Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Encouragement on a long road....

As many of you know, my son Sam, is severely dyslexic with general Learning Disabilities. Some days you would never know it, but others days his thinking is unclear and he aggravates everyone within a ten foot area. We call those LD days or SI days. (SI-sensory integration disorder-we have that to.)

Despite this we have successfully completed 1 week of school. We follow a classical tract so we have jumped into studying the ancients and specifically Egypt. Next week we will be mummifying a chicken-I will let you know how that goes. ***Once a week, drain the fluid out of the bag.*** Huh?!

But the BIG news is that Sam has begun to read. For one week of school I feel like we are overachieving a bit. In the midst of ordering the best dyslexia materials and waiting for help in teaching them I gave Sam a Primary Phonics workbook 1. It has no bells and whistles, nothing fancy. Its just been around 30 years. Every word is introduced with a picture. ***Lizard has an a ha moment*** While I was trying to fill in time, the kid has started to read. Yesterday I ordered the rest of the Primary Phonics materials. The picture above shows the very first two sentences that I dictated to Sam. He was very proud.

Please note the rules that Sam created on the board the first day of school. After a couple of days I added the last one.

oh my gosh, that is SOOOOO exciting, Liz! He was ready! He SHOULD be proud! :) I know you are relieved.

"Bells and whistles" curriculum are often unneeded, I think. Most of the curriculum at C. is simple and "tried and true." At C., the teachers were told not to use the "f word" (fun.) Sometimes it will be fun, but that's not really the point. Sometimes it will be quite difficult and character-building, other times fascinating and satisfying, but it was a real eye-opener for me to think of learning as an end to itself, not something that needed to be "entertaining" to children. That being said, of course curriculum should be well-put-together and instruction should be engaging and age-appropriate. Just thinking out loud. :)
i just want to say again how excited i am for sam. :)
okay, i was not addressing your "fun" rule in my first comment. i was just thinking about fancy curriculum intending to entertain and what we learned a C. sorry! ;)
Yay!!!!! How exciting and encouraging!! I love the photo. You can see the pride. =) We will keep praying for you and Sam.
Go, Sam, GO!
(By the way, jana, well-put. I think that's the biggest change in my teaching over time - getting over fun and trusting the kids to stay with me (and my carefully built, etc.-as-you-said curriculum) anyway)
Since I do not and do not plan to teach a classroom, I think I have some room when defining 'fun'. There are some horrific curriculums out there. They can suck the life out of anyone and sometimes a curriculum just does not suit your child. (Once again I have the luxury of teaching 1 at a time) For example I started with Saxon Math with Sam. I wanted to slit my wrists. He would cry when I pulled it out. I wanted to cry when I pulled it out. So I dropped it and now we do Singapore Math, which we both love. There are bright colors for him, easy to teach for me and I know their concepts are solid.

Sarah-the fact you can even post right now amazes me. But maybe tiny distractions help??
Liz--I totally hear you. I definitely didn't mean to imply that you wouldn't or shouldn't have fun when teaching your little guys. :) I was sharing something that had an impact on me when I was being trained--something that was thought-provoking. Your comment about simple, tried and true curriculum got me thinking along those lines.

There is some really bad curriculum out there, I agree. I definitely wouldn't describe Saxon math as "horrific," but you obviously have to do what works for you and your kids. I know nothing about Singapore, but I've heard good things! I am not an expert, but it seems to me that you are doing an amazing job with your boys. If we end up homeschooling our kids I know you will be a great resource to help me sort out what works well in a homeschool setting. xoxo
Lizard-BTW you are not the only one who didn't like Saxon math. I think it works great for some, and tends to get mixed reviews from upper-level math teachers. The upperschool math teachers at M's school don't actually like it....It's pretty much ALL audio/audial instruction, isn't it? Do you think that's why it didn't work for S., given his language processing difficulties?

And I realize YOU weren't calling Saxon "horrific." :) I made it sound like that in my last comment. I'm writing these comments too quickly!
No, I actually found it horrific. : ) haha. I was thinking of curriculums in general, but I would apply it to Saxon. **not to offend Saxon users** SOOOO boring. But maybe that's because Sam didn't fall too far from the tree.

I know you weren't suggesting we shouldn't have fun! You are right. Children like Sam especially need to learn that sometimes they need to work...hard. Things will not be easy for them and they need to learn perseverance to develop their characters. Its actually those skills that will serve them better farther along in life.
(Liz, it's all America's Next Top Model marathons on the hospital tv or compulsive internet surfing when things finally slow down at home. That's all I've got for the world)

(That means sweatpeas = Top Models)
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