• Attendance

    January 2012
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  • The “Class”

    Avery, Naim, Aaron

  • Subjects

  • Portfolio

VH: Week 2, Tuesday

Snow today so Avery and I waited outside for the bus for about 20 minutes and then when it came it took over an hour for us all to get to Head Start, so we were a half hour late. He missed most of the playtime, but got snack, circle time, lunch and then they had us take a walk because the playground was all wet and gross. He did well and likes it there. We are still fumbling around with Danielle about a new placement for him, trying to coordinate teachers, etc. I will talk to her tomorrow morning and we will have to make a decision this week because I want to drop Little Villagers and get a refund by the deadline Friday. But he likes it there, he likes the routine, the other people to associate with. It is good for him. So he will either a) stay where he is at and do VH on Thursdays. b) go to the EHS class that is two days a week where I have to take him myself and stay with him, or c) a new option that she just came up with today. 4 mornings a week of HS, with bussing, no parent attendance requirement. But this is confusing me because the only class like that I ever heard of was just for 3 to 5 year olds. If that is the case, I won’t put him in it because then it will be just like Little Villagers where it is just too old for him. He needs the 0-3 class. It sure would have been nice if they would have gave me all my options up front instead of me having to investigate and learn by accident along the way and now we are 4 months into it. But, it should get settled this week. My objectives are that Avery get an opportunity to

  1. Be in a language rich environment that is not home because he too easily just gets passed along with the rest of the flow, so somewhere where it is just for him,
  2. Be able to interact with other kids and adults.
  3. Be able to participate in a steady routine that he can anticipate. Home is too chaotically scheduled, and
  4. If there is some child care involved for us, then that is a bonus.

Big kids went to VH today.

  • Math-they made lap books about money and counted in 5s and 10s
  • Bookworms-all I got out of this was that they read and studied about Mexico. They each had a dress up doll dressed up in Mexican wear and a map of Mexico that they labeled.
  • Science-Naim made a “rock” out of compressing a bunch of edible things that were supposed to represent the stuff under us that we walk on (clay, gravel, dirt, etc.) They studied metamorphic rocks. Now Aaron wants to be in Science because he always sees that Naim made something gross to eat.
  • Did not hear a word about Legos today.

Naim's lap book from math class.

Naim saw me going through different workbooks that we did not use that I will sell at VH’s curriculum sale in Spring. One was the Houghton Mifflin reading workbooks that were for first grade that we didn’t even open. We did about half of the Kindergarten books and then hated them so much we quit after I had already bought the first grade ones. Naim said, “I remember those books. All those books taught me was how to struggle.” We talked about how lucky we are to be able to change tactics to something that works for us instead of having to use whatever the school says we should. I started thinking about the kids learning to read, which they are both well on their way to and I had the following thoughts:

  • The Houghton Mifflin Books are marketed to schools. The teachers manuals are just ridiculously filled with over complex language and bullshit. It is hard to wade through. I realized that one of the things I learned in Teachers College was exactly how to wade through a teachers manual like that. So, I get it, but they are deemed “to complex” for the lay parent. But it isn’t that teaching reading is too complex, it is just their bullshit textbooks. And they did teach Naim how to struggle.
  • The three (four-ish) curricula we use for reading are marketed to parents who have kids that are struggling in school. At least two of them are anyway. They are not marketed to teachers or really even homeschoolers. They’re for kids with problems in school whose parents want to give them extra help at home. So we have: Hooked on Phonics, Sylvan, Usborne, and Calvert’s Discoveries in Reading. Only Calvert is marketed to homeschoolers. (Although I think half of Usborne’s customer base are homeschoolers.)  Hooked on Phonics and Sylvan doesn’t even have a teachers manual. Usborne has a small guide booklet and some online resources and Calvert’s teachers manual is sort of a one to two page per lesson thing. Very straightforward.
  • And yet, using these curricula and teaching my kids to read has taught me more about teaching reading than I ever learned in college. I know some of my background in actually speech and augmentative communications helps, as well as my stuff with learning disabilities. But I swear, any kid who learns to read in school does it in spite of the curricula and not because of it. Calvert and Usborne are about context and just enjoying reading and reading comprehension. Sylvan and HOP break down the 45 phonemes into such tiny digestible parts that a kid can’t help but succeed. Aaron would have learned to read in school. Aaron would have learned to read if I never opened any kind of reading curriculum at all. Naim, though, needs to stop, start, plateau, go back, redo, take a break, start again, sprint forward, stop again, swing around again, etc. A true spiral constructivist kid. If Naim would have been shoved through a Houghton Mifflin type curriculum in school for the last two years he would be way behind, diagnosed with learning disabilities, hate reading, hate school, and perhaps never be a good reader. I’m so glad I was able to be allowed to do this for him and let him learn his way and in his time.
  • I learned way, way more in college about classroom management and how to fill the day with busywork than I ever learned about teaching. I learned a little bit about instructional strategies in special ed. The el ed teachers without special ed training, I think, are almost worse off than a person who never went to college. (Of course some of them compensate or have natural abilities, just like homeschool parents without high school diplomas do.) But still, scary the education el ed teachers get.

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