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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

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HOA 2015-16 SlideShow

Naim, 4th Grade Year

Naim, Age 10

Naim, Age 10

Naim had a good 4th Grade year. Lots of improvement in reading. Braces on and then off. Lots of 1:1 time and maturing into a responsible kid.

Classes:

  • VH Explorers
  • HSC: Fall Soccer
  • VH Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain (Fall, Winter)
  • VH Music Fundamentals (Fall)
  • VH Painting (Winter, Spring)
  • VH Chorus (Spring)
  • VH Destination Imagination
  • HPR Swimming Electric Eal (Winter, Spring)
  • HPR Actors Toolkit (Spring)
  • Hull Retreat Center for the Blind Family Camp
  • NWCT Star Trekkers Camp
  • Portland Timbers Soccer Camp
  • OMSI/Sauvie Island Center Farm to Table Camp
Curriculum:
  • Calvert Discoveries in Reading 1
  • Calvert Discoveries in Music
  • Reading Horizons: Discovery
  • Hooked on Phonics First Grade Level 2
  • Voyages in English 2
  • Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education (4-6)
  • Math in Focus: Level 2A, 2B, 3A
  • Calvert’s A Child’s History of the World
  • Touch, Type, Read and Spell
  • Real Science for Kids: Primary Chemistry
  • Handwriting Practice
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake
  • The Long Winter
  • Little Town on the Prairie
  • These Happy Golden Years
  • The First Four Years
  • Farmer Boy
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • The Bridge to Terebithia
  • The Lost Planet
  • Because of Wynn Dixie
  • Reading Rainbow
  • Math Arcade
  • DIY. org
  • UNICEF: “A Life Like Mine”
Fieldtrips:
  1. Rood Bridge Park
  2. PCT SkippyJon Jones
  3. Wilsonville Family Fun Center
  4. Pump it Up
  5. Sky High Sports
  6. Valley Theater: Class Dismissed
  7. Out of This World Pizza
  8. OMSI Animation
  9. Outdoors In
  10. Zoo Lights
  11. Quatama Kid Concert (Recorder)
  12. Washington County Museum: Bug Chicks
  13. Oregon Children’s Museum: Wizard of Oz
  14. Oregon Jewish Museum: Anne Frank Exhibit
  15. Quatama Family Night
  16. Movie: Penguins of Madagascar
  17. NWCT: Mary Poppins
  18. Oregon Youth Symphony
  19. Timberline Lodge
  20. Glowing Greens Miniature Golf
  21. VH Bloom Talent Show
  22. Washington County Museum: Recycle
  23. Sky High Sports
  24. Philip Foster Farm
  25. Washington County Fair
  26. OMSI: Ripley’s Believe It or Not
  27. American Council for the Blind Meetings
  28. National Federation of the Blind Meetings
  29. Boating with the Barry’s

Avery’s PreK Year

Avery, Age 5, PreK

Avery, Age 5, PreK

Avery was a school kid this year and attended Goddard 1/2 days for four days a week. He had his Goddard graduation which was bitter sweet. He had gone there for three years and had friends there, but academically, the teachers really did not know what he could do and he never talked there. Over the summer, we worked on transitioning him into thinking about being a homeschooler.

Classes:

  • Goddard PreKindergarten (City)
  • HPR Swimming: Catfish 1 (Winter, Spring)
  • Oregon Zoo: Lion Camp
  • Hull Retreat Center for the Blind Family Camp
Fieldtrips:
  1. Rood Bridge Park
  2. PCT SkippyJon Jones
  3. Wilsonville Family Fun Center
  4. Pump it Up
  5. Sky High Sports
  6. Out of This World Pizza
  7. Outdoors In
  8. Zoo Lights
  9. Oregon Children’s Museum: Wizard of Oz
  10. Timberline Lodge
  11. SkyHigh Sports
  12. OMSI: Ripley’s Believe It or Not
  13. Tualatin Hills Nature Park
  14. Washington County Museum: Recycling

 

Aaron’s Fourth Grade Year

Aaron, 4th Grade Year

Aaron’s Fourth Grade was a Tough One. But we got through it and learned a lot and I guess you need to flop around and fail sometimes to figure out how to succeed. It will forever be known as the year of public school. I did not even get a picture of the kids this year. We probably went more places and read more books than are listed here. But this is as much as I remember.

