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feeling lost again

Posted by on Sep. 12, 2013 at 8:04 PM
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We were using a charter homeschool program last year. It started out ok but they tested my just turned 5 year old son to be at 3rd grade level and that's when the trouble started. They sat me down in a meeting with admin and such and told me he could graduate high school by 12. They wanted to change him officially to 3rd grade but I refused saying he could work at his own speed anyways so why bother. His mentor started pushing his writing because it wasn't at 3rd grade level like everything else. He has fine motor delays, gross motor delays, auditory and visual processing problems, sensory processing disorder, and anxiety. I've been told many times he will likely be diagnosed with autism as he grows. He didn't pick up a crayon until he was 4 of course he's not writing at 3rd grade level! They pushed so hard he was starting to not want to learn. And I wasn't even doing everything they wanted me to do with him!

Anyways this year we are switching charters and we haven't even had our intake yet. I'm taking a more gentle approach to writing.
We are using writing with ease and first language lessons of a Well trained mind. He knows cursive already but is choosing to continue with cursive books.
We are using math u see gamma and playing lots of games to help learn the Times tables. He's into fractions so we play around with those as well.
We just finished learning about volcanoes and now we are studying rocks.
He is obsessed with Benjamin Franklin so we are learning about him right now. He's interested in the beginnings of our country so we will do some US history this year.
At this point he reads a chapter of a book daily and tells me what happened and what he thinks will happen. I ask questions and he answers them based on his reading.
He's interested in guitar so we have been working on that. We bought a basic book and have been following that.
He also wants to learn to type. We've been using the BBC game for that.
We do a bible curriculum.
He has a 4-h rabbit so caring for and learning about his rabbit is another part of our school work.
For spelling we will be using a combination of all about spelling and spelling city.
We have been doing song school Spanish as well.
I think that's everything. Anyways I'm a bit stumped when it comes to vocab. last year we did wordly wise but the 2nd grade level is just a fight with him. What do you do for vocabulary? Is there anything I'm missing? We don't do everything everyday btw so it's not overwhelming like I'm sure it sounds.
by on Sep. 12, 2013 at 8:04 PM
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wendythewriter
by Helping Hands on Sep. 13, 2013 at 8:05 AM

Just because he's capable of working at a 3rd grade level doesn't mean he should be. There needs to be some emotional maturity as well, not just the academic ability.

It sounds to me like you're really doing fine. My kids get a lot of vocab from what they read - if they come across a word they don't know, they look it up to determine the meaning. Sometimes they'll determine how it's pronounced that way, sometimes they'll ask me. We do some vocab/spelling, but I mostly base it on words they struggle with - words they aren't spelling correctly, or that they don't use correctly, or that are alternates for words they overuse (for example, if they use "many" way too often, I'll make vocab words ones like several, multiple, bunch, group, etc. Sometimes the words might not be an exact exchange - group or bunch, for example, might not be a good fit in place of many - but sometimes they are, and the point is just to get them to think about other ways to say the same thing.).

I wouldn't panic. It really sounds like you've pretty well covered all the bases. Let him work at the pace and level that is comfortable for him, even if it's not the one the charter school says he should be at.

JasonsMom2007
by Helping Hands on Sep. 13, 2013 at 10:33 AM
Thanks and I completely agree. He got to that level by me following his lead and what he wants to learn not by me pushing and dictating what he has to do. I tried their methods and they didn't work for him. If the new charter pushes this much I'll go independent. Emotionally he's just now ready for kindergarten. If things are too easy or too hard he shuts down so I just keep it where he is comfortable. He's always wanting to learn more and do better so he does without pushing.


Quoting wendythewriter:

Just because he's capable of working at a 3rd grade level doesn't mean he should be. There needs to be some emotional maturity as well, not just the academic ability.

