Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Lots going on...

Wow, it's been a while. Sorry about that. I am still waiting on a connection at home and dealing with a lot of things at once.

We are having a baby in a matter of weeks now. Not really prepared enough but working on it. Unfortunately, I am going to have a break from working that I really need not to have. I will probably come up with something, but it's very stressful timing with Christmas and a baby coming quickly.

On top of it all, my five year old is really having issues at school. We have bent over backwards and jumped through hoops to make it work, to create continuity between school and home. His counselor has also gone the rounds to help us create a workable solution. Part of the problem is the school, part of it is his ADHD. So we are pulling him out at the semester turnaround. As much as we hoped to avoid it, we will be teaching him at home.

To a certain degree, this is kind of exciting. There will be many advantages to home schooling. Ultimately, I think it is probably the best way to educate someone with severe ADHD. One on one teaching would have done a lot for me. But it is also very intimidating. It will all be in our hands and on our heads.

It also means that we are going to have to make some serious changes to the way our household operates. This in itself would not be such a problem, but it comes at a time when we are already going through serious changes, what with the baby and all. It also means that there is little possibility of momma going back into the workforce (not that this was likely to happen in the near future anyways).

On the upside, it is motivation to write more about education. I have been wanting to get a forum going to discuss parental supplementing and home schooling. We are actually getting a new internet connection soon, which will get me back to doing more blogging. We will also probably both be getting into writing about our experiences, both good and bad, with educating our son. I am also interested in hearing from others who are either home schooling or actively supplementing their child's education. I am also keen on hearing from parents who are done (or mostly done) with that sort of thing. Educators are also of interest, as are those who just have an opinion about it all.

I will probably be starting a new blog for this endeavor. Expect it after the holidays. I don't intend to blog less here, indeed with a home connection, it should go on the upswing again. But I will probably do more on the new one, as I hope my partner will too.

Again, I am sorry that it has been so sparse lately. But as you can see, I've been busy.


Beth said...

Your son is very lucky to have such dedicated parents. I wish you well in your decision to home school! If I come across any helpful resources, I will certainly let you know.

JuliaL said...

Congratulations! Your son is very fortunate. Although my children did attend public school because both parents worked full time, their father and I also did a lot of teaching at home, so that they were always far ahead of their classmates.

I'm convinced there is one primary key to a successful education: reading. Help your son learn to read. Then encourage him to read, provide him with materials to read, set him an example of your own daily reading, read to him, have him read to you, reward him for reading, and give him his own weekly post on your blog as soon as he can write even a few words. Being a published author from the age of six onwards will give him an enormous incentive to read; after all, he'll be eager to find out what the comments say.

Show enthusiasm when he reads anything, anything at all: the backs of cereal boxes, the side of toothpaste tubes, newspaper and news magazines, comic books, novels, whatever. Make going to the library to check out new books the biggest event of the week.

Follow his own interests and provide him with reading material on whatever those interests are. See if your church will support you in setting up a children's library, and teach your son to show the other children around and check out their books to them. Maybe start a church children's newletter, and make your son the editor even while he still has to have your help in reading the article submissions and writing new articles.

Immediately begin to teach your son the basics of computer programming; it does wonders for close attention and careful proofreading.

Show much appreciation when he reads to his new sibling. Leave notes around the house with built-in rewards when he succeeds in reading them; for example, "There is a [something he likes] for you under your mother's pillow."

Be careful not to let any published or purchased curriculum fill up his day with non-reading. Certainly give him frequent hands-on activities (sports, cooking, birdhouse-building), but make sure every activity comes with a book of instructions and examples to follow.

In short, do absolutely everything and anything you can dream up to make reading and writing a substantial part of every day of his life. If you do, you cannot fail to educate him, no matter what else you do or don't do.

You're in for a wonderfully rewarding experience.

DuWayne Brayton said...

Julial -

We are just getting into family reading, were we pass the book around and everyone reads some of it aloud. We keep it separate from booktime before bed, because we are limited to very short, easy readers. But he is already excited about the notion of reading to his baby brother.

He is also now up to two books he has written. They are very short, very simple, but he did the drawings and the writing. Momma merely helped him with the folding and formatting. He is now making copies of them to send to his family and friends for Christmas.

When I get some time, I am going to work with him on a book about a knight who ends up traveling all the way China and meets a Japanese Samurai. He had the idea and has been begging me to help him write the story book. He was going to do it with momma, but decided he likes my story telling better. (we have a tit for tat rule about made-up story telling, for every one we tell him, he has to make one up too.

We also do weekly trips to the main branch library. We also go to the closer one, once or twice a week, but the main branch has a lot more non-fiction. He makes a list of things that come to his interest, throughout the week, so we know what to look for.

I really like the idea of doing a blog. I think he would really enjoy that. He occasionally comments on interesting posts that I read to him, letting me be his proxy typist. He really gets excited about doing that, especially when he gets responses to his comments. I know that he could totally get into keeping a blog of his own. He certainly has a lot he wishes to express.

One of the things that really drove the problem with school home, is that he is top of his class when it comes to reading, writing and basic math. Not that that really means a lot in kindergarten, but it is mindboggling that he is tops in everything, yet hates school and feels very sad about it all. He loves to learn and knows quite a lot for a five year old. By all measures he should be loving school.

I also look back on my own problems in school and just can't begin to consider putting him through all that.

tom sheepandgoats said...

But it is also very intimidating. It will all be in our hands and on our heads.

I suspect you will find once you get underway that it is not intimidating at all (assuming you are able to make time for it) I second Julial's excellent remarks. If you maintain a home atmosphere in which learning is seen as natural and where drivel is limited (TV, computer games, etc) half your work is already done.

I have on my blog a number of posts in the "homeshooling" category based on our own experience. If you find them of any use, I'll be glad. In general, the homeschooling community is very supportive, though not uniform in philosophy. Some will try to duplicate the school environment at home, which was not our approach.

It has some pitfalls. It's not a panecea. But in general, it can work exceedingly well.

Found you off the Orac blog, BTW

DuWayne Brayton said...

Thanks for stopping by Tom. And I will definitely check out your blog. The more we learn and come to expect, the more excited I get about it. We are getting involved with other homeschooling parents in the area already and I think it will be great.

One of the big reasons we are interested in homeschooling is that we can get away from stone schedules. One of the biggest problems my son has had in school, is that just as he is really getting into a project or topic, it is time to transition to something else, rather than running with what he's doing. So we most definitely will not be trying to recreate the classroom at home.

We are hoping to move into a bigger place however, one that would allow us to dedicate a room to school work. I am moving more and more in the direction of working primarily from home and envision being able to work in the school room as much as possible (i.e. when I am not on the phone or working on the musical aspects of my songwriting). I realize that it will not always be idyllic, but I think it will definitely be great way to bond as a family.

tom sheepandgoats said...

One of the biggest problems my son has had in school, is that just as he is really getting into a project or topic, it is time to transition to something else, rather than running with what he's doing.

Our kids are grown and gone now, so I'm a little away from it all, but that concern you expressed came up a lot. Did you say your son had attention issues? Doesn't matter. The entirely artificial changing of topics to study (often just when it is getting interesting) is a roadblock to many students.

Sometimes the most brilliant of youngsters do very poorly in the school environment, having no tolerance for the techniques used to "manage" them.

I am moving more and more in the direction of working primarily from home and envision being able to work in the school room as much as possible

This too is promising. I am convinced one of the greatest cause of youth issues is that they are excluded from the adult world, often under the guise of protecting them.