Classes:

  • Quatama Elementary School 4th Grade (Fall)
  • Hillsboro Online Academy: Science/Social Studies (Spring)
  • Oregon Zoo: Cougar Camp (Summer)
  • OMSI/Sauvie Island Center: Farm to Table Camp (Summer)
  • Hull Retreat Center for the Blind Family Camp (Summer)

Curriculum:

  • Life of Fred Book 1: Apples
  • Life of Fred Book 2: Butterflies
  • Math in Focus: 3rdA
  • Voyages in English: 3rd
Books and Media:
  • Raz Kids Reading
  • By the Shores of Silver Lake
  • The Long Winter
  • Little Town on the Prairie
  • These Happy Golden Years
  • The First Four Years
  • Farmer Boy
  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • The Bridge to Terebithia
  • The Lost Planet
  • Because of Wynn Dixie
  • Water Buffalo Days
  • Captain Underpants:
  • DIY.org

Fieldtrips:

  1. Fort Clatsop State Park
  2. Rood Bridge Park
  3. PCT SkippyJon Jones
  4. Wilsonville Family Fun Center
  5. Pump it Up
  6. Sky High Sports
  7. Valley Theater: Class Dismissed
  8. Out of This World Pizza
  9. OMSI Animation
  10. Zoo Lights
  11. Washington County Museum: Bug Chicks
  12. Oregon Children’s Museum: Wizard of Oz
  13. Movie: Penguins of Madagascar
  14. NWCT: Mary Poppins
  15. Quatama Family Fun Night
  16. Oregon Youth Symphony
  17. Oregon Museum of Contemporary Art
  18. Timberline Lodge
  19. Glowing Greens Miniature Golf
  20. VH Bloom Talent Show
  21. Washington County Museum: Recycle
  22. Sky High Sports
  23. Philip Foster Farm
  24. Washington County Fair
  25. OMSI: Ripley’s Believe It or Not

Naim’s Essay

So here is the backstory. Naim and I went on a Village Home field trip to the Oregon Jewish Museum last February for an Ann Frank exhibit. The docent there told everyone there (kids from about 7 to high school) about the Sala Kryszek Writing and Art Competition. She handed out a little flyer that had a writing prompt and told how to submit entries. Then, she came up to Naim and I afterward and totally went off about how insightful Naim was and how he is special and how he really should enter this contest. We even talked to her about how he is not really into art that much but maybe he could write something.

So we went home and he worked on this essay for probably about three to four weeks. He first spoke his ideas into his iPod Touch using Siri. Then I helped him trim the ideas down (like I got rid of all the “and, uh” type of things and fixed words that Siri got wrong and I put spaces in between each sentence/thought. Then he printed them out and cut them into strips and made an outline. He took a big piece of paper and glued the strips into the appropriate space on the outline. Then he retyped it in that order. I proofread and copyedited it and did give him some ideas on how to better transition from paragraph to paragraph. He made the corrections. Then he gave it to me to submit.

So, it wasn’t until I submitted it that I actually read the rules on the website. (Oops! I had read the flyer, but the flyer did not indicate age ranges.) I found out on the website that this contest is only for middle and high school kids. So, I don’t know. The docent GAVE Naim the flyer and encouraged him to enter. He does NOT look like a middle or high school kid. I think she might have even asked him his age. But, she is a volunteer, I believe so maybe she didn’t know. Anyway, we decided to enter anyway. But, alas! He was disqualified because of age. 

He was a bit disappointed, but he said what he really wanted was for people to read it, not to win so much. So I said, well, they probably did read it? But he thought they might have just looked at his age and thrown it out. So, he asked if I would publish it online and throw it around a bit so that his work wasn’t in vain. I really wish I could find another appropriate competition to enter it into, but I have not yet. It is a bit sad for me to read in a way because, seriously? He hears people say his father should die? But it is important to him and it is a good first essay, I thought. He worked hard on it. So, without further ado:

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education

Sala Kryszek Art and Writing Competition

March 13, 2015

 

 

We Should Respect All Life
by Naim Ferris

 

When I visited the Ann Frank Exhibit at the Oregon Jewish Museum, I learned that people with disabilities were killed in the Holocaust. According to The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, over 70,000 people with disabilities were killed and others were used in medical experiments without their permission. I saw how much The Holocaust was and still is a source of fear and that Hitler gained power by using fear. People like to be powerful to be a step above everyone else and to have authority. Hitler used people’s differences to gain power. Treating people differently is a simple and easy way to make some people powerful and other people not powerful. Although people are learning that Jewish people and other minorities are not so different, disabled people are still treated as different. I think this is outrageous and I do not believe they should be treated as such.

