"What's for school today Mum?"
"We're going to finish your origami fish, do some Australian spelling and a Kinetic Math and English unit."
We managed the origami fish okay (well, Boy did. I could not understand the instructions at all!!!). Spelling though: B**!!"""___!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a beautiful hook in to a melt down.
We're studying Australian culture. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to include some Aussiecentric words. Did he carry on!
"Those aren't Grade Six words. I'm not learning high school words. What, do you think I've got a photographic memory! You're stupid, you're a bitch," etc, etc, etc.
This is the spelling result:
Aboriginal - Abarikanl
Indigenous - Indichaness
Culture - colcher
Barramundi - Baramundy
Australia - Austalya
Southern Cross - Southen Cross
Rock Painting - Rock Painting
Kangaroo - Kangkaroo
Campfire - Campfire
Koala - Cawla
While I can accept that Boy spelt some of the words phonetically, I was shocked at how his anger appeared to block his ability to sound some of the words out. Boy knew he couldn't spell the words but used his anger as a smoke screen - a way to divert my attention and give up on the spelling exercise. I persevered and stayed calm during the barrage of abuse hurled at me.
Kinetic Math and English though: Oh dear!!!!! I confiscated Boy's lap top as a result of the school refusal. Step father saved the day though. He and Boy are great mates and when Boy calmed down he went to step father to apologise and discuss what had just happened.
Step father backed my confiscating action up. Boy knew that he could get around neither of us so finally agreed to do a Kinetic Math and English unit, but with step father.
It's now hours post the incident and I am still smarting. I know it's a passing thought yet today I have wondered why I home school. Why do I put myself through this? Why do I insist on my son being educated?
I home school my child because his anger tantrums and Asperger meltdowns do upset other people. His anger and excellent articulation of a range of put downs do block teachers ability to stay learning focused with Boy. His meltdowns are a result of his disability, not because he is a naughty little boy and our decision to home school was based on taking the stress off Boy and enticing him with knowledge that does not look educationally institualised.
Bxxxx##**! It was me who buggered up - AGAIN. I tried to make Boy do what I thought was the best thing for him. I disempowered him by expecting him to be like children without Aspergers. I became too teacher orientated and forgot that we value natural learning, as far removed from instutionalised curricula as possible.
Tomorrow we'll have a spelling bee. I will allow Boy to pick ten words that start with B. I'll write them on slips of paper and ask him to give them a spell - a rest. He will have to hide the B words in things that start with "B" (bureau, biscuit tin, bathroom, etc). The next time he hears either myself or step father say an Aussiecentric word that starts with B, Boy's task will be to find his list of hidden "B" words and to test both step father and I. If we wrongly spell any of the words, Boy can pick another ten B words for us to spell.
I will make a spelling mistake on purpose. I will do whatever I have to to help Boy learn how to spell. Boy has Aspergers, I do not. It is my job as his home educator to educate him, not further reinforce his hatred of anything that looks like school.
And right now....Boy and step father are playing Monopoly. We figured that this was a nice way for Boy to have some additional Math learning without us having to suffer the trauma of another meltdown. Beautiful.