Tuesday, January 29, 2013

About the Oak Grove Kids...

Technically, we are still a public school family.
However, we have previously been a homeschool family...and will be returning to such in a very short time.

I am starting the website now as a way to help along the organizational process, to cultivate and accumulate ideas, and to ease the whole family back into the homeschool way of life.

This is Riley.  He's my oldest - ten years old! (Oh how time flies!)
He has an unknown learning disability that has prevented him for whatever reason [nobody knows the reason] to not be able to process the concepts of phonics.
When we were living in my hometown (which we are returning to in a few short weeks), my family completely depleted my confidence as a mother and teacher when I failed to produce a reading 7 year old.
Once we moved, I looked up our local public schools and, after seeing that they have award winning academics and scores, enrolled him in the 2011-2012 school year.
He was placed in the second grade [considered a year behind as he 'should' of been in third], and was placed into 1st grade reading.
Talk about a huge blow in confidence!!!
He was also scheduled for over 250 minutes per week of various remedial reading sessions.
All this, and he was still not at a second grade reading level by the end of the year.
{Although...he was an ADVANCED math student!}
All this time focused around reading and the teachers, therapists, and principal STILL could not crack this kid's code.
He was sent to summer school...and whatever they did triggered something in him...he started to improve.
2012-2013 school year...he is still not at a third grade reading level [he's 'technically' supposed to be a fourth grader.] but he has shown HUGE gains.
All of this improvement has come at a cost!
He has to work through recess...he has to work through art/music/etc...and currently, he is working through science/social studies to fit in more 'reading' curriculum.

Yeah, come to find out...it had NOTHING to do with what I was doing or not doing!!
(Thank God!)

I've been told that he is 'just one of those people who will never 'get' phonics'...they assume that he will always read out of his memorized vocabulary.

We'll see...

This child is completely overworked by the public school system.  
His whole life has been turned into one big reading class...he hates that. I hate that. It seems like he never has time for anything else by the time he goes to school, and then has to come home and do his regular homework, memorize [hard] spelling words, and catch up on the science that he's not currently doing in school.  

He's also had to deal with bullying this year.
And talks endlessly about the inappropriate conversations that his peers have and how that makes him uncomfortable.  {These third grade boys are talking about naked women, cussing, etc.}

We are excited to transition him back to home!!!
And back to being more than just a test score!!

This boy is capable of so much beyond the boundaries of his reading ability!!

This is Cody.
Oh, Cody!!!

Cody is my child that most people would label as having ADHD.
I think his teacher may end up in an asylum after this year!!
Poor woman...she really is lovely.

Cody is a handful.  He has had a difficult year with his father's side of the family [my oldest two have different dads]  and is transitioning though some VERY difficult things.  He acts out on this! A lot!

Academically...he's above grade level!!

He knows all his letters and sounds, and is sounding out words to the point of being able to read easy readers independently!!  

(That just goes to show just how different/unique each child is!! - And the schools think they can mold all children to the common core standards! - But that's another post!)

But, once a trouble maker is singled out...that label kind of sticks.
And, I mean, come on...the teacher has 20 other kids to deal with.  
But I've noticed many changes in him this year...and it hurt my heart greatly when he came home one day and told me that he's 'bad'.  
I'm a firm believer that once a child believes they're 'bad', they're going to give up on trying to be 'good'.
What's the point?
You're just going to get into trouble anyways, right?

I am hoping that keeping him home will allow him to spend more energy focusing on his work, and less energy wondering whether or not he's being 'bad'.

Gosh, I hate that word!

Oh, my Annalea!

Annie is 4 and is currently in Early Childhood Education {a type of preschool that has smaller class sizes so that they can help the children of various needs to prepare for Kindergarten success.]  
She was chosen for this program because she was lacking in the communication department a little bit.  
Her testing scores at 3 years old came back at a Kindergarten level!!
She is very smart!!
But she refused to talk to the tester, so communication scores came back very low.
She has been working with a speech therapist and is doing beautifully.
We've even thought about allowing her to continue with public school one more year since she loves it so much, but now that it's clear that we're moving she will be joining the other Oak Grove kids!

But when it comes down to it...her verbal skills have improved greatly and ECE is not really needed academically for her.  

Since she will not be five before September 1st, she will go through another year of ECE.
Doing the exact same things she is doing this year.
She's already not learning anything this year...already knowing at least 90% of what is being taught.
She could be advancing so much more, (the teachers think so too and they are already starting to work on her with letter sounds and phonics!) and I think she is perfectly capable of a slow-paced Kindergarten.

This is Leo...he is 22 months old.
He is already picking up on counting and some letters.  
We will be loosely tying in some preschool things for him to do...and giving him that extra little boost and head start in the academic game!!

This is my youngest, Joel.  Joel is 9 months old.
He plans on just looking cute for the 2013-2014 school year!!
Although he is REALLY trying to talk, so I think we may put extra effort into expanding his vocabulary!

And that's my tribe!!
The 'students' of Oak Grove Academy!!

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