OK, so my whole intention was to chronicle my 1st-time home-schooling journey every week, or even bi-weekly. As you can see, it hasn’t quite turned out that way. However, after much hiatus on my part from teaching, I have gotten back into the groove of things.
First things first–math. I know I’m doing things in a wonky order by govt standards, but that is fine with me. We finally finished the metric-SI conversions unit…when I stumbled upon the most loved conversion resource: metric-conversions.org <–This is the coolest conversion site ever, and it’s FREE! It even creates basic conversion tables for you to print out. If only I had seen this at the start of my metric-SI unit. So for anyone out there who has a child that stumbles in conversion factors–because quite frankly, I don’t push memorization much, just real-life scenarios in math. I figure if there is a use for it, and it can be understood that there is a use for it in the real world, then it will be more easily remembered. Maybe that is backwards logic, but it’s still logic nonetheless. The next unit is jumping into geometry, which I will not whiz through so quickly, as much of it I have to tap into my own memory resources to teach. ((Let;s be honest, that was a LONG time ago that I even learned many of the basic geometry equations.))
I am still struggling with teaching English. I did photocopy… a LOT, a couple weeks ago so I could finally return my teaching books to the library. I sort of have a direction and find it is just easier to give a weekly load for my son to work on during the week (well, that was the theory my high school physics and math teacher used). Aside from his lack of motivation to do the homework, still, at least he has a set thing he needs to finish every week, and it is all graded. I did have him read a shortened version of Treasure Island and used it as a project book. He created his own island, his own map of the island (to scale), a treasure map, and a 2nd treasure map he had to create based on the main characters of the story–he had to place the characters on the map, but in such a way that they showed some sort of relationship to the main character. The next thing we tackle I think will be Poe–he has some interesting stories that my son will find humourous. He is also learning the components of writing, how to be creative in his writing and not just direct. It’s a lot of writing, to be honest, but he needs to get used to it. ((spectrum gr 6 curriculum))
I am finding that with the proper motivation (insert: he gets his ipad back–which he earned last summer–with good exam grades), his quiz grades vastly improved over last exam session (in which he literally failed every quiz/exam). I knew he could do better, just needed the right motivation. =) So this round, he had an A- in math, an A in spelling, a C in history. We didn’t get around to the Health and English portion of the quizzes–those we’ll do next week. I grade him tough–he has to be used to this style of grading as he intends upon going to public school in the fall.
Which brings me to another point: I still think the school district is bunk. There is a great get-together for all the grade 6 feeder schools (which there are 5 that will be part of the new middle school–which is over capacity, even though it will open in the fall….can we say “poor population forecast models”) this coming week. I decided that if he is going to attend public school, he should at least be exposed to some of the kids who will be there–in case he doesn’t have classes with people he knows already. So I bring the permission form to the school office, and the elementary school principal tries to talk me out of letting him go??? Yeah, I know, fact is stranger than fiction. She is worried he will have one of his bad emotional upsets in front of 500 students…but then ends the conversation with “I know some of these boys would like to see him again.” Anyhow, I was even less impressed than I have been since his major emotional outburst in grade 5. I also learned through a parent I know in the elementary school that our district is the ONLY district in our area who REFUSES to let a child’s own behaviour therapist attend school with them–it has to be one of the district therapists. Why? That was my question too: MONEY. No, seriously, they don’t get money for support staff if someone brings in their own. It disgusts me because they fail to understand with some of these autistic children, they NEED to have someone familiar to them inside that classroom for transitional purposes. I certainly hope that this parent wins this battle, because it is a very important battle to be fought. This displays, once again, how the district is more about money and taking care of their buddies than taking care of the children. I don’t blame the teachers one bit, because we have had nothing but excellent experiences with the teachers. It’s the people above them that disgust me.
OK, so back to home school…because that is what I started off with, right? How have I handled the social aspect of home school? Let me just say-not very well. I did try to reach out to a local home school support group, without success. When I had asked them some questions in the summer, the only reply was “Let me put this out to the group so they can share their experiences with you.” What happened? Well, that was last summer… and still not a single word from that group. There are many others–which I have not seeked out.–as well, but let’s be frank, I don’t have money to go on group field trips, and very limited time of just he and I in the mornings to do anything, really. He does have a good friend that comes over a few days a week to hang out, which is nice. Socially, he is just one of those kids who is in a league of his own. He wants to be social, but his interests are not the same as his friends’, which I think middle school will be good for him in some respects. In other respects, he will have 750+ other students to deal with on a daily basis. That could prove challenging for my little high-strung, highly competitive perfectionist. He’s a highly intelligent kid, who loves to learn new things that pertain to science, math, and history….but not everyone is going to share his enthusiasm. He is also, I will add, learning photography–which he seems to enjoy. I can’t wait for spring when he and I can do nature walks, he can practice what he learns in class, and do a little nature science lesson along the way… I just better hurry up and get to that part in the curriculum. LOL ((We are only on landform science–finishing up on how to estimate the age of such landforms–but next is atmosphere, then nature.))
Oy… all this and he turns 12 soon. Fun times, fun times. (boys are supposed to be easier, right?) =)