Missing in Action & TESOL Certification

To say that the last two weeks have been interesting is an understatement. Jay was sick for a full week a week after school started. Yikes! Because Jay was sick, naturally, I caught his illness as he was completely recovered!

Last week, I finished a class to receive my TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification. This was a very cool, fun and hilarious class! I learned so much in such a short amount of time, and it really made me rethink homeschooling, unschooling and what that all looks like. More than that, it made me think about myself as a teacher, and how I could utilize FORTY-TWO DIFFERENT TEACHING METHODS! Talk about being inspired! While the class was about teaching the English language, it really teaches you how to be a good, effective teacher.

I won’t get into details about each method, and I won’t even list the 40+ methods, but I will say that it teaches you to teach through the senses. Listening, speaking, singing, juggling scarves (who juggles scarves?!), games, repetition, community learning, drawing, acting,  music, gestures, videos like Mr. Bean, dictation (which can actually be really fun if you do it right!), walking around and talking with your peers or whoever is around, etc. Unbelievable! It was absolutely amazing, and I can’t wait to get Jay back home so I can experiment on him! I actually started this afternoon over lunch, and it got a lot of giggles and laughs out of him.

He has a Bible reading coming up the first week of August. I am going to add gestures to the reading when he practices so he can get comfortable with the words, voices, etc. It should be fun!

Unfortunately, I cannot post pictures or videos because we were asked not to. However, it is a hands-on course, filled with fun and laughter, and I met friends from all of over the country in addition to people from Italy and Brazil!  If you are interested in the teaching course I had the pleasure of taking, visit: The Canadian Institute of English.

 

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The Rainbow Fish Musical

If you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area, you have to check out some of the productions by Bay Area Children’s Theater because they put on awesomely fun shows for kids! Our first show was Piggie & Elephant’s: We Are in a Play! and we have been fans ever since. We try to catch a show any time we can, and for this year, I actually grabbed us flex passes for the season for six shows.

This evening we went and saw The Rainbow Fish Musical, and it did not disappoint! Here are some pics from our evening. Enjoy!

 

P.S.
Have you ever walked through a shoe? Jayden has!

Unschooling a Perfectionist

First things first! The perfectionist in this family is me, not Jay. Previously, I wrote about tracking progress and why I do it, but if it hadn’t been the perfectionist in me to start tracking progress at an absurdly young age, I would not have found the benefits of it nor would I be able to say that it was quite ridiculous in hindsight.

I first started tracking Jay’s progress at the age of 3. I had forms that they use in ABA to determine mastery of skills and progress, etc. I’m not an ABA therapist, BCBA or anything like that, but the form helped me to achieve the results I wanted by tracking his progress. At the end of each “session” I did the calculations, marked the date, the percentages and my observations. Silly, I know.

Why is it silly? Well, for starters, Jay was only three. At the end of the day, I don’t truly believe in measuring success by a series of calculations and numbers. I also don’t believe that good, bad or mediocre numbers equate to successful people, failures or average people. From that little bit of background, you can imagine how difficult it has been to wrap my mind around unschooling and how to do it.  Hence, I have used the word “journey” a lot, and will continue to do so because this is as much of a journey for me (if not more), than it is for Jay. He is already a care-free, little guy; I, on the other hand, am not.

How can I unschool myself? That’s a question I’ve been pondering and praying over for months. I’ve done a lot of research, and many of the unschoolers are so cool and chill. They really help you to understand that it is hard to let go while still making sure your child is learning. At the core of unschooling is education. It may sound as if it’s a whole lot of nothing going on, but actually it’s a whole lot of doing without really thinking about it. For example, have you ever been asked something along the lines of, “Hey, where’d you learn to do that?” And you say, “I don’t know. I just do it. It’s what we did growing up.” My family gets that a lot when it comes to cooking. And when those are your answers, guess what, you were unschooled. I have a friend who was raised in Peru until she was about 10 years old, and she can wash all of her clothes by hand really well. She actually started learning when she was around five years old. I asked her how she learned to do that because she had a lot of knowledge about it. Her answer: It’s just what we did. We didn’t have washing machines or dryers, so you have to learn how to wash your clothes.

So now, imagine, that is how you go about learning everything. There aren’t tests about it, you aren’t graded on it, you don’t have homework for it; you just do it. There is no time limit on how long you can learn about this concept, explore this idea, etc. And the things you learn become part of you, and they stick with you. Can you even imagine that? I have hard time imagining it, yet I’m expecting it to be my reality very soon! But,  back to answering the question: how can I unschool myself? Here’s my plan:

  1. Pray for patience;
  2. Remember what I’m doing and why;
  3. Don’t expect perfection from myself or from Jay;
  4. Take it easy;
  5. Have fun;
  6. Keep it light;
  7. Let him use his creativity;
  8. Don’t be rigid;
  9. Be patient, and;
  10. BE PATIENT!!!

I’ve decided to officially start our 2017 – 2018 school year on June 19th. Our last day of 1st grade is June 14th, so you may be asking, “Why so soon?”

  1. Unschooling is not the same as traditional school. It’s not going to be hardcore and intense, filled with homework, worksheets and tests. Oh, and guess what; we don’t have to start school at 8:00 am! We can sleep in!
  2. I need as much time and practice as I can get with this method!

To add to point #2, I truly believe that unschooling is really a way of life. The biggest and toughest aspect for me to get over is my own mentality, so the sooner I can make those mental shifts and changes, the  better off we’ll both be. I have been trying to train myself a little bit, but it’s really difficult when we have school things to do, like homework and PTA. Once school is out, we’ll have more time and be able to utilize more of each day and weekends better. I don’t believe that education happens Monday – Friday between the hours of 8:00 am and 3:00 pm, nor do I believe it is a laborious and burdensome chore. Rather, I see it as a series of wondrous, curious moments that can shape our appreciation of the world and people around us. It truly is a beautiful thing!

And that’s how I plan on unschooling this perfectionst.