... full of odd things that don't require a whole post apiece.
The Happy Elf Homeschool
In our homeschool, we've been working on typing. Elf and Emperor know the home keys and most of the keys in the top row. I haven't taught them q, p, g, and h as yet. Otherwise, we have the top two rows down letter-wise. Emperor still hunts and pecks when he has a writing assignment on his AlphaSmart. Sometimes I will make him do his typing practice on the computer because I will know if he is "cheating" by looking at his fingers while typing, but he hates this because the computer feels different and the letters are spaced differently. And it isn't his speeeecial machine. Ok, then. So don't let me catch you cheating again, kid. I have seen him think about not looking in the right place a few times, but he hasn't really fallen down on the job yet.
I've also printed out a small "QWERTY Keyboard" picture and hung it under the computer screen for Elf and placed Emperor's on the back of our pencil holder. Now when they're tempted to look at their fingers, they need to look at this and think about which finger to use next and where all the letters go. Well, it's a work in progress.
Reading About Homeschooling
I picked up "Homeschooling the Child with AUTISM" (Amazon link) at the library recently, but haven't really been able to look at it too closely. Elf caught sight of it and got very upset. He said I ought NEVER read anything about changing our school. He likes our school just the way it is! PLEAAAASE don't change anything, Mom!
He said to please not read the book. Please. Emperor is of the opinion that if the book says that I am to give them less work, that I should be allowed to look at it. I told Emperor that I have NO IDEA what advice it would offer until I'm able to read it. Emperor said maybe I should just leave it and not look at it ("...just in case it says to give a lot of work," he mumbled under his breath as he walked away).
Do your kids attempt to censor your reading like mine do?? Not that it works. I want to educate my kids well and get all kinds of ideas. It doesn't matter if those ideas come from public school educators, people with autism, people who educate special-needs children, or other parents. I liked reading this article by a public schoolteacher who began homeschooling. It's been linked about everywhere on the blogosphere already, but I'd like to share with you the fact that I appreciated that she became more humble through the experience (being that SOLELY responsible for the education of your children will do that to you).
I also hope that she is respected and valued in the homeschool community for her ability to teach larger groups. I don't see where she should be *ashamed* at having once been a public school teacher, or never bring it up as it might naturally arise in a conversation. I have gotten plenty of insight from these teachers in the past, and my educational career with my children isn't over yet. Here's hoping we all see ourselves as fellow learners who are continually improving and sharpening our skills... Most of us do, unless we are
Those Unschoolers, Who Are Lazy-Asses
Blog link, or read my extremely loose synopsis/almost actual quote: "Of course, unschoolers don't qualify as people who are really teaching at all. They're sitting around and just letting kids do whatever they want. As a smarmy and self-righteous potential homeschooler myself, I just want to say that anyone should be able to prove at any time that they are actually homeschooling. I mean, I would be ready for my kids to jump through rings for some lady they haven't seen for months in the middle of the grocery store because I'm all organized like that and am ready for these impromptu pop quizzes. We all know that people who are REALLY homeschooling wouldn't find their kid going on and on about video games... right??! Based on my being nosy in the grocery store and quizzing some kid and his mother about their homeschooling habits, choice of curriculum, hours of actual instruction and educational methodology, I'm just going to go all-out crazy on every homeschooler who doesn't meet the gold standard of some guy I'm vaguely related to who 'homeschools' under the guidance of a 'real teacher.'"
Oh, and here's an ACTUAL quote:
"I'm going to start driving around with standardized tests and bust people."
See, I have a different stereotype in my head about those horrid unschoolers, which is why I can never become one. So far as I know, if little Joey asks a question about whales, you must immediately drop everything, go to the ocean, interview a marine biologist and give Joey time with the whales. He must learn about how to operate all the whale sound equipment. It isn't a complete visit if he doesn't also learn the history of whaling and memorize a few facts about krill, the ecosystem, and learn to differentiate each whale type by region.
Even watching TV can be a difficult educational experience. If Joey wants to hear about Plankton because he saw Spongebob, we MUST see plankton under the microscope. Draw plankton. Create plankton sculptures that are true to scale using painted styrofoam shapes and coloured cellophane from Michael's craft center. Labelled with proper spelling. It must be done that week as we ought not wait... that would stifle the immediacy and joy of the learning experience.
Don't get me started on the etsy shop every unschooler must open for himself, selling world-class eclectic handmade goods from recycled materials, creatively reconstructed into imaginative and fanciful crafts as well as useful items. We don't grade, the unschooling family says, but since Joey grossed about $75,000 from his etsy shop, we think we will learn Swahili in Kenya next year on the proceeds. Granted, it's a bit of a structured curriculum with an "end" in mind when we set up a class objective in this fashion, but we think occasionally we can bend the rules. This time, we are bending them by making a few, since we didn't have rules to begin with.
I'm tired and broke just thinking about what a task unschoolers do every day. Lazy butts, they are not. :)
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