Sunday, August 24, 2008

What do these people all have in common?

Why others homeschool

I thought this graph was interesting. The source is the U.S. Department of Education, so it's pretty kosher, not something made up to encourage homeschooling. As I look at it, the reasons why I am homeschooling (which I can't even truly figure out) start at the top of the graph and go down three steps.

1. Child's special needs or disability . School has always been so hard for him, but until last year the little bugger "never gave up, never gave up, never, never, never gave up."(Winston Churchill, who was a "poor" student.) When he was in grade school, Mr. Butler, his resource teacher, had come from the high school. He said he kind of liked working with the younger kids because they hadn't given up yet. Mr. Davis told us at the beginning of 8th grade, he thought it would be Ben's banner year, that he would take off. As it was, he barely eeked by, earning D-'s instead of the typical A's and B's.

Also, I used to work up to 4-5 hours a night so Ben could complete his homework. In fifth grade, he had a wonderful teacher, Ms. Hunt, who let him do all his work at school, while on Ritalin which helped him focus. We never gave him "vitamin r" at night, although it was tempting to complete homework, but he didn't sleep well the way it was, and it would have been necessary to give him another drug to go to sleep...better living through chemistry! Ms. Hunt was a closet LD student, I'm sure. Like Ben's only real psychiatrist, who had ADHD himself, she understood: she gave him every break posssible and did everything to UP his sense of self. She believed in him, I think she saw a lot of herself in him.Well, anyhow, after Ms. Hunt, I never again put in those hours. Ben's dad, by default, became his "homework" partner. I just didn't have the desire.Besides, it felt like child abuse, what I had done in the earlier years. In the first 5 years (k-4), he never missed one homework assignment.

2. Student has behavior problems at school.
: Ben had never gotten in trouble in school. In 8th grade, he was suspended twice, a third time was in the books, but it was the end of the year.

3. Other problems with available school. Gas was on it's way to $5 a gallon, and the hour and one half we would spend each day driving him to school, with me unemployed, was not looking good. Blame it on the Enron loophole.

4. School doesn't challenge child. Ben's IQ was 79 at age 4, 99 in second grade, 116 in's not supposed to change more than 20 points over a lifetime. So much for that. At Ben's IEP in 8th grade, I wanted the psych to give him an IQ test. He said it would keep Ben out of Special Education, and that I didn't want to do it. Ben learns a lot by watching t.v. Like his dad and his reading, he watches factual Science, mechanically oriented shows. I think that's why his IQ is so high. Environment...t.v.!!!!!!

So, in comparison to others, I am homeschooling Ben for 40.3% of the same reasons as other people are homeschooling their children. And there is no way in hell I am becoming the HOMEWORK NAZI in order for him to get through school. Bleh, just thinking about it....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Teaching in pictures...why I'm home schooling 2

Ben has been given a label of PDD, Educational Autism, PDD-NOS, Aspergers, ADHD, and the newest one, ED (emotionally disemboweled, er disturbed)...he shows signs of dyspraxia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, and dysentery (?). He went to speech for 6 years, OT for 6, and the Resource Room for 9.

Now, I'm not saying that I despise the public schools at all. Ben found them torture in the second grade, his words (his first apparent opinion of school), but many people have been so good and loving to him...there's just no way I can put blame for anything on the public schools. They did a remarkable job, and I wish I could write a big thank you to all his teachers, who almost always went above and beyond the call of duty. I know many of them hold Ben dearly in their hearts. And we'll never forget all that they have given. I'm crying now just thinking of it...something I don't do often.

It just snowballed, our decision. It started with wondering how we were going to cough up the $2000-$3000 for gas this year, since I had quit my job in February. You know, this summer when oil was at $150 or so a barrel? (Too much information, I know...) His new school was going to be even farther away than last year. I know he has "short bus" rights, but he had never taken the bus, or any bus, since preschool.

That was the beginning.

My husband said,
"Why don't you homeschool him?." You're not doing anything."

Friday, August 22, 2008

I don't mean to be facetious

I had a whole "big-ass" writeup of the meaning of each of the pictures, but blogspot only put the pictures on . I will give explanations later....sorry!

Teaching in pictures...why I'm home schooling

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Homeschooling, day 1

Ben has 33 more minutes to go in Geography 9, his first class. He has to read pages 2-13. We joined a very good homeschooling group, and though it is religious in nature, we are not going there. It is state accredited, has very strict standards (ie, all classes much teach to state standards), and although it uses Bob Jones University Press crafted books, they are made here in South Carolina and are immediately acceptable. If you just skip the evangelizing, they are no different from many other books typically used in our schools. I also got most of them for less than half price on ebay. The cost for joining the group was about $300, and they make sure you are kosher. They also offer help figuring out your program, but with both of us being experienced teachers...they only offered a couple suggestions. I can see where this might be very overwhelming to go into blind. Teachers really do have a lot of stuff to do to assure accountability.

Ben has 24 more minutes to read.

We are teaching 9th grade Algebra I, Geography, P.E. (dad was a coach), French I, Health (1/2 credit), English I, and Physical Science, for a total of 6.5 credits. He must have 24 credits to graduate from High School to be accepted in college, with 2 years of Foriegn language, from my recollection. He already has 1/2 credit from a typing class in Middle School. So, at the end of this year, he will have 7 credits under his belt. Woo-hoo!

I know I am boring the hell out of y'all, but this is SSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOO different for me, and kind of exciting!

Ben has 18 more minutes.

The picture above is the only one I could find of the old bat that's teaching him, looking teacherly.

Ben has 12 more minutes.

I think I'm gonna like this!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Amazing Ben

I am very excited about something that is coming up. We decided it wasn't worth it to spend 2 or 3 thousand dollars to drive Ben to school. (I know they were supposed to pay for it...they didn't and we let them get away with it.) I didn't like the idea of him being labeled "emotionally disturbed" when we all know he's just wired different, kind of like our "poor" ADHD super-hero in the Olympics, Phelps. Ben barely passed last year, and there's no doubt we would be getting back to spending 2 or 3 hours on homework, most of it busywork. Plus that, Joel and I both used to love learning, and Ben is a natural at it if you cut him slack. I see only good in him, though.

I had a child I taught in Chapter I, for special help in reading and math. "Fast Eddie" couldn't spell, write, or memorize basic math facts. He was the most brilliant student I ever had. I told his mother I would be proud to have a son like him. From my mouth to God's ears..........Finally, a teacher in high school recognized it. Eddie's semester test in Biology was this one question: "Tell me what you've learned so far this year." God bless Mr. Artez!

I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I think I am a good teacher. I meet the kids exactly where they are, and give credit for their ability to rise above their weaknesses, and I'm always looking for their gifts. I'm a bit of a simple lady, but I know I have to give as much as I ask. I don't have a problem with calculators, oral tests, taking dictation, or anything else that will help. Social Skills? Maybe the kids that are calling Ben a "retard" need them more than he does.
I think he will catch up in time. Whatever it takes to get by. Mostly, I hope he is happy.

When Ben was three years old I was scared to death he would lose his language. He never spoke anything that wasn't scripted until the 4th grade. He has risen so far and above anything I worried about for the first 10 years. I don't worry any more. He is amazing. I am so blessed beyond words!
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