Aidan, who is almost 9 now and functions on a six year old level, spent quite a bit of time with his 100 Easy Lessons book today, sounding out letters and trying to sound out words. It was interesting, because he had always enjoyed the book, but just recently had started resisting sitting down with it. Maybe he had picked up on my concern that he hasn’t progressed a whole lot this year in this area, though he’s certainly made progress in many other areas? Whether coincidentally or not, now that I am trying to pay more attention to what he is trying to do rather than impose my model of what he should do, he had a nice time browsing through it.
This is IEP time of year — Aidan is homeschooled but receives speech therapy through the school and this year several other specialists at the little local school have come on board to give him cognitive, academic and other tests. This has had two effects — one, it makes me feel a bit off balance and less confident of our normal methods — and two, I have realized more deeply why I am so glad to be homeschooling. These people have all been wonderfully sympathetic and accommodating but the tests are so artificial.
When I told a friend who has a special needs daughter that I was hoping that the tests would give me direction in how to help Aidan, she said a bit dryly that she hoped so too but that the testing had been next to useless for her daughter. I am still a little hopeful, even so. But I see how he gets bored and gives an incorrect answer because he is paying more attention to the pencil in his hand than to the questions. I see that the abstract nature of the questions — “which are letters and which are numbers” leave him indifferent, because at home he learns through his affections and interests and not through mechanical achievements. He is not interested in abstractions, not yet; he loves naming letters because he loves their forms, but he gets lost in a whole box of them.
In the afternoon we went to our homeschool group meeting. We say the Stations of the Cross as a habit before the kids get their snacks and run outside to play wholeheartedly outside for the rest of the afternoon. We always offer the children a chance to lead one of the Stations and as you could probably guess, the kindergarten girls usually want a turn while the middle school boys hardly ever do (only sometimes when we have a small group and they feel a responsibility to help out : )). Aidan has been wanting to lead one in the past couple of weeks and this time he reeled the whole thing off by memory. He usually is zipping around pushing his stroller so you wouldn’t even think he was paying attention.
We are having lasagna tonight, and Aidan calls it “hosanna”. He wrapped up a plastic tube in loops around the faucet while he was taking a bath and said “It’s the vacuum cleaner cord!” When he gave our dog Frodo one of those thin cylindrical rawhide chews he said “Frodo is smoking a cigar!” His elliptical allusive humorous form of intelligence is not one that is picked up easily by standardized academic tests.
Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.