Sunday, September 27, 2015

Design Essentials- The Why

  My old blog posts inform me that homeschool was always an option for me. It's amazing the things time can make us forget. I had forgotten how long I'd pondered homeschool.

  In 2012 I blogged about my interest in homeschool.

  In December 2012 I blogged again about my interest in homeschooling.

  Recently the subject of "what school does your child attend" came up.  I was asked and I said "she homeschools".  When I say that I don't usually get a chance to say much else.  On this occasion The mom speaking eventually said, "if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself".  I think many people have lots of perceptions of homeschool and parents who choose it.

At this point the only people who actually ask me why I homeschool are other homeschool parents.

edited (9/28/2015)

I homeschool for lots of reasons and none of the reasons are based in the belief that I'm the only one who can do it right.  I'm learning along with the kids. As a homeschool parent, I have the freedom to change and try something new immediately, if I see something isn't working or something is working and I can make it work better.

  Both TR and QR are able to learn a new concept with 1-2 explanations.  Once they learn that new concept, they are able to apply the concept to different scenarios.  We can tailor instruction to the needs of our kids.  I don't have to make the kids complete a section of a workbook. Once I know they have fully grasped the concept we move forward.  TR is now doing all 4th grade work (except for handwriting), last year we moved quickly through 1st and 2nd grade work and did mostly 3rd and 4th.

QT is doing 1st grade.  He is academically ready for 2nd grade.  We aren't doing 2nd because he's 5 and he is a perfectionist. His ability to quickly grasp concepts is currently a challenge because, when he does not grasp something by the 2nd attempt he feels like a failure and will become frustrated and he wants to stop.  Resilience is more is more important to me than academics, because in life the ability to try again and believing that you can accomplish a difficult task if you persevere is one of the necessities of success.  So before we advance him in academic area, we're integrating concepts into what he does, trying to work on encouraging him to try when tasks are difficult and building his confidence in his ability.

I once read that gifted kids are likely to struggle as adults because they spend their educational lives in settings where things come easy and they are not challenged. When challenges come they have not built up their ability to keep trying. Kids who struggled academically and overcame know they can overcome and will keep trying.

Homeschool suits our family life and family goals. I want TR and QT to have time together.

I also want to protect them from whatever happens in schools that takes away a child's love of learning.

I want them to value arts as much as math and reading. I want them to see science occurring at high levels.

I prefer to give them what I've designed and believe are the essentials to having a chance at reaching their full potential.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Your Gifts Will Make Room

My grandmother always reminded us that our gifts would make room.

I received her words in many different ways.  It told me that I didn't have to fight to get places, my talent would open doors and get a seat for me.

It told me I should focus on my own gifts. It told me I should discover my gifts. It told me that I had a gift. It told me that other people had a gift that would make room for them. It told me that there is room for everyone's gifts.

In my endeavors I have always believed that my gift would make room.

I try to impart the message of your gift making room to my kids.  Homeschool is an opportunity to nurture the kids talents and gifts and ensure they have the confidence to believe they have the ability to accomplish the goals they set.

I read an article with a comment by a student attending an Oakland public school.

The student:  
said the ban will force educators and administrators to focus on why students are behaving a certain way rather than just suspending them.
“They never take time out, if someone is sleeping in class, to ask what’s wrong,” she said. “They may be acting that way because they didn’t eat the night before.” Ban on Wilful Defiance Suspensions
  I read the student's statement and I can't wrap my mind around it.  I know that behavior is communication and when people exhibit disruptive behaviors they are trying to communicate. What I can't wrap my mind around is how school (at least schools in inner cities) is not about educating a kid, it's about being the social worker and cook for the kid.  The government needs to reopen orphanages and raise the kids with food and hopefully stability and the ability to regulate emotions.
I think the kids in inner city areas are being taught that they excuses will be their ticket.  No one is telling them to focus on developing their gifts.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

I couldn't do that

  So often mothers say to me, "I could not do that, I don't have the patience to teach my own kid."

   I don't respond, although I'd like to say, "I could not do what YOU do. I lack the patience to arise early, leave my home, my kids, get in traffic and go work for someone."

  The mothers who tell me they could not homeschool never ask me any details about homeschooling.

