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For 100 points… What is education?

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Ever feel like you are playing a game with the odds totally stacked against you?

Education for 100 points? “What age can your child start school?”

Did you say 5? No sorry, you may not start until you have already turned 6.

Education for 200 points? “Would it be possible to contact a school and discuss it?”

I am sorry. Do you seriously think they will want to take the disruptive always up to mischief child into a classroom?

Education for….

I am so disappointed, disgusted, and disillusioned that, time again and again misinformation, misconception, misinterpretation, and misrepresentation, lead to a misunderstanding of some children.

I am tired of no one listening and everybody talking! I am tired of trying to explain:

  • If you challenge him he settles to the task.
  • He only causes issues when he is bored!
  • He needs movement to process his world!
  • He is not being defiant!
  • He will quote you back verbatim for hours on end if you just… Let! Him! Move!”

I am now convinced talking to a brick wall would be easier!  Disillusioned does not even begin to cover my disappointment in educators and the system they have created.  Only 20pages on learning difficulties (LD) in the 600page educational psychology textbook for teachers does not help teachers understand anything but standard kids.  Very few have heard of twice exceptional… let alone Gifted… and learning difficulties including dyslexia….

Teacher: “Isn’t Gifted, genius? He is really not that smart!”

“Isn’t dyslexia just an excuse to be lazy?”

Ok, time for a deep breathe! Smile! Remember to think calming thoughts before you talk and… don’t scream at anyone!  You can not change ‘rude and ignorant’ so do not lower yourself to their level! Use new mantra: “Educate them! Educate them!” Obviously they think they know best! No that thought is not allowed! “Educate them!”

Thankfully, my crazy family had a solution to my as yet to occur chaos! My father’s infuriating mantra and answer to every impossible situation… “There is no such word as can’t!” and my mother’s response to my complaints about my father’s never-changing advice was “Just go and do something useful! Better still go and work out a different way to sort out your problem!” Which obviously left to me walking away grumbling “Thanks for nothing, Mum!”

Well, thanks for something very important, Mum! The education system may not be able to educate my impossible child, but I can!

Yes, that’s right! I can! Although, I will attempt to politely correct your misunderstanding and misconception and a whole bunch of other “mis-” that is involved with “dys-” (dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia…) and I just need to let it go!

Me: “I said Twice-Exceptional! That is Gifted with a learning difficulty.  In my son’s case dysgraphia is our super power!  That’s mother speak for ‘this is a strength we need to learn to utilize’. Now we are on the same page, right?.

When I said “gifted” you thought I meant “prodigy”. I did not! I meant he is an asynchronously challenged child. His brain works differently.”

Are you confused yet? Good! So am I!  Hopefully we might achieve something useful yet!

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“So… tell me, how does your child go with reading at home?”

This is rather amusing… Now that we escaped the class teacher at the school, moved a continent away, homeschooled full time for a year, rewrote all the learning to read and write programs, enrolled in Arabic school 3.5 hours a day and continue English reading at home… the English reading is 6-12 months ahead, the writing not great but at least legible and today ‘my totally failing school’ according to “that” teacher and his educational psychologist… his Arabic school results are in… 75% overall or a B on our normal scale! 100% in Maths and Art! Not one D insight!!! So I read my old post with amusement….

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Oh Help! Breathe! My sons “Reading Teacher” wants to see me!

Reading Teacher! What is a reading teacher anyway? I so did not sign up for this today! 15minutes notice…. who does 15minutes notice on an appointment…. storm brewing…. thunder rumbling…. raindrops starting to splatter across the windscreen…… 15 minutes and we can avoid nature’s 3 o’clock chaos sent to make parents appreciate nice sunny days! The little voice from the back seat again says “Mama did you hear me – my reading teacher wants to see me!”  Avoidance will work no longer!  I can’t do it…. we have to go back….

 

I am drawn to a thought that the wise women that blog about the needs of Gifted children keep reiterating….  Mama, you’ve got this!

