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Change is Hard!
I meant to post yesterday but I was exhausted! Provision FES Academy opened July 5th, 2017 with 2 academy students. Having been out of the teaching game for, oh... 11 years, we had a slightly bumpy ride. Our first students have been homeschooled but have not been used to a daily structure. That's quite a transition for younger students. Especially a newly 5 year old.
It's also a transition for our family. One of my favorite things of being a relaxed homeschool family is rolling out of bed whenever we like. PFES Academy means we get up EARLY. It's totally worth it though. At the end of the day, both of our students said they had fun. And they learned a lot!
Day 1 Highlights
Mixed age is always a bit tricky. Teachers (Special Education, General Education, and Homeschool) have to get used to teaching to different abilities, especially at the elementary level. My method is to start with the basics and differentiate up.
I used a deck of Alphabet Cards and had my non-reader identify letters, and my reader tell me the word. I used this as an informal assessment. They got tired after a few letters but I got a lot of information. I used a 100 chart for math. I learned my
In the state of Virginia, I am licensed to teach students with emotional disturbances and learning disabilities. I have taught students who are diagnosed with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, gifted, ADHD, and what was formerly known as Asperger's. These are not all the diagnoses my students have received but a good sampling.
Currently, students who have some type of educational or emotional diagnosis are considered to have special needs. As an adult with special needs, something about this phrase bothers me. In my experience, everyone has special needs. I have never met anyone who was not different from the "norm" in some way.
I'm fairly certain normal is a mythical creature. I do not know any normal people. If you do, please introduce me. Despite the under-representation (non-existence?) of normality, many insist that there is a standard method of learning.
On this site, instead of saying special needs, disabilities, or disturbances, I will use the phrase learning differences. My goal as an educator is to understand and accommodate the unique ways that each student learns. Because we're all different. And that's okay.
Shay Malone is a development specialist. A certified teacher (emotional and learning disabilities and middle school mathematics) with a background in psychology, she has worked with children and families for over 15 years in many different capacities. She believes that emotional growth is just as important as academic achievement. Shay is an advocate for homeschooling, exceptional learners and quality education.