Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

Friday, April 15, 2011

How NOT To Keep A Homeschool Blog

I want to keep a homeschool blog.  Really I do, it's just that to keep a homeschool blog, I'd actually have to write stuff down on a farely regular basis and the only thing I'm good at doing on a fairly regular basis is brushing my teeth and feeding my children, not necessarily in that order.  But I'd really like to keep somewhat of a log of what we do (other that what I'm keeping tracking to comply with the state of CA regs when it comes to homeschooling), just so I can maybe someday remember what my strategies and plans were.  But now that I think about it, it's really not a homeschooling blog that I'm not keeping, it's a "life log", because homeschooling isn't something we "do", it's who we are.  It's hard to pull apart the life skills we're constantly working on, from the character traits we're trying to grow in our kids and separate them from math, science, history and language arts.  For me, it's all in one big pot of stew that we call life.  But I guess for the sake of keeping things somewhat clearer than mud, I'll try to separate out what most people think of as "academics".

So here goes:  right now with Hayden we're working on a lot of core issues like balance, crossing mid-line and building up leg strength by taking walks and having him ride his bike.  Okay, MAKING him ride his bike.  Yes, folks, it's Boot Camp For The Bug.  He really doesn't enjoy riding his bike because it's work for his legs and he's really not here on planet Earth to work up a sweat, unless he's sitting in a hot room while watching "Signing Time".  But I feel very strongly that the more we work on building up his physical  stamina, we will build up his mental and cognitive stamina to stay with a task for longer and longer periods of time.  Am I right?  Only time will tell.  

We're also continuing with his reading program, working on stacks of words nearly every day.  Some days he whips through 50-60 words signing them with ease, other days he looks at me like I have three heads, like "why are you showing me all these scribbles?".  It's life with Swiss Cheese.  I try to do puzzles with him often, sometimes he will tolerate them, but most of the time he tries to shove them aside.......but I don't think it's becasue they're too easy, I think it's because he's just not interested in solving them.  I try to only give him a couple of choices.....sometimes it works, sometimes not.

With Miss DP, I've scaled back the "drill & kill it" methods of times tables and long division.  It was just FAR too much drama and she was way too stressed out.  So she's working out of a logics workbook, which while it's VERY challenging, she seems to enjoy.  We're also working on her internal organization and listening skills with a workbook that stresses main ideas of the various topics it covers.  We've learned that with Asperger's comes a lack of inherant ability to organize thoughts and sort out what's important and what's not.  This can lead to a lot of internal and external chaos.  With this workbook she's also working on her spelling skills, reading aloud skills and she's learning more and more how the dictionary can actually help her solve problems and figure things out, like what part of speech a particular word is.  This is a daily, "pennies in the bank", kind of process.  My hope is that she's learning that she CAN learn, and she CAN figure things out for herself.  This is the tough part for me:  how much do I "help" her without spoon feeding her all the information (which of course isin't teaching at all), because there are MANY moments with Asperger's when the child, MY child, just can not process the information.  It's a minute-by-minute thing.  I wish there was a blueprint, but everyday I awaken to a blank slate.  She's doing great though and all we ask is that she try, which she does everyday.

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