I have three disabled parents. My mother is vision and hearing impaired. My father uses a wheelchair and my stepfather is blind. It is normal to have disabled parents. The only thing that is different is that they always have to prove themselves. They sometimes have difficulty getting jobs because people think that they are incapable, yet they won’t admit that is what they think.

My mother is a kind and loving parent, who can teach my brothers and me reading and math, handle a guide dog, talk to people and have her own business. My stepfather makes us breakfast and is a really good cook. We talk about good things and bad things. Sometimes we nerd-out on the couch. He teaches me and teaches other people about technology and we go a lot of places. He can cross streets, clean, bake and laugh. My father is quadriplegic and has been in and out of hospitals. He is special because he is able to handle lots of stress and deal with situations in a very bright light and stick to what are the main things about being a parent. People sometimes say my father doesn’t deserve to live because he is a so disabled. He has value because he exists. He is nice and smart and is good at math and fixing computers and answering questions. He helps me and teaches me things.

There are a lot of advantages to having disabled parents. We get to have our guide dogs go with us everywhere. My parents can problem-solve and can handle a lot of different kinds of put-downs. They don’t get upset about things and don’t let little things get them down. People think having disabled parents is a bad thing, but it is mostly a good thing.

Most people have things that they are good at or not good at, but maybe they would not be considered disabled, like not being able to cook or do math or stay in shape. A large percentage of the world’s population is disabled people if you think of it like that, so putting one group down because they can’t see or hear or walk doesn’t make much sense. I think mostly people treat them differently because they may look different or do things differently. They might have some challenges, but the biggest challenge is how they are treated by society. They have the same dreams, feelings and rights as everyone else.

I would like people to treat disabled people as individuals and not like they stand out as something to stare at. People should just treat them like they want to be treated themselves. People should ask questions if they don’t know what to do or how to act, but ask the person and not someone else. Trust them to tell you about themselves and not other people who may want to put them at a disadvantage.

Disabled people should be cared for like everyone else, because life is a life worth living. If Hitler had been successful, there would have been no disabled people. If there were no disabled people, I think that would be awful. A lot of problems would not be solved because they see the world in a different way and know how to find solutions to difficult situations.    In the Holocaust people with disabilities were dying. Currently, there is still a lot of unfair judgment and putting this group of people on a lower level. If people aren’t treated with respect, they are not valued. This is important because this has been happening long enough. The Holocaust could slowly happen again if people don’t pay attention. There are always people who stand out and can make a change.

 

Summer/Fall Plans

We kind of go quarter to quarter, with a big yearly assessment and overhaul that happens every September. You have to figure out summer in April and Fall, well, kind of starts in April and doesn’t end until August.

Here is what I have for now:

Summer Camps:

Aaron-Zoo in June, Oral Hull in July, and OMSI Farm in late July

Naim-Oral Hull in July, OMSI Farm Camp in late July, AM Soccer and PM Acting Camp at NWCT (Star Trekkers)

Avery-Continuing Goddard all Summer, Zoo Camp in June, Oral Hull in July

This will be the fifth year that Aaron does Zoo Camp. Each year builds on other years and concentrates on specific areas. This year I think they are doing some kind of nocturnal thing so this camp includes a late night and dinner. It’s on my birthday so can a make a date out of that before pick up? hmmm. Avery went to 1/2 day Zoo camp and liked it last summer. This will be his first full-day camp. Naim and I have house cleaning/sorting plans this week while the As are away.

Oral Hull Foundation for the Blind Family Camp: We didn’t go last year and caught hell for it from the kids. They really like it and it is an easy way to get them out of town and let them run free. Avery will really be old enough this year to run free as well for the most part, so that will be fun. It is a bit of work for Nik and I, we usually do a class for the parents of blind kids, but the whole week is like one long education and counseling session for us. We are happy to do it, but it does get a bit draining (especially when we have to answer questions like how do blind people wipe themselves? yes, seriously.)

OMSI has given us a $400 scholarship so I am very happy about this. They will go up to a farm on Sauvie Island and learn about organics and environmental farming and a little cooking thrown in. I’m jealous.

Naim will do the PGE Park Timbers Camp in the am and then walk up to NWCT for acting camp in the afternoon. He gets an hour in between. He could SO TOTALLY do this himself as it is only about 5 blocks, but Nik will probably come from work and have lunch with him to help the transition, since Soccer will not release him to his own recognences.

 

Fall is a bag full of possibilities right now. In some ways, my Aaron/Naim isolation problem has been solved as now they are constantly out for hours with the neighborhood kids and I think it fills that peer gap for them pretty well. It may get worse in the Winter, but maybe then we are back to indoor playdates. I love shooing them outside.