I enjoy homeschooling. We don't rush and that makes life a lot more peaceful.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Back to mommylife

I've been in hearings since mid-August. I am EX-hausted! Today was the final day of hearing and I don't have any more hearings scheduled for a couple of months. I just finished a 10-day hearing and in the middle of that hearing I had a 2-day hearing.

 Hearings aren't held on Mondays or Fridays so instead of 12 hearing days taking 3 weeks, it took 1 month! The kids have begun home-school and I've gotten out of the loop of the day to day with the A family. I feel like Mr. A should get a mini-vacation. He's had to do everything while I was focused on hearings. The hearings were a 50 mile drive each way so I was leaving early and returning late.

Everyday I came home to happy and relaxed kids and a calm, cool and collected mate. When I get left with my kiddies for a full day with no break, I'm near collapse. My kids are high energy and curious. I am excited to be back in the full-time mommy business.

 I've won 2 hearings this year and I've completed another 2. If I win the other 2, the business will have an impressive financial year and if it does I am taking a lengthy break to focus on the other businesses. I say the business and not "I" because I have to pay people and expenses before I pay myself. I pay very well so when I have a great year finance wise, everyone else does too.

 Money is great but spending time with my kids is worth more than what the money can purchase. My kiddies missed me although they did adjust to my absence, which is good. I probably missed them more than they missed me. I plan to get TR back to the braider for more two-strand twists. I plan to get my own hair done.

My client said he felt like he'd been to war. I felt the same. I came home expecting to be treated like a deployed soldier sent home. This case took a lot out of me. I plan to get back into life, and organize my house and enjoy homeschool.

 I'm pleased with our homeschool program. The kids are speaking Spanish independently and speaking to each other with the words they are learning. Both kids are loving math and continue to develop their reading skills. Next month they'll restart science classes, they are enjoying art and now that I'm back home we can get back to practicing their music. I feel free from work! It's crazy to realize that I own the business that I feel freed from.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Field Trip and Diamonds

TR participates in a gymnastics program called TO.Ps.  TOP.S tries to identify gymnastics talent early and support coaches in further developing that talent.  During the summer months thousands of the tops girls around the country compete and in the 7 year old age range 50 of the top girls in the nation are selected. TR was one of the 50 top 7 year olds in the nation and made the 2015 TO.PS Dia.mond Team!  Yaayye for TR.     

The kids asked to take a field trip to the zoo and take notes about animals.  Mr. A made a table that allowed them to classify 10 animals that they saw.  They identified the animal, and identified if that animal was a carnivore, herbivore or omnivore, nocturnal or diurnal and mammal, reptile, amphibian, or bird.  The zoo also has insects but we didn't visit that exhibit.

One of Mr A's friends told him that we are the only Af-Am homeschoolers he knows.  That friend would like to homeschool.  I personally know of one other woman of color who home-schools. Her daughter used to be a gymnast at the same gym as TR. She was high school aged and she and TR loved each other.

Another of TR's teammates attends an expensive private school. Her father is the director of that school and told Mr. A that we are fortunate that we can do that.

Mr A's friend sends his daughter to private school and her teacher won't allow her to advance and limits her to the work her classmates are doing and the girl is bored.  We made the homeschool leap because TR's teacher had the 1st grade class doing what I considered kindergarten work.  The principal refused to move TR to the 3rd/4th grade room, although I offered him academic assessments to show him she was working at that level.  I did 2nd grade in one semester and 3rd grade the next and went to 4th grade the next year.  I was one of two 4th graders in a 5th grade room and spent the year doing mostly 5th grade work.  What happened in education that made advancing kids so taboo?

My mother keeps telling me I should sue school districts over their failure to serve gifted students. Gifted kids are also "special needs".  Kids with disabilities are 10% of the school population and gifted kids are 10% of the school population.  The profoundly disabled are about 1% and the profoundly gifted are about 1%.  Why are the gifted ignored? Gifted kids have unique needs and forcing those kids to do what the other 80% do is denying them what they need to be educated. Gifted kids who are ignored also have poor outcomes. People assume that because they are "smart" but those kids can be lost early. Most districts refuse to identify them until the 3rd grade and by  3rd grade they've settled into the pattern of being underachievers.  Their underachievement may look like success but it doesn't feel like it to them.

I often feel like an underachiever.  I know I am capable of more. People often think I've done well or that I am unappreciative for what I have if I say I'm lazy or failing, if I know I'm not putting forth much effort then I feel like I've failed. It's a challenge to break those patterns.