Our First (Official) Week
So, this was our first week home(un)schooling my #Aspie son, Burr. Don't worry! I was homeschooled from 3rd grade on so we're not in completely alien territory. Here's a few highlights:
We survived our first day of home(un)schooling! It was a rough day but the success I'm taking away from today is this: How did Burr used to practice spelling words in public school? Writing them...multiple times. Does this work with an Aspie with dysgraphia? Nope...it was a nightmare. How does Burr practice spelling words now? In Minecraft! He built letters with blocks and made signs with the words on them. Does this work? Yup.
One question I've been asked is about curriculum. It's simple. Mardel is a grand thing. I went in having a general idea of what I wanted to look at and left with a pre-algebra book, two books on verbal and figural thought-building, and a book on the 50 states. Then, with a little imagination, a dash of "how does Burr learn" knowledge, and some old fashioned ingenuity, I put together a little som-som. We are also using our Little Passports subscription as part of our learning, as well as Brain Quest, which is always awesome!
I created the above map for Burr to chart his assignments for each month. He likes it.
People ask why I decided to home(un)school Burr. There are a host of reasons but here are a few of the most important:
1. Burr is advanced. Am I a proud biased mom? Absolutely. But Burr has also been tested and comes out well above the 5th grade in every subject. In math, he tests out at an 8th grade level. So, needless to say, 5th grade is more than a little North of snoozeville for him. And you know what happens for a kid that's bored? You guessed it....behaviors.
2. He needs more one-on-one attention. My sweet boy is a dear but, put him in a room of 22 peers with only one educator, and he is overwhelmed/overwhelming. Who wouldn't be?
3. He was being bullied. Now, I know what you're thinking. A little bullying never hurt anyone...makes kids tougher. Yes and no. Bullying from kids is one thing but bullying from teachers is quite another matter. I digress and I move on.
Home(un)schooling is going a lot better than Day 1-2. Transition perhaps? He also took a 3hr nap yesterday afternoon, which was very unusual. Regardless, today he's chipper and plucky and gettin' it done!
I didn't even hear it. But he did. Hands over his ears, moaning in pain. I asked him what was wrong. "Make them stop." His eyes were closed tight and he winced. He moaned again and again and began to move towards the door of the dollar store saying, "I can't take it anymore!" I tried again, "Use your words to describe what you hear," I said. "Shh. Shh," he answered and pointed with his elbow towards two other customers in the store. It was then that I heard it. As they walked, they were shuffling their feet and their shoes made a "shh shh" sound on the floor. This sound was pushing him towards a full-blown meltdown.
People don't realize that these kids hear and feel at a different frequency. These kids look "normal" but their sensitivities are real. Home(un)schooling Burr is allowing me to see and experience more moments where he (and I) are learning how to help him navigate the world with Autism.
Burr is brilliant in ways I'm sure I still don't yet comprehend. Yet he has little to no common sense, which is often infuriating. My prayer is that God would give me wisdom to know how best to help him become independent of me and dependent on Him!
We're doing a modified homeschooling/unschooling approach. Not sure what unschooling is? I got ya! Unschooling uses a student interest emphasis. For us, it includes bookwork that aligns with Burr's interests and then work that he may not really enjoy but he can complete it in creative ways (such as the spelling example from the other day). Today he read about Paul Revere's ride and then decided to research Paul Revere and the Revolutionary War so he could write a comic strip about a "RevolutionBEARy" War. Love him and his creativity!
We also utilize real-world experience as educational opportunities: making change, customer service, opening/closing/cleaning the store, writing checks, banking, checking the oil, pumping gas, phone ettiquette, writing emails, using the internet for research, internet safety, etc.
He has strengths and areas of needed improvement, as do we all. We focus on building the strengths and in addition to the basics of reading, writing, arithmetic, we're also learning self-regulation, emotion identification, etc.
Ultimately, it's trial and error for sure, and I'm learning along the way too.
Can I just say that I don't understand the lack of understanding on this topic when it comes to homeschoolers. It actually makes me chuckle a bit. Here's a list of just a few of the ways my son gets his socializing: church, children's Bible quizzing, boy scouts, customers at our shop, restaurants, public library, grocery store, play dates with friends, etc., etc., etc. Burr can talk to anyone!
Do you homeschool? Do you unschool? What's your favorite parent resource? Share it in the comments below!