Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 2 of 31 for 21, Unschooling and Downs

I love homeschooling my children. When Cameron came into our lives, homeschooling him seemed like the natural thing to do. With his attachment issues, the thought of sending him away to school at three years old for so many hours a week seemed to be the wrong thing to do. Not to mention I was not comfortable with the preschool program he would go into.

We have chosen to unschool Cameron. He's such an eager learner and so willing to try I really did not want to do anything to change that. He's never been forced to learn anything, made to sit through lessons, or put in a position where he was not in control of his learning environment. As I am writing this he and his eldest sister are sitting on a bed watching Signing Time videos because he asked for them. She's working with him on his signing and they are both absolutely loving their time together. This is how all of his lessons work. I have picture vocabulary cards (160 of them) and math manipulatives for him to use. He goes and gets them, we go over his work until he tells me he's all done.  As soon as he says all done, then we stop. We play with playdough, color, paint, match Legos by color and build them bigger and smaller to compare them, match same and different with toys, set the table and count the plates for one to one correspondence, work in the garden, go on nature walks, read books, and watch educational shows and videos. The best part of all this, Cameron never has any negative behaviors when it comes to learning. He only tells me no about doing something only to find something else that's educational. He may tell me no about doing his vocabulary cards, but go get his Legos or want to do Wii (which is great for gross motor skills) or read a book.

I do have resources that I have used to give me ideas to make his learning more effective. I have found Teaching Reading to Children with Down Syndrome and Teaching Math to People with Down Syndrome and Other Hands-On Learners to be invaluable.

I have had many people ask if this really works. Cameron is 4 y.o. and reading site words, counting to 5, almost has a regular pencil grip, is potty training himself, bathing with very little help except for his hair, he can run and jump not to mention climb just about anything, is saying 3-4 word sentences, helps with chores, and has friends. I think he is a huge success.

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