incredibly bright, just not on the same track as most kids - which makes them all the more special! I just saw an attorney with T, (I used to babysit him when he was a little guy)make a presentation to the County Commissioners - despite his movements, he did great and continues as an attorney, and no one even looked at him as if he were a bit "different" than any other attorney that comes in.

At 9/28/2006 5:35 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Diana, the eye's great. My vision finally returned to normal yesterday. Whew!
Thanks for the encouragement! Z has a 131 IQ, and was failing all his classes in school. He has Executive Dysfunction, which means he has ZIP for organizational skills. Add OCD, ADD and tics into the mix, and you have a kid with the attention span of a peanut.
The last 2 yrs have been one big game of trial and error. We've found a few methods that work for Z, and hundreds of methods that failed. We can't let him down; his mind is too good to waste!

At 9/28/2006 6:01 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Well that's not a bad report card. :-) Your point is a good one - I think about it for all the kids I work with. What will become of them when they reach adulthood? Sometimes I'm scared to know the answer. But Z at least has a wonderful support system. That makes a world of difference, along with his intellect. If he can learn to make accomodations for himself, that would be key. It's really hard to do that and it's really hard to get kids (and sometimes adults) to advocate for their own needs.

At 9/28/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

You should let me mail you a copy of this article I have in my latest Canadian Living. It's very inspiring. Let me know if you want it or not - I'll be happy to get it off to you.

Excellent work, you guys (I know it's a team effort). I'm sure the English skills will come along. I've read Z's blog and he's certainly literate and articulate.

At 9/29/2006 7:50 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

Hi. I visited Z's blog yesterday and tried to leave a couple of comments but Blogger ate them. *sigh* I was very impressed with his computer. Great job! I also found his hacker's manifesto very interesting. I think he's correct that we're missing the value in the curiosity and brilliance of these individuals and criminalizing them. I think we should be working with them to help them channel their curiosity into something that will help society. I think he and the bit about the hacker also hit the nail on the head about the public education system. It's just a joke and not much learning is occurring. We've become too worried about standardized tests and program our children to get the right answers and completely stop encouraging their curiosity, or challenge them to question or analyze. Okay, who wants the soapbox next? :-)

At 9/30/2006 6:36 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, I've been having that problem with blogger too. :(
Z got a big grin on his face when he read your comment.
We have found many more faults with the public school system, since we started homeschooling. Every time we have doubts about our progress, we compare WHAT we're teaching in history, compared to our school district. Z understands WHY historical events have happened, rather than memorizing dates.

I keep telling Z that there's a fine line between curiosity and vandalism, when it comes to hacking. Be careful about encouraging this behavior, or we'll have to hire you to defend him in court. ;)

At 9/30/2006 10:35 AM, Blogger .: raven :. said...

wow ... this is great.

my son had a 149 IQ and was the same way in school .... barely passed. (i don't know his IQ would be now after all the meth use).

it was so frustrating to KNOW that he could do it .. but he truly couldn't stay on task for more than 6 second ... and school was a nightmare for him.

when he took his GED .. he didn't even study ... and passed with flying colors and was told that he passed with higher marks than 60% of current high schoolers would ...

i feel your struggles .. i really do. ADHD, OCD, bipolar .... ugh.

At 9/30/2006 6:23 PM, Blogger Ashley said...

I'm jealous.
Math/ Science are my worst subjects. =(
However, kudos for homeschooling!!!=)
i dont think im focused enough for that!

At 9/30/2006 11:52 PM, Blogger Candace said...

I think all kids work on diff "grade" levels in each subject. The fact that he can take the ball and run with it in areas of his own choosing is fantastic. It took YEARS to finally get my stepson to that point (and then his mom put him back in school - CRAP! LOL!)

As for organisation - I'm NOT an organised person. FLYlady is my only hope. :)

What about history in story form? I always had trouble remembering seemingly random names and dates, but when they're put together in an interesting story format (which also give the surrounding circumstances, so you find out WHY it's all happening) it's a lot easier for me.

At 10/01/2006 7:20 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

WC, oops, thought I answered you. I'd love the article. I'll email you. Thanks!

Raven, I KNEW that you could identify with our problems!
I know that Z would have wound up in trouble with the law, in one way or another, if we'd kept him in school. Most schools are clueless, when it comes to dealing with our special needs kids!
As a single mom, homeschooling wasn't an option for you. You did the best that you could, with the resources you had.
I'm praying that Adam's superior IQ will keep him on the road he's on for the rest of his life!

Welcome Ashley! I truly believe that Math is a talent, much like artistic or musical talent. I'm sure that you have talents that I'm jealous of. ;)

Candace, you are too organized! You accomplish a LOT, every week, with 4 kids! You'd never manage, if you weren't organized.
That's sort of how we've been teaching history. If Z understands WHY something happened, he tends to remember it. Specific names and dates don't stick with him very long, but we're working on it.

At 10/01/2006 7:48 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

"Yet, his brain will glom onto some irrelevant fact, on the same page, that he'll remember forever."

Wow, do I ever empathise with THAT!

Funny, because I am so right brained, my ADD related learning problems are exactly the opposite of Z's. But Z sounds just like my friends son with tourettes. Very good at math and science, loves electronics and gadgets, builds his own computers and such. Horrible at English, Social Studies and the like.

BTW... how'sthat eye doing?

At 10/01/2006 7:51 AM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

LOL... shoulda read all the comments first! Glad to hear your eye is healing well!

At 10/01/2006 9:04 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

GWB, we've discovered that Z is a 'kinetic' learner. Hands-on is everything to him. We haven't figured out how to teach English kinetically yet. :(

Are you left-handed? I am.

At 10/01/2006 3:46 PM, Blogger greatwhitebear said...

Nope, not left handed, except perhaps for my personality

At 10/01/2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Just reading your post again - those grades are pretty darn good for any kid, let alone one fighting the battles of your son.

At 10/01/2006 7:54 PM, Blogger Candace said...

You referred to me and used the word "organized" in the same sentence, LOL!!! (SOOOO not me! :-) )

At 10/02/2006 10:40 AM, Blogger lorguru said...

Amazing work you are doing with him. And he is obviously an amazing kid. You are lucky to have each other, I think!
Keep up the great work.
I'm totally impressed with the computer project. WOW!

Hope your eye is better!

At 10/04/2006 9:37 PM, Anonymous pat the pirate said...

ARRGH shiver me timbers U ave eye patch too--

copy cat


At 10/10/2006 4:47 AM, Anonymous jim said...

clever little indian can shoot aroow to

At 10/10/2006 4:49 AM, Anonymous pugs said...

saby is pat the pirate

At 10/10/2006 1:53 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

I know that Pugs, but thanks anyway.

At 10/30/2006 7:36 AM, Blogger Tweetiebird said...

I dont blame you for home schooling even if Z didnt have the problems he has guys. Look at it here in Wisconsin. Kora goes to kindergarten all day long now and most of her class mates dont even speak english. I am not prejudice. Its just that they have to make sure the english speaking students have a different teacher for reading writing and math. then they put the kids all back in one classroom for the rest of the day. I remember when I was in kindergaten we all spoke english and we only went half days. But now a days they claim there is so much more to teach a child. LOL... Hardly funny but what can you do about. Not much. Well anyway glad to hear Z's doing great. Tell him to keep it up. JKR would be proud to hear about. I will tell him when he comes home. Well anyway I have bothered you enough in one day so I will let you go for now. LOL... Have a good one and let me know about that blog thing i think i asked abou earlier. How do i get into my own with the link if i forgot what it is? Just wonddering. thanks tweet.


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