Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Growth Spurts....all around

It's always fun when kids have growth spurts.  The noticeable ones are the most fun.  But as fun as it is to see kids growing up in stature, I find it more fun to see their growth in other areas of life.  We seem to have had a lot of growth with multiple children recently.  From oldest to youngest:

Moira has been wanting to get a job to earn money.  She tried for babysitting jobs with no luck.  There is a tea room close by that she heard good things about.  She asked if she could see if they were hiring.  She first called to see if they were hiring, and it seems that they are.  So we took off to grab an application.  When we got there, we were told that they were looking for people to work during the weekdays.  Most people make their money on the weekends since they are busier then, but this would at least get Moira 'in the door' to start.  However, they did not have any applications on hand, and we were asked to come back the following day.

So yesterday we took off to get an application.  However, they were too busy at the time (we were not thinking about it being the lunch hour!), and again asked to come back later. Moira told them we could come back in an hour, but that was before speaking to me.  We were not able to make it back an hour later.  On the way home Moira commented that her drama club experience really helped her be able to talk with her potential employer without completely freaking out :-)  She said that the drama club has given her more confidence since she has to get up in front of people and act/sing.  This alone was a noticeable growth, but what happened later was more so.

Like I said, we couldn't come back an hour later.  Moira was openly lamenting that fact.  She kept trying to convince me we would have time (I have a wonderful friend who had called me earlier in the day and said she was coming over to help me get my house cleaned up!), but I knew we didn't and told her she would have to ask Jeremiah to take her after he was done working.

She was not too happy about that.  And she was getting antsy later in the day when it looked like they may be too late to get there before closing.  They did make it in time, and 'it just so happened' that there was someone there they knew (a customer).  This lady was with a friend.  They came up to Moira to chat with her and they found out she was there for an application.  Turns out that the lady's friend is personal friends with the owner of the tea room!  She said that she was going to email the owner that evening and give her a good report on Moira!

Moira learned that God does indeed work things out for good, even when we think they have been ruined.  (In this case what she saw was a lost opportunity)  We are praying that God would direct her in her pursuits of employment.

I've written before that Saoirse has had difficulty with reading.  She is ten and still not reading well at all.  So far it works the best if we work consistently for few weeks, then take a few weeks off.  Otherwise her learning ability seems to take a sharp downturn and she becomes *very* frustrated.  I've taught reading to 3 other girls so far and know that frustration in the process will only negate any efforts put forth.  When we come back to lessons I always start a few lessons back and then we are able to move forward again, until our next stopping point.

A friend of mine suggested that maybe we get her tested for dyslexia.  She has a lot of experience with this as a mom, and was relating what she has read and learned.  I do think it is interesting that Saoirse has more of the 'global' learner mentality, which is what a dyslexic person would have.  But like most things, I think there is a sliding scale, and I believe that Saoirse is on that scale, but more towards "normal" than "dyslexic".  (I hope that made sense.)  For example Saoirse has a hard time sticking with a task. She really needs a check list, or someone to tell her the next thing to do.  With her reading, she needs me to cover up some of the word because she is trying to see the whole word, instead of breaking it down into readable chunks.

I decided that we would give it a gung ho try this past month to see if she just needs more time, or if intervention is required.  I am happy to report that Saoirse was able to read the whole Series 4 Bob Books to me in the past two days!  Still below a level of a ten year old, but a huge achievement for Saoirse.  I think we will continue on with what we have been doing, knowing that it will take more time for her to 'get it'.  At this point she is making steady progress, and has even had a jump in progress, so I don't think intervention is needed at this point.

I always thought that people with dyslexia have problems in all areas of schooling, but that is not so.  Saoirse is very good at math.  And she has some great skills when it comes to playing Sets :-)  That girl can find sets in lightening speed!!!  Sets is a game of trying to find a set of three cards that have all the same, or all different qualities in four categories.  The categories are shape, color, number and pattern.  We made our own Sets game per THESE instructions.

Jedidiah has been two years behind in pretty much most things.  He is very intelligent, and in some ways on target or ahead...but ONLY when he figures it out himslf.  I might have to explain that a bit.  I just realized myself this morning that I believe Jed still has issues with auditory processing.  He used to have big issues in that department, but since it had improved so much I didn't think it was a concern anymore.  However, it seems that when we are *trying* to teach him something, especially through words only....he doesn't get it.  But, if he sees it, or does it himself, he gets it right away.

Two examples.  The first being his ability to narrate.  The backbone of the Charlotte Mason method of education is narration.  You read (or the child reads) the passage, and they tell you what they read.  Seems simple enough, but this is something that needs to be learned.  Most of my kids have picked up on this very quickly.  Jed?  Not so much.  I would read a paragraph and ask him what we read.  Blank face.  Then he will sit there saying, "Ummmm, ummmm."  all while tapping his chin.  So I started reading just 2 or 3 sentences to him and asking what we read.  Same thing happened...'ummm, ummmm.'  If there were pictures he would look at those to see what the story was supposed to be about and make up something!  Although creative, that is not narration.

