A week ago I went to Seattle and for four days. I was trained how to teach the way this $115 dollar (U.S. $) an hour (!!!) learning centre teaches their students.
This is the centre that Hyrum went to this summer to be assessed. We assessed him because our local school psychologist said that he would benefit from one of their programs. When Hyrum was assessed, however, they said he needed two programs, so I signed up for training in both programs.
First I was trained in Seeing Stars:
This is a reading program. It is not Orton Gillingham, but says it's still effective at teaching dyslexic people. I must say though....I see lots of holes and ways that it's just inferior to Barton. BUT Hyrum is just plain burnt out of Barton. We need a break.
Seeing Stars' main focus is symbol imagery. Being able to see letters in your head and hold onto those images enough to manipulate them and retain their meanings.
They do this through air writing. Which is writing letters in the air and reading from that. I know that sounds hocus pocussy, but it actually makes a lot of sense once you delve into it all.
I'm so glad I took these courses in Seattle, because that is where the centre is that Hyrum went to, and the lady that met us this summer visited the workshop. She explained the tweaking I should do to the system because of Hyrum's severity.
Second I did Visualizing and Verbalizing:
I'm really excited about this program and can see how it will help Hyrum make "movies in his mind." BUT they said I should focus on Seeing Stars first. They said I should even throw math out the window until he is up to grade level in reading....Uh no....not going to happen.
We need to be succeeding at something!!
There was one homeschool mom of a severely autistic boy at the Visualizing and verbalizing, but other then that, I was the odd one. Everyone else there were tudors at rich elite private schools and speech pathologists and professors at the University of Washington teaching this to their grad students.
Even these professionals admitted that they would not get the time that they needed with their students to make these programs really effective. And as I thought about these people and what they are doing, a beautiful thought dawned on me:
My kids are getting a better education then any elite private school in one of the richest cities in America.
That is if I don't flake off.
AND I"M NOT-somedays I hate homeschool---I'll just be honest---but we are plugging along with grit and trying to make it as happy as possible in the process.
One way we're trying to make it happier is by using Lindamood Bell's discipline tools. These are stones that you give regularly throughout a lesson and then when they get tons of these stones you give them 10 stickers on a card and when they get enough stickers you give them prizes. We have decided to go with plain old money as prizes, as my kids have been dying at a chance to earn money.
Here's Hyrum reviewing aspects of place value with his stones incentives:
Daniel will be doing Seeing stars with Hyrum. He is now done with Barton Book 3
However, when I'm honest with myself, he still needs more time on his "old, olt, oll," etc endings before he should really be considered done, but I feel like I need to start Seeing Stars tomorrow, so we're going forward.
Maxwell will continue with Barton. He's doing so good with it. He is finally reading FOR FUN!!! I am over the moon. The class that his grandma is doing for Canadian history has really been a motivator for him.
Grandma has him reading books to get leaves on a tree on her wall.
He even wrote a report ( as a ship's log) totally on his own, which was unheard of awhile ago.
And while we are reporting about english and math, here's a photo of Daniel learning about making change. A hard concept for each of my boys to grasp, because when first introduced, the change after spending $.65 always seems like it should be $.45 and it takes them awhile to realize that those two 5s need to be counted too.
And I am continuing to teach William, and I thought I would begin teaching him writing, and I brought out the good ol' trusty Handwriting Without Tears supplies, and was confident that all would go smoothly.
All did not go smoothly.
When I asked him to point to the smily, he did this:
He showed me the best smily he could. Oh the cutey!!!
And then when he did his writing on paper it looked like this:
I am not wanting a struggle. I don't need another hard walk through the muck. This can wait until Kindergarten. After all, he is a summer birthday.
But he IS getting better in many areas, and his letter sounds are almost perfected now. Check it out :
AND we ARE doing fun things!!!
We live a few blocks from an aquarium. We got passes for it this week, and my boys were over the moon about the place, even though it's a bit small.
We also went to the Salmon run. We saw lots of dead fish, but we also saw fish making nests and spawning. We went with my sister (hi!) and the cousins, and it was gorgeous and made me happy to be living here.
And for history we studied Edison and Tesla. When I was reading a tesla book, we were reading how he had all his plans in his head and he could see his inventions in his mind and he could put the parts together in his mind and see how it would work.
Maxwell said "He is SOOO dyslexic." Which, in fact, he was. I was so happy that Maxwell could recognize dyslexic strengths.
Also we read this quote by Edison (who was kicked out of school twice because teachers refused to teach the "addled" boy) talking about his mother "She was always kind and sympathetic and never seemed to misunderstand or misjudge me. If it had not been for her faith in me..I should very likely never have become an inventor."
I WANT TO BE LIKE EDISON"S MOTHER!
I fall short so often. But I get back up
For our activity we actually made a light bulb with a carbon filament. I'm not joking. It was pretty epic.