Saturday, January 14, 2012

Our Homeschooling Day

I've been very hard on myself lately about not getting enough school book time in.  Not enough worksheets completed, not enough experiments done, and just not enough anything that resembles school.

Today I took a deep breath and really looked at what my kids were learning since we had done no book work as it was Saturday.  Today's lessons included: a teaspoon and tablespoon can make a huge difference in a recipe, washcloths too close to an open flame do catch fire, not getting clothes into the laundry means wearing dirty underwear or go without which led to the lesson of waiting to do a load of whites until after the dishwasher is done and you have showered to make sure you have enough hot water, mom and dad's expectations aren't so bad when you get to do the things you want, that maybe mom does know that hot tea with lemon and honey and a hot tub will help a sore throat, that even if momma gets upset with you she never stops loving you, taking responsibility for something done wrong is much easier than arguing, that not slowing down to let little brother explain what he wants makes for a very mad little brother which led to the lesson of a mad little brother is not fun, putting dog hair on the table does not make for a happy momma, and when times get tough mom and dad have your back even after you have treated them terribly.

All of my children have learned to read or learning to read, they are all learning math, and they will be exposed to everything they are supposed to for history and science.  I guess the most important things in life aren't taught in schoolbooks.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Teaching Multiple Grades, Mutliple Abilities

I hear from credentialed teachers, especially those that teach special education, that they too teach multiple grade levels and abilities.  I have frequently been talked down to about my not being a "real" teacher because I don't have the same college education as a teacher and yet insist on teaching my children.  My continual questions for them are how many of them teach children that are at a preschool developmental level all the way up to those that are reading and comprehending at a college level.  Do they have children with severe mental health disorders in their classrooms with their kids that are significantly delayed?  Do they have monthly IEP's to readdress where the child is making progress and tweak anything if need be? And the one that I love to ask the most, does each child have separate curriculum specifically suited to each individual child's needs so that lesson plans have to be done for each individual child and taught separately, at the child's pace, in order to benefit from said curriculum the most?

By the time I get to the last question, I'm usually being looked at with glassy eyed stares.  The thought of doing all of that for each individual child is mind numbing to any that are involved in the current system.  For many very good teachers, it is what they would love to be able to do for their students as they do have the child's best interest in mind.  The problem is there is no way for it to work within our educational system.

I try to be understanding of those in teaching professions.  I also support those families the public school system works for.  I'm a strong believer in doing what is best for the family - parent and child alike, so I am not anti-public schooling.  I am though anti bash-me-because-I-homeschool.

It is possible to teach multiple grades at multiple levels all in one day and kids get an education.  It is just time consuming.  I do not have time to hang out with friends as much as they or I would like.  I cannot organize all these wonderful outings as much as my friends would like for our kids to attend together.  I am busy getting kids here and there for classes, clubs and events, teaching, doing lesson plans for 4 kids ranging from PreK through 8th grade (depending on the subject and child).  Yes I have to do lesson plans because my kids thrive on structure and I need a way to see if they are making progress because of their abilities, see if they are regressing, and monitor grades to see how well I am teaching them for their needs.

No, I am not super mom or wonder woman.  I am a mom of amazing children that don't fit in with the given system.  I do what I have to do so my children get the best education possible.  This is the "least restrictive environment" not the most because they can learn at their pace and when they can learn the best, not at some predetermined time frame decided by a group of people that don't even know my child or their abilities.

 Yes, I have to keep up the house, grocery shop, prepare meals, keep up the laundry, take care of my disabled husband, get everyone to their doctor's appointments, and still educate my children.  Again, I am not super mom or wonder woman. I am a woman blessed with a family life that allows us to be together, help each other, and us come out stronger for it. I am a woman that does what she needs to do without complaint as this is the life God has given me and it is truly my calling. 
My little boys "reading"

One day of schoolwork for 4 kids

Ear Infections and Puppies

After two nights of little sleep with the youngest having an ear infection, I thought we would finally get some sleep.  He had gone to sleep easily, stayed asleep a long time, and had a better day in general.  So what does the puppy do, get into everything and chew things right next to my side of the bed all night long instead.

The sweet puppy, Spirit, has been so in tune with our littlest ever since we brought her home.  I don't know if she picked up on him having Down Syndrome or their having a common past of neglect, but whatever the case may be, there was an instant bond.  She loves to lick our little man which definitely has it's purposes when he needs the sensory input, but has been trained not to lick him in the night.  Now with his ear infection, she has been following him around all morning trying to lick his ear and make his owie all better. He keeps telling her, "No Spiwit.  My eawr."  She will stop for a minute or two, but then back to following him so worried about her boy.

We have to go to the ENT this morning to get his ear looked at.  I hope the house is in one piece when we get back.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It was a long holiday season and after a lot of time, stress and tears, this just put everything in perspective.  This was my Cameron a year ago during Christmas 2010.  

And this is my Cameron now.  

After second guessing everything I do with the kids, how often I wonder if I'm really doing the right thing by homeschooling them, questioning if I really am meeting their needs, this just is a reassurance that I have done something right somewhere along the way.

All I can say is, what a difference a year makes!