Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Homeschooling the big kid March 30, 2011

Filed under: Lower Elementary — Barefoot in Suburbia @ 2:11 pm

As I mentioned earlier this week, we have made the decision to pull Jedi from his montessori school at the end of the year and homeschool him for 2nd grade.  It was not a decision we made lightly, due to many factors.  First, Jedi has autism.  He has made significant progress in the past 4 years (at 2 years old, he was non-verbal and tested as severely autistic.  Today, after a lot of therapies, he has been rediagnosed as 2E…gifted with asperger’s syndrome with sensory processing disorder).  Despite the progress, he still has a long way to go.  Obviously, our first instinct was to want to keep him in school because he’d constantly have a social network he’d have to navigate…it turns out that the social network was part of the problem.  Some of the things that we saw happening with his peers were really not appropriate, and not something we want our child to see as acceptable behaviors at all.

Because of his autism, he is on the Ohio Autism Scholarship program, which requires the use of an IEP (individualized education plan).  That is something that most homeschool families don’t have to deal with…afterall, homeschooling *is* an individualized education plan!  But by state law, if we pull him off his IEP, he loses his scholarship and can never get back on it.  We need to keep the scholarship an option until we know that homeschooling will work for him (the scholarship helped pay for his therapies and private school).  So, we will need to work with our local school district to continue to develop IEPs every year.  That, in itself, should be quite the interesting challenge!

Despite these challenges, we are really looking forward to having Jedi home all year.  And as an extra bonus, the homeschooling schedule is something I get to set–so he’ll be going full year and taking multiple shorter breaks throughout the year, instead of having a long summer break.  Children with autism tend to regress after lengthy breaks in a routine, so this might help prevent that.  Plus, it gives us the freedom to travel when we need to, take breaks around holidays our family celebrates, and just have a bit more freedom with our scheduling.

Now, Jedi has been going to a Montessori school for 3 years now, and we know that hands-on learning is the best approach for this particular child.  So, in order to find curricula that would work with him, we had to do a lot of research.  We came up with a plan that we think should work really well:

Math: Rightstart Level C

Science: REAL Science Odyssey Level 1

Writing: Handwriting without Tears 2nd grade

World History: History Odyssey Level 1 and Hands on History Levels 1 & 2

Reading: We’ll be using a montessori album for this

Ohio History: Kids Love Ohio and Along the Ohio Trail ( a free book written by our state officials)

PE: Jedi takes martial arts classes for 2 hours a week.  Plus we are using Horizons PE curriculum for pre-k through 2nd grade

Health: Horizons Grade 2

Foreign Language: Rosetta Stone Spanish (Latin America) Level 1

Geography: Little Passports & Expedition Earth (EE is from

Music: Stories of the Great Composers and Alfred’s Piano for Children

Art: Artistic Pursuits books 1-3 for K-3 year olds

It seems like a lot, but we will be using an extended school year, plus we have a weekly schedule so we aren’t doing ever subject every day.  Wish us luck!!  Jedi gets out of school the first week of June, so we’ll take a week or two off and then start his 2nd grade homeschooling sometime in mid June!