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Teaching math to 'the one who doesn’t NEED to be homeschooled' 4 January, 2010

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The main reason people think I'm homeschooling is because of my 13 yo autistic/bipolar/gifted/processing disorder son. Ok, its true, he really NEEDS to be homeschooled. Finally everyone agreed, he was learning nothing but in trouble all the time, and the school was clearly doing more damage than good.

Everyone thinks that my bright, better at social situations, better at controlling his emotions 6 yo son does NOT need to be homeschooled. But I don't agree. After 4 months at school, he was crying every morning that he didn't want to go to school. By the end of the year, he was convinced that he was bad and dumb. He cried talking about things that happened on the bus. He was really upset about the publicly humiliating punishments, too.

When we first started home schooling, this boy would scream 'no' and throw a tantrum any time i tried to do any sort of academic work . . . no matter how fun or interesting or easy. Now, after 3 months of home schooling, he still tends to shoot out a reflexive 'no' (as he does any time you speak to him), but is easy to get started and really enjoys much of what we do.

Today we were working on three-digit addition and subtraction with carrying/borrowing. He loves math, and we're using Singapore 2A, and using Legos as manipulatives. He set up the first number, 960, no problem. He explained, tho, that the white Legos in the hundreds place were fighting masters, the blue ones in the tens place were in training, and the reds in the ones place were brand new students. When it was time to subtract 237, he brought in the black Legos to kill off the good-guy Legos . . . first 2 of the hundreds, then 3 of the tens. Then he struggled for a bit to remember how to borrow (ok, its our first day back after a 2-week winter break), but when I handed him a stack of 10 reds, and asked him what it was, he excitedly handed me a single blue Lego in return. And then 'killed' 7 of the 'new students'.

Could he do math this way at school? Of COURSE not! First of all, public school doesn't even cover this until 3rd grade. and second of all, he'd be expected to sit quietly in a chair and do the problems quickly. He would learn to hate math . . . but here at home, math becomes part of his rich world of imaginary play.

This child needs to be homeschooled too. Believe me.
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