Saturday, July 31, 2010

Big Picture for the School Year

One reason why I have been quiet lately and sporadic at times in my blogging last year is some volunteer work I have been doing to help build a Charlotte Mason curriculum. While I cannot go into too many details, I thought I would blog some of what we are doing.

Although I'm an optimist, I tend to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Due to her autism and aphasia, Pamela is extremely scattered in her abilities. While the fifth grade of the pilot curriculum seems like a good fit, I will adjust up in grade level for her strengths (mathematics) and adjust down for her weaknesses (communication and dynamic thinking) .

As always, I wonder if my just-under-five-hour-a-day plan is too much. I will pay attention to how well Pamela processes what we are doing. If she seems overwhelmed, I will be taking three things into account (maybe more if a flash of inspiration hits me). Each day of the week has slightly different, so I created the graphics based upon a generic weekly schedule for the first three months of school to help me visualize what might be the issue. I am a visual, details thinker and making graphics helps me to grasp the big picture!

Day of the Week - Is she fresh on Monday and burnt out by Friday?

Subjects - Are some subjects out of proportion in the time spent on them?

Activities - Is the mix of reading versus paperwork versus doing right?


Penny said...

You have totally put me to shame.

The Glasers said...

Aw, Penny! I'm not saying we'll be able to do this! :-) Besides, I do have an entire team of people and it took us a year to come up with what we have come up. All I had to do was make some adjustments here, there, and everywhere!

Stranded said...

I feel overwhelmed, but inspired.

I mean we are still sticking things on bits of paper (craft?) because Khaled is like 4...and all I do is read books to him and do sports and cooking type stuff, but we should start doing a schedule.

You have a team of people? Like tutors? I am really interested in achieving this level of competence in homeschooling one day. Keep posting Tammy!

The Glasers said...

Khaled is 4. I believe in my heart in a Charlotte Mason style of education, which means no formal lessons before a child turns 6. If he picks up an alphabet puzzle and asks what letter is this for five minutes, then that is an informal lesson and go for it. When he loses interest, then you stop! What you are doing is PERFECT in my book.

Pamela is 21 yo and has a lot of static skills. She should be able to do something like this, perhaps with some cuts here and there if it seems too much. It has taken her **YEARS** to get to this point!

By team, I mean that I have been collaborating with a small group of like-minded educators from all sectors (public, private and homeschool) interested in developing a Charlotte Mason curriculum. I am the special needs and math person on the team. They have helped me improve my understanding of her philosophy. That has allowed me to place Pamela more appropriately in her scattered abilities.

For example, I never dug into the foreign language component and just did whatever. It never worked well for me. The person who dug into formal language totally changed my understanding and I think what she recommended is going to work! I am not going to do a formal foreign language program for Spanish, an important language for our family as my husband's family is native speaking in English and in Spanish. I am going to spend the next two years building her ear for Spanish through folk songs, audio fairy tales written to spotlight everyday words, and series of stories that I develop tailored to her recorded by my husband for us to hear and learn.

I don't really have a hired panel of experts, other than my RDI consultant who helps me with RDI and speech (she was an SLP in a former life). However, the team I've been collaborating with on the curriculum project has helped me refine my understanding in so many ways! So, I do feel like they are my posse! :-)