Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cade's Quirky Home School Education

A few weeks ago my mom, who works at a school for children with communication and learning differences, forwarded me an article on "quirky" kids - that is to say, kids that might be called "difficult" by some due to their unique learning styles. I loved it because the article described Cade (the Toddler Previously Described as Weird) to a tee. It helped me see his learning style in a whole new light and made me realize that I probably have a big job ahead of me as his educational advocate. He is bright and eager to learn, but responds best to unconventional methods of teaching.

Case in point:
True to my promise to Aaron, the boys and I are "working together" on assorted pre-school learning topics on the mornings that I have alone with each of them while the other is in school. In fact, Cade enjoys this time together so much that he asks to "do workbook" the minute Aaron and Drew leave the driveway and informed Aaron this weekend that "only Mommy can do workbook with me".

At the School of Cara, we follow the curriculum outlined by our preschool because Mommy is not a teacher - she is just trying to shut Daddy up. A significant part of the official curriculum for the 2 year class is "being away from your mommy", which Drew mastered during the month of September, leaving us free to spend the remainder of the semester wandering TJ Maxx and drinking Starbucks on our mornings off.

Cade's education has taken a different turn. I committed to work with him on counting and phonics, so this semester's course material includes three textbooks:

  • "Counting Bears", purchased half-price at Target during Back to School Week. Comes with actual counting bears to facilitate the learning process!
  • "Letters". Offers lessons on letter recognition, handwriting and phonics.
  • "Super Sticker Lessons" - a huge sticker book with various sections on letters, numbers, opposites, colors, shapes, big/small, etc.

Of particular interested to Cade is the insect section of the sticker book. He has a major fascination with beetles and as it turns out, did you know that there are MANY, MANY species of beetles, each more sickening than the next. I will be glad when the beetle unit is over. As of the end of September, Cade can name all 5,000 species of beetles and write the letter "C" backwards. In lower AND upper case!

As those of you that live in Georgia know, the schools here are notoriously bad. Aaron likes to refer to our local elementary as "the school that leaves every child behind". This prompts most parents to either move to the one good school district in the state, fork out an amount equivalent to their retirement fund to send their kids to private school, or home school.

An article in this weekend's paper about the very minimal home schooling requirements in Georgia prompted me to wonder if, in fact, I COULD home school Cade. Under my tutelage, he could conceivably graduate from high school an illiterate entomologist and and probably still be ahead of 99% of his peers in the public school system. And Aaron worries that they are not academically advanced enough....

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