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 role...one 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?)
Ok...so 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!
- Who Is God? And Can I Really Know Him?
- God's Promise --Old Testament Lessons for Young Readers
- Kids of Integrity (this is from Focus in the Family)
- Seeds of Purpose CDs
- Andrew also attends Awana and does memory verse there which we practice at home and for our school's Memorization Challenge. I also wanted to say that if you have a visual child than Jolanth's Awana printables are EXCELLENT in addition to the ones on the Awana site.
- First Language Lessons Level 3
- Phonetic Zoo A
- Just Write Book 2 (we completed book 1 last year)
- Student Writing Intensive Group A
- The Bears on Hemlock Mountain Study Guide
- Charlotte's Web Comprehension Guide and for those of you with kids who struggle with drawing and writing you will LOVE this draw your own comic
- Jonathan Park Goes to the Zoo
- Jonathan Park Goes to the Aquarium
- Jonathan Park Goes to the Galapagos
- Teaching Textbooks 3 Teaching Textbooks 4
- Piece=Part=Portion Fractions=Decimals=Percents
- Deca Dice
- Kids Wealth Money Kit
- Multiplication Learning Wrap Ups
- and lots of meaningful and practical hands on manipulatives and real life applications too.
- 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!
- Build It!--Structures, systems and you
- Build it Up
- Truss Design Swing Bridge
- Truss Design Lift Bridge
- Truss Design Double Span Lift Bridge
- Journey to the Stars (book and CD) by NASA (I got it free too!!)
- Starfinder The Complete Beginner's Guide to Exploring the Night Sky
- Usborne Starting Point Science--Earth and Space
- Professor Noggin's Outer Space--Card Game
- Kids Gardening--A Kids' Guide to Messing Around in the Dirt
- (we are going to use this book as a guide to have Andrew help plant our garden next spring)
- The Gospel According to a Tree
- All About Plants (a unit study on plants)
- My Science Journal (to help write out his labs)
- Let's Explore Canada
- British Columbia by Carrie Gleason
- Alberta by Katie Bailey
- Saskatchewan by Jennifer D.B. Lackey
- Manitoba by Rachel Eagen
- Ontario by Adrianna Morganelli
- Quebec by Marguerite Rodger
- Newfoundland and Labrador by Rachel Eagen
- New Brunswick by David Fancy
- Nova Scotia by Carrie Gleason
- Prince Edward Island by L. Michelle Nielsen
- Yukon by Adrianna Morganelli
- Northwest Territories by Rachel Eagen
- Nunavut by Carrie Gleason
- Professor Noggin's Geography of Canada--Card Game
- Canada Explorer
- Flat Stanley study
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.