Friday, May 28, 2010

Week in Review -- Wrapping up the School Year

This week we had our last "Face to Face" meeting with the CAVA teacher where we discussed progress and looked at the work samples we provided for her to put in the files wherever such things go. The school year ends June 16th so these last couple of weeks will be about tying up loose ends and finishing what we can before they shut down the online school for the summer. Kieron won't finish all his coursework. He is not doing K12 for high school so it won't make a big difference to anything. Oddly enough, his test results for the end of year were slightly lower than they were for the start of the year for both Language Arts and Math. I can't help feeling there was a statistical glitch since I know he did learn this year and given that a good bit of the work is geared towards test scores I would have expected him to do better rather than worse. However, the bright side is that what we were doing before K12 couldn't have been THAT bad. And knowing the weak spots might help us tailor his work next year. I am trying to get enthusiastic about being back on my own. My issue right now is that I know what I want to do but it will just take so much preparation time to do it the way I want. And when I get hyperinvolved in things it's hard on my family.

As a first grader, Paddy is too young to be tested with the normal multiple choice tests so the teacher informally tested him using Bader tests. He had made progress in reading, writing and math. In reading he had gone from 4th grade level to 6th grade level. In math, I'm not sure how it breaks down but he was able to do two problems he couldn't do at the beginning of the year so he had obviously progressed, and he was already beginning 3rd grade level. His handwriting was still sort of kindergarten level but more like late kindergarten, at least. K12 really seems to suit his learning style.

Aidan wasn't in K12 but this will go down as the year he learned to read, though it is still a work in progress. He is just turning 11 and had been stuck at blending sounds for literally about the past 5 years. He just didn't get it, so it seemed like there was some visual or motor processing problem going on since he knew all the letter sounds when he was five. At this point he does not read WELL, but he can participate actively in reading with some help and reminders, what you might call a first grade level of fluency. Someday I will write a post recording in more detail, since how kids achieve literacy is a fascinating mystery to me, but basically, the Dolch sight words unlocked reading for him. Or maybe it was more "Spell to Write and Read" -- anyway, targeting the most commonly used words and some high-interest sight words was what finally got him to where he could make some sense out of word and sentence structure. It's interesting to me since when I started homeschooling it was all about "Back to Phonics", but there are several children in my family who picked up phonics AFTER they could already read some.

Math is taking a little longer but I finally realized that he didn't GET what the "plus" and "minus" words meant. He can add and subtract a bit as long as I keep the examples and terminology concrete. I was really worried a couple of weeks ago because he was so random about it. But it turns out that it was me, ignoring the advice that I have never needed with the other kids, to make sure they are comprehending the symbolic language since that is an extra step into the abstract. He is just not at that point yet.


  1. It sounds like your year went quite well! I know how daunting it can feel, you have my sympathies! But, things will get done, whether we've planned for them or have to "wing it".

    And an extra "thumbs up" to Aidan on finally learning to read! It can be such a frustrating thing to teach and learn sometimes.

    I can relate to your worries, Willa. I often find myself that positive things finally happen when I follow advice t hat I thought I never needed. I guess it's God's way of keeping us humble!

    Hope you have a great weekend!

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