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

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