Friday, August 12, 2011
I Need Advice, Please
Attention all homeschooling moms, especially those with children from China with special needs:
I'd always planned to homeschool and that is what turns out to be the optimal choice for Jie Jie even if I hadn't always planned to homeschool. Just to double-check, I telephoned the school district to see what services were available and the woman I spoke to didn't waste any time telling me that homeschooling is my best option.
So, I need some help coming up with a good curriculum. Jie Jie is 7 1/2 years old and has never been to school. She speaks mostly English, with a limited, but quickly growing, vocabulary. She sounds very clear to me, but I've discovered that it's because I'm her mom, though my assistant can understand her very easily, too.
The curriculums I looked at online depend on being able to fully understand rather complex English and read and write to a large extent. I've been looking at first grade with the intention to fill in the needed kingergarten level stuff as we go. Jie Jie would be attending 2nd grade this year if she'd been born here.
Jie Jie can recite the alphabet up to the letter "I" and gets most of the rest of the letters after that, but not in the right order yet. She easily recognizes the letter of her first name and can write her first name. She can't recognize other letters by name and it was frustrating the day I tried to get her to memorize five letters by sight. One educator suggested I focus on shapes first since that's how she views the letters. She does have some level of understanding that letters make up words, but without knowing the language, she can't do much with that information. Honestly, I was discouraged until I realized it takes bright children two or more years to learn the letters and we've just passed the four months home mark. It's hard to work on reading without knowing the alphabet.
Numbers are easier. Jie Jie is learning them practically by herself, somehow. It's hard to do math if you don't know your numbers.
Colors are coming along. I realize I need to be more diligent in our daily life pointing out colors, naming them and asking Jie Jie to repeat the color names. I have no idea if she ever learned color names in Chinese. She said she didn't color in China and I believe her by the lack of skill she had at first and how utterly skilled she is now. She LOVES to color.
She loves Play Doh, painting, essentially arts and crafts of any kind. I am going to read to her more. I read to her a lot until The Big Insurance Battle, then was simply wiped out by the end of the day from the hours and hours of being on the phone. Unless you've been through it, you can't imagine how many hours I've spent on the phone. In fact, even now, to reach a live person or the right answering machine at Kaiser takes, on average, 30 minutes.
Please point me in the right direction to creating or finding a good curriculum and/or some resources to help me get a good start. I'm looking forward to homeschooling. My Little Nugget loves to learn and is highly self-motivated.