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 Post subject: Homeschooling
PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2006 8:35 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I must revisit this topic, it was erased when the system went wild. I have strong feelings lately that it may be our only safe option, mostly due to my youngest daughter. Oldest is *only* allergic to peanuts/nuts, and has cold enduced hives. Youngest is allergic to milk, eggs, chicken, cats, dogs. Has also became covered in hives from playdoh...allergist suspects chemical allergies, which means we carefully "challenge" her with other craft materials, paints, glue, markers and use only products she is okay with. Currently we use homemade playdoh and crayola products. She also reacts to the schools playground material which is wood shavings. She also has cold enduced hives, and has what appears to be reactions to animal owners being around her. She also probably has dust, and plant related allergies as well, she will be tested next year...they can only test for so much per visit.

School to me looks like DANGER>>>DANGER>>>DANGER! The youngest is allergic to everything! Homeschooling looks like a good option for us. There is just too many dangers for my youngest...and good luck surviving the school day...and if she does good luck feeling normal, accepted, included and not like a pain in the huh, burden on the teacher, other kids and parents.

The school (future K- grade eight) is currently really good with the allergic kids they do have, but they are *only* peanuts/nuts and eggs. The school has a pizza day everyday, where students can buy it for lunch. They have bake sales, and parents who bring in treats on a regular basis. They have treats at every school party/special day. If my daughter were to attend...we would have two choices...pressure the school to remove dangerous treats and PISS OFF the hunderds of other kids and their parents, and create a situation where she is resented and a target for bullies armed with milk, or silently give up and put our daughter in danger. Either option SUCKS!!!

I have found a good curriculum source, and am feeling excited about "throwing in the towel" on the school system. As for socialization, my family is best friends with another allergy family, and my daughters attend dance and gymnastics and probably more activities if we homeschool. I do not work outside the home, and planned on being home permanently to bring my kids home for lunch anyways.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 12:25 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I did it. I pulled my daughter out of preschool today. I had a long talk with her teacher, who admitingly has an extremely hard time telling the other parents "NO". The constant junk parade which my daughter is left out of, the parents with "its not my kid with the allergies, my kid wants to bring treats for the whole class...and should not be denied his right to share treats with his friends because one kid will feel left out. Suck it up kid, you are always going to be left out" comments that have taken place previously, repetedly without my knowledge.

So...do those parents vent about the great injustice of their children being asked not to share crap with the class in front of their kids, and fuel their childs resentment for my daughter which they act out by being mean to her?

I am in no way suggesting that this is the solution for anyone else. Absolutely kids have a right to be in school, and be treated with respect. My kids have a lot of allergies! I feel I have made the right choice for my childrens long term emotional wellbeing, and after discussing the "behind the scenes" conversations that have taken place between the teacher and other ignorant parents I have no regrets about choosing to avoid the entire situation.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 6:32 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
saskmommyof2,

It sounds like you made the right decision for you and your family. Keep us posted on how homeschooling is going.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
I know that you have made the best decision for your family. Here are some websites that I hope you might find interesting. Good luck! :)

http://www.shbe.info/news.php

http://www.primarygames.com/

http://www.sitesforparents.com/index.html

http://www.sitesforteachers.com/index.html

http://homeschooling.gomilpitas.com/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 2:20 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Thanks storm and susan for the support. Thanks for the links as well susan, they look really interesting. I was given a link to a great site

http://www.upsidedownschoolroom.com/php/catalogue.php

I ordered some science, history books, math manipulatives, and grade 1 singapore math. I can not wait until they arrive.

My daughter seems so happy with not returning to school. She loves workbooks and I got her a great math one, and phonics one at superstore which she loves. Yes, I know most 5 year olds do not do workbooks but she loves them! She worked on her math workbook yesterday, and had ballet, my youngest had a playdate while I took my friends peanut allergic daughter to ballet as well, she watched my youngest and her milk/egg allergic son at home. I have a huge bucket of lego from when I was a child, which they both played with all morning. Both girls have a playdate this afternoon. Tomorrow, we are planning on painting or homemade playdoh. Thursday we have gymnastics. Both girls seem to be enjoying more activities at home, (less running around town) but being independant a bit as well, so I can still do my housework. It has been 3 weeks since she was at preschool and all is going extremely well. I am so much less stressed everyday.

