Transitions, Part I

In fourth grade, I was mainstreamed into a small parochial school in Racine, Wisconsin. My homeroom teacher learned Cued Speech so she could teach me directly alongside the other hearing children. She’d teach in English and cue what she said. When I took classes in other subjects like music or art, she’d cue for me there as well. This worked well for our situation because our school combined several grades and subjects into one class; I started in 4th grade, in that teacher’s 3rd-4th grade class, then we both moved to the 5th-8th grade class.

I would continue to use this model for most of my school years with one exception in my freshman year, when I had formal transliterators for the first time. Two sisters from my church, Rosie and Emily, took up Cued Speech in order to transliterate for me. In fact, Emily borrowed Rosie’s handouts from the workshops she had attended, and went for a walk to study the system. It took her a while to become fluent, but it worked. Even several years later without cueing, she still remembers how to do it– although she will tell you she’s bad at it.

During my freshman year, Emily also started a homeschooling group with her two youngest siblings (twins, both my age) and two of their friends. Over time, a few more students joined the group. When my parochial school closed at the end of my freshman year, Emily got accreditation to turn her homeschooling group into a certified school, and I transferred to it for the rest of my high school years. We did the same teaching/transliteration deal as before, and it worked beautifully.

The most students we ever had at any one time was 15, evenly divided between boys and girls. We had structured classes in the lower apartment of the house that my teacher lived in; outside of that, we could study upstairs or outside, take extracurricular subjects like Latin, start independent studies, and go on field trips. That turned out to be the best school I’d ever attended. I graduated valedictorian in 2008, which is rather less impressive when you take into account the fact that I was the resident nerd and bookworm out of four graduating students, and enrolled in UW-Milwaukee for the following semester.

One thought on “Transitions, Part I

  1. That “cottage school” sounds nice. I homeschool my two older children (my youngest with multiple special needs is in public school special ed kindergarten) and I would love to find something like that for high school.


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