aka...The Countdown has Begun!
Well, we started school five days ago & here I am on Friday wondering if we're going to make it through the school year! This was NOT a good week at all.
I'm using Catholic Heritage Curricula's lesson plans for The Prophet & The Princess, while The Archangel is using an online program through Ohio Connections Academy. He really wanted to do an online school again (we did K12 - Ohio Virtual Academy two years ago) & after researching, I found OCA to be the highest rated online school in Ohio. Also, they have a variety of clubs/activities that students can take part in once they prove they can handle the courses they're assigned. I thought it might be good for him w/ his ADHD
Our first day was full of tears, anger, emotional meltdowns, yelling, etc. Definitely NOT a good way to start out the year. They were very excited to begin on Monday & our first half hour went well. We opened w/ a prayer, talked about our schedule, started to learn a church hymn (We Have Been Told), & read about the Queenship of Mary (as Her feast day was Monday). Then we went into lessons.
The Prophet complained that his math was too hard & that I promised him it would be easier when we started this year. We are finishing his 4th grade math from last year before moving into 5th grade. He seems to have such a negative attitude towards math that he makes it harder than it actually is. He absolutely hates the math fact sheets that give him practice on addition, subtraction, multiplication, & division...things he really needs to have a grasp on. They are supposed to be timed sheets, but most times I've just had him do part of the page to avoid a meltdown or tearing up of the page. (Yes, he has done that often.)
The rest of his subjects went well...a lot of reading & self-guided lessons.
The Princess was ready & willing to start. She loved everything that I had her do. I felt bad several times when I had to make her wait because I was helping one of the boys w/ their lessons.
And for The Archangel...this is where most of the tears & meltdowns came in. At first he was so excited to start OCA & couldn't wait to get started. Their program is laid out differently than K12, so it's going to take us a couple weeks to get it under our belts & get into a rhythm. I told him from the start that he would have a lot more work, including a lot of writing, than in the past because the school has to follow state standards. I don't think it sunk in until he actually had to do the writing.
I will say that for a 3rd grade boy w/ ADHD, he has excellent handwriting. They use the Zaner Bloser method & The Archangel has done very well so far. The writing he stresses about is when he has to write a character description, answer lesson questions in complete sentences, etc.
The subject that really set him off was math. He's in the gifted & talented level for 3rd grade. (They had pre-testing a couple months ago & he did quite well.) He has a good head for mathematics, but it wasn't until Wed. evening when it dawned on me what part of the problem was. With his ADHD, the math text is too busy for him to focus. It's colorful w/ lots of pictures, charts, etc. I know that works great for some students, but I think he has trouble filtering down to the actual math problems. The concepts are not hard for him...in fact, most are review, but it just gets overwhelming for his eyes.
We are testing two possible solutions to this. 1) I will copy the problems from the text for him into a spiral notebook & he can solve them from there. 2) We will use the optional workbook that has more problems for students who might need additional problems to work on. I'm thinking #2 will be the way to go for us.
The other thing he is having trouble w/ is reading comprehension for all subjects. He reads very well & has always read several levels above his current grade. As soon as he's read (or has been read to), I've asked him some questions & 95% of the time he can't answer from the material he's just gone over. It's very frustrating for both of us. Again, I think the ADHD plays a big part in this. Unfortunately, we haven't found a medicine that works for him yet.
I've been so worn out by the end of each day this week & crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. It's tempting to just chuck it all & send them to school, but then again that brings along a whole new set of issues. The public school they would go to is back on our city's failing schools list, charter schools' classes are most likely filled already, & we can't afford Catholic or Christian schools (which are also probably filled). I'm also worried about the boys individual issues (The Archangel's ADHD/aggression & The Prophet's anger) & how they would even adapt to a brick & mortar school. They picked up so much just from the neighborhood kids, what would school be like? Not to mention all the "politically correct" stuff (not really the word I want to use!) they'd be exposed to.
I've been praying SO MUCH lately, but I just don't feel like I'm getting an answer or solution to this problem. I know it's only been a week, but I really can't handle another week like the one we've just had. I try to remain positive & cheerful during the day, as well as preparing the night before, but each day the fuse is a lot shorter. I don't feel at peace right now & it's showing in all aspects of my life...short temper, emotion jags, my blood pressure is up slightly, the house is a mess, I'm achy all over & not eating properly, etc.
If you've stuck through this rant to the end, I thank you! I know it's quite a bit of rambling, but I just needed to get my feelings & thoughts down.
Friday, August 26, 2011
aka...The Countdown has Begun!