 

My son started Year 2 this year…. it has always been a struggle for him. Reading and Writing do not come naturally for him.  His inquisitive nature has had him begging for youtube documentaries on his topics, audio books from the library (30mins drive to school each way leaves plenty of time for audiobooks), BBC DVD documentaries from the library and building in his world on minecraft.  He had a not so useful OT assessment but that is another story – just ensure you ask if the person doing the “dyslexia assessment” knows anything about dyslexia 😦 

At the beginning of the Year 2 term 1, in February this year, we completed the DORA online reading assessment…. it showed Kindergarten Spelling level, Year 1 reading level and Year 5 Verbal comprehension.  Maths problem solving (if someone read the problems) was around year 2/3 level. Maths on paper still needs help with correct number formation.

How do I politely say… I spoke to his class teacher and we started reading intervention already a specifically designed program catering for this Gifted kid. Yes I know my son ticks all the boxes for dyslexia and mildly dysgraphia.  He loves sport but playing with a pencil, is not sport!

 

Bilingual and Biliterate or Establishing an identity…

Determining that many people do not realise that bilingual does not mean you can speak, read and write two languages… it means you can speak two languages.

Bilingualism by itself is a pretty big task…. but trying to find a community that is attempting an education in two languages…. not so easy!

Obviously growing up in Australia the option of meeting truly bilingual and biliterate people is a challenge. In many instances even the people you meet who are learning in two languages maybe bilingual but struggle to match their reading and writing skills in both languages.

I wonder why this is?

In many intances the nuances in a language are much easier to pick up if you can read the actual meaning and then the twist/ joke/amusement in the target language is much easier to determine. Nearly always the amusement, brought by word play, is totally lost in translation.

Why do many find it unnecessary to hold onto the language of their heritage, and their children only speak the language of the community?  Many children later in life hit a crisis when they realise half their world is missing. Children of refugees, too young to learn to read and write their own language in their country of origin and who struggle continually to learn to speak, read or write in their new country’s language, regardless of compulsory schooling, then feel a burden to society.  Trapped between two worlds. Fitting in neither as they are illiterate in both.  The education system in trying to help by insisting they go to school fails to recognise the need for these kids to start at the beginning. Whether they are 5, 9 or 14 they need to start in a class that teaches “A is for Apple, a a apple”. Teach them the community language and help them assimilate or teach them their country of origin’s language and give them their identity back. Either way we instil a sense of self-worth to a child that otherwise has no identity. Without feeling whole assimilation is not possible.

Surely we can adjust an education system to meet the needs of our children!

A mixture of thoughts…

Engaging a disinterested child in seemingly simple exercises is sometimes a very thankless task!

What happens if we assume instead that a child has a capacity to assimilate with their surroundings and submerge in the topic at hand?  Introducing a topic at a level you think they do not understand but allowing them the freedom to explore and question!

Articles:

https://atlaseducational.wordpress.com/2015/10/20/start-at-the-top/

http://dangerouslyirrelevant.org/2012/02/do-students-need-to-learn-lower-level-factual-and-procedural-knowledge-before-they-can-do-higher-order-thinking.html

Disparity in gifted education…

This week I am reading Piaget’s theories on child development in education (amongst other things his main study is development psychology)…

Whilst many of his theories have been proved/disproved accordingly I wonder if the basis of disparity in gifted education and particularly profoundly gifted kids education all arises from his belief that a child under 6 is incapable of the cognitive processes usually associated with 7-11 year olds?

It was written as a statement of fact. I am wondering… Whilst his other theories have been tested and adjusted accordingly, this statement appears to sit in the midst of the abyss unchallenged! Or as yet I can find no challenge for it. :/

Learning to write…تعلم الكتابة

Now that is a rather interesting challenge!

From Right-to-Left NOT Left-to-Right!

