Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Live and Learn

Well, the great 'home schooling experiment' of 2011 is officially at an end. Kate went back to school full time today. She was ecstatic. So am I.

When the schools psychologist gets his evaluation done, we'll get her an IEP that will help mitigate her dyslexic problems, and hope for the best.

We'll be watchful of her attitude towards school, and be willing to re-evaluate if she starts to develop self esteem issues. But for now, she loves her teacher, the psychologist, the speech therapist, pretty much everyone over there--

Chris keeps reminding me that she'll 'figure it out' sooner or later-- eventually she'll learn to 'get around' her dyslexia.


I hope so.

Lesson learned: I can't force her to learn. I can't even help her. I can only be patient and understanding when she is struggling.

Back to life as we know it...

Friday, November 18, 2011

To school or not to school

One benefit of home schooling-- you don't have to sit at a desk!

I got this letter from Kate's psychologist yesterday: 

Hi.  I am introducing some new Ocular-Motor activities with Kate.  I will send you instructions on how to do them at home so that she can do them on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  They are usually pretty quick, so won't take too much time.
I am starting with Figure Ground, and will continue adding exercises over time.  I have ordered an eye-patch, as the research I have been reading encourages using one eye at a time until they are proficient with each eye individually.  For now, I will just have her cover an eye with her hand.
Figure Ground work is pretty simple...Where's Waldo and I Spy books work great and are fun as well.  There are also on-line seek and find games that I will be searching.  These are the fun activities.  The not-so-fun activity is that I will give her a passage of text, and have her circle all of a specific letter on the page.  I time her to see how many she can find in a minute.  I try to pick the most common letters (S, T, N, L, R, A, E, I, O) so that there are plenty to find.
Another activity is a word find puzzle.  I am going to try it, but will only use it if she finds it a challenge/fun.  I want to keep the exercises at a level where she is enjoying them, and add difficulty as she masters the tasks.
I am excited to move forward on these next activities that I have been researching.  The books that I am working out of areDeveloping Ocular Motor and Visual Perceptual Skills by Kenneth A. Lane, and Eye Power: An Updated Report of Vision Therapy by Ann M. Hoopes and Stanley A. Applebaum

Thank goodness for him, since I seem to be getting nowhere with her. I could do all these things at home, but the problem is, she won't DO them with me. With him, she'll bend over backwards. 

Her report card came home and she is /remarkably/ showing improvement. I say remarkably, because I see no improvement at home. Either in attitude or ability. She improved on her Star reading level, this is the test they give to see what 'color' books she should be reading for AR tests. Her last Star test was a 0.9, or Kindergartener in the 9th month. This test she scored a 1.6, or 1st grader in the 6th month of school. That put her into a new color- so she's pleased about that. While this seems good, it's really a bit deceptive. I watched her take this test on the computer at our SEP conference w/ her teacher. It asks her to read a sentence that is missing a word, and then choose from 4 words to complete the sentence. She is so good at using context clues and 'guessing' that even though I know she couldn't read all the words, she figured it out. She read in her head, but used the mouse to point to the word she was reading, so by following the mouse, I could tell where she was stuck and couldn't read the word. This is how the psychologist says she's 'tricking' the test. 

When she takes the Dibels (reading fluency) tests, she places in the 'well below benchmark' category, back to Kindergarten level. 

We spent almost an hour and a half w/ her teacher in our conference yesterday. Kate was wonderful the whole time, even though it was late, and she was hungry. She seems to want to please her teacher/psychologist/speech therapist so much, that she can put on the sweetest face and do whatever is asked of her willingly. 

Me? Not so much. I get the Mr. Hyde side of her. Tantrums, fits, crying, pouting, whining, complaining. It's been fascinating (read *horrifying*) to see this. When I related this to the psychologist, he actually said that 'working with Kate is the highlight of his week.' *Stunned silence*

So this is where I'm at. Second guessing my decisions. Second guessing my 'inspiration'. Second guessing my relationship with this child. 

If she can get into resource and if she's willing to go instead of staying home, I'm putting her back in full time after Christmas. 

She is the exception to every dyslexic I know of. She LOVES school. She HATES staying home. Therefore, the whole reason I kept her out (to spare her self esteem), is not the issue after all. She's throwing me curve balls faster than I can get up to the plate, and I feel like they are all hitting me square between the eyes. I'm not accomplishing anything with her at home, unless you count increasing the level of contention. 

I guess we'll see what 3rd grade brings, and take it year by year. If she ever gets to the point where she starts feeling stupid and hates school, I'll take her out. But as long as she is happy, it doesn't matter what 'level' she's on, grade level or otherwise, she'll be just fine. 

This is my self justification anyway. I hope it's mostly true...