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Author Topic: update on my kids  (Read 4079 times)
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akalori
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« on: November 15, 2013, 05:25:13 PM »

I don't post much on my kids but I have benefited tremendously from the info and sense of community on this site (even though I mostly lurk in the background).  Anyway I hope my update is helpful to others. 

I have a struggling son (age 10) and an advanced daughter (age 6).  I discovered early reading with YBCR, then this forum and Little Reader (which is the best).  At the time, my daughter was 23 months old and my son was 6 and in kindergarten.  I had a bumpier experience than most.  My daughter's accomplishments were bittersweet since they occurred as my son's learning difficulty were surfacing at school.  At times it was a balance act to support my daughter's early learning without jeopardizing my son's self esteem.  My daughter was also a headstrong toddler who enjoyed refusing lessons.  With all of the issues combined, our lessons waxed and waned and never seemed consistent enough. 

Despite our challenges, early learning concepts were always guiding my decisions and structuring our household.  I noticed that I did things differently than my friends.  The differences were subtle but profound.  The simple stuff that most on this forum take for granted doesn't happen in average households.  I read to the kids daily.  I worked on cross pattern coordination for better brain development via brachiation on the playground, swim lessons, and gymnastics for both kids.  There was also yoga (son), robotics (son), documentaries (both), Little Musician (daughter), piano lessons (daughter), etc.  Overall every month, I looked less like my friends and more like people on this forum.  Even when I was doing things that seemed the norm (swimming and gymnastics) my goals were different (cross pattern coordination and brain development).  Whenever I got raised eyebrows, I would lurk on this forum and feel confident and grounded again. 

Overall we did keep up with early reading lessons and activities but it was slow going in comparison to many on the forum.  Then suddenly between age 3 and 3.5 yrs old, my daughter began decoding and reading unfamiliar books to herself.  She became a self motivated compulsive reader.  I mean I couldn't even read email safely around her anymore.  Then I must admit she completely refused to practice reading with me.  I was way too slow for her, so I'm no longer the teacher.  Instead now I'm like the education director.  I research and obtain the educational supplies, place them strategically around the house, and hope the workers (my kids) use them.

My daughter entered kindergarten reading on a third grade level (per testing by her teacher).  Now in first grade, my daughter says she is up a 4th grade reading level.  We haven't had parent-teacher conference yet so she is my only source of information.  She is assigned to an enrichment cluster within the regular classroom.  The work is still too easy.  Sometimes I worry she is picking up lazy habits from the other kids.  In spring, she will take the COGAT test for placement in a gifted classroom for next year.  The test worries me because I believe that early reading gives no advantage on the test.  I think they read the test to the kids.  I think it is mostly a logic test.  The gifted classroom uses the same curriculum as the regular classroom.  They just expand the work to make it more challenging.  Either way every child is assigned to a reading groups based on their reading level and has some corresponding written work.  So the gifted classroom probably will have a minimal impact, but I still hope she tests well enough to get into it. Beyond these small worries, my daughter is doing very well.  The early reading advantage allows her to learn on her own and she is a self motivated learner.  What more can I want!  She wants to be a writer and an artist when she grows up. I could envision her in an eclectic intellectual community.