Different letters… that’s ok! They are kind letters which don’t make tricks! Unlike English ones that have all sorts of combinations and even the same spelling can be pronounced differently! Read and read! Live and Live! Hmmmm…..

So, Arabic…. let’s talk about a garden…

In the morning we walk in the garden.

.في الصباح نحن ندجل الحديقة

In the garden grows a tall tree.

.في الحديقة تنمو الشجرة عالية

And in the tree lives a green caterpillar.

.و في الشجرة يقيم السيرة الأخضر

The caterpillar eats many leaves.

.الاسبوع ياكل الورقة عديدة

 

Meanderings…

Sometimes thoughtful! Sometimes not!

An adventure waiting to happen…

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If I set forth on this path…

Following my three-year-old places is always at high speed…. he just moves forward… No concerns… as quickly as possible with no thoughts for the consequences his speed may deliver… delightful as always to see!

Thankfully,  this is always amusing to me, even if stressful… what you cannot see in this picture is the swirling deep waters of the river ambling by… just waiting to swallow the small creature if he escapes from his mother’s side.  And…. as with all small creatures they have a strange fascination with the deep dark depths of that swirling meandering stream!

Night time is coming… away from the park… a small voice from the backseat of the car calls out “Look Mum! An Asteroid!”

 

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“Look Mum! It’s an asteroid!”

 

Looking up I see a jet plane leaving a streamer of cloud across the sky…. with the setting sun’s rays making it almost luminous… I can see how the small boy calls out “Asteroid” excitedly….

 

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Travelling home

 

Time for a rest! Home again!

G is for Gardening…

Our journey begins…. 9 April 2016

My kids decided they wanted to do some gardening!  Following discussions about butterfly gardens and gardening to attract little birds I was presented with a garden map for a Butterfly Garden…. yikes!

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Butterfly Garden – First Draft

So today, following some very useful advice and a book recommendation called “The Garden Classroom: Hands-On Activities in Math, Science, Literacy & Art” by Cathy James we decided to go the gardening centre….

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and we to buy some supplies…. Vegetable & Herb Mix organic soil, sugar cane mulch, bamboo stakes, roll of mesh (to keep the chooks and 2yo out), starter kits for strawberry and sunflower seeds (and a couple of others), snow pea seeds, broad bean seeds, kids gardening gloves, lettuce seedlings, shallot seedlings, and marigold seeds.

We decided to firstly try growing the seedlings, snow peas, broad beans and marigolds.  We decided our old broken kiddy-pool would make the best garden as it was big enough to make a nice vegetable patch but not so big we could not manage it.

We had mulched and put our fence up and an unwelcome visitor in the shape of a Butcher Bird arrived.  We thought it might go digging for worms in our garden under the mulch…. Thankful it went on its way.

Now for the waiting….

 

D is for Digress….

Yes, I know we have a reading and writing adventure to persue but…. sometimes the best method of attack is to totally sidetrack our minds and rest…. to approach from a different angle….

It is school holidays after all…. Let’s learn about plants! Butterfly friendly… plants, weeds, flowers, fruit to feed them, rocks for them to rest on….

But wait! Shhh!!!! No telling anybody we are reading!  No telling anybody they are writing… let us just call it ‘note-taking’ and smile because I definitely am!  We “apparently” do not like writing!  Oh well! ‘Semantics’ is an interesting concept we shall leave them very much in the dark about!

For now their interest has wained! They must be hungry! This is the only possible solution for a stalling investigation…. and it is not yet 7am!

Breakfast time!

 

C is for Chooks

Chooks or chickens whatever you call them ours have the run of the backyard!

Sorry little creatures you need to stay on your side of the fence now!

Now, to keep these two cute creatures in their part of the garden we need some supplies.  We have a fence to repair and a gate to secure…. However we still want to have the fence movable if we change our mind….

The decision is… Bamboo stakes and some ties should do the job and keep the creature in!  (Or out! LOL)