Saturday, May 21, 2016

"My thoughts on high school"

On the last day of 8th grade yesterday, I asked Reece to write an informal essay of her thoughts on high school coming up. The result is classic Reece, and I have permission to share it with you - I am typing it the way she wrote it, no editing for spelling, punctuation, or anything:

I am soon going to be in high school and I, personally, think it's going to be interesting. And by interesting I mean terrible. Here's why:

I'm going to have to read a lot. If you know anything about me you know that I really don't like reading. Mainly because no matter what genre the book is in, no matter what the main demographic is, they're boring. No matter how hard the author tries to grab my interest, I will end up falling asleep. The only books I like that much are education books because at least I'm learning something. With novels, all of it's the same: protagonist is different and quirky. Protagonist gets in sticky situation with guy. Protagonist falls in love with guy. Protagonist alongside guy takes down government with their quirkiness or whatever. The End. It's all the same. And apparently high school is going to have a lot of reading. Yay!

Also, Math. Enough said. Unless it's Geometry. 

Well, I guess there might be some good experiences. Like making friends at Summit (well, trying to) and being able to get a job and drive a car. But not much else. 

In conclusion, high school is terrible. Bye.

5/20/16 


Aren't we going to have so much fun together!?!?! LOL

Friday, April 22, 2016

My last high schooler!

In four short weeks, our school year will be over. We have been wrapping up subjects for the last couple of weeks and I am starting to think about plans for next year. It will be my first year since 2003 where I am only teaching one student. Riley will be taking all of her course work at the local college as a Dual Enrollment student. So that leaves me with Reece who will be a freshman in high school!

For the last few weeks, Riley has been working on a research paper for her English 1102 class about the importance of arts education in a society obsessed with STEM. She keeps sending me the sources she is using in her paper and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading/watching them. The entire process has served to refocus my plans for Reece's high school curriculum! 

Reece wants to pursue video game design and she is strong in math and weaker in reading comprehension. In fact, she pretty much despises reading, especially fiction. I've been pulling away from Ambleside and Charlotte Mason-inspire education for her due to this. I have been searching high and low for more accessible literature for her to read just to "get it done".

With the help of Riley's research, I have been able to remember why exactly we came to Charlotte Mason classical education in the first place. It was all about autism! Yes, autistic children tend to favor non-fiction. Yes, autistic children tend to struggle more with reading comprehension (as an offshoot of their struggle with LIFE comprehension).
But if I narrow her curriculum down to the things that she is comfortable with and the things that are easy for her, then I am doing a great disservice to her. My job as her teacher is to push her in traditional academic areas, of course, but it is also to expose her to those things that will touch her soul. She is a naturally curious individual who loves learning (she has been teaching herself Japanese for a year!) but like all of us, she prefers to focus on the things that she is comfortable with. I need to, for as long as I am able, slowly expose her to things that are just a little bit outside the comfort zone.

And maybe, just maybe, one day those things won't be so uncomfortable for her anymore. But even if they are and even if she never reads fiction on her own again, she will have been exposed to it for four more years!

(But how exactly did she get to be high school age already?!?!)

Friday, January 29, 2016

A poem by Reece

I already shared this poem directly on my Facebook page but it has gotten such a positive response, I decided to make a post to share it with a wider audience. 
This poem was completely unprompted - not even part of a school assignment to "write a poem". When I asked her how she was inspired to write it, she said she had a rhyme come into her head and thought that she could make it into a poem, so she did. 
She shared it with me by having me listen to a recording from her iPod of her reading the poem. I was so taken aback that I cried. So, with that in mind, you may want to have tissues handy. This is a poem written about autism by an almost 14 year old girl with autism.

