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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Another successful day!

In our opinions the first full day at Faith Christian Academy was a complete success for both the teacher and the student! We tried our best to keep to the schedule I drafted up. I have no clue what time of day is optimal for JD to really apply himself and stay focused, since communication with public school teachers for the past 5 ½ years has been sparse. So I drafted a schedule for Monday through Friday.
Everyday starts with a 15 minute devotional followed by 30 minutes of reading. Today we read The 40 days of Purpose Driven Life together and will continue until done. During these times JD was both talkative and inquisitive, but it was constructive rather than disruptive.
Next, we moved onto 45 minutes of math. Even though he was slightly fidgety, he managed to relearn comparing and order of numbers and rounding and estimating. Two quizzes were taken and he scored a 100% on one and a 90% on the other. Each quiz is only 10 questions so he only missed one question. I asked him how he like each subject and in math he said, “The English lessons are funny and fun. Math is more like a lesson than fun.” Again, the repetition of how to do the steps bothered him.
One of Jeff’s inputs to the curriculum I teach was to have JD expand his vocabulary even more. So I created a subject block called “Word Bank.” We took three big words from this morning’s readings and we looked up the definitions and used them in sentences. (Seems he lacking basic dictionary skills since the invention of the internet.) We did the same for a random adjective from his list.
I thought the lesson block called “Journal Bucket” would be a downer for him but he liked it much better than journaling in public school. JD has extreme difficulty getting words, sentences, and stories from his mind to the paper. So I developed a journal bucket. It has an old pickle jar with journal prompts in it. He picked three out and selected one to write about. Next, was to close his eyes and make a movie about this topic. Next, in the bucket was a tape recorder. I had him move the movie from his mind to the recorder. Today was writing in cursive. He was suppose to then rewind the recorder and write his story but cursive writing has not been practiced enough in public school so we looked up a cursive letter chart and taped it in the cover of his journal. I wrote his story in cursive leaving space between lines so he could copy each line below. (I forgot how much lengthy writing can cramp the hand - what with computers and all.) He copied four lines and took a break, copied four more, etc. His cursive is SO NICE it’s hard to tell the two apart. Journal writing took a lot longer than expected so we scraped music until next week. Overall, journal bucket was a success because in public school the teacher wanted two full pages in his journal. All I ever saw in his book bag from the past was a messy topic sentence scribbled on a piece of paper crushed at the bottom of wrinkled folder. Apparently, this year it was “acceptable” for him to sit for hours on end in his classroom. No more of that! Anybody heard about Edison getting kicked out of school for being too $tupid? Disclaimer: I am in no way stating JD is stupid. What I am saying is none of his public school teachers have recognized the vast educational potential given the right tools, structure, and time. Voila…Momma Bear to the rescue!
The last topic we covered was history. He learned about “Before the Mexican-American war.” This lesson was engaging to him even though it was a reading assignment. I taught him how to take notes or draw pictures during lectures where minimal graphics are shown. This really helped him stay focused on the topic. His “notes” were needed when the program did flash card questions and the quiz at the end of the lesson. He scored nothing less that perfection in the subject of history today. Woo hoo!
I created a weekly sheet for JD to write what subjects he learned that day and if he liked it or not. This will be easy for him to glance at when his daddy asks, “What did you learn at school today bubba?” and it can be a tracking device for me. I created another assessment sheet for me. It reads: Topic, Attentive? Cooperative? Getting it? In all subject areas today he was attentive, cooperative, and most of all getting it!
Now for some funnies. Early on in the day when he was suppose to be reading/listening he was quite talkative. He was being very observant of the “class room” atmosphere. He observed (from the couch) that the “classroom” was decorative (speaking of the Christmas tree.) I also had a Nature CD in for ambiance and tranquility while reading. At the moment he stopped speaking about the decorations nothing but cricket sounds came from the speakers. I stated, “and apparently we have a bug problem.” He also declared that we had two class pets! And the last funny is when he interrupted me impulsively without speaking permission with, “Um, excused me teacher? Do you want to be called mommy or teacher?”

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