Homeschooling but how.
Where traditional preschool falls short, Montessori picks up...we hope.
Now we begin a new experience, Montessori Preschool. I have been pouring through books and online threads looking for the best options for educating my sons. I met with the local school district last year and was severely disappointed by what they had to offer. On top of it, I work in a school district with middle school age autistic student. I know first hand that the public school is not capable of offering everything my children need.
The initial decision, home school was easy to make and really the only choice we had. The public school district wanted to pick my older son up at 8:00 in the morning, a half hour after I had to be to work and an hour after I had to leave my house to get to work, and drop him off at home at 11:30 in the morning, three hours before I got out of work and too far away to work a lunch break around. We tried to get an exception by having them pick him up at my mother's house, nearby but out of district. They wouldn't. We had not one else to take him in the mornings or afternoons, so he was not attending their program. Transportation aside, they offered an hour of speech per week, way less than he needed, no behavioral support, the thing he needed most, and fifteen minutes of occupational therapy every other week...really? None of what they offered met his therapeutic needs. They also wanted him in the title one classroom where he would miss most of the program to be in therapy sessions. In other words, his disability had become the excuse to only half educate him. Fortunately, he is a child worth educating. He is amazingly smart and capable of learning just as much if not more than any other student, but he needs to be given that chance. So homeschooling was the obvious choice for me.
Now we made this decision, how do we educate him?
For the about nine months, we have been struggling to find a curriculum that fit all of Jude and Gabriel's needs. We have added sign language to help Jude communicate with us and Gabriel. We use Signing time because it is delivered in lesson, video , music , and book form. My boys love watching the videos and try to imitate the signs. On top of it, everyone involved with the boy's education is working to become fluent in sign so Jude can see his lessons as well as hear them and communicate what he knows effectively. My mother has found several different curriculums that she has started and worked with until Gabriel lost interest. Like most schools, the curriculums have focused largely on worksheets and structured work time with free periods during the day for playing with toys Gabriel just doesn't know how to play with. We have all become increasingly aware of the shortcomings of these programs when it comes to how Gabriel learns.
While I was in college, a few years ago now, I studied different learning styles and became entranced with the Montessori concept for special needs. The curriculum practically built for how my sons learn. The curriculum is also all inclusive, meaning Montessori found it as necessary to teach children how to pour water and and clean up spills as she did to teach them math, language , religion, culture, art , science, and geometry. There is also a built in tactile curriculum portion for students to refine their senses by getting sensory input. All in all, the curriculum allows children to act like adults, convenient considering I gave birth to an adult.
Now, we are changing the curriculum to Montessori's curriculum. I spent Sunday helping my mother plan and rearrange her basement. We found a complete plan for students ages 3-6 at http://www.newchildmontessori.com and ordered it. We are anxiously awaiting the curriculum's arrival while we start putting things together for the next chapter of Gabriel and Jude's education.
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