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Archive for September, 2013

The month of September has been a tough in the homeschooling arena. Had grandiose plans and schedule. In short we were trying to replicate a public school day in the home. Ugh!  Then, Pookie got sick from a virus and had a high fever. Two trips to the ER later, he had to simply ride it out, taking children’s Tylenol and Motrin. On day 5 the fever finally broke.

We never got the momentum back and I found myself, and the kids, getting frustrated. So, I went back to the basics. One of the reasons why we homeschool is to allow our kids to be taught in the manner that fits their learning styles best.  Even as adults, we always learn best when the instruction comes in a way that excites us or can hold our interest. That being said, why then do we force kids to learn in unnatural settings?

I took a day to really observe the kids as they played and paid attention to what interested them.  Left on her own, Little Miss spends a lot of time reading or painting. Pookie will paint and listen to her read. They both love watching the Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube as well as science related videos. This got me thinking about how I was teaching them.

We revamped our school days and the result had been better than I imagined. We bring home an average of 20 books from the library each week. Topics are mixed with shine being just for fun reading and others being a science or history topic.

Instead of going through the grammar workbook lessons, I use them as a guide. Little Miss chooses 5 sentences from one of the books she had read and writes them on her paper. Once written, she uses colored pencils to mark the parts of speech she is currently learning.

For math, we use a mixture of things like flashcards, drills, and practical uses such as when she is helping me prepare a meal.

She loves geography and we tie it into her history and science. One example being that she fills out reports on animals she sees at the zoo. Part of the form is to locate on a world map where that animal is from.

While reading about Christopher Columbus, she learned he came from a family of weavers. This got her curiosity lit up and she asked about weaving. We used PVC pipe and 4 elbows to make a simple lap loom. She is now learning to weave on it. She has made a map of Columbus’ travels, read 3 books, and now is weaving all as a result of the first book she read.

Pookie still does the TEACCH style activities as his homeschooling. In one week, he begins OT, PT, and Speech therapies at a new therapy center. Those will also factor into his schooling.  On days when he had therapy, Little Miss will either be spending the day with family or will go along, bringing her books to read and her tablet to watch the schoolhouse rock videos.

Or says go by much easier now, yet the kids are still learning. Fact, they are doing more. No longer do we have days so scheduled that it had no wiggle room. Instead, they are doing lessons they enjoy enough to take the activity further than planned.

We are structured enough to make sure all subjects are visited each day. We also are past of an active homeschool group and 4-H, which both kids do, as well as Little Miss being registered with girl scouts so she can work towards badges and attend events. At homed, we also have the Keepers of the Faith program as well which allows the kids to earn badges.

The more we do this relaxed style of homeschooling, the more I wonder why I hadn’t tried it before.

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To ABA or Not to ABA

I am torn.  Lately I have been watching videos on YouTube of ABA sessions. I like the activities they go with the kids and the overall method, but some points really go against the grain with my husband and I.

A major issue is that of forcing a child not to stim. We don’t agree with that unless the stim is the type that result in self-injury.  Stimming is a tool that our son uses to express his moods as well as being a coping tool. We do not want him to lose that. One comment made in a training video said it best – one purpose of modifying the stimming behavior is to make the child more socially acceptable. Really???  Wow. When compared to the plethora of behaviors we see in “typical” kids and adults, stimming is far more socially acceptable than what others do.

I also don’t like the commands given in the discrete trials. They sound more like a command you would use in dog training. Single or two word commands are important according to the training video.  Yet, the very same techniques they implement in this video of short, firm commands followed up by instant reward and praise is the exact technique used when you go to reason a puppy.

I realize this will likely offend those who are thrilled with ABA but if you take an unemotional view at the techniques, you will see that the similarity is glaringly apparent.

So, what is the choice? I am going to continue as we are doing.  No formal ABA and follow my instincts in how to best help our son. So far the maternal instincts have been spot-on in what he needs and he is thriving.

A believe in a more natural approach with a lot of one on one involvement from the entire family. This had been the most effective method for reaching our sob than anything else.

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