It sounds to me like you're really doing fine. My kids get a lot of vocab from what they read - if they come across a word they don't know, they look it up to determine the meaning. Sometimes they'll determine how it's pronounced that way, sometimes they'll ask me. We do some vocab/spelling, but I mostly base it on words they struggle with - words they aren't spelling correctly, or that they don't use correctly, or that are alternates for words they overuse (for example, if they use "many" way too often, I'll make vocab words ones like several, multiple, bunch, group, etc. Sometimes the words might not be an exact exchange - group or bunch, for example, might not be a good fit in place of many - but sometimes they are, and the point is just to get them to think about other ways to say the same thing.).

I wouldn't panic. It really sounds like you've pretty well covered all the bases. Let him work at the pace and level that is comfortable for him, even if it's not the one the charter school says he should be at.


maggiemom2000
by Helping Hands on Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:06 PM

If he is reading a chapter book every day then he is getting all of the vocabulary instruction that he needs.

My boys are a lot like you describe yours. Both were reading at a 5/6th grade level at the end of first grade. I do very little with them in reading and vocabulary because they have always been so advanced in it.

The one thing we do with vocabulary is that when I read a book to them (I often read a historical fiction novel to them that matches up with social studies) I pick out vocabulary words to discuss as we read. Sometimes I'll make up little flash cards to read through the words and definitions. It is really easy to google just about any book and find a list of vocabulary words!

JasonsMom2007
by Helping Hands on Sep. 14, 2013 at 3:32 AM
I never thought about googling a vocab list that's a great idea! I'm reading the magicians nephew to him right now and we've been talking about new words in there. He's loving that story. I really struggle with homeschooling sometimes because I feel torn between what I feel he needs to learn and what I know which was my public school education. But the last thing I want him doing is the typical looking up definitions and writing sentences.


Quoting maggiemom2000:

If he is reading a chapter book every day then he is getting all of the vocabulary instruction that he needs.

My boys are a lot like you describe yours. Both were reading at a 5/6th grade level at the end of first grade. I do very little with them in reading and vocabulary because they have always been so advanced in it.

The one thing we do with vocabulary is that when I read a book to them (I often read a historical fiction novel to them that matches up with social studies) I pick out vocabulary words to discuss as we read. Sometimes I'll make up little flash cards to read through the words and definitions. It is really easy to google just about any book and find a list of vocabulary words!


tuffymama
by Helping Hands on Sep. 15, 2013 at 8:34 AM
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Read read read! I was proofing legislative documents alongside my mom when I was ten. Know why I had the ability to do that? I tore through the library and all the magazine racks I encountered from the time I could learn to read, so my vocabulary was well beyond most of the adults I encountered by the time I was in third grade. ODS is the same way, because he read voraciously. (ODS also had anxiety for most of his childhood, and LO is on the spectrum, so I feel for you!)

I think you're smart to follow your gut. Perhaps the questions that need to be asked are WHY do they want to accelerate your son and WHAT do they get out of it? In my personal experience, there is rarely a strings-free reason for people in charge of something to push to accelerate someone else's child.

JasonsMom2007
by Helping Hands on Sep. 15, 2013 at 12:49 PM
1 mom liked this
We read like crazy. We love reading!
It seemed like after that meeting they were focused on what having him graduate young could do for them instead of what he was ready for. That's why I switched.


Quoting tuffymama:

Read read read! I was proofing legislative documents alongside my mom when I was ten. Know why I had the ability to do that? I tore through the library and all the magazine racks I encountered from the time I could learn to read, so my vocabulary was well beyond most of the adults I encountered by the time I was in third grade. ODS is the same way, because he read voraciously. (ODS also had anxiety for most of his childhood, and LO is on the spectrum, so I feel for you!)



I think you're smart to follow your gut. Perhaps the questions that need to be asked are WHY do they want to accelerate your son and WHAT do they get out of it? In my personal experience, there is rarely a strings-free reason for people in charge of something to push to accelerate someone else's child.




LostTheSlipper
by Guidance on Sep. 15, 2013 at 4:15 PM

I have heard that one good way to increase vocabulary is to have your kids listen to books-on-cd. So if you're in the car, put something on. Our library has a lot of books-on-cd in the kids' area.

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