In the fall I will recieve $167 for the kindergarten year from my school board which is NOT taxable to put towards what ever I like. For grade one and up I will receive $334 per year per child.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2006 10:18 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
I can "hear" the relief in your posts! I'm glad that you have found a solution that works for you. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 5:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
I had to prepare an "intent to homeschool" letter to my school distict. I was advised to keep the letter positive in tone, without cutting down the system, but I absolutely had to bring up my concerns about the situation in the schools that I am avoiding, and how we see things from our point of view as a family with children with multiple allergies.

Yes, regardless of the fact that I have chosen not to public school my kids, I still feel that chosing against the situation they are willing to offer my kids will hopefully open some eyes as to why the situation still has a long way to go before being acceptable as far as safety and belonging are concerned.

Anyways, here is my letter if you are interested...

Quote:
To Whom It May Concern,

I am writing this to inform you of my intent to homeschool my daughter ...

Child has severe food allergies to peanuts and nuts. Her younger sister child has severe food allergies to milk, eggs, chicken, as well as allergies to cats, dogs, environmental allergies and multiple chemical sensitivities (including chemicals used in playdoh, soaps, craft supplies, cleaning supplies etc.). Child had been in preschool for a year and a half, which we discontinued in February 06.

Classroom use of food (mostly junk food treats) was very hard on Childs self esteem. Being around treats and snacks everyday at school, which could potentially kill her, made her anxious about attending school. We had an agreement with the preschool that Child was to only eat food that had come from home. Contrary to our agreement, she was continually offered treats by classmates, teachers, student teachers, “Santa Claus” and other parents. For her age, she was very mature, and fairly responsible in refusing these treats, but I felt it was all too much responsibility on my then 3-4 year old. We had one incident where Child ate the food she was offered, she told me later that she ate it because she just wanted to be “like everyone else”. She had a reaction to the food because the treat, even though it did not contain peanuts or nuts, was left over from a parents Christmas treat dish, which had sat out, surrounded by peanuts over the Christmas break. After a discussion with the school I was assured she would no longer be offered treats. A few weeks later, she came home with a box of valentines with candy taped to many of them.

That is when we decided home schooling would truly be the only way to educate our children in a safe, positive environment. I understand that my children would probably have a better environment at a public school rather than a private preschool. However, instances of food used in a classroom for treats, rewards, games, crafts, parties, snacks and fundraisers are extremely common in all schools. With the allergies of my younger daughter to consider as well, pretty much all food in her classroom could be deadly. I feel that any efforts made by myself, the school system and the teachers to remove the food from the classroom would ultimately result in my child feeling alienated, hated and unaccepted among her peers and their parents, who, speaking from my preschool experience here, view the treats as a part of school they are being denied by my child being in their class.

I feel that an optimal learning environment for my children is one in which they feel safe, have a low level of anxiety, and feel acceptance and inclusion. We plan to educate our daughters through having a variety of learning materials present in the home, and letting them choose what they would like to do. My oldest daughter is 5, and is reading quite well, something she taught herself through her love of books. We have children’s science books, and social studies concepts books available for reading. We have some workbooks, including “Grade 1 Singapore Math” which she is about half way through. We also have a spelling, and a phonics workbook. At the age of 5, I do not wish to push workbook type learning on her, it is always her choice to decide to do a workbook. She actually enjoys them. For science we explore her interests. We raised butterflies this past spring, and planted a garden. This summer we are traveling to Calgary to visit the zoo, science centre, as well as the Tyrell Dinosaur Museum in Drumheller. We have educational toys for the girls’ playtime including math manipulatives, an interactive globe, an interactive toy cash register with Canadian play money and educational computer games. She also is involved in dance (previously ballet, next year jazz and tap) and gymnastics.