So I took to reading one sentence at a time.  Bingo!  Finally he was able to tell me what I just read.  The only problem is that now he stops me after EVERY sentence to tell me what I just said.  Ha!  I'm just glad that he got the concept and from here we can build on.

The second example is in counting.  He has always been into counting, though it was mostly 'his version' of it, and not the standard numbers.  Well the other day he came to me with our 100 number board.  He asked me to count with him (again, here we are talking he has a visual aid, instead of us just counting out loud).  He has been getting the hang of the teen numbers lately, so we worked a bit on those.  He did not know the 10's (20, 30, 40, etc).  Well, it all clicked!  Although he needed help with the 10's he figured out that after each ten the ones numbers started over!  Big light bulb moment for him.

Jonah has been growing in so many areas by leaps and bounds.  It seems he has spent the past 6 years growing physically, and now he is growing mentally.  Jonah has always been a bull in a china shop, though a very sweet bull :-)  And though he was never behind, or dumb, it just seemed that there wasn't a bright light in the attic.  Well, let me tell you!  He is exploding with light right now.  His ability to narrate is amazing (for his age). Much, much better than any of my girls when they started off.  And they were older when we started!  He seems to be making connections all the time.  He's really into cooking, and remembers what we need for a recipe.  He has been trying to build a fort and bench, by himself.  It is amazing to see his plans for those things.  The list just goes on.  So many connections and abilities that he has gained in the past couple of months.

Well, being a baby, there is always noticeable learning going on it seems.  But her most recent advance has been really cute.  Along with learning to clap, give five, and wave bye-bey/hello she is 'talking'. Well, her talking that is.  For a few months she has been saying maaamaaaamaaamaaa, or daaadaaadaaadaaa.  But never 'mama', or dada'.  So we haven't been sure if she is really calling our name or not.  She has started almost saying "kittykittykitty" when the girls take her out to visit the cats. (though her version is more of a 'titta titta titta'.  And after she says that she does this clucking sound with her tongue.  She does this every time she sees the cats.

For the past few months the baby has joined me in the daily feeding of the animals.  She really enjoys going outside to see the animals.  So much so, if we open the door and don't go out, she cries!  Though is is certainly easier to feed the animals with two free hands, I bring out with me because she enjoys it so much.  She started to try to 'fling' the chicken feed to the chickens!  Not much of a fling, but she knows what to do.  Yesterday before we got dressed to go out, I asked her, "Merida, are you going to help mommy feed the animals?"  And to my surprise she says "titta titta titta' and does her tongue clicking!  Too cute!!!  She totally understands what I am saying!  I know, after 7 other kids you would think this would be old hat, but it's NOT.  I love seeing my babies (and all my kids) 'get it'.
Well that was pretty long!  Sorry about that.  Like I said, lots of kids having learning growth.  What are your children learning?  (And, just because some of my kids were 'left out' of this post does not mean learning hasn't been happening.  Some of it is more personal, and some is a bit harder to put into words, and as a parent I am sure you understand!)


Jennifer said...

Congratulations to everyone! All of my children have been sick for several weeks so not a lot of learning going on of any description, but our baby, Jonah (22 months), has been adding to his vocabulary at an astonishing rate. It's so nice to know a little better what's going on in his head. My six-year-old son has struggled to learn how to read. I think a lot of it is that I just haven't dedicated enough time to this. Anyway, I have to read his Grade 1 lessons to him, and I am amazed at how well he remembers what we read and can answer questions without any review.
Again, it was nice to read about how your children are growing in all areas of life.

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

I guess we were getting our learning in before we all got sick. Oy. Now, have you heard that children seem to grow (physically or mentally) after an illness? I've heard that, but let me tell you, I've never seen it happen before. As sick as we can be, I would love to think there was some benefit from it :-) Ha, ha!

I love when our babies start talking! I love to look back and think about their attempts to communicate and get a better picture of what they were trying to get across (before the words came).

I was thinking that Saoirse's problem was my lack of consistency, but for her it really is just a struggle. But for my younger ones under her, it is just a lack of consistency on my part. At least they 'get' what I am attempting to teach. I think that is the difference. Saoirse just never seems to 'get it' when it comes to reading. But now it is finally sticking :-)


Melissa Naasko said...

I love Charlotte Mason narration! I think that teaching children how to speak clearly and to think about what they say before they say it is soooo good for them. Even when it feels like you are not getting much done, your style will carry over into other things.

I also agree that just keeping at it is what really counts. You just keep working patiently, doing the same things over and over again, especially for those who do not get things immediately. I have two dyslexic kids and they are older now and I see the pay off in just staying with it.

I will add you both to my morning prayers before school tomorrow. I know how hard learning to read can be!

The Southern Peach-Girls said...

Thank you Melissa for your encouraging words, and for your prayers! They are greatly appreciated. I am so glad to hear that your hard work has paid off. It seems hard in the moment, not seeing anything develop. But I will borrow the illustration given to me (on another issue), that this must be like gardening. You plant the seed, and tend to it, all the while seeing no growth at all...but it is going on below the ground. At some point the new shoot bursts forth, but until then it seems all of the hard work is getting you know where :-)

Hoping you are all safe and warm.


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