Barefoot in Suburbia

Homeschooling & Special Needs, Inspired by the Montessori Way

Jedi's first week of homeschooling June 18, 2011

I decided that while Jedi’s homeschooling isn’t so interesting to look at visually, I was still going to keep a blog record of what we did.  This might become helpful at the end of the year when I have to pull together a portfolio for his yearly evaluation for the school district (and it also might be helpful when I have to work with the district to create his IEP for the year).  I will throw in a few pictures for good measure though. 😉

Life Science

We learned about the difference between living & nonliving, as well as the characteristics all living things share.  Jedi also did a plot study, where he went out to study a 4’x4′ square of land.  Jedi decided to study an area of land with a recently planted evergreen tree in it, just thinking it was a tree and a small bit of grass.  However, following a little trail of fluff in the tree, he discovered a hidden empty bird’s nest!  The coolest part about the bird’s nest?  The bird who made it recycled some bubble wrap, string, landscaping fabric, and other odd pieces of trash it somehow got ahold of.  Very very creative!

Observing a tree inside of the plot

The nest he found hidden in the tree.

The odd materials on the underside of the nest.

Chemistry

In Chemistry, Jedi learned that everything is made of chemicals.  He then looked at the ingredient list on a bag of marshmellows and a bottle of dish detergent and listed the chemicals in each that he had heard of before, and those he had not.  Finally, he named chemicals that were usually safe, some that are dangerous, and some that we use on a daily basis.

Math

Math was one of the two subjects Jedi really seemed to struggle with after leaving his Montessori school.  At the end of kindergarten, he was one of the top of his class in math.  However, at the end of 1st grade, his standardized testing done as part of his autism treatments showed that he never progressed at all in math, nor spelling…he was testing at almost the same  level a year later.  So, we are really trying to figure out what might help him here.  We started Rightstart Math, which uses the Asian way of counting (10, 10-1, 10-2, etc. (10, 11, 12), 2-10, 2-10-1, 2-10-2 (20, 21, 22).  He seemed to catch on to that way of counting.  We also discussed parallel lines, recognizing how many are in small groups of objects (1-10) without having to count, and using an abacus.

Geography

In Geography, we started a 2 week study of China.  Jedi, along with the girls, learned how to say hello & goodbye in Chinese, listened to children’s music in Mandarin, and colored the Chinese flag.  Jedi created math problems using Chinese symbols.  Finally, he created a replica of the Great Wall using mini foam building blocks.

Starting his project.

He worked for 3 straight hours, refusing to take a break! The finished Great Wall

Another view of his project

Coloring the flags

Studying what life in China is like for children.

World History

This week was just an intro week, where Jedi learned about the study of ancient history, and in particular the study of archaeology.  He learned how historians can figure out about ancient civilizations even though ways of recording history were not readily available.

Working on his History Pocket for this week

Ohio History

This week, he learned about the Ohio flag, and how it is differs from other state flags in the fact that it’s not a rectangle or square!

Writing

This week, Jedi journaled about what he’d do if he woke up and found out that he was president of the United States.  Because spelling is very difficult, we also worked a bit on editing his work.

Working hard on his journaling.

 

English

We decided to use McRuffy Press for Phonics, Reading, Language, and Spelling.  Jedi learned about prefixes, suffixes, and contractions.  He really seemed to like contractions, as well as finding the root word of words that had prefixes & suffixes.  He did seem to have a very hard time with the spelling aspect though, and we’re currently trying to do a bit more research into the most appropriate way to help him with spelling.  He was taught to spell phonetically, which would be great, except he had auditory processing & speech issues.  So, his spelling is exactly how he hears it, which sometimes is quite a ways away from the actual spelling.  While Jedi’s reading level is over the 3rd grade level, his spelling is at the early 1st grade level, which is quite frustrating for him.  Hopefully we figure something out in the next couple weeks that can help him.

Art

This, by far, was one of Jedi’s favorite subjects.  The first day, he had to sketch something that happened the day before using a graphite pencil & sketch pad.  The second art day, he created a work using watercolor crayons.  He was supposed to remember an event that he felt joyful at, and then use his imagination to find a way to color that scene so that it portrayed his excitement without words.

Using the watercolor crayons.

Music

Day 1 of music each week involves listening to and learning about a famous composer.  This week, it was Bach.  Jedi learned about Bach’s life, and listened to Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Day 2 of music each week involves learning some beginner piano.  This week, he learned the proper hand positioning, where middle C was on the piano, and learned a simple exercise using all of the black keys of the piano.

Working on his playing exercise.

Health

Jedi’s health curriculum is twofold.  First, we use a social stories book for children with autism on personal hygiene.  Second, we use Horizon’s health curriculum.  This week, we learned about how each person is unique, and begun work on feelings.  Because feelings, and especially recognizing the feelings of oneself and others, can be difficult for a child with autism, we are taking an extra lesson to work on this.

 

Not bad for the first week!  It was a lot of work, but Jedi was so willing to do it (honeymoon period!).  He was anxious to get to work each day, and for the most part, it was difficult to get him to quit.  We certainly are going to take advantage of this honeymoon period willingness! 😉

 

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3 Responses to “Jedi's first week of homeschooling”

  1. allyrae Says:

    Steph…thank you! I will have to try that!

    Cathy…we must be on the same wavelength. I just ordered that yesterday, along with a couple computer programs. His occupational therapist is also trying to come up with some ideas.

  2. I am glad to hear that your homeschooling is off to such a good start. I also love reading your blog. 🙂

    Have you looked at All About Spelling as a solution to his spelling issues? I know you are probably not looking for another curriculum solution, but it is a really cool program. I like it that they teach spelling in a very logical way. It is also multisensory which I know a lot of your other curriculum is.

  3. Stephanie Says:

    On the spelling… something that Owen’s class did this year is they each had a little book with 1 page for each letter of the alphabet. Every time they needed help with spelling a word they would bring the book to an adult in that room. The adult would write the word on the appropriate page. Of course, at the beginning of the year there was a whole lot of work for the teacher to do, but as the year went on the children were able to look up their commonly used words in their own books to see how they were spelled.

    At the end of the school year they all brought their books home. Owen’s was completely empty, lol, but it wasn’t because he could spell everything! His was empty simply because that method didn’t work for him so they didn’t push it. But maybe it would work for Jedi? Just a thought!


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