Search This Blog

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Home Education Report for CHRISTOPHER


June 12, 2013

Christopher has been living with us for a year now. We were granted guardianship of him at the end of October 2012. We chose home education for him to provide for him a steady and predictable environment for him to live and learn in with the hopes of helping him overcome some of his obstacles he was experiencing the the public school setting.

When Christopher was first here, he presented himself as one who did not like to learn or to read, and thought of himself and not very smart. He was having trouble socially – interacting with other kids and adults as well. He was needy with kids own age (wanting attention and to control the interaction with other kids). He was also struggling at controlling his anger. He would to turn to anger when a situation did not go his way or as a way to manipulate people. He also was turning the anger towards himself (saying things like - “I am stupid!”, “I should just run away.”, “Maybe I should just kill myself.”)

So our approach to this home school year was less about academics and more about helping Christopher become a steadier, happier, and a well adjusted kid. And I am happy to report he has made many improvements this past year.

He is interacting, in groups of children without incidents of anger and control. He is able to control his anger in situations that previously would have had him flying off the handle. He will go and play by himself in his room or outside (something he would not do in the beginning). He loves to read! He loves to learn. He is more positive about himself now. He does sometimes revert to previous thoughts/behaviors if he gets disciplined for something, but this doesn't happen very often anymore.

So I am happy to report that it has been a very successful year. Our relaxed approach to learning and steady and predictable parenting style has helped Christopher become a typical 8 year old boy – full of energy and enthusiasm.


Academic Report:

Reading: Christopher has improved by leaps and bounds in reading. I remember when I first took him to the library last summer – he complained about how boring and babyish books were. He wasn't interested in anything I tried to share with him. Compare that to today where just yesterday I returned 30 books to the library for him. When I first started him on reading, he would only read the beginner reader type books (Steps 2 and 3). Now he is reading chapter books by the dozen... plus anything else that crosses his path (food labels, newspapers, magazines, and more). Reading is one of his “go to” independent activities.

Arithmetic: Christopher has been working his way through Teaching Textbooks 3. ( He really likes doing math on the computer with this program.

Some things I have observed about Christopher when it comes to math:

  • he relies heavily on manipulatives to find answers (fingers, drawing counters)

  • he does not commit math facts to memory

  • he does not retain the lessons for very long. For this reason a program like TT3 is great for him because it provides constant review.

We have also used card games, flash cards, iPad apps and more to help with math learning in a different format.

Writing: Christopher did not do much writing this year. He does print very well. His spelling is very good for his age. He has trouble with wanting his writing to be perfect which then halts the desire to get words and thoughts down on paper. I just recently went to hear Julie Bogart from 'Bravewriter' ( ) speak and I now have some great ideas and tools to help Christopher become a writer in the coming years.

Writing in cursive was high on Christopher's priority list for grade 3, so he has been working through the “Hand Writing Without Tears” workbook. ( )

He has done some copywork lessons, and he likes to leave me notes on where he is going on the farm.

Learning opportunities experienced this past year:

  • Simple and Motorized Machines Lego class

  • Introduction to Art class at the Sundre Library

  • Ceramics painting with Hot Pots studio

  • Minecraft of the iPad

  • Personal tour of The Guzoo

  • Building with lego (another one of his 'go to' independent activities)

  • Working on the ranch with Uncle Wes

  • Fire Safety concert in Red Deer

  • Watching TV programs such as “How It's Made”, “The Dog Whisperer”, and some of the PBS educational kids shows

  • Reading Eggspress Website

  • Movies (Dolphine Tale, Where the Red Fern Grows, Bridge to Teribithia, The Hobbitt, Big Miracle, Nim's Island, etc)

  • Community Choir Concerts (Spring and Christmas)

  • Home School Plays (Tumbleweeds and Shakespeare Comes to Calamity Creek)

  • Trapping moles

  • Games (Rush Hour, Battleship, War, ...)

  • Watched the complete Magic School Bus Series

  • Built a bird house

  • Watched “March of the Penguins”

  • Reads “Owl Magazine” -- a gift subscription from friends

  • Participating in “Little Passports”, a geography program. ( )

  • Strewing --- I leave interesting things for him to discover. ( )

  • iPad learning apps

  • Learning activity task cards

  • Sword fighting training with Jordan

  • Lots of bike riding with his new bike

  • Book series he likes to read – Geronimo Stilton and Magic Tree House

No comments: