Thursday, October 4, 2012

Need Your School Advice!

My Little One’s Storyboard

I recently attended a 4-week baptism class with my youngest. It was a great opportunity to see how my little one responds in a learning situation. Especially since he’s constantly complaining about not wanting to go to school. By the end of the course, I learned that my son is not a typical student and may need a unique classroom to help him reach his full potential.

Let me paint the picture for you. We were sitting in an intimate class setting, basically my youngest and one other child and his dad. As the teacher gave the lesson, she shared information, asks questions and looked for feedback. The other child sat nicely in his chair, giving responses when asked while giving his complete attention to the teacher. My youngest on the other hand started out seated upright, for about 2 whole minutes, then slowly slid down his chair, sometimes appearing upside down in his seat, sometimes on the floor, but always in constant motion. He may have answered the first question, but after that he was completely bored, complaining aloud, “This is soooo boring.” Sometimes his response to the teacher would be a simple grunt or grumble or the defeated words, “I’m dying now, can we go home...”

After what appeared to be a dreadful experience for my son, the teacher then said, “Ok, let’s get a piece of paper and draw what we’re talking about.”

Like a light being switched on, my youngest perked right up and ran to the art supplies. Then in a joyful manner, he drew a stick figure storyboard with a grid of the entire lesson by looking at pictures from his bible.

At the end of the class the boys shared their drawings. The other child presented a sweet drawing of a cross on a hill of grass and blue skies above. Then my son had his turn. In great detail he explained the steps to Jesus’ crucifixion from the point of where Jesus prayed to have it taken from him, to the people yelling at Pilate to crucify Jesus, Pilate’s response and the beatings that followed from the roman soldiers. He then explained how they laughed at Jesus and put a crown of thorns on his head and lead him to the crucifixion. He then finished by sharing how Mary found his empty tomb and Jesus returned.

When he was done talking we all stood with our mouths open, then the other parent looked at me and said, “He has something special, have you ever thought about taking him out of the public classroom and putting him where he’ll thrive?”

(Can I say how much I appreciated this parent’s non-judgemental attitude toward my son! I loved that he didn’t think of my child as a bad kid for not participating well during the lesson, but rather saw that my son had a unique learning style and as he told me, “could do something pretty special someday.”)

Hmmm... It got me wondering. Maybe the reason my son hates school so much is because it doesn’t serve his learning style. I remember even his preschool teacher saying that he seemed to learn differently. While all the class focused on her, he would be doing his own thing in the back of the class, appearing tuned out, but as soon as he was tested, he proved to know all the material, to everyone’s surprise.

So what academic environment does a kid like him thrive in?

Any suggestions? I would love to hear your thoughts!


14 comments:

  1. Wow, I don't have any suggestions but have you had his IQ checked? Maybe he is really bright and just completely bored with the pace of regular classroom material? I love his diagram - he clearly has no issues with visualizing and summarizing stories :)

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    1. No I haven't, maybe I will be able to this year through the school. I have noticed that he is full of stories in his head, lately he has been working on a comic book series of a character he invented. I think has over 8 books made this week. There always seems to be a lot going on in his head and he prefers to do stuff on his own. Since a young age he has complained about toys being boring. I think he can't wait to grow up. : )

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  2. Have you heard of democratic schools? My kids don't attend, but my youngest son had a therapist once who ran one with her husband. Might be worth seeing if there's one in your area. :)

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    1. No I haven't heard of it, I’ll need to look into it. What are they?

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  3. Isn't the Montessori model for kids to learn at their own pace and preferred learning style??? Might be worth looking into. I wish we had done this with our daughter years ago. Cathy

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    1. I was wondering about the montessori model, don't know much about it, but may visit one in my area.

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  4. Montessori schools differ greatly from area to area, so check one out in your area. The one that my son attended when he was younger was a very traditional Montessori model and I do not think your youngest son would do well in this environment. Waldorf schools are another option you may want to look into.

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    1. Thanks Dawnelle! What's a Waldorf school like?

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  5. We recently had a complete educational evaluation done on my 11 year old son and it was one of the best things we could have done. It not only tested IQ, but also learning style and was able to very clearly identify strengths and weaknesses in many areas. It was so interesting. My son is currently homeschooled and one of the main reasons we had the testing done was to determine what type of school would be best for him if we decided to go that route again. It was a little pricey, but well worth it. It made so many things about him and some of his behaviors finally make sense! My only regret it that we didn’t do it sooner. That may be something to look into. Good luck and thank you for sharing your story!
    Laura

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    1. That sounds very interesting Laura, I’ll need to look into that with our school to see if they offer this type of testing. I bet the information must be so helpful!

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  6. Hi Mama Bear,

    (I've been a bad bunny about blog reading again) Are you aware of Hoagies Gifted page? Lots of links to all kinds of things including articles that explain all kinds of options. http://www.hoagiesgifted.org/

    Waldorf schools tend to be more arts and creation oriented and very anti-technology. And a little more holistic in approach to learning--subjects aren't distinct.

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    1. Thanks Heather, I appreciate the info and will definitely check it out!

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  7. I can't thank you enough for this post. So similar to my son. I have done tons of research on different school philosophies. I am still on the fence about montessori(some aspects I like, others I don't) Waldorf is a little too artistic focused for my guy. I've been checking out Paideia lately(it is a new concept in our area). If we can't get him stabilized soon, I may have to home school him. I am making myself crazy. Every time the phone rings I jump out of my skin worried that it is his school calling to say he's "in trouble" again. (He's 8.)Also if you get a chance, google "indigo child". Some of the info is a little too new age-y for me, but it describes many qualities of my son and maybe yours too.

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    1. The whole school thing can be overwhelming huh! I am still in the beginning stages of looking into this. The first thing I am pursuing is testing to see where my child falls, is he struggling because he is overwhelmed or bored? I meet with our principal in a week to request it, not sure how that will go. It's funny you mentioned indigo kids, my sister-in-law mentioned that to me a long time ago, I have forgotten what I read about it, I should check it out again. Let me know what you finally decide on the schools and good luck figuring it out!

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