A spin off of my other post, as I want to expand a bit on what I am seeking. What approach/recommendations would you give for teaching my 10 year old son this upcoming year? We really, really burned out last year. Mostly just because too many years of pushing the wrong curriculum, of pushing pedagogy that isn't really a fit for him, of not really working with his learning style (to be fair, I didn't really have a good understanding of it at the time), and he just grew to hate school. So, I am really trying to discern the direction we should go this year, and what we should use etc... I asked him what would make the year better for him and he told me: "More science experiments, more art and fun math".
Our lives are hectic. Our youngest (I've done a separate post for her) has some health issues which can keep us on the go sometimes (we have two trips to her hospital in September alone), and for whom a major surgery is being contemplated. My son, daughter and I are also all being evaluated for Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a genetic disorder, so we'll be on the road a bit for that (our children's hospital/specialists are 6 hours away, so every visit is an overnight trip). My father in law is also seriously ill, possibly dying, so we are helping with his care as well. Though once we get home care in place for him next month that will ease up, but we could potentially have a turbulent year with emotional distress for the children (they're very close to their grandfather). So, all of this needs to be taken into consideration. I feel like if we use curriculum we need something that is open and go, that anyone can step in and do/oversee (often when our daughter goes to the hospital, our son stays with his Nana).
On the other hand, I have contemplated taking a year to "deschool" in a sense, and just be very relaxed/unschoolish, taking a break from formal math etc... to just try and re-energize ourselves and find the joy in learning again.
So with that background, here is some information on my son. I would really appreciate all your thoughts/insights. I'll also do a separate post for recommendations for my daughter. Thank you!!!
My son is 10. He is a left eye, right hand, right brained dominant, phlegmatic child with Sensory Processing Disorder (one of his biggest challenges is proprioceptive issues) and mild Tourette Syndrome. He "appears'' to have dyspraxia, but he also seeing genetics next month for suspected Ehlers Danlos Syndrome due to his excessive joint hypermobility (among other issues), and lack of stability. So, whether he really has dyspraxia, or whether it's just due to his joints/proprioceptive issues, we're not sure.
Some of his life-related struggles:
- He struggles physically with writing (hand gets tired and has horrible grip and presses too hard), and other things like using a knife (struggles with putting enough pressure etc..)
- I suspect he has some motor planning issues, as he struggles with things like shoe tying, catching balls, putting on gloves (just can't get those fingers into the holes, lol), zippers on jackets are still sometimes a challenge to get lined up and going etc...
- Needs some social skills work in the area of volume control and controlling his chatter
Some of his school-related struggles:
- Again, the writing. Now, he actually has very neat penmanship (print and cursive), but he struggles with output because it's tiring to him.
- He struggles with oral recall and narration. He does much better when he can write it out, or with your more typical workbook approaches (multiple choice, fill in the blanks, "essay" style answers etc...). After doing these questions he does a better job of narration, I think this is because it just helps to him to organize his thoughts. He also can narrate better when allowed to draw or act it out. That said, he also doesn't like too many workbooks, because of all the writing.
- Struggles with any auditory based learning - he NEEDS to see it/read it for himself to really retain/get it.
- Horrible concept of time
- Struggles learning his math facts (and yet can learn his drama lines in one afternoon).
- Struggles with focus/attention with math
- Struggles some with problem solving/word problems with math (math is our Achilles heel here)
- Is a literal, black and white thinker. Does not learn well from "living books" (a la Charlotte Mason). He learns much better from text books, encyclopedias etc... He needs the information presented in a very clear format for him.
- He could care less about history. Not that this is a challenge, just more of a preference.
- Some auditory processing struggles (still struggles discerning certain sounds, which we often see in his spelling, because he hears it wrong). We had him tested for ADP and he passed, but he JUST made the cut off.
- He is an excellent reader - grasped phonics incredibly early/easily. In fact, we dropped phonics part way through grade 1 as they were unnecessary for him. He absolutely LOVES to read, and devours books. Spelling is good as well - he's very visual, so once he sees/writes a word a couple times, he has it. Grammar is fine - struggles some with using the proper past tense of words (been/gone etc...).
- He grasps math concepts very easily, especially the visual realms of math such as fractions, geometry etc... He easily learns new concepts, it's just turning around and remembering the math facts and figuring out the word problems to solve the questions that can be the issue. I think some of these math challenges are because I am just learning what a right brained/visual learner he is, and I haven't been properly supporting him. Over the years we have forced math on him so much: pushed it too hard, too soon, in ways that didn't meet his learning needs, and thus we have created a math-phobic/hating child, who actually does quite well at math.
- Loves art (has excellent drawing skills when he has a visual to look off of. He can do amazing replications of animated drawings etc... His freehand drawings could use some work).
- Loves music, and loves to sing. He's signed up for voice lessons this fall, as he has a beautiful singing voice, and easily memorizes songs, music etc...
- While not necessarily naturally talented in the "typical" sports (though he enjoys them!) like basketball, soccer, baseball etc... he is a very skilled snowboarder and gymnast.
- Loves to "write" when there is no pressure - ex. he loves to do a morning journal where he can write whatever he wants, and can illustrate it.
- Is an extremely creative child. Honestly, it is amazing the Lego creations he can come up with just out of his head. He looks at a picture of something and then can build it. He's constantly turning things from around the house into creations of something or another. He loves to act things out, too. He has a wonderful imagination.
- Loves natural science. He has a fascination with birds and I call him my budding orinthologist, as he can correctly identify countless species. He is currently reading through a 750+ paged (adult level) encyclopedia of North American birds for fun. Likewise, he really loves anything to do with all animals, nature, etc... He isn't as interested in "typical" science topics such as physics, chemistry etc... That said, he loves to do science experiments.
- Likes typing
- He does better with just 2 or 3 subjects that take longer each day, than doing numerous short lessons. Ex: Charlotte Mason was a horrible fit for him, as even though some of the things only took 5-10 minutes, the long list of things to do every day completely overwhelmed him. (And he really likes having a list that he can check off). So, 3 subjects that take 30 minutes each are better for him, than 6 subjects that only take 15 minutes each.
- Prefers science over history, reading over math
- He will be doing basketball from November through March, singing lessons from September through May and Sunday School from September through May. Total time commitment is 3 hours per week.
- He will be participating in a once a month Art & Nature School program (full day, drop off program at our local Waldorf School).
So, I think that gives an overview!
Edited by mshanson3121, 06 August 2017 - 02:40 PM.