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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Worry Tree and Mother's Other Worries.

After a worrisome start to the day (Boy awoke in bad mood) we’ve had a great day of learning.

Following up on our Worry Survey Project that we began yesterday, Boy and I created a Worry tree (pictured) and stapled our immediate family worries under the headings of; All the time, A lot, Sometimes, and Not very much. The idea is to help Boy group the data and to begin to look for trends. Without doing any computer-based analysis we can already see that we are a family that worries a lot because there are more worries under that heading than the others.

His interest piqued, we sent email worry surveys to our extended family. They have all agreed to participate in a wider family survey so that Boy has some experience in sample size affecting analysis. Stepfather is going to show Boy how to enter and analyze data in excel. What a great way to learn Math and Information Technology.

Even better still, Boy is very interested to find out what other home schooled kids throughout the world worry about. We have posted the survey here and we would appreciate other home schooled kids sharing their worries to help Boy get a grip on surveys as a real life research project. The idea for this came from a Behind the News survey on What Australian Children Worry About.

Spelling: Boy aced his Friday spelling test with 100% correct. Celebrations all round. Boy has put extra effort into his spelling this week because he wanted to prove that he could get them all right at the same time. Every Monday I make a list of ten new words and we use the list for the week. Every morning Boy is tested on the words he got wrong the day previously. On Friday, he gets tested on the entire list. It appears to be working well. Friday also brings a financial bonus for Boy. I sit with a pile of ten 20 cent pieces beside me and Boy gets 20 cents per word correct. Today is the first day where he has ever walked away from a spelling test with $2.00.

Math: Using the Kinetic Education computer program we have just installed, Boy did three Math units on measurement and got 100% for each one. He rather likes the practice games and would have preferred to spend his entire time playing them, but…when Boy does a Kinetic unit we have access to telephone tutors (if needed) who can log in and see: his score, the types of questions he got wrong, what themes are arising in the mistakes and how long he is taking to complete a unit. I Love it and Boy is aware that he needs to both beat his previous score and time. Best of all the program is based on the state curriculum and comes with a money back guarantee if your child does not improve after spending half an hour, three times a week, completing units. Designed by educators and psychologists, I am very impressed with the program.

English is not Boy’s strong point. We have started him on Kinetic Grade level English below his age and my aim is to get an idea of where he’s at so that I can design a specific “Boy” program to help bring him up to speed so that he can embrace Kinetic's English units rather than shy away from them. Once again, he preferred to play the games. He has fallen in love with hangman but seems to like the clicking rather than actually having an educated guess at what the word might be. After much encouragement (aka Mum biting her tongue) he moved into a Kinetic unit on matching words to an incomplete sentence. While he got 100%, he was unsure and did not want me wandering away to make coffee. His self-esteem around English is very low and I’m not convinced that working to curricula is going to improve his ability. Yesterday, when we read the poem about drought, he read well, confidently and even managed some rhythm. This was because it was nothing like school. Unschooling for English is the best way for him to go (I think????). I really worry about Boy's English - far more than any other subject.

If any of you Aussie or New Zealand home schoolers are interested in the Kinetic program, contact me and I'll put you in touch with the consultant we dealt with. He was very patient with my one million questions and dogma that Boy is treated with respect and acceptance. Knowledgeable and passionate about children achieving at their level, the consultant spent a lot of time with Boy and was never once phased by Boy's Aspergic idiosyncrasies.

Only 2 weeks now until we get married and Boy has a holiday from home schooling. We’re both counting the days, but for different reasons!

1 comment:

Scott Hughes said...

The Kinetic program sounds interesting, but I mostly deal with unschoolers. Thanks!

You might like the Education Forums about Homeschooling & Unschooling.

This blog is no longer kept. I am instead blogging only to Imaginif Child Protection became Serious Business