Friday, 11 October 2013

Education in the wilds...

So for those who follow this blog you know that I do quite a few reviews of books.  However today I am going to do something a bit more oriented towards my home schooling.  As you know I have a 10 year old son with special needs.  He also has a total aversion to learning in any format.  And trust me I've tried just about every curriculum out there, special needs curriculums, Commor Core Curriculum, etc etc etc.  He has in fact said in no uncertain terms that he does not want to learn anything.  Basically at 8 years old he dropped out of school for all intents and purposes.

Now I've only been home schooling him for a year now.  But in that time that mindset has not changed at all.  He still does every task I set him to as slow and drawn out as possible with as little effort from him as possible sometimes to the extent of just writing in anything.  And lets not even go into art here, because that is where most children do well within his spectrum yet he is still drawing much as a prep child does.  Now I say all this because I need you to understand just where my son is in his educational foray.  Basically,he is a 10 year old in Kindergarten/Prep.  Can he work harder?  Yes, when I force him, and yes I do mean force him, he can now read at a grade 7 level which for him is a huge improvement, and he even has a blog which if I sit on him he actually posts to.  The doctors have stated it in such a manner... "He is the laziest child they have ever seen."

Now my fight with them has always been how can you diagnose him with any issues when he was too lazy or stubborn or whatever words you wish to use to describe him as to take the IQ test?  Now as his new mother, I saw right away there were issues with him, not so much in his ability to do things because he is quite smart, but I knew that he just didn't have that drive that my girls had to succeed or for that matter to even research into a topic that interests him.

But Connor CAN learn!  After a full two weeks spent using Amanda Bennett's Cavernous Caves lapbook kit, mind you it was supposed to be a one week lapbook but Connor always takes a minimum of double the allotted time to complete any task, we went on a trip to the local caves here in Australia.

What happened there was an example how a piece of paper cannot always tell you just what your child has learned.  Connor could tell the person that there were stalactites and stalagmites, though he couldn't remember which was which.  But for the first time Connor went off exploring on his own.  He willingly followed the tour guide through an area of the cave that mom and dad decided to forgo because it entailed crawling on our tummies.  My son, who is afraid of basically everything went willingly to try something new.  He explored that section of the cave and his father and I stood near where it would exit only a few yards from where it started but hey it was something daring to us.  Here is a photo of him climbing up out of the tunnels.

Now that is not the only thing he did.  He flipped off his headlamp and proceeded to explore a cavern in complete darkness by feel only.  This was a fun, and exciting walk thru a zig zag cave that was quite long but really was probably only about 30 meters but it sure felt like it was much longer.  Our sense of hearing was amazing in that darkness, it took only seconds for our other senses to take over where our eyes once were.  It was an amazing experience and one I must say I never thought he would be willing to try.  But once again he surprised me.

This just showed me that even though I keep thinking he isn't learning anything because his work is so poor, that he does learn some things.  Yes he may never be able to write in a better sentence than a first grader.  Yes he is not going to meet the base Common Core for the school system.  Yes he will never prove to be an Einstein.  Yes he is 100% different than my girls.  But he does maintain some knowledge and I can only hope and pray that one day he will be able to hold a job and have a family and maintain a lifestyle at least as good as his father's and mine.  For now, I will keep working with him, keep spending time with him, and keep taking him to whatever outside things we can afford to do.  And who knows maybe some day something will spark his desire to learn.

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