It was November of last year that Luke left school, because the academic pressures of 2nd grade made him so stressed and sick.
Now that he learns in ways that are fun and interesting to him, Luke happily writes, uses mathematics skills, and reads voraciously. In fact, his writing has improved even though he doesn't spend nearly the same amount of time doing it as when he attended school. The skills he employs now are a means to an end, instead of being the activity's focus - as it was in school.
Here is a case in point. Last week, Luke recieved a watch as a gift, spent half an hour learning to use it (reading the pages of small print to find out how to set the alarm, use the stopwatch feature, change the time, etc.). Now, he uses it to remind him what time dinner is, when he can have screen time, even when to pick up the veggies at our CSA.
But when he was given the watch, the early childhood teacher in me saw, not so much the watch, but the plastic cube it came in; "hey, we could make that into a die," I thought - and today, that's just what we did.
|From Fall Blog|
I started the project, but Luke took it over, deciding how the die would look and making it so - it ended up with dots just like a regular die, but each side is a different color. He even helped come up with a non-competitive game we could play with the die, that would keep young Owen's interest. We each took turns rolling the die for 6 rounds, at the end of which we figured out who had rolled the most of which color; that way, we could all "win" a color without competing with the other players.
My masterstroke, though, was sitting away from the score card - Luke sat down near the card and happily kept track of all our rolls. Even better than the fine-motor work this entailed, he kept noticing patterns in our rolling, and made some interesting connections for himself that he may not have noticed were he not keeping score - "Hey Mom, that's the first red you've rolled."
So, one year in, we've got a boy who is learning the skills in order to learn something else, and not just for the sake of learning the skill.
For Luke, it's made all the difference.