Our friend Lindsey is BACK . You will remember her, she has blogged for me before. Lindsay is in her second year of homeschooling, and I am proud to say I was a big encouragement in getting her to ‘take the leap’. (see bottom of post for her other guest posts)
Wow, my SECOND year of homeschooling. It’s weird, I look back at when I think I wasn’t going to be able to do this, then I started doing it, realized its wasn’t as HARD as I thought it would be (it is a LOT of work- but not ‘hard’ work), and slowly but surely I gained the needed confidence and I homeschooled my kids. Here I am beginning my second year, I have to admit, I had some hesitation. Not like I did when I first started though! Oh no! When I first started I was terrified, this hesitation came from small doubts, such as, maybe he is ready to join the rest of the kids in school, maybe I wouldn’t have to fight them as hard as I did before, and he really isn’t getting as much socialization. Then? It happened. I looked at the results and couldn’t help but stare memorized. Had he REALLY come that far? When did that happen? You mean he’s spelling THAT much better? He never had that progress while he was in public school………
So, I jumped back on the band wagon, and we hit 5th grade running, a little more experience, a little more confidence, and a whole lot more comfort (for both of us- BUT a HUGE difference for him). Gone are the days of “I must answer right”, and here are the days of, “If I don’t understand it Mom can go over it again, no biggie.” Gone are the days of sweating bullets over grades, here are the days of grades tell us what we don’t really understand so we can spend more time on it. Yep- I’m happy to report? I have successfully deprogrammed my child from the public school mentality!
All this sounds great right? And it is, but what I REALLY want to tell you – is simply amazing. See, before my son left public school, I was looking at getting him tested for Dysgraphia, I was pretty sure he had Asperger’s, I knew something was going on but I wanted to try every natural route before implementing medication. He was behind in reading and writing, but writing was IMPOSSIBLE. I can still remember LITERALLY tugging at my hair when he would have a writing assignment in school. It would make me SO MAD, he spent 8 hours a day there, then he’d come home, not know how to write the assignment, homework would take 2 hours out of my life and leave me exhausted, drained, stressed out, and questioning what the hell he was learning in school if I had to spend TWO HOURS coaching him.
What exactly were they doing for him at school? Being a writer myself I found this fact exasperating. “Writing is talking and you have no issue with that!” I would tell him, (my son has an extremely skilled vocabulary, he is very personable, he often lacks the ability to be able to tell when he should STOP talking)- so? I figured that writing should be a breeze for him… shouldn’t it? Put your words/thoughts on paper, the end. During 4th grade, (my first year homeschooling), I was petrified of EVERY writing assignment. I wanted to crawl into a hole and cry. We’ll focus more on spelling and reading since he was so far behind in those areas, I mean I figured it must be hard to write, if you can’t spell or read and he was testing out at a 2nd grade level in those areas. We skipped a LOT of writing assignments, saving them for later. Over the summer we continued light schooling, and I gave him odd responsibilities such as, “Write the grocery list” , or “Make your chore list”, I also would ask him to help me find road signs on the road. I realized he was getting MUCH better at spelling and reading. Then, as though a light bulb literally came on and brought me out of the dark. Why didn’t I show him, how to do prewriting on a high school level? (Or at least what was high school for me). He is REALLY Mathematical, maybe if I showed him how to take a writing web (which he already knew) and plug those thoughts into an outline using letters and numbers? Maybe he could add them all together and write a paper.
The next subject we tackled in writing happened to be about Benjamin Franklin. The assignment was to write a paragraph summarizing Benjamin Franklin’s life. I decided, to show him how to take what he knew, web it, put it in an outline, and the told him to add it together. I was SHOCKED at what happened next. He produced a 5 paragraph essay paper on what he knew about Benjamin Franklin, it included opinions such as “I think Ben Franklin liked Science just like me”, and so much more. I just kept encouraging it. We are on our 3rd week of school right now, and that happened at the end of our first week of school. My son is now writing for fun, now he is writing at the end of every day, we had some tough subjects the other day, our school day went very long, and STILL, he decided to write a “chapter” to his current Autobiography. (Each chapter truly equals a paragraph but it’s adorable- seriously).
With that, I want to share with you, the story, written by a boy who at this time last year could hardly construct a sentence after 4 years in the public education system, who had a 2nd grade reading and spelling level, who hated writing as though it was the worst thing he would ever have to do. Here is,
“My Brothers and I”,
Me Hi my name is A and I am 10 years old and I’m going to talk about my brothers and I. I am homeschooled and I love it. It is much better for me and I learn more than I did in school. I love my brothers so much that I don’t know what I would do without them. Sometimes, they do annoy me, and it makes me mad. So there is a little bit about me.
My Family I have five members of my family including me and two dogs*. I have two brothers; P & L and I love them so much. My brother P is 6 years old and he has Autism that means he can’t think like I do. Then there’s my brother L who is 3 years old and he is very attached to me. My mom and my Dad are the best parents ever. My mom is 31 years old and she has ADD and I love her so much. Then my Dad is 30 and he has Asperger’s just like me. I have two dogs, one is named Cali and she is only 1 year old and is the most annoying. Then there is Sunny, and she is 1 too and she is my dog. I love my family so much.
My Brother with Autism My brother P has Autism. It is hard for him to do certain thing. He can’t process things like I do. He has meld downs that means he screams very loud. It is hard for me to have a brother with Autism but I love him so much.
…….To be continued….. Never in my wildest imagination, would I have thought, that one year of homeschooling my son? Would change his approach to writing THIS much. Way to go buddy- I’m so proud of you!
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