Future Reflections Winter 1993, Vol. 12 No. 1


by Sunny Shain Emerson

Editor's Note: I recently received the following letter and report from Sunny Emerson, who is completing her first year home schooling their son, Adam, who happens to be blind. This is also her first year as chairperson of the Parents of Blind Children Division of the NFB Committee on Home schooling the Blind Child. Sunny would be glad to share information, answer questions, and generally assist parents of blind children who are home schooling or are considering doing so. Here is how you may contact her: Mrs. Sunny Shain Emerson, 11951 Burtley Drive, Sterling Heights, Michigan 48313; (313) 739-0014.

January 18, 1993
Dear Barbara,
     I am sending you a copy of Adam's activities for the month of December homeschooling report. We are enrolled in Clonlara Home Based Education Program. They do not tell us what to teach but share with us the requirements needed to graduate from high school. They have Adam's school records from his other schools; thus our state has not questioned why Adam was not in school. Also, before we took Adam out of school we told the special educators of the visually impaired that we no longer needed an IEP.

     Adam is working on the 9th grade level, and as long as he meets the requirements needed for a diploma, Clonlara will issue one. There are many, many resources for homeschoolers and more activities and things to do than we can possibly fit in.

     [As chairperson of the POBC Committee on Homeschooling], I have had questions from parents of blind children who want to homeschool their children in the early elementary grades. As this is our first year with Adam and he already has the skills of blindness, these parents need to be in contact with other parents who are successfully home-schooling their blind children.

     I have told them everything they need to know can be found in the back issues of Future Reflections and our Handbook for Itinerant and Resource Teachers of Blind and Visually Impaired Students. But as you know, nothing beats personal contact with someone who is successful at what you are doing. That is why the National Federation of the Blind has always been a blessing to our family.

     Our POBC of Michigan is going strong and we have an enthusiastic new president, Dawn Neddo, who brings with her much experience due to her involvement with foster parenting. We will be putting out a new newsletter soon, and you will see in it all the good things happening for blind children in our state because of the National Federation of the Blind of Michigan. Our blind adults in the NFB are so supportive to our parents, and they genuinely love our children.
See you in Dallas,

Adam Emerson:
December, 1992, Monthly Report

     Since November, 1992, Adam has read 27 books. Some--such as Quarks to Quasars by James Jesperson and Asimov on Chemistry--more than once. We are enclosing a book list of the  books he read during November and December. As you will notice Adam has taken quite an interest in electronics recently and is busy trying to collect items to take apart for their electronic components.

     Adam did a report on Louis Pasteur, a biography on Spurgeon, completed studies on nutrition, and continues his grammar course by mail from Hadley School for the Blind. We may contact the teacher from Hadley anytime between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on a toll-free phone line. We try to read and write Braille every day even though Adam can now handle print much better with his new telescope glasses. Adam has two slate-mates (Braille pen-pals) in Arizona and in Michigan. He also started a home-school student newspaper group that put out a December edition.

     Adam has music most every day. He practices vocal solos and piano specials for church on a regular basis. He also conducts a children's group from time to time and leads them in singing while playing the piano.

     We attend a homeschool group biology class (graciously offered in the home of a very knowledgeable family) every Friday and have many, many hours of homework to do during the week. We also often attend art classes with this very talented family and have many fun field trips.

     On Tuesday afternoons we attend an Algebra class offered at the home of another homeschool family with a retired Physics professor as instructor. Adam uses the Alge-Blaster computer program, a Milliken workbook and a John Saxon algebra textbook (for tests and a resource) to compliment his regular work in Elementary Algebra, a text by Auvil and Poluga.

     For Christmas Adam received a new hard drive for his computer and has spent hours installing it while listening to talking book tapes.

     Adam has a busy social life and enjoyed attending the play "The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever," a progressive dinner, and two concerts during December. He went roller-skating as well. We also have a large family--four married siblings with children, grandmothers, a great-grandmother, and many aunts, uncles and cousins--with which we visited during the holidays.

     Adam cut the Christmas tree, washed windows, baked Mom's birthday cake, made ornaments, decorated the house inside and out, wrapped presents, and went to Lakeside Mall to do his shopping by himself. He also helped Dad with the church treasurer's job by doing the computer operations (his Dad knows little about computers).

There are probably things I left out, December was such a busy month.