Sunday, August 11, 2013

Home Schooling My Crew PT2

In my first post on my Home Schooling Experience, I shared how exciting and educational it was for me.  How much I loved home schooling Stephen.  It was not always easy and fun.  As he was a challenge in many ways with his occasional obstinance and in his behavior.  He was smart and I had to find ways to keep it interesting or he lost interest and didn’t want to do it.  But thru teaching him, I learned where to find a lot of resources to teach from and how to be resourceful.  I learned how to read how a child learns and find ways to keep them learning thru the special way and avenue that they learn thru best.  When I did my part in keeping it interesting for him, everything went great!   I got the bug and realized I wanted to home school all of my kids no matter what.   I believe it was God’s plan for us in our life.

The next child that grew into home schooling was William.  
I saw he had learning issues from a young age.  In our home we raise our children around educational toys as their main toys from infancy up.  Only educational computer and video games and no pipped in T.V.  We use a lot of old time, stand by, educational type things as their normal play toys.  Such as lacing cards, blocks, puzzles and dress up clothing.  They help around the house alot at a young age with baking and easy house hold chores and when they were young had play stations to copy us and use imaginative play.  We also always have lots of story time.  All these things are educational and set the stage for future home schooling success. 

So seeing William struggle in learning, I started his education process very young.  
Nothing formal, just really working with him daily in many areas for his and my future benefit.  He was diagnosed with Autism at 5 years old and was still not able to verbally communicate well.  He understood everything that was said to him but spoke in all vowels.  Professionals actually thought he was hearing impaired.  We did use some simple sign language but as he grew he could not learn all the signs he needed in order to tell us all he wanted.   He did not speak in a way that we could really understand him well till he was almost 7 years old and that was after years of speech therapy.  He had audio processing disorder.   He would get frustrated when trying to get his point across or tell us something. Bless his heart. But most of the time he was a very happy, laid back, always tried his hardest, little guy.

I did buy a full program curriculum for him for kindergarten from Bob Jones University.  A lot of it was on video tape and I thought it would be easier for him to watch it on the television and then have me help him with his workbooks that went with them.  He quickly fell behind what (typically) was to be learned daily.  I got very discouraged.  I prayed about it.  God does not put any pressure or a time line on our learning and I decided not to put any timeline on any of my children's learning from that point on in my life.  We ditched the caned program and I tailored his schooling to the ways he learned best.  (you would think I would have remembered that from teaching Stephen!)  After all, educating our children is not a race and childhood supposed to be a fun time of learning and growing.  Some of what we did,  didn't really seem like school to some people but I knew he learned hands on, so tried to incorporate a lesson in a hands on game or project.  I felt led to just enjoy teaching him and let him work thru his education at his own pace no matter how long it took him.  Just keep it fun and adjusting what I gave him as I saw different ways he learned best.  It took him till his was 10 to get thru kindergarten and 1st grade materials.  I never pushed him or made him frustrated or cry.  We just kept repeating the same things (in as many fun ways as I could present it) until he got it and we would go to the next thing.  I prayed over the kids daily and asked for wisdom, knowledge and understanding from God.
Here they are on an educational zoo trip in 2006.  We try to do a special educational trip every other month or so to a zoo, aquarium, train depo or an outing of some sort.  We also have done "home school day" at the local bowling alley every other month for a long time.

When William was 10 years old, something clicked for him.  He all of a sudden understood how to read and what he read.  He could not read to me out loud.(because of the audio processing disorder)  But became a very good reader to himself and I could verbally test  him on content and he got the information correct.  I honestly believe he has such a love for reading now because we kept his "learning to read" fun and never pushed. That very year he went thru 2nd AND 3RD grade in one school year and then the next school year sailed thru 4th and 5th.  Then things got harder for him again.  Now he is struggling thru the higher grades after that.  But praise be to God.  He is still progressing and learning.  It is just taking longer.  I was told he would probably never learn to read and just look how far he has come!  Glory to God!  He devours several novels a week and reads all the time.  Everywhere we go he brings a book bag full of novels/books and reads every second he can while we are out.  

We bought him a Kindle for his 16th birthday(last year) so he would not lug that book bag around everywhere he goes.  But now he brings his kindle and his book bag full of novels just in case his Kindle runs out of batteries!  So funny.   He really is a smart young man and knows a lot of practical things. 

Over time I have learned how he learns.  He has dyslexia.  Sequential Spelling program has worked wonders for him being able to spell correctly.  As he can not memorize at all.  It just does not stick.  Sequential Spelling builds the harder words on the easier sight words and has helped him so much.  I was thrilled when he text me for the first time and spelled all the words correctly!  Also the Learn Math Fast system has worked very well for him.  His history and science he has a very hard time with.  He struggles with them, in school book form.  So I either have to find history in a story form he understands or I have found on line, in video form, history and science.  He can understand the videos because it is like watching and listening to Animal Planet or something like that.  He is a visual learner and hands on learner.  So these are the things that work great for him.

One other thing I would like to mention here is that if there is any type of talent or great interest in any of our children, that lends toward education, we greatly encourage it.  William is into making "stop animation videos".  Williams stop animation is mostly done with legos.  So when he is not helping me around the farm, schooling or reading, he is in his lego room making movies.  We have provided him his own quiet place to do this so the other kids don't mess up his hard work.  He was gifted legos from many people and has saved his own money to buy some of what he has.  Also my husband has made sure his has always had the electronics (camera and programs on the computer) to make these movies.  William recently asked, for his 17th birthday, a more professional program for making stop animations movies.  He has really enjoyed it and his movies are getting better and better!  By encouraging these interests, it funnels his time into something constructive and educational.

After home schooling my first child, Stephen, and it going so well and now having home schooled William so long.  I can honestly say that if I can home school my child, typical or not, anyone can.  Truly the key is to pray to God for guidance and not to put huge amounts of pressure on them.  One thing I have seen after home schooling so many children, with so many abilities, is that all children will learn regardless, as long as you present to them the information in a way that they will easily understand it to learn.  And that my friend takes a whole lot of issues,  pressure and frustration out of home schooling/educating your child.  :)

Blessings and to be continued...

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