18 November 2008

Our Schoolboy

I think I have mentioned before that I never really had any grand intentions of home schooling Jonathan this year - until after a little bit of research and a lot of prayer, I felt that maybe working on phonics sounds would help him with his speech development and improve his intelligibility. I'm certainly not an expert in this particular area, but figuring that it certainly couldn't hurt, towards the beginning of September, we plunged right in. I never dreamed he was as ready for "school" as he is. Every day, I'm surprised by how well he is progressing, and how quickly he is learning.

As we work on learning the alphabet, he learns a verse for each letter. Today, he was able to recite for me, with just a few reminders here and there, the following verses:

~~A ll have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Rom 3.23
~~B elieve in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household. Acts 16.31
~~C hildren, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Eph 6.1
~~D o unto others as you would have them do unto you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matt 7.12
~~E ven a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. Prov 20.11
~~F ear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. Isa 43.1

He consistently recognizes 4 of the 5 vowels and produces the correct sound and key word for each one. He knows the phonics sound for 3 consonants: F, M and B - identifying the correct letter heard as the initial sound of a word and can also write upper and lower case of those letters. He is counting to 12, understands quantities through 10, knows several shapes, can compare sizes, quantities and capacites, can make a simple bar graph, measures units with a ruler, and is beginning to understand the concepts of more and less.

We are also reading books about space, the sun, the moon, the different planets and astronauts in space (He now asks if the planes that pass overhead to land at the nearby airport are the space shuttle.). He has loved learning about the different animals that live in the mountains and the rain forests. Thanks to Rebekah, he can identify several different types of birds that frequent our bird feeder hanging in the front yard, and he can easily spend 1-2 hours just watching the birds, squirrels, chipmunks and other assorted critters of the early morning.

One of my favorite times with him is Bible time - he asks fascinating questions - not always on topic - but still perceptive: Why were Adam and Eve sad to leave the garden? Who rolled away the stone from Jesus' tomb? Why did Jesus have to die? I hurt Jesus when I don't listen to you? God is much bigger than I think, right Mama? ... those are just a few of the ones that I remember. He loves Sunday School and Cubbies - it is exciting to see him starting to really wonder about God and to see his desire to find out more about Him.

He really has completely amazed me. I want to be careful not to push him - after all, he'll not be 4 until December - but he is delighted with learning, begging me to "do school" with him even on Saturdays and Sundays. I can't even say that part of his motivation is the individual attention - often Elsie Mae is right in the thick of things.

And it is not just in the academic area that he has surprised me: the other morning, he helped me dice tomatoes to make salsa. Today, when he accidently knocked a large handful of chips off the table onto the floor, he went and got the broom and swept it all up, all by himself. He loves to get the mail and helps to sort and fold laundry as well as put it away. You should have seen him raking leaves while we were still working on that chore. He likes to dust and has taught Elsie to help him dump all the trash cans. He hasn't complained, however, that I haven't had him helping too often with the dishes. :-)

It is so exciting to see all the things of which he is capable, things he wants and asks to do.

His speech continues improving, but I would ask you, if/when you think of it, please pray as we determine whether we need to try and have a speech and language evaluation done before we head back to Niger. His biggest source of frustration and discouragement is when he tries to communicate... and he cannot make himself understood. There really is so much more going on behind those sparkly blue eyes of his that I had never imagined, before we started on this little home school adventure together.

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