To my surprise, the early learning experience with my daughter has given some unique and unconventional ideas about my son.  It has made me much more upbeat and optimistic about his challenges.  It has made me realize that there are many different ways to learn.  The completely lateral learning that it is expected at school isn't the only way.  As long as my son keeps learning, then his asynchronous development is okay.  He has always been a confusing mix of interests and abilities.  He spoke early, and was able to synthesize knowledge and come up with astounding conclusions.  Around 18 months old, he loved documentaries.   He saw one that mentioned bacteria caused decaying Egyptian mummies to have a bad smell.  Later my mother commented that his dirty diaper was particularly smelly and he explained that it was due to the "bacteria."  Yet he couldn't put geometric blocks in a shape sorter correctly at age 3.  I think he is secretly gifted but it is hidden due to his learning disabilities.  Anyway in addition, to other issues, he has gotten a lot of intervention for dyslexia, and he is doing much better lately.  He is also a bookworm and self motivated learner.  He use a DAISY reader to follow along in digital books at his intellectual level while his reading level is not caught up yet.  He loves NPR, Greek Mythology, and science.  He is getting more intellectually organized and is finding creative ways to deal with learning challenges.  He has already decided that he wants to get into one the highest ranked high schools in the nation (a biotechnology high school in our town) rather than the regular public high school.  It is an unlikely goal and amazing that he has such ambitions.  But sometimes (even while I'm sitting in IEP meeting) I think he might surprise us all and achieve his goals. Many average kids are not interested in learning once formal schooling ends.  My son however seeks the big truths in life continually.  He wants to know how the universe works, how our brain works, what is consciousness, dark matter, black holes, etc.  He is actually more self motivated and driven to learn than my daughter. "Adversity builds character" has become our motto.

I hope my update, hopes, and dreams for my kids is helpful to others starting out in this teaching journey.  Whatever you are doing just keep it up.  It could have a profound effect.

Lori


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Korrale4kq
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« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2013, 12:23:45 AM »

Thank you so much for your update Lori! It is greatly appreciated to see where the little ones are not that they are growing up.
I love that your son has a passion to learn. I too believe that despite his setbacks that he will do well also. smile

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« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2013, 02:59:13 AM »

Thank you for your update Lori. Your post was very moving and inspiring. May all your dreams become a reality and may the three of you have tons of fun in the process!


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« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2013, 01:50:11 PM »

I love this!  Thank you for sharing!

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suvit
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2013, 04:05:20 PM »

Thank you so much for sharing. It is very inspiring.  Even I am new to this all and often find comfort and support in this forum  biggrin .

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Drjuliadc
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« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2013, 04:39:28 AM »

Lovely update.  I enjoyed it.

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Nida_A
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2013, 03:20:33 PM »

@akalori.  Yes, I also think that your son's interest and enthusiasm for learning will go a long way in helping your son succeed and overcome any obstacles. 

You mentioned concern about the COGAT test - I think it will benefit if you do practice tests for such an exam because you never know what kind of format the test will have - It's better to have your child prepared in advance.  A very helpful resource that contains all sorts of tests is www.testingmom.com.  This will give your child plenty of practice so they feel more comfortable on exam day - best of luck!

« Last Edit: November 26, 2013, 03:29:33 PM by NidaAhmed » Logged
Nikita
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2013, 08:54:53 PM »

All we can do is do our best...and give ourselves a pat on the back for that regardless of the results...so any improvements are just icing on the cake. There are only so many hours in the day and I know sometimes I feel like I havent achieved what I want to achieve with my children and other areas, but then I think...I'd have to be superhuman to do that. So congrats on what you've achieved!

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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2013, 02:39:29 PM »

Thanks for the update!

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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2013, 09:41:18 PM »

That is inspiring! I hope things continue to be wonderful for your children. Many blessings and best wishes!

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akalori
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« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2013, 03:54:14 AM »

Thanks everyone for the wonderful replies; particularly Nida-A for the COGAT practice link. I had been looking at some practice materials but didn't order any yet. I was worried that intentional practice could cause stress and test anxiety.  I wasn't planning on discussing the COGAT test at home.  She isn't a competitive kid and doesn't do well under pressure.  She has a best friend at school who always tries to do the best.  My daughter is more capable but always steps aside and hides in the crowd.  If she knew the COGAT test was important she might do poorly.  So I rather that she think it was a normal part of her school day; nothing special.  However, I really think a small amount of practice could be helpful.  I'm going to order a practice test and pretend that it is just a puzzle book.  Then I will just leave it on the bookshelf and let her do it at her leisure. My daughter loves to learn by herself but doesn't like to demonstrate her knowledge.  Sometimes she gives intentional wrong answers to avoid attention and fit in with her peers.  So I'm trying to resolve myself to not be disappointed if she doesn't get into the gifted group.  She doesn't learn a lot at school anyway.  She learns better by herself.

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