We have come close to the end of an other year. This year I had one working in the early elementary age group (ask him and he says 3rd grade) and one finishing up Middle School. This year brought many ups and downs.
First up Joey (finishing 3rd grade):
After a rough first half of the year we made some big changes. I changed up Reading, Spelling, Math, Science and cut our History program in half. The second half of the year has been way more enjoyable and we are ending on a positive note.
Next Alex (Finishing Middle School):
This year to help get her feet wet this year Alex took some high school credits which went well. Also as the year went on I started giving Alex some more freedom with her school work and making sure it was done. Her writing course this year was one that had many smaller writing projects that lead to one bigger project. Now this didn’t go as planned but it did help Alex learn what it is like to have to do a whole term of work in less than 2 weeks. Now did she learn much from the writing program, probably not, but she did learn that it is not a wise choose to leave work till the last minute, which will help just as much as any book work.
Our new school year starts at the beginning of August, Joey the first week, Alex the second week.
Hope you all had a great year!
To catch up you can read the first post here….
I now know that Joey’s brain works differently. I read lots and lots about different learning styles. So now what? What do I do with all the information? How do I make learning fun again? More important how do I make learning fit Joey?
First step…pray! There is no way that I can make it through any of the trails before me without praying about it. This was no different.
Next take time off. I know that we had a big break earlier in the year but this is an important step. Not only does it give mom time to find new material, or even a new way to present what you already have, it gives the child a chance to rebut too. I gave Joey a few weeks off. I did though invite him to playing games that have learning values to them, ask him to help me with the baking, and engaged in lots of Lego building with him. We still did our Read Aloud.
During this time I looked for school material that would fit Joey’s learning style and give him the most from our time together. For Joey that meant more living style learning, think Charlotte Mason. This was actually a blessing for me. I love the Charlotte Mason approach and have been following parts of it for years. I was looking for items that would still be high in the learning of material but less intimidating for Joey. Facebook groups became my best help for this. Getting to ask questions of other moms who have children with the same learning differences was great. I received many options to go a check out some that I have never heard of. I also received information on how programs failed other families. This in itself is very valuable it gave me a heads up for potential problems on a curriculum.
So what did I end up choosing ? You can find those here. His individual studies are at the bottom of the post. Why did I choose those? How do I uses them? How does his day look now? Find out those answers in the next post.
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This Term has been more than interesting. We had a rough first term all around. It started in October when we all got sick and I ended up with bronchitis that last over 2 months. October and November left not much teacher lead learning happening. A blessing in disguise. Once we started up organized learning again I found that both my youngest and I ended up in tears at least once a day over school. He was frustrated because things were just not making sense and harder than he thought he could handle. I was in tears because I felt like I was failing him. My goal as mom is not to drill facts and rules into his little head but to help him learn to love learning while learning to read.
At Joey’s January Oncology visit I brought up that Joey was having a rough time with school and his reading skills seemed stuck. She recommend that we have Joey evaluated by a development psychologists. So after many hours of testing, survey taking, and talking we found that our sweet little boy learns different than most. (Side note for those that have followed Joey through his Chemo treatments….Some of the learning differences can be genetic and some may be from the Chemo itself. There is really no way to tell. He was so young when he started that we don’t have a baseline for learning. We just now know that he learns differently).
This sent this mommy into learning mode. I was off to learn all I could about processing disorders, dyslexia, and clinical anxiety.
After many hours of reading (I am still reading, learning all that I can) I found that the 2 months we had of less school and more child directed learning play (building Lego sets, helping his older sister with Science experiments, helping mom cook, building things with paper, etc….) he learned more than all the drilling I had been doing.
So what does a mom do with this information? Lots!
As I wrote this posts I could go on for pages. Solution make it a series of posts on teaching those who learn different. My prayer is that it will help at least one person realize that they can get there child through school no matter how they learn.
Joseph’s old science was just not fitting him so Monday brought a new curriculum to try, “The Sassafras Science Adventure” seems to be a great fit so far (watch for a review soon).
Tuesday both Alex and Joseph started learning a new memory verse for Sunday School. Joseph chose 2 Corinthians 5:17 and Alex picked Ephesians 1:3-6.
Wednesday I had a long doctor’s appointment so that meant school away from home. Joseph went to an Aunt’s house and Alex went to the local Christian Teen Center to help with the Pizza fundraiser. Her job was to put together many bags of Ziploc bags with 2cups of cheese. Peter also had off today we went out for dinner and then to the local Sears that is closing soon. Alex was able to find a great deal on a new pair of boots and Peter found some new blades for the table saw.
Wednesday night my dryer stopped working so Thursday morning Alex and Joseph worked on school work at home while Peter and I went out looking for a new one. The kids also worked hard to finish all school work by lunch so that Alex could go and help with pizzas again. Joseph and I did the once a month trip to Trader Joe’s and Costco. On the way home from shopping Joseph and I stopped and visited with friends.
Friday Alex made bath bombs and finished her school work for the week. Joseph started a new to us project, Lego Education. Together we made a robot dog and learned how changing the position of just one component can change how it moves. Joseph also worked on his first science project for the new curriculum and used his earned extra computer time to play Minecraft.
Other things happening around here include the yearly purging of items and the inclosing of the carport to make a workshop for Peter.
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This year I went with the Well Planned day planner and I thought I would share how I use it.
First the supplies: Washi Tape, Planner, Binder Clip, and Erasable Pens.
First thing I do is look at my month in one glance page. I then add any extra events to the week page.
See how Wednesday has “Joey Clinic” written on top of it. That is because Joey has a appointment at the oncology clinic at those take all day so he will not have any school work that day. It also lets me know that I will need to find somewhere for Alex to go for the day.
Next up I write in all that I hope to get done in a day. It is color coordinated. We may not get done all that is written in but it gives us a good general idea on what we should be doing for the week.
I will add that there are many things this planner that I started out using: shopping lists, budget forms, planning forms, etc. that I don’t use.
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