So, in the grab bag of possibilities for Aaron and Naim are:

  • Swallowtail Farm Mondays, A private farm school with an open-to-homeschoolers Monday component
  • Some Combination of Village Home Classes
  • Some Combination of Hillsboro Online Academy
  • or….and this is a new, big one…Swallowtail School full-time four days a week. Essentially, they would be private school kids.

The reason I can even consider Swallowtail, a Waldorf program, is because it has an amazing sliding scale tuition program. I figured out that the cost would be about the same as what I am paying now for all their VH et al classes and curriculum. It would be a big step, but I have to get them on board and they are not quite yet. We go on our second visit this week. The Waldorf thing is good with me, but it is almost marrying into a new community. We have to still see how we all match up.

 

Curriculum-wise, if we stayed home, we would probably continue with Naim in Reading Discovery and Math in Focus. And Aaron with Voyages in English and Math in Focus. Those would be daily.  I am thinking about letting them plan the rest themselves within some parameters. (2 hours of SS/History, 2 Hours of Science, 1-2 hours of the arts, 5 half hours of physical fitness/sports a week.) Then they could fulfill these with HOA classes, VH classes, their own choice of curriculum, or stand alone projects like DIY.org or something. Naim and I are actually really enjoying a World History Timeline project we are doing now. He is making a timeline and I help him read with Calvert’s A Child’s Book of World History and the Usborne World History Encyclopedia along with other books and resources. Lots of fun, and poor Aaron has had to do PS Oregon History for like two years in a row now (and going on a 3rd  with more western expansion if he continues with HOA). How they think they can get away with teaching YEARS of pioneer/settler/western expansion history at the expense of all else is beyond me, but welcome to Oregon. Lets talk about a 200 year period of mass genocide and racism by your ancestors ad nauseum and make it out like it is all fun and good and Little House on the Prairie. Ugh. I got American History shoved down my throat growing up as well. And since Nik was educated in Europe, he completely laughs and my embarrassing lack of World History knowledge. I am having fun learning along with Naim as well. The timeline thing makes you put all the jumbled stories you have heard over the years in context and space and time.

Avery is pretty much staying home with me next year.  He is not, Not, NOT going to the 60+ kid Quatama classroom. I would consider Swallowtail for him this year but he would be waitlisted. He may do a combination of Farm School or Village. If it ends up being just him and me, I may put him in WeVillage for a day a week or something. We will see. I am thinking at home I will just do K Math in Focus and Reading for him. Maybe Calverts Discoveries in Reading or Hooked On Phonics or a combo. We also could get a little more structure in the day if I did something like Sunshine Express or Mother Goose Time, but that is a lot of curriculum. I plan on not killing myself over Kindergarten.

Stay tuned! Big decisions will be made soon!

 

Wrapping up the “official year,” heading to summer.

I have updated the “Summary Pages” for each kid. And I added the post below that explains what happened with Aaron and Public. So, a summary of where we are now, a couple of months post public.

Aaron

  • I enrolled Aaron in Hillsboro Online Academy for Social Studies and Science. It was kind of an experiment. It has both success and failure, I guess. The good things are that it is much more interactive than I thought, he likes the science, he likes the face-to-face classes and activities. It’s free, it offers a lot of resources. It keeps him on his toes. The bad is that it is a LOT of work, the Social Studies is lame, it has a lot of stupid MC tests where there are only 3 questions so it is really easy to get a 66%, and it is an overlord, but the overlords are generally pretty nice. For now, I have tentative plans to put them both in next year, but we will see.
  • He is doing a pretty intense grammar and writing curriculum out of Loyola Press (i.e., the Jesuits). I had to pull teeth at the beginning to get him to do it, but now he is doing much better and complaining less. His writing still has a ways to go, but he is writing more every day than he probably did in a month last semester.
  • I took him back to 3rd grade math as per his request. But I let him pretest out of chapters so we have skipped a few. He is really good in math, just doesn’t like to do the work and thus got behind. We are moving pretty quickly through the A term of 3rd grade and will be in B term next couple of weeks. I did not think he really needed to go back, but his comfort and confidence in his math skills since public has increased dramatically. The jump to 4th grade with no help just completely made him feel stupid. He likes having the control back.
  • Those are the areas we are concentrating on. His “school day” usually goes like:
    • Morning meeting where we go over tasks
    • Life of Fred Math
    • some kind of arithmetic drills (flashcards, iPad app, etc.)
    • Math in Focus (both the book and workbook on the same day most days)
    • Voyages in English (grammar)
    • Raz kids (a reading program online
    • Voyages in English (composition)
    • Alternating SS and Science
    • Chores
    • Go outside and play with friends
  • He is not enrolled in anything else since he missed all the enrollment deadlines. He goes to HOA one day a week for class and PE.
  • We are slowly getting the old Aaron back. Still working on some of the emotional stuff, but I see slow maturity there.

