Friday, April 9, 2010

Becoming clearer

My mind is consumed with education. It is almost at the point of driving me crazy because I have a decision hanging over me that I (we) need to make. I think I am close to knowing what I will do. At this point I think the best thing for T1 is to take him out of the public school system at the end of this grade and have him learn at home but I think that T2 may do better in the school system at this time although I am not thrilled with the teacher she will most likely have in September. T2 thrives in the classroom environment so I think I will let her return to school after the summer break but supplement her education even more than I usually would by having her work on things between 10-12 each day which is when I plan for Tobin to do his table work. In the afternoon when she is at school T1 and I can work on some other things and read and talk without distraction. This allows T2 the time to surround herself with people but with additional semi-formal learning at home as well as the casual learning she already does at home without realizing.

When T2 enters full time school for G1 we will rethink because part of my plan is to allow T1 to go to bed later and wake up later which is his natural body rhythm right now. Although he doesn't sleep late, 8-8:30 wake up time suits him more than 7:30 wake up which is very hard on him because he finds it so hard to fall asleep at night.

Of course this may all change tomorrow but that is where my head is at right now

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Good neighbours ROCK!

We have really nice neighbours on one side (new neighbours moved in on the other side just last week so don't really know them yet). They are friendly but quiet, have very nice quiet older children and have been very helpful sharing things about the neighbourhood that are very useful for a family new to the area such as ours. On the weekend G (my husband) was chatting with them and out of the blue the lady mentioned that she HS all her kids. I am not sure to what age because the younger 2 are in High School now. Anyway, I spoke to her this morning as I was racing to get T1 to school and asked if we could chat about her experience and she was thrilled and I can quite imagine her right now planning what she will tell me about and gathering a list of resources etc. I can't wait to chat with her about it.

There is also a large HS group in our area so I hope to become involved in that and get to know more people educating their children at home.

The library surely must need me on speed dial right now - I have so many books on order through inter-library loan and they are all HS/Education based. I wonder how long before the librarian mentions that she's noticed a theme!!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


I think I may be homeschooling at least one of my children after the summer. I have been thinking about it since T1 was a toddler - here he is now aged 10 and I am still thinking about it. Lately, as has happened the last couple of years - I am rereading and revisiting bookmarked sites because the possibility is becoming more of a probability.

T1 has Asperger's and ADD. He is also beyond smart in some areas while below average in others. His learning style is not well suited to a desk in a classroom for hours on end. He is not designed to be spending 180+ days each year with a forced group of friends based solely on their birth date. He is a loner. He is easily overwhelmed. He is easily distracted, easily bored, easily discouraged. His report card shows him to be an A/B student this year aside from in writing where he's a C student. Writing is hard for him. It is hard to order his thoughts and transfer them to paper. He has an awesome teacher. The first I have truly loved since Kindergarten. He is in G4. Next year T1 moves to middle school - an environment with many more transitions, room to room, teacher to teacher. I worry about this for him and how it will affect his ability to learn.

T2 is in JK and has a good teacher. I help in class weekly and have watched an unusually quiet 4 year old come out of a shell I had never seen before outside of school. Her teacher has patiently encouraged her and it has paid off. She loves school. The SK teacher worries me. I don't see her being patient. She doesn't motivate or promote kids to higher levels in reading when they are more than ready. I hear negative comments from parents with kids in her class. When I have popped in her classroom for whatever reason - the kids seem to be milling about, they look bored and uninspired. They misbehave and receive no consequence for doing so. My friend's daughter is in her class. She is 6 years old and she recently said to her Mom "Mommy, maybe Mrs M doesn't like kids becuase she doesn't have any of her own and hasn't learned to like them yet". How sad is that? This smart little girl was several levels ahead of her classmates in reading when she joined the class. Her classmates have now caught up with her because Mrs M wouldn't promote her even though she was ready and the others were moving levels.... I fear that a year in her class will change T2's feelings about learning and she'll lose her enthusiasm which I feel will take a long while to undo.

My husband G and I haven't really had a proper discussion about possibly HS the kids recently. He's so much more of a wait-and-see person. I am a thinker, planner and researcher. I am the one who worries before things happen and prefer to have a plan in place. He worries when things happen. I know that if this is going to happen that I need to do all my planning now - not what I'll teach but general HS thinking, deciding my approach, what materials and further reading I'd like to check out beforehand and to be well armed. I think G will want T1 to try middle school and see what happens. I see some value in that but that means allowing several weeks for him to settle by which point it's almost December and a whole semester has passed, possibly been wasted and might have affected his confidence.

Last summer we had recently moved and both kids were home with me from the end of May until the beginning of September when school started. Life went very smoothly with the three of us planning our days and learning while exploring our new neighbourhood. The kids got along way better than they do now when much of their time together is spent when they are tired and cranky after school. I felt we bonded so deeply during that time together.

Now with another school year end in sight, I long for the summer. The mornings that do not feel like Nagfest, with T1 hard to get moving and T2 full of beans which irritates T1, rushing to pack lunches/snacks sign paperwork and send in money for I don't even know what, remembering a forgotten piece of homework or racing to find a misplaced school supply. I finally am able to breathe after the school drop off but not because the house is emptier but because for a little while I am on my schedule until I have to start clock watching for school pick up. At 3:10 school is over and T1 is most likely bothered by something. T2 wants to tell me every detail of her day. T1 doesn't want to listen. He's had sensory overload for 6 hours and needs some time to regroup. He needs some time on the computer with one of his flight/ship simulators to work on a mission and block out the rest of the world. Then when he is ready to chat and hang out - he has to make a start on homework. Everything bothers him when it's homework time after an overwhelming day. We rarely have good conversations because even though he's not tired at be3dtime - he needs to be trying to sleep in order to be up for school and often when there's time to talk - he's so burned out or brain tired from all the stimuli that he doesn't want to.

I see so many problems that could be lessened or even solved by making a huge change in the education of our children. I stress about school - many components of which I cannot change. I realizing HS will bring stress too but I would be able to make changes to alleviate some of it.

G and I need to make the decision and then I can move forward. It's an exciting prospect, also daunting but when I think about it, I feel inspired, eager, and relieved.

To be continued....