I do feel that she is currently ahead academically of where she needs to be, so I am comfortable with a child led, play based, relaxed style to learning. In the future, if I feel that she is falling behind, or needs more structure to complete her learning I will adjust our learning style accordingly.

Thank you,

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 8:01 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Hi Saskmommy2 -

Looks like a good letter. On another U.S.-based forum that I belong to a lot of parents with kids with multiple FAs homeschool, so you're definitely not alone. (PM me if you want more details.)

I take my hat off to you for doing homeschooling. I sometimes think about it but I just don't think I have the right personality for it. But i do admire those who are doing it.

My youngest is starting kindergarten in the fall (with the same allergies as your daugther, minus the chemicals -- which must be very challenging -- and chicken, but plus peanuts) and the stress is incredibly high. We have a meeting in late August (the earliest they will know who the teacher is) with the teacher, VP, P, nurse, my husband and myself, and I just hope that we can get all our ducks in a row between that meeting and when school starts.

Anyway, as I said, you're not alone with homeschooling, and I hope that you guys have a great school year next year! :)

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 09, 2006 10:21 pm 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6502
Location: Ottawa
I think your letter sounds great!
You clearly identify your reasons for choosing homeschooling. You sound logica and rational and you idenntify how yur chid is thrining in this situation.
I hope they listen to you, but for your daughters; it sounds like you have made the right choice.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 8:37 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
To tell you the truth, saskmommyof2, sometimes I wish I would have had the time and the luxury to homeschool. From an academic point of view, the school systems seems to often fall short.

I have often heard that homeschooled children do as well if not better than their publicly schooled counterparts.

Hopefully you'll find some good support groups for homeschooling, either locally or on the web.

My neighbour, whose little 3 year-old son also has multiple food allergies, already mentioned to me that she will probably homeschool too. It's just too risky. So you see, you're not alone! :D

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 11:34 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Nicole,

I have some links that your neighbour might like to have if she is thinking of homeschooling.

http://www.flora.org/homeschool-ca/books/catalogs.html

http://www.canadianhomeeducation.com/index.asp?CartId={EVEREST678118F5-9D6E-47DE-AC47-88A86F345EED}

http://upsidedownschoolroom.com/

https://www.ads-academic.com/ResourceLi ... ge=3&id=31

http://datstor.com/exclusive/browser.html

This last one has AWESOME educational toys. You do not need to be a homeschooler to order from the sites, and I am thinking of doing all my christams shopping for kids (mine and friends) off the last one.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 5:11 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Thanks, Saskmommy, I'll be sure to pass those on to my neighbour. :D

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:14 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2950
Location: Toronto
Saskmommyof2 and others, I find this a fascinating topic. One that perhaps we'll do an article on next year in AL.
I see why you're going there, and thought SM2's letter to the school raised incredibly good issues as well as the reality of the gaps in a school system.

Two things to raise:

1. I realize such a decision is personal, a difficult choice and possibly the right decision for one family and not for another. That said, I'd still love to hear more of the forum members' thoughts on some of the issues that arise with homeschooling:
- e.g. while keeping my child (children) safe, is he/she missing out on experiences/athletics/science fairs that a good school can offer (what does one do about that - or not?);
- At what age might I want to expose my child to less controlled environments (maybe a public school?), knowing that he/she will need to learn to manage around allergens outside the home;
- more on the socializing, making new friends aspect.

2. Also came upon this cyberschooling article today.

Quote:
More students learning online
Program's popularity growing with state funds

By Christina Cepero
ccepero@news-press.com
Originally posted on July 25, 2006

Matthew Scamardella won't wake up at the crack of dawn to get ready for his first day of school. He won't have to wait for a bus. And best of all, he can wear his PJs to class. In August, the Cape Coral 12-year-old will begin the seventh grade at Florida Virtual Academy, a kindergarten through eighth grade full-time online public school.

The Florida Department of Education launched the school, as well as Connections Academy, in 2003.


http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll ... 50382/1075

While out of Florida, I thought the concepts could travel. Perhaps an interesting idea?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 2:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Great idea Gwen.

