Sunday, August 18, 2013

Observing them as they observe and explore the world

As Owen is beginning to be with us more and more each day I have noticed a tremendous explosion of knowledge gathering.  He has made such progress now that his brain is not foggy with anticonvulsants. I can't imagine what it would be like for the world to so abruptly open itself to you in such a short period of time.

We have not officially kicked off our new school year but when you homeschool, learning happens all the time. Actually, every parent or grandparent experience the same thing regardless of how or where you school but homeschoolers tend to recognize it more readily as a learning opportunity. 

What has Owen reveal to us this week?  Several of his words and phrases are making sense. Some days they are so clear it is amazing.  Most little one's refer to ME and not "I" but he uses I very often in referring to himself and very appropriately.  Today I asked him if he would like some bacon and he clearly stated it back to me. When I asked him if he was ready he clearly said "yes" and nodded his head. He is often found saying thank you, and kitty-kitty-kitty, not to mention so many other attempts. In our car we have a game we call YELLOW CAR and he seems to have joined in. He does not actually see a yellow car but he points out the window and calls out for the count.  He does well with the word.  His energy is amazing. He will have one more week of therapy as he has surpassed his development milestones in many areas and at level with others. Considering how far he had to come it is fabulous that he had managed this.  His understanding of the world as it unfolds to him is unbelievable. 

Today he and Faith enjoyed an old fashion mud puddle.  It began as an area of dirt but with small amounts of water from their watering cans it was a great mud stew and a stick became a favorite tool.  Just a moment ago he drug a small chair to the piano. There is a chair at the piano but he wanted his and he sat, reached high and played a tune.  I could go on and on with the little things I am observing.

He is not the only one who is observing the world around them. Faith has had a huge challenge to alter her self centered ideas. She is loving but is the most selfish of the three children.  Her tendency to be jealous or sassy has been bad lately so we are working on that one. Today I utilized the teachings of God through the story of Moses to work on following God's rules. She is a great big sister but tires easily with any responsibilities. To work on this I got her a classroom bunny and 100% of the work is hers. It does not matter that Grace also ended up with a bunny. I mean, Faith ended up with a donkey when Grace got one. So Grace will carry the burden for donkey food/barn/water and Faith for the bunnies.  I noticed Faith observing what her bunny responded favorably to. I love it when I see a moment in their life.

The classroom must be done soon, no more delays. I will be sure to post pictures very soon.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Survey says.....

This morning, while sitting in the waiting room to begin Owen's physical therapy, the news reported about a study of 200 smokers and found that those parents who smoke tend to have children who smoke.  I thought is was so ridiculous that my mouth spoke about it before my brain thought. The room had about seven other people who were waiting. Half of them were ladies who had that ragged smoker skin look to them as well.  So I said out loud, "really they need to have a study to show that children learn by the example set by their parents" followed by "and to think, people go paid to do that stupid study"  The room looked at me as if they were clueless.  I suddenly realized I was the only educated person in the room except for my 6 and 9 year old grandchildren.  Grace thought is was hilarious and asked me how she could get a job like that some day. 

Survey says...... children learn by the example put forth by their parents.  In my little homeschool world that is a well known fact. Everything you see in parent magazines encourage you to read to your child early. Public service announcements tell parents that the first teacher a child will have is their parent. I cannot think of a single, most important teacher than a parent or other family members. Locally, in St. Louis, there are schools who have lost their accreditations and so local law will permit parents to enroll them into outlying schools at the cost of their own school district.  It all sounds so crazy if you ask me. I can look a the  primary lifestyle of most the members of the school districts that are failing and put it right back onto the parents more than the school. The example that uneducated and unprepared parents give lead to further failures in a failing school system. Just as the survey about smoking so goes the same survey if we addressed it toward a failing school.

I am not saying that I know the parents of the schools and I am sure there are many who are educated and trying hard to help their child succeed. I also know that statistics of the area will tell you that the overall truancy rate is high.  I can imagine being a teacher in a district like this. Some will be well prepared but the many who are not, who did not get their studies done at home, are going to slow the entire process. 

The school district that the grandchildren live in had horrible scores. Two years ago the won a beacon of light award for raising the scores so much. Mind you, they were still not at acceptable levels but they made such a huge increase and kept their accreditation.  I checked into the award they won and found it to be an award meant to motivate inner city schools who were struggling and poverty rural area as well who were struggling to teach their children.  So as the survey would imply the same goes for education.  If a parent is struggling then so will the child.  In a poverty stricken school district it is important to have parents who sit down each night and are engaged with what their child is doing in school. I am not saying that it does not happen at all but it does not happen to enough children.  Perhaps it is because the parent is so tired from all the struggle and stress in their life. Perhaps they are exhausted from working so hard and long that day. Perhaps they are not even home because they are working two jobs in hopes of making life better for their children. But life does not get better if a parent does not give the example. Sure they will have hard working children (for those who have witnessed that in their own parents) but they will not be better off as they did not get the education they needed. 

While it is true that many can survive the streets they cannot open their eyes and hearts and opinions when they are not well rounded in their education.  So the cycle of the school district keeps on going. 

It is becoming more and more clear to me that homeschooling is the preferred method for my grandchildren.  I would love to do this for all my grandchildren but my son does not live as close and even if he did I don't think he agrees with the concept.

One thing I think about in the study about parents who smoke is that of course we all are the first teachers in a child's life. The example of the parent or the adult authority is the MOST important factor in what a child does and how a child learns.