Posts Tagged ‘English as a second language’

Just Another Bump in the Road

October 14, 2015

Mother's Day 2015 014

I have been noticeably missing from My Sister’s Jar for two months….well, at least I noticed I was missing. We have had another bump in the ever bumpy road of our lives, but we carry on, get back in the driver’s seat and plead for God’s help once again.

It was May when our little Colombian princess was tested at a reading specialist and several (meaning more than 5!) different learning differences were detected. This was an AHA! moment for me as well as a WELL- DUH! moment mixed together. I assumed some of the difficulties were because Nora has only been speaking English for four years. This didn’t seem to apply at all once the road blocks to learning were identified.

I believe I have mentioned on here before some of my frustration teaching my own children who can’t seem to remember what I’ve taught them, and don’t really care that they can’t remember, and just want to go outside and look at clouds and dig in the dirt. I handed over Nora’s math teaching to her two older brothers for several months at the suggestion of our principal, my husband. It saved me from the desire to bang my head on the kitchen table when there was no recall of ANYTHING she could do yesterday.The boys didn’t seem to mind re-teaching carrying, borrowing, multiplying with zeroes over and over and over and over and over again. I did mind. It is a weakness of mine, as a homeschool mom, to want my children to learn and retain and move ahead, especially in phonics, reading and math.

With Austin, now 19, he was shown the letter F for 63 straight days of my ever-loving-homeschool-teaching-journey. He finally read the blinkin’ English language when he was NINE. That’s almost TEN. You know, three years before being a teenager. There weren’t any learning differences. He was just a late reader. (Insert mother justification….) He designed and installed our backyard sprinkler and drip system when he was also nine. He’s a smart kid. I kept the faith that God would touch the brain inside that hard, blonde head… and He did! Thank you, Jesus. It still brings me to tears when I relay the story of the first time in his life when Aus read… anything…it was a sign at Sequoia National Park, “Do not feed the deer!”

Back to the Colombian princess. When I heard the phrase “auditory processing” I wasn’t sure what it meant, so of course I googled it. Lo and behold, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, and good golly why didn’t I remember this… a website popped up of a lady WHOM I KNOW!  Oh yeah, she teaches on learning differences. She gave me great suggestions ten years ago when I was trying to get Austin to read C-A-T without the far-and-away look in his big blue eyes. Here is what I discovered: MAGIC! There were 16 symptoms listed for people who have learning differences in the area of auditory processing. Nora has all 16! WHAT? (I pride myself of being an overachiever too!)

Nora is attending reading classes with a specialist who understands left brain/right brain connections that need to be established. The “reading class” consists of physical activities outside to help cross the mid-line of the brain. School has taken a decidedly different look this year, with WAY more focus on my part, which has introduced me to a new level of exhausted. From 9:00 p.m. to midnight was MY time to get my work done. Now I’m dragging through dinner and looking at the clock longingly at 7:30 p.m. without the energy to get anything done. But God knows what He is doing. None of Nora’s challenges were made apparent until Austin was graduated from high school. The Lord knows what we can handle and what would throw us head over heels into the loony bin, and obviously teaching Austin and Nora (the new way) together was beyond my capabilities. And I am thankful we learned about all this when we did!

So as I start each new day, as a homeschool mom, around 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m., I remind God that these are really His kids, and I need His help once again to leave my bedroom and teach them how to learn, how to love God and how to succeed in life! I could not do this on my own! And that’s a fact, Jack!

Nora’s English Lessons

April 7, 2014

Nora’s English lessons are ongoing, continual, every day, all day long, even into the dark of the night, forever… it seems.  Just today’s list of words that she learned …. either the meaning or the pronunciation:

1. “Shweediss” = Swedish…. as in Swedish pancakes, my grandmother’s delicacy.

2. “School Rock House” = School House Rock.  Come on! Those are classics!

3. Inspect … “isn’t that when you save piles of things like rocks?”  Um no.

4. “Ann of Grenoble.”   Oh.My.Stars!  Anne of Green Gables.  She did not live in Russia near Chernobyl!

5. “Dad didn’t ate any.”  We ain’t hillbillies no mo.

6. “Mom, what is a globin?”  I don’t know.  “It’s here in my book!”  Spell it.  “G O B L I N.” That spells goblin…. it’s a make believe little monster.  (Why the heck are there goblins in the phonics workbook anyway??!!)

7. Nora looking at a picture of a newspaper and logically trying to choose the descriptive word from: Pretend, Prison and Printed.  “It looks like it’s really a paper and but you could pretend it’s not. You could read that in prison. Someone had to print it, so it is printed. I don’t know this one, Mom.”  Circle any of them, Nora.  :o)

These are the days of our lives. 

That’s MY Girl!

March 14, 2014

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Nora, my 10-year-old, came and inquired about the “easiest” dictionary for her to use.  “The Children’s Picture Dictionary that you keep in your playhouse is the easiest one,” I answered.  Then she spied it.  My pretty sky blue Complete Christian Dictionary was in arms-reach on the homeschool shelf in the family room.  She pulled it down and sheepishly asked if she could use THIS one.  “Of course you can but it doesn’t have as many words as a regular dictionary,” I explained.

She hopefully queried her daddy, Do you want to sit on the couch with me and read the dictionary?  Hahahaha!  That’s my girl!  The three males rolled their proverbial eyeballs at me.  Gah!

Sitting on the couch for about 20 minutes, she was flipping pages left and right and I could hear, under her breath, “J K L M,” and “S T U V W.”  Finally I questioned, “What word are you looking up?”  “Booty,” she replied, which brought on a burst of laughter from me, her father and brothers.  She’s not thinking baby booties…. unfortunately.  We (term used very loosely) taught her the clapping game Big Booty when she joined our family in Colombia.  To no avail, I tried to explain slang words. I eventually gave up with, “Booty won’t be in the Christian dictionary.”

“Why not?” she inquisitively asked.  One of her brothers told her, “Bad words aren’t in the Christian dictionary.”  Her big brown eyes flew open as she realized booty is not a good word to be using. “Is it a swear?” she almost whispered.  Her daddy replied, “Not really, but it won’t be in there.”

“Are you sure bad words aren’t in here?  Let’s look one up and see.  What’s a bad word?” she expectantly asked her daddy.  “Well, you tell me all the bad words you know and then we’ll see,” my tricky husband answered.  Hahaha!  She wasn’t falling for that!  Then her brothers glanced at each other and one of them added, “We can think of some bad words you could look up.”  Not funny and not happening, thankyouverymuch.

Nora settled for looking up “any” word.  Then she came up with TRAP.  Her and her daddy spent WAY too long finding the T… then the R…. then the dictionary fell and closed and they had to start all over.  She asked again, “What does it start with?” “C” said one of her mischievous brothers.  We all chuckled and I threw the wet blanket on the crowd conversation again adding, “It’s a CHRISTIAN dictionary…. trap starts with T in the Christian dictionary.”  Good grief!