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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

homeschooling according to their bent

While teaching my daughter is not always easy, I understand her. I know when she is not doing something because she has decided it is too hard. I can tell when her frustration level is about to reach tears. I understand her and while my response may also carry vast amounts tiny bits of frustration, I know what makes her tick.

My son is weird is very different. I am learning him, I am figuring out what works for him but it makes absolutely no sense. None.

I am using hooked on phonics with him and we are going over letter names and sounds but we are not using the program the way it is designed to be used. Hooked on Phonics is great for visual & auditory learners but not for kinesthetic learners. On a scale of 1-10 for kinesthetic learners, Junior would hit about 500. Or maybe 572.

So yesterday we took the cards apart and I laid out 3 rows of 3 cards and played a game with Junior. He had to pick the card that went with the letter or sound and when he did so correctly, it was swapped for a new card.


The correct regular way, was boring to him and there wasn't enough movement. With the game he was moving all around, fell off the bed twice, and had a great time.

He called it easy.

With Junior there are 3 ways to teach him: 1)Invest in a ton of duct tape and super glue - not really worth it 2) Medicate him - Ummmm no, I am not going to do that 3) Work with his busyness, allow him to learn the way God designed him to learn.

I chose to teach both my children the way they learn best - even if it makes no sense to me and even if that includes them falling off the bed.

Check out other Thirsty Thursday thoughts at Five J's

Monday, September 28, 2009

Wizard of Oz

We have been reading Wizard of Oz as part of our literature and the kids love it. If you have never read the book, it is vastly different from the movie. Not only are there things that have been left out - such as in the book they cross a river and the scarecrow is almost left - but there are things changed and things added - Dorothy doesn't run away in the book and there is no Elmira Gulch.

In some ways, it is almost like a completely different story.

Daisy had a vague memory of seeing the movie but Junior didn't remember seeing it at all but luckily it came on TV on Sunday. I have to admit, watching Junior watch it is almost as entertaining as the movie itself.

He will sit mostly still for tv or a movie but is in constant motion when listening to me read. In fact, I would think that he is not listening at all except his narrations are very in-depth. Today I asked him to tell his dad how the poppy field escape is different.

Here is a summation: They tried to run across the flowers but they couldn't and the tin woodman and the scare crow carried Dorothy and the dog but couldn't carry the lion because he is so big and so they were going to leave the lion and they saw a wildcat chasing a queen mouse and the tine woodman took his ax and cut off the woldcat's head and the queen mouse thanked him and and more mice thanked him and asked if they could do anything to help the tin woodman and the tin woodman told them to help with his friend the lion and they didn't want to but the tin woodman said the lion was a coward and so the woodman built a cart and the mice pulled the cart and they had to work very hard to get the lion on the cart and then the mice pulled and the woodman and the scarecrow pushed and they were able to get the lion out of the poisonous flowers and the lion woke up and they told him that the little mice had saved him. and yes I am pretty sure there was not a comma or period in his entire narration.

Through the entire narration he was spinning and bouncing and moving much like he was during the reading. Hubby asked him if he could tell the story without moving so much and he said "let Daisy tell you."

Considering I was expecting something more like "the mice helped them" I was very impressed. Hubby was impressed as well at how long the narration went on, even if he understood very little of it because of all the movement.

He learns best while he moves and trying to keep him still ensures that he will learn nothing. It is so difficult for me to understand why or how but if he has to be still, then all of his attention is on trying to stay still and he has none left for anything else. My rule for him is that he can squirm and wiggle or play with blocks but he must do it quietly.

Well, and that I don't want to be kicked in the head during a headstand on the bed.

We are also reading Treasure Island, Redwall, The Phantom Toll Booth and The Borrowers.

While we were at the library, Junior found The Phantom Toll Booth and told another homeschool mom that it is a good book (although I don't think he is getting as much out of it as Daisy.) I love it when they get excited about what we are reading.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More murderers of imagination

Check out Thirsty Thursday for ideas on educating your children.

I guess I may have made it sound like my children were paragons of imagination and all because they aren't in school. That they spend all their free time building forts and playing pirates and knights and . . . etc.

Not so much. They do play that way some, but not as much as I would like. Not as much as I did. I spent most of my free time either reading or "imaginative play" - which means I had no one to play with except lizards who didn't follow the rules of the games very well. The reading gave me ideas of what to play, and which character I wanted to be.

That my kids don't do that is not the fault of the school system because they have never gone to public school. The school system is not the only imagination killer.

I wish.

Another is tv and video games. (gasp!) I know! Now I am stepping on toes including my own.

I really don't like how much tv and video games my kids watch but since Hubby is also a fan of the one-eyed monster, it is difficult to reduce their tv time much more. The rule is no tv before 3, which still sounds like a lot but we frequently aren't home after 3. And sometimes they don't get to turn the TV on at 3 anyway because I won't let them.

In the time that we have had this rule (about 1 1/2 years) I have seen their creativity grow. It still isn't where I want it, but it is improving. I have seen forts, board games, card games and the like. I haven't seen pirates because Daisy declares "pirates are for boys" - boy was she shocked when I told her there were girl pirates.

We read living books all the time - right now we are reading Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth, and Perloo. There has got to be some imagination fodder in those, right? They just haven't made the leap from the books to play.

How do you foster your kids creativity?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's the most wonderful time of the year

I am sure you have seen the commercial,

There are some that hate it, some that love it . . . .

I admit, it makes me a bit sad. I love back to school shopping and all that stuff but the idea that our kids make us so miserable that we look forward to sending them back to school . . . .

The problem isn't really with our kids, it is what we have done to them.

When I was younger, I had a room-mate that worked at a bank as a teller. One day they were robbed by an older man who looked like he had a gun in his pocket. He was caught within a few blocks (if I remember right) and while he had the money, he didn't have a gun but a donut in his pocket. He had gone to jail originally when he was a young man (late teens early 20s) and he had gotten out for the first time in his 50's or 60's. He had spent his entire adult life in an institution and didn't know how to function in the outside world. So he robbed a bank.

What does this have to do with our kids?

Think about their days, early they get up and get dressed for school. They spend over 6 hours at school with their entire day planned out for them - sometimes even down to when they go to the bathroom. Then when they get home - if they are lucky they stay home and get to be kids for awhile but they have homework and they have other activities like sports, 4-H, church, etc. And home in time to finish homework and fall into bed.

Their entire day is planned out for them or at least the vast majority of the day. Five days a week. for 9 months out of the year.

And then comes summer where we expect the kids to know how to entertain themselves. And siblings who really don't spend very much time together during the school year except in the car are expected to be friends and get along.

They might even be told to turn off the video game and go outside to play because it is summer and that is what you should do during summer.

Only they don't know how to come up with something to play because that isn't how they are taught to be creative during the school year.

So before long, mom is tired of the "I'm bored"s. And that is why she is so glad to ship them back off to school so she doesn't have to entertain them.

But it is just sad.