Friday, February 4, 2011

Catching up

Two weeks ago, the boys finished up their science unit on the earth, and they did a little presentation in front of my Grandma and Aunt. It was really great public speaking practice, not to mention their self esteem sky rocketed (they were so proud). I had them paint small styrofoam balls to look like the earth, then they made a salt dough stand for it, and a salt dough model of the 4 layers of the earth.

Babe's side is on the left, and Boo Boo's on the right. Ignore the lego men in the background lol, Boo Boo has a HUGE love for those things :)

I got all of the papers from their board online. Here are the links:
Earth writing paper
Earth book
The layers of the earth
And I also found this adorable rap about the 4 layers of the earth

Each of them wrote a small report about what they learned on the writing paper. The little earth book has question prompts, so they answered those. They labeled the 4 layers of the earth on the other paper, and answered some questions. In their presentations, they went into depth about the equator, the poles, the hemispheres, how the earth is a magnet, our rotation, the fact that we spin on an axis, and seasons. I was so proud! Boo Boo needed some prompting to get started, because he was a little nervous and didn't know where to start, but once he got started he was on a roll. Babe was so into this project, that he kept spouting out facts (like how long each layer was, and how far from the surface).

I'm glad I went with my gut, and let the kids explore with this one. Our earth section was only supposed to last a week, but the boys enjoyed it so much that we just kept adding stuff, until it turned into a project (like our butterfly one lol). I think next up will be buying some pots and seeds and seeing what we can grow :)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Grey skies are clearing up!

So after feeling like I failed my son (and the school district), I made him an appointment with his pediatrician. Since we live in California, and there are no clear laws concerning dyslexia, I didn't expect much. I've been through this before (with my older son), the school district says to take it up with your medical insurance, medical insurance says to take it up with the school district, and around the circle goes. It took 2 years of us jumping through hoops, meeting with different therapists/psychologists/psychiatrists to get Babe's diagnosis. What can I say, I'm a fighter!

I did some research, and the word neurological kept coming up. Texas even has a law passed where they test, and treat dyslexics free of charge! So at our pediatricians office I mentioned how horribly the school district testing went, and that we needed help getting another test done. He started mumbling about it being an educational issue, but when I brought up "couldn't insurance cover the testing if we classify it as a neurological issue?" , he jumped on board and gave me the number to a pediatric neurologist. As soon as I got home I called the number, and was told they don't specialize in that type of testing and couldn't help me, but gave me the number to another pediatric neurologist. This one knew exactly what I was talking about, and we set an appointment. Oh happy days!

Valentines Day is our testing date, and it's kind of far from us, but worth the drive. I'm also in the process of writing a letter stressing the importance of early intervention for dyslexics and our situation, which will be mailed/emailed to our local congressman, mayor, school district, and whom ever else I feel is important. Oh, I'll also be attaching a copy of the grievance I'm going to file with the school district, once we finish this test :)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

There's a flaw in the testing system

I had butterflies in my stomach, and couldn't sleep Sunday night. I had an appointment early yesterday morning to receive the results of Orion's learning disability tests. They performed quite a few tests, and I knew it could go one of 2 ways. Keep in mind, that we had a VERY horribly experience with this school district last year, which is the main reason I pulled my children from public school in the first place. Let me give you a brief rundown of our history with the district. Since my oldest is an Aspie with ADHD, and ODD being their main concern, we HAD to medicate him in order for them to be able to handle him in the classroom.  We've switched between 2 schools, and I spent a year (the year I was pregnant with my daughter), walking back and forth to the school to talk my son down from social situations. He was made aware that he even had any of these "disorders" by a substitute, and was constantly in trouble. Orion has always been Mr. Popular, but when he started picking fights, I knew something was wrong. His first grade teacher kept insisting he was so smart, but wanted to hold him back a year (in first grade). Homework was never sent home, because they both did it in an afterschool program and were able to leave it at school. Orion was then sexually assaulted by another little boy, during recess in the boys bathroom. Because of their age, only a police report was filed. I was mortified that they still expected my son to share a classroom with this other child, and was told by the school psychologist that he would "get over it", and to just not mention it. I pulled my boys out of school the next day.

Fast forward to present day. As soon as I started working with my son, I noticed that there was a problem. He can not spell, sound out, and struggles reading. Yes he is very bright, but needs a lot of help with his work. Dyslexia runs in my husbands family, so I looked up the warning signs and he exhibits about 3/4 of them. Sitting in the meeting yesterday, and hearing the word average keep coming up upset me. They showed me the questions Orion was asked, and his answers. They showed me what he scored, and I'm appalled that scoring below your grade level is deemed "average". Shouldn't these tests let them see the students who are struggling and intervene? I was so angry, I stood up and told them how all I wanted was help for my son, and all they've done is destroy his self esteem, and deny me any type of help. I'll spare you the longer version of what else I told them, but I went into details about how I'm glad were now homeschooling, and how I should have never trusted any of those people with any of my childrens well being or education because it's clear why their there, and it isn't to help children.

I'll now be seeking out a diagnosis out of our own pocket, because sadly our state does not have clear dyslexia laws, and medical insurance does not cover educational issues :(