My daughter Serena has been doing daily therapy with Carol since last July.  Serena is 14 years old and has Down’s syndrome.

I have always homeschooled Serena and her siblings and last year I found to be my hardest year schooling her.  We just weren’t progressing as I had in years last.

So I put a call in to talk with a consultant with the special needs department at The Homeschool Legal Defense Association about some suggestions to help me in deciding what to do to best help Serena learn and progress academically.  The consultant suggested Equipping Minds to me and I promptly put a call into Carol for a consultation.

Serena has been working with Carol consistently since then.  The cognitive improvements that she has made have impacted many aspects of her education. I am going to attempt to explain some of them.

For example, Serena before working with Carol had only just begun to do multiplication.  Since then, we have progressed through learning all the multiplication, she now knows all her division facts and can do long division with and without remainders.

Serena’s ability to generalize understanding is progressing also. Serena has been working with Carol consistently since then.  The cognitive improvements that she has made have impacted many aspects of her education. I am going to attempt to explain   For example, she is learning fractions.  I made three meatloaves for dinner.  We ate one of the three loaves and during cleanup she said, mom, I have a fraction for you.

“You made three meat loaves.”
“We ate one of the three, that’s one-third of the meatloaf!”
I said, “that’s right and what fraction of the meatloaves are left?”Serena said,  “two-thirds”.

She also is showing generalization in her vocabulary and spelling words.  She had barge and eavesdrop as words last week.  She used both of those words in sentences during conversations.  She used barge as a verb, which wasn’t the first meaning in the dictionary but the second one.  She used eavesdrop appropriately in a sentence by complaining that her little brother was eavesdropping on mom and dad’s conversation.

I feel Serena’s visual discrimination has markedly improved.  She can scan pages much more easily and find what she needs. I even see it in tasks she does around the house. Her memory is vastly improved.  Her ability to concentrate and stay on task is increased.  Her recall of more abstract subjects such as history and science is improved.  Her handwriting is better.  Her attention to detail isn’t a burden anymore, she is the one paying attention to the details and improving upon them when needed rather than mom pointing it out.

She shares more of her heart when I ask her to write.  Her ability to answer the hard questions of how and why are getting much easier for her.  Sometimes not even difficult for her at all.  How and why questions in the past required a great deal of breakdown to get her to the point that she can finally answer how or why.  Now it is much, much better.

Reading comprehension has always been hard but with different strategies that I have employed through Carol’s suggestions, I see that she really does understand what she has read, it just wasn’t being observed in the way we were going about it.  It is SO much easier discussing what she has read by adding some very common-sense methods to ascertain her comprehension of the material.  It’s fun too!

Serena loves therapy.  Just today when we got done she said, “the dots were hard”.

I said, “yes they were but you stuck with it and you did great!! Hard is good!
And she said… “hard is VERY good.”

Equipping Minds has built her confidence. Carol talks to her like a regular 14-year-old, no dumbing down vocabulary or rescuing her when it gets too difficult.  Serena has matured and wants to do the hard work. Serena knows that Carol has daily expectations of her and she seeks to meet them.  We all need to be setting and meeting goals and expectations for ourselves, with or without special needs.  Equipping Minds has been a very effective way for Serena to achieve that.

People notice her high functioning ability.  I recently took Serena to the doctor and he said something like she is so mature for having Down Syndrome.  Most kids I see are very childlike.

To close and to go back to where I started, this has been a great school year with Serena.  We have covered so much material.   More than I anticipated covering based on years past.  We are at the end of her math book and we still have 40 more school days.

I am very thankful to have the opportunity to homeschool my daughter with special needs. When I began this schooling journey years ago, I went into it with high expectations and great hopes for what Serena could have the ability to do.  And with that, I never thought I would be saying that my daughter knows all 50 states and capitals, 45 presidents, and long division all accomplished in about a year’s time.  I am eternally grateful for the work of Equipping Minds.  I love the beliefs that they have in these kids and I wholeheartedly believe in the methods they employ in improving the cognitive skills and expanding the skills that special needs kids can be a part of.

Thank you, Carol!
Serena says, “you’re my friend!”

Thank you,
Lora Busch