24 June 2008

For Anonymous, On Homeschool.

Anonymous, thank you for your comment enquiring about a curriculum for sensory integration disorder at the kindergarten level. I'm not an education "expert," just a parent, and I'll offer advice based on what works for me. If it doesn't work for you and your kids, I'm not offended if you pitch the advice. We're all in this together to make home education work for our children! And I'm blessed to try to help.

Emperor came home to homeschool with us after being suspended 2 or 3 times in his first WEEK of school. He's touchy. He doesn't seem to know his limits or other people's personal space. It was a difficult situation because on the one hand, I ABSOLUTELY want him to respect others and their limits. However, "consequences" like suspension is not going to teach him to do better. It isn't that I don't believe in consequences. Sigh. All very hard to explain as I'm sure you undertand.

Emperor was technically a kindergarten student when he came home. He came from a special-needs preschool and did not test well. I've come to the conclusion later that he is smart enough but can't seem to "attend." When you're not paying attention, you're not learning. When I began homeschooling Elf, he was in first grade and Emperor was in preschool. Emperor had the option of sitting with us and doing "homeschool," or playing in his room. Really, I hadn't had in mind to teach Emperor anything. I kinda threw worksheets and colour pages at him to keep him busy while I worked with Elf. Looking back, he learned a lot of things from these. He is always asking questions to the point of being extremely annoying. We love him, but imagine during church worship, the kid is asking, "Who is the 'God of Jacob?' Why didn't they just say 'God?'" and "consecrate means what?" in the middle of preaching. Shhh shh. But he learns that way.

Does your child bug you to teach him things? That's what I'd teach him while he was in preschool and maybe what you'd like to start teaching your child. "When's lunch when's lunch when's lunch?" constantly forced me to teach him that "noon" was both hands clapping together at the top of the clock. Then I could apply different times to different things, and finally, after he memorized several "times" on the clock, I taught him to count by fives for the time. I do think Emperor has a very mathematical mind which made this possible, because not every child is ready to learn this before kindergarten. But you'd be surprised when there's an interest expressed that it's that much easier to teach the subject.

Elf learned multidigit addition, so Emperor wanted in on the secret. Elf was doing science and Bible time, and Emperor wanted to learn as well. I had enrolled Emperor into kindergarten in public school. Emperor was technically a special-needs child, so of course I'm not qualified to teach him at home. (sarcasm)

Emperor technically skipped kindergarten because when we brought him home, Elf was in second grade. I'm too lazy to teach two classes, so I just stuck Emperor into Elf's class. Emperor loves mathematics and was doing *most* of the same things Elf could do, just because he expressed an interest. We took two months to review all the math concepts Emperor missed, and it was good for Elf to have that do-over time anyway. I don't think it held him back too badly, and it enabled me to get them both even-up to start our schooling on the right foot. Elf continued to read ahead in his readers while Emperor began the first reader. They are still a year apart in readers, but I don't think that is necessarily indicative of their abilities. It's just what they've read up to.

Ok, where was I....? Oh. In preschool, Emperor wanted to read, and it was easier to teach him to read with the Dick and Jane books where you just memorize what the words say rather than sounding out. He reads quite well, but phonics didn't work for him. Yet that was how Elf learned to read. (Even children in the same family can be so different!) So on that, you just find what you think works for your child.

What's different with Emperor that is not different from your usual child is that I allow him to jump while reciting Bible verses, or he has to climb the stairs constantly to sharpen pencils. He is the one I call on to pull baby J off the couch constantly. We also do a dance when we're done with a particularly hard problem. Another thing I would recommend is a "wiggle seat." These are little M and M shaped disks that you can buy in Target. They are about a foot around and squishy and used for aerobics. One side is bumpy and the other smooth. Put the bumpy side up on his chair and he can wiggle-wiggle while he does his problems. This gets him the sensory input he needs and helps him concentrate. (I am assuming it's a him because most SI kids are, but not all.)

We do cooking usually on Tuesdays. He gets up and stirs and that fixing food thing gets him moving. It also helps with following directions, a key for these kids. Small, fun crafts with directions are also great. We made a pencil holder with a Mason jar and just glued papers and buttons on it. We collected leaves and tried to identify them. Small outings mean a lot to these little ones.

Play money is also a big thing for little kids. I even had a pile of coins and we counted them.

Hope that helps!

3 comments:

  1. Ha! That is funny. My Asperger son got kicked out after the second day of Kindergarten. He switched schools six times before I finally just brought him home. He has a hard time understanding personal space. He could not handle how he had to sit for so long in a classroom. He can't handle being pulled away so quickly from each activity. You know, because he has to have a countdown. A schedual. I totally understand all that.

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  2. As I was reading your post I could see Brown Bear in it. He is so icredibly smart, but he can't hardly pay attention to save his life. And when it does interest him, you can't just make him stop.

    I thought you did a good job explaining things.

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  3. I, too, liked your explanations. Buddy Boy was suspended twice before Christmas in Kindergarten. We then took him out for a "medical leave" and my wife home schooled him for most of the rest of that year. They do like to just kick the kids out, don't they?

    Joe

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