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Homeschooling a Child with LD
Q: I'm considering homeschooling my 14-year-old, who has a language disability and anxiety. She attended a private school for kids with LD. Now it's time for high school and she's not dealing with it very well. The school has 1,400 students with classes of 25 to 30 students. She's very confused when in school. I feel she would learn more at home, since she can't concentrate in class. I need some advice and some help about homeschooling. How do I go about this? We just moved to Kentucky, so everything is new to her. Everyone keeps saying to keep her in school, but I think its time to make her happy instead of everyone else, or I don't see her making it.
A: Making the transition to high school is challenging under the best of circumstances, but the conditions you are describing must certainly make it even more difficult for your daughter. Taking the responsibility for homeschooling a child with learning disabilities is a major job. At FamilyEducation.com, we have a message board for homeschooling issues as well as information on how to get started. Two other excellent websites that might be able to give you some guidance are http://www.ldonline.org and the site for Homeschooling Kids with Disabilities at http://www.members.tripod.com/~Maaja/index.htm.
Whether you decide to homeschool your child or not, it would be helpful if you could get some support from other parents in your community who also have children with learning disabilities. For example, Kentucky has a chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association of America. You can get more information about the services they offer on their website at http://www.ldaofky.org. I would ask LDA about any free or low-cost tutorial services in your community where you might have an opportunity to work alongside someone who is trained to work with children your daughter's age who have learning disabilities. They may also be able to steer you towards other options besides the high school your daughter is currently attending.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.