Autism - by Reece Cooper
You can't escape it, 
You can't run away.
You have to face it,
Every single day.
Every moment is a struggle
And while you want to snuggle
I want to simply be in your presences
Don't be mad, it's not anger you sense
Nor is it irritation, frustration, or isolation.
It's merely contentedness
I don't want to hug you but that doesn't mean I don't love you.
I do not think I'm above you
And it's not that I'm sick of you
For it is you that I adore
And for every tear you shed, I shed 10,000 more.
That is simply the way it is.
I have so many things to say
But they're just not things I can convey
That is simply the way it is.
I may not be able to communicate by any means
But I am more than I seem
I am not some idiot who can't speak
I am a person who is unique.
I'm not some dunce who can't grasp the simplest of jokes
And no, I did not mean "the log walked on the dog" I meant "the dog walked on the log" sorry I misspoke.
Let us enjoy the thing we enjoy
So what if we like fnaf or minecraft? It gives us joy!
Please stop using our names as insults.
Instead why don't you act like adults
It's immature and lazy to do such a thing
And it's not like people are going say "wow you're so amazing!"
That being said, I understand where you're coming from
There are times in which we act dumb
But you need to look past that and see
That we're not what we appear to be
We are intelligent and kind
Well, that last one is hard to be with you constantly on our hind
"Do this, do that," "don't be like this, be like that"
I will be how I'm meant to be
And if you don't like that you don't have to be friends with me
I try my hardest to please you
So don't be cross with me, it's the best I can do
There's only so much a person can control, my antics are not one of them
So please, have patience. With me, with my kin, and with autism.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Word of the Year 2016

I have not had a lot of time lately to really ponder my Word of the Year for 2016. But one concept keeps coming back to me over and over - and that is how I want/need to be more "Intentional" in my life.

I first came across the word and concept of Intentional over 10 years ago when I attended a seminar by Simply Charlotte Mason founder, Sonya Shafer. At the time she also had a blog about being an Intentional Parent/Homeschool Mom and I found it fascinating! However, since we were in the beginning of our autism journey, the concept of being "intentional" was overwhelming to me. I did the best I could, as everyone does!

2016 is going to be different for me, though. My almost 17 year old is going to be getting her driver's license in a matter of days. This will take me from driving 500-600 miles per week to having to drive a fraction of that! Then she will be taking all of her classes next fall at the college through Dual Enrollment and I will only have one student to educate next year - the"baby" will be a high school freshman. I can only imagine how these changes will affect my life!

Free time? More triathlon training? Reading a book that isn't related to homeschooling?

Figuring out what on earth I am going to do after I retire from being a homeschool teacher?

The options are endless! But unless I'm Intentional about my life, it could end up being wasted time. And that's not good!

And there are things that God wants me to be Intentional about, too. So many of the questions above could probably be answered if I was being more Intentional about my Walk with Him. The last year (and the last 6 months in particular) has been more about "just keep swimming" to keep my head above the water.

I am looking forward to the change! And that's a new feeling for me since change usually overwhelms and frightens me. But I trust God enough to know that He will take me on this journey and it will be amazing, no matter where it leads! And I don't want to just let life unfold while I hold on for dear life!

I want to be INTENTIONAL!







Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Welcome to 2016

Hello out there! Anyone still checking here?!

::waving::

Things have been so incredibly busy here in Tortuga! And not all in a bad way, just in the way that happens when you have older teenagers! But the big news is that my older girl is going to be getting her driver's license soon and that means one important thing: FREEDOM! Well, freedom for me anyway. And I'll trade all of the driving time for time spent on my knees praying for her safety! :D But really, she just finished up driver's ed and they told me that she is ready to get her license! Now I just have to be ready to trust that she will be OK! That's the hard part.

The first semester also went very well! My Dual Enrollment girl loved her first college experience and took home an "A" in her class. This semester she is taking two classes. I seriously under-estimated how hard it would be for her to take some classes on campus, some classes at home, and one class at a homeschool cooperative. Unfortunately, it will be much easier next year when she takes all of her classes at the college.

My 8th grade girl is doing the "teenage sleeping dead" routine that is so common at this age. I swear she sleeps 12 hours a night and then wakes up half an inch taller! Autism has been a bit more of a struggle this semester as well, but I do suspect that's related to all the sleeping and growing. One of the hardest parts of dealing with this particular young autistic lady is that she has a great sense of logic. And so she tries to argue with you/me - and her logic ends up being SOUND. And then I am completely stumped.

I am looking forward to having more time to work one on one with my little bit when I'm not driving her big sister all over creation. I do not think she is looking forward to it very much! ;) She likes it better when I just let her sleep! LOL

It's hard to believe that we're nearly done with January already! It's going to be the end of the school year before I even realize it! Hope you're all enjoying 2016 so far!