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Monday, June 18, 2007

Spelling Bee

Think of every swear word that starts with B. That's how our school day ended.

"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.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Oh, do we have such days also!

Although I think homeschooling our AS kids does take the institutional stress off of them, they are still--bottom line--kids with AS. And we are still--bottom line--fallible mommies and daddies! Sigh.

So I guess we have to expect days like this. But they do hurt and we have to move into our "inner adult"--e.g. I'm the mom, I do not have AS, I know what I did wrong this time--to recover.

Monopoly! Good move. Stepdads do help take the pressure off of us moms, sometimes.

Kaber said...

OK.. I can't think of "B" swear words...... aside from bitch...

Soory about your day.

Ki is very stubborn about doing what he thinks is his age or grade level. He refused to learn or take part in school until he was 6. He said 6 is when kids start school so when he is 6, he will start school. He refused to ride without training wheels until he was 7- though everyone could tell he had the ability. He siad "7 is the age kids take their training wheels off. WhenI am 7 I will ride without them." That's just how he is. It gets very frustrating some days, but I have found he is pretty good at planninghis own lessons. WhenI say "What do you tink we should work on learning this week?"

I use sequential spelling, it seems to work well with my Autism Spectrum kids. Excpet for Ki. He still chooses his own speeling words. (he is just a total control freak) If I have other words, I 'call' then vocabulary and just hope that the writing practice they get with them helps with spelling.

Megan Bayliss said...

Hey E and K
it is so comforting to know I have some support and understanding. Thank you, both of you.
K - when E comes over for a visit I think you'd better come too. You have some swear word learning to undertake. There's plenty of Aussie "B" swear words that I got called yesterday.

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