Tuesday, April 26, 2011

3 steps forward…

…2 steps (4 steps?  9 steps?  17 steps?) back.

It’s been one of those days.  Generally, I enjoy homeschooling.  I love seeing the boys learn.  I love watching the light come on,spring fling button seeing them ‘get it.’  And for the most part, it’s been that way all year.  Sure, we’ve had some bumpy patches and some places where  I wondered what on earth I was doing.  Mostly, though, it’s been steady (albeit slow, for one) progress.  I’ve been pleased.  This morning, though, I was ready to throw in the towel.  We have been working on phonemes (the basic  speech sounds that, when combined, form words) and phonemic awareness.  Logan’s done incredibly well—better than I expected; exceptionally well considering both his hearing loss and his limited (3 year) exposure to English.  Most students, when they learn to read, have had somewhere between 5 and 6 years of exposure to English.   We’ve spent the last 25 or so weeks working on letter sounds in the initial position.  He can almost always identify the sound, and typically can match the sound to the letter symbol.  The letter name?  Not there yet, but since we’re not shooting to win the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee any time soon, I don’t really care.

Today, we introduced recognizing the letter sound in the final position.  Uh….yeah.  Dream on, Mom.  It was SO FAR beyond anything he could wrap his mind around I felt like we were back in August again.  It was so discouraging!  For both of us, since he knew he wasn’t getting it.  After trying for a LONG time, we put the lesson aside and agreed to come back to it later.  Or tomorrow.  And I spent the next 15 minutes with my head in my hands, wondering why on earth I thought I could do this.  Wondering HOW to help him understand.  Wondering if we would ever master this and be able to move on to the next step.  And I spent time being very grateful that I am home and can homeschool, since seeing him struggle again this morning reminded me clearly once again that he is NOT a candidate for a classroom.  He wouldn’t make it.  He simply wouldn’t.  When I remember that 80% of children with hearing loss graduate from high school functionally illiterate, it motivates me.  It motivates me to stick with it—he will NOT be part of that statistic.  I can do better than the local school system.  Or at least it’s awful hard to do worse.  It motivates me to rethink how to teach him—failure is not an option.  It inspires me to get creative, to think outside the box.

The gap between the boys continues to grow.  It is difficult for Logan, and yet he is still motivated to keep up with Ryan.  They are both inspired to keep going, so we keep plugging away.  4 more weeks this year, then they move into a modified summer session.  We’ve gained too much ground with Logan to take a full summer break.  His learning style won’t thrive with that.  We will conquer this issue and move forward.

In the meantime, if you see me wandering aimlessly, send me back.  It means I’ve taken an unauthorized leave.  Of something.  Just not my senses—they left a long time ago.  :)

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