Friday, September 17, 2010

Our Homeschooling Life...

 **This is not stamp related.

As many of you know I have a son with unique needs and in May of 2009, shortly after our move, he began a new journey in his life....homeschooling.  Lucky for me I am a teacher (although that is not a requirement) and had been working with homeschool families for 3 years before he came home and in many ways I know that the lessons I learned over those three years were preparing me for my new role in life.  Little did I know, last year was also going to prepare me for this year and another new as a special education support teacher.  The plan was always there for me and the timing was right I just have to trust in the process.  God is great!

So anyways, over the course of the past few months I have received a few e-mails asking me about what I am planning to teach my son this year.  Andrew is going into grade 3.  He is borderline autistic and gifted.  In grade two he was working at the grade upper 2 to 6 level in some things and his writing was at the K level.  Andrew's brain works faster than you can imagine.  He received information very well (input) but his output is somewhat disorganized and his writing is messy. We started a neurodevelopment plan with him late last spring which essentially goes back to his baby and early years and helps him to finish building the pathways in his brain.  At some point those pathways just ended and never connected on the other side so slowly but surely we are rebuilding those pathways (or finishing the construction in my head as my son likes to refer to it) so that his input matches his output.  All I can say is "Watch out world because Andrew is going to make a difference!".  I just love his clever mind, his passion for things in life and his patience.  He has learned so much about himself this past year and I know that without homeschooling none of this would have been possible.  While he is still severely sensory processing and struggles with some of his social skills not to mention ADHD and a whole gamete of co-morbid conditions he is getting much better by the day.  It's the small steps that count the most in the long run.  He really makes me proud.

Our day starts between 8-9AM every day.  My daughter has school before 9AM so we often walk her down together and he comes home refreshed and motivated.  We always start our day with Bible and end doing something fun!  It's just the way we work.  Today's fun was making paper airplanes and predicting which one would fly the farthest and then we did our trial run, flying races and took tallies to see if our predictions were correct (how is that for a mini math lesson on chance and probability?) now onto our homeschool curriculum since this is what I know many of you were asking... I have kept them general and not included EVERY thing that we do but have included the majority of our curriculum (for instance we use the Bible in our Bible course but I figure that is a given!).

I have hyperlinked most of the resources to help you too!

Fine Arts--General
Language Arts
On top of the above we have a library of Classical Novels (like Chronicles of Narnia, Wind in the Willows, Charlotte's Web (we have read this but are doing a study now), The Bears on Hemlock Mountain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Rascal, A Bear Named Trouble, The Hatchet, Frightful's Mountain etc) comic books (which I use to teach dialogue and also help my son to recognize facial expressions) as well as newspaper clippings, newsletters etc.  My son also loves the Geronimo Stilton series for fun reading in addition to Flat Stanley.  Those are the types of books he reads at night before he goes to bed and he typically reads one a night so I don't mind him reading those books!

Physical Education
  • Homeschool Skating Lessons (he goes once a week)
  • Swimming Lesson (he goes once a week)
  • Guide to Healthy Living/Canada Food Guide (we review this daily and do studies in health and wellness)
  • Awana Kids Club (30 minutes of exercise once a week)
  • Coop PE class Sept-Oct (5 weeks) and then again in Jan-March (1.5 hours a week)
  • biking, trampoline, Wii fit/sports, scootering, basketball, small games, soccer, baseball skills and more!

Social Studies

We also complete a course called Health and Career Education and Andrew learns about these skills through some of the materials above and also real life applications and field trips.

I have a real eclectic approach to teaching but am also one of those classical education people too!  I just love the classics!!

The last thing that we do is a Neurodevelopmental Plan through Linda Kane  It was devised specifically for him to help him build those pathways so that he can get through his day to day tasks.  This is an intensive program that requires 2-3 hours or more a day.  It involves everything from crawling, the auditory and visual sequencing, to helping with tastes and textures etc.

So there you have it!  You asked and now you know what I do on a daily basis on top of supporting my other students and all the other things I do LOL.



Diane Jaquay said...

Hi Alli. This has nothing to do with your blog entry, but I wanted to let you know that your mum emailed me and I emailed her back with some questions but haven't heard back from her. Would you ask her to check her spam folder to make sure my email didn't go there? Thanks!

Katie Renz said...

Amazing! I can't relate on a personal level, but I still enjoyed reading your post and found it very informative.

Barbara said...

What an amazing story. My brother and his wife homeschool their children in Northeastern New Brunswick. There isn't much support in NB as far as curriculum and testing, but they do their best. They use a faith-based online program and the kids are flourishing. I commend you for the breadth and depth of your approach. From the way you describe him, your son seems like a wonderful little boy. All the best to you both as you teach each other and learn from each other!
God bless from NB,

P.S. I love your stamps and cards too! :)

cedargirl said...

That looks like a great year. We have the Adriene Mason science books too and enjoyed them. My daughter is loving the Teaching Textbooks 3. Happy studies for your new school year!

Laurel said...

What great resources, I may use some of them myself for my grade ones!