Inquiring Minds Want To Know…

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Inquring Minds Want to Know…

  • Why a green light on a progress report no longer means things are going well?
  • Why it is okay to teach kids to answer instead of teaching them to analyze?
  • Why, in spite of being full of educated professionals, the “school” has proven to be the last place I can send my son to gain an education?

This post isn’t created out of anger or hostility, but I must admit there is a level of frustration that is directed toward the teachers who went from giving my son a yellow (caution- work needed) on his progress report to a green (all is well on the western front).

You see, when I asked what technique they used to break through some of these barriers, I was hoping to find a viable method to apply in other areas of life to get a similar result.  Finally- a breakthrough!

Instead, I was given the following response: “We readjusted his expectations so that he is no longer failing to meet them”.

Basically, they gave up on my son.  THEY gave up on MY SON.

They gave up on my son because they wanted him to answer- not analyze.  They wanted a lackey- not a learner.

My son, Aiden, has a number of challenges that he must overcome.  Having been diagnosed with full-spectrum autism, he has significant difficulty in the areas of communication and social interaction.  These difficulties can make for very long and frustrating days for all involved in his education process (including HIM).

I’ll give credit to those educators who tried- but simply weren’t able (in spite of their best efforts) to see Aiden through some of these challenges.  I still wish we were able to take one of his teachers with us everywhere we go.  Aiden was not a number to her.  He wasn’t her “challenged child” in a typical class environment.  He was Aiden… and Aiden knew it.  He trusted her and she made great strides with him.

That said, she is unfortunately in a very small minority.  It sees as though this type of teaching (not merely instruction), is a dying art form in the education system today.

Aiden, at the age of 9, was spending equal time in school learning to trace letters in the alphabet and learning how to sweep the floor.  Part of his “socialization” was learning how to work well with others…. as a janitor…. at age 9.

I have no issue with children learning to take care of their surroundings, but if there isn’t enough time in the day to help him learn to read, write, and learn mathematical functions, there definitely isn’t enough time to teach him to sweep the floor.

And so, our journey into full-time homeschooling began.  It was also full of hurdles that had to be overcome, frustrating days, and anxiety over whether or not we made the right move.  Then came March and my son- dubbed incapable by the educated professionals- began to flourish.

His penmanship- not perfect.  At times, it is nearly incomprehensible.  Yet he reads to me these stories that come from within.  He writes of things he loves, things he wishes to avoid, and reminders that I need to turn the heat on because his school room is getting a bit too cool and the park makes him warm.

I don’t care that the stories are short or that they don’t follow a 5 paragraph form.  I do care that he is learning to embrace writing as a means to communicate his thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

His absolute boredom with reading his current selection of literature (Bobbsey Twins) that turns into excited stemming when the boys begin a schoolyard fight shows a display of emotion and an understanding of the story that we were told does not exist, because he did not circle a letter “b” on an educators test.

Aiden is proving himself to be quite capable and with just enough of a cocky attitude to let you know that he gets it, he is worth it, and he is not giving up.  All he needs is a chance to learn and for “those that know” to get out of the way.

He still does not like to be educated- but he loves to learn.  And I’ll take that any day.

At this point, our journey into homeschooling can best be summed up by a poem I learned as a child:

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost
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