Answering the “Is He Progressing?” Question with Eloquence (+ 2 Free Tracking Tools)

Answering the -Is He Progressing-- Question with Eloquence (+2 Free Tracking Tools)Welcome to Day 24 of the 31 Days of Random Reflections on Raising and Homeschooling a Child with Special Needs. You can find the main page for this series here.

One question I’m asked as a homeschooler that makes me cringe is: Is he progressing?

Therapists, educators, and even family members and friends, all of whom mean well, will ask this question expecting a “yes” or “no” in return.

Yes, he’s progressing.

No, I can’t get into the details of our homeschool progress in one minute.

In order to fully understand the reply to this answer, one needs to be where I was when I outlined our homeschool goals back in September. You had to have been there at medical and therapeutic appointments throughout his life. You need to understand our philosophy of education and our life-long vision for our son.

If I show you his portfolio, you will not understand just by looking at it where he began, what we worked on, and how far he’s come. It’s much more complex than that.

It’s so complex, in fact, even I need charts and notes to keep things straight in my head. For one, I forget all the details, and secondly, I function better, plan better, and breathe better when I have an organized system.

How do I keep track of my son’s progress?

I use this simple system:

Keep track of skills acquired for the child with special needs

Whatever skill I’m focusing on, I look at 4 main levels:

  • hand-over-hand
  • prompts required (physical, verbal, visual)
  • fading prompts (selecting and using the cue that makes him most independent)
  • independently

Spreadsheet - keeping track of skills acquired with child with special needs

Skills you can assess for progress and growth:

  • Academic skills
  • Activities of daily living/life skills
  • Therapeutic skills (fine/ gross motor skills, etc.)

I have created two versions of the handout for you as you track skills/goals: a PDF printable sheet as well as a Google Spreadsheet (see links below).

How can you eloquently respond to others?

You’re never obligated to get into a heated discussion about your decision to homeschool. People rarely want more than a “yes” or “no” answer. You can easily satisfy their curiosity by answering, “Yes, thank you for asking,” or, you can pull out these charts over wine and cheese. I’m sure they’ll never ask that question again.

Free tools for you:


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