Naim

  • Naim and I had a nice holiday when it was only him and I. We have had to work to integrate Aaron back in. It has been kind of frustrating at first, but improving. I have been giving them task lists and having them do more and more on their own without me babysitting them every second.
  • Naim continues to do Reading Horizons and Hooked on Phonics. The biggest thing you notice with him is that he gets along so much better out in the world in regards to reading. He can read menus, signs, scripts, etc and is not so dependent on us to help him. He is a “reader” but it has been an arduous process.
  • He wanted to double speed in math, so we are doing both book and workbook on same day as well. One thing that is starting to help math so much is that now he is better at reading instructions and word problems by himself. It is still frustrating when he completely screws up an instruction when you know he knows the math, but it is getting more independent. We are also (especially Nik) incorporating expecting them to do more math in day-to-day life like cooking, figuring out dates, distances etc. We may give hints but really expect them to do the math themselves.
  • He bugged and bugged me for weeks to learn about puberty, so I looked for an OWL (Our Whole Lives Sexuality Education) program for him. I could not find one, so I bought the books myself and we did it ourselves with some participation from Aaron and Nik. That was our science curriculum after we were done with Chemistry.
  • For Social Studies, he worked on an essay for an essay contest. We have not heard back yet about winners.We will soon go back to continuing with world history.
  • His day goes like:
    • Morning meeting
    • Life of Fred
    • arithmetic practice
    • Math in focus
    • Reading Horizons
    • Voyages in English/Handrwriting/Journal
    • Touch, Type, Read and Spell (keyboarding)
    • CNN student news for current events
    • Either Ss or Science, sometimes Music or art
    • chores and then outside with friends.
  • He also takes swimming once a week and a whole day of Village, where he has explorers (the block class) drawing/painting/ music/chorus and destination imagination.

In light of what I wrote in the previous post about isolation (which I just reread and remembered) I should add that we have had a very positive development there. This, also was probably helped by Aaron’s PS experience. The kids have been playing outside with the neighborhood kids nearly every single day for hours. These are kids that Aaron met from the bus stop, although we had seen a lot of them around for years anyway, so I don’t know that this would have never happened without the bus stop, but it certainly helped. Anyway, with some encouragement by several of the parents, we have been working with them to seek each other out (actually go knock on doors old school style…no play date planning for me!) and go just hang out outside on bikes or with balls or whatever. Its great! It is sometimes bumpy for them. As I listen to them outside sometimes, I hear the chaotic and disorganized way they try to build consensus. Its painful to listen to. But I don’t think any of the kids have these social skills (all others in this group are PS kids.) I suspect it is because their time together at school to just be social is so limited compared to when we were kids, and then they started this playing outside together later than when we were kids. But they will figure it out. This is kind of the only way TO figure it out. So, I think it is very good and has helped the feeling of isolation a lot.

Avery

  • This year Avery has been in school for four hours four days a week. It got pretty academic there this year, which he has a love/hate relationship with. He talks a lot about school this year. There is Ms. Jenn and Ms. Kaley and “my kids.” He has been doing numbers and letters and can write his name (well, he writes Arvey.) He picks things up very fast. I think he is going to be more like Aaron and not really have Naim’s issues. His will also be a motivation issue, in that he wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. It is a balance to keep that spirit but still have high academic expectations for them.
  • I am going to visit his class and then have a conference with his teacher in the next couple of weeks to plan for curriculum for him for Kinder. I need to get a better idea whether we should do letter names/sounds and numbers/sorting type of thing again (that is what they did this year) or if I can go on to more straight up reading and math. I will get a better idea if I see what he is already doing there and what the teacher thinks. I thought about keeping him in Goddard for Kinder, which would be fine except I can’t afford it. I thought about going to Quatama kinder orientaion just to see how they are going to do 60ish kids per classroom for a whole day, but I decided I couldn’t stomach the walk up to Quatama to see the counselor again, who is kind of a douchebag. If Nik wants to go, he can go. I’ve been there, done it.
  • He also has been swimming in beginning swimming class with Naim (different class/same time.) But other than that, we have left him be for school since he has so much through Goddard.

That’s pretty much it. We are making summer camp decisions now. Stay tuned! Maybe I will update before the end of summer!