Quote:
while keeping my child (children) safe, is he/she missing out on experiences/athletics/science fairs that a good school can offer (what does one do about that - or not?);


There are homeschooling organizations and support groups in many areas which co-operatively arrange field trips, athletics, science fair type stuff. Lots of homeschoolers play on public school sports teams, participate in band etc.

Quote:
more on the socializing, making new friends aspect.


Many homeschoolers meet regularly through support groups for park days, museum, zoo, local factory, water treatment plany etc. tours. The few homeschoolers I have met so far are really nice, understanding people, who are more than willing to have their kids wash their hands and not run around with food for the sake of consideration. The groups tend to be a wide assortment of ages, which is kind of a neat twist. From what I have read about eductaion history, the multi-age one room classroom was great for teaching kids to get along with people of all ages. The older ones helped the smaller ones and learned patience and how to empatheic, the younger ones looked up to the kids who knew more than they did and wanted to learn more. The girls also have neighbourhood friends and other family friends, as well as dance class and gymnastics. Sometimes we need a break from everyone else and come home and remember how to interact as a family. We camp lots in the may to sept season, and meet lots of kids who are also camping. We actually met another family who homeschools in our area and are planning on playdates once the RV season is over, and I am around more (and not baking and cleaning like crazy when I am home preparing for the next trip).

In many ways I feel we socialize more with a variety of people. I have no problem with my kids finding friends to have around who are considerate and respectful. Luckily, we get to avoid having the girls "trapped" in a classroom all day with someone who makes them miserable.

Quote:

- At what age might I want to expose my child to less controlled environments (maybe a public school?), knowing that he/she will need to learn to manage around allergens outside the home;


We do go around less contolled environments a lot. We just did a calgary zoo, tyrell dinosaur museum, science centre trip. We have an RV which we stay in, and travel a lot, but the camp ground is still uncontrolled. The girls are still learning to avoid litter and food on the ground, be wary of other kids eating and watch out for "dangers" in their environment. They go to dance, gymnastics, and lots of other places where they are learning to manage their allergies. However, I am there with them while they are learning. I do not expect them to fully deal with this alone right now, and I don't know how a teacher with 25 kids in her class, who is not as familiar with the allergies, could be as good a "teacher" as I am for teaching the girls how to manage this and live their life to the fullest.

My daughters are normal girls at home, and have a few precautions on outings, but they are basically normal kids who do not feel different, alienated or sorry for themselves everday (like the oldest did in preschool). I truly feel this will do them wonders as they grow up. Homeschooling does not mean that we stay home. There are lots of safe places to go, and we do.

Virtual schools are available here too...as well as LOTS of book curriculum. You can do this one in Canada http://www.k12.com/. Most kids who do these kind complete work in an hour or two a day, and are free to participate in more extracurricular activities than if they were in school. You could do an activity every night of the week if you felt like it. Kids would burn out participating in that many activities if they were in school. My oldest will be in tap, jazz, gymnastics and I am considering girl guides (i hear they have a patch releted to knowing how to help with an allergic reaction now). She would probably only be able to handle one activity if she were in school.

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2006 10:56 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2005 6:39 pm
Posts: 2950
Location: Toronto
Smommyo2,

Interesting - I hadn't realized there were that many homeschoolers around that you could do field trips together. Wonder if that's more the case in Alta. and Sask. than in parts east. Someone can correct me if I'm off base, but I haven't heard of much homeschooling in Toronto or Mtl.

Sure sounds as if you got the socializing covered.

The cyber school concept is intriguing, but even that site you link to is American. Assume there are some by now with Can. curriculum. This would be particularly important in subjects such as history and spelling (neighbour; neighbor), not to mention learning metric measurements. And as much as someone like you is no doubt a natural teacher, I do like the concept of kids learning to interact with an adult authority figure who isn't a parent. We all had those favourite teachers...The cyber teacher could be useful to someone like you in a few years, in higher grades.

Anybody else have views on these issues?


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