Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pieces of the Puzzles!

Wow! school year.  New things to figure out.  New things to buy.  New ways of seeing things!

Just got back from a homeschool expo in Chicago...that just happened to be on my birthday...which I love!  Totally don't understand people who don't love their birthday...or anyone's birthday!  LOVE to celebrate people!

I never would have thought I would be spending my 35th birthday in Chicago (it was an impromptu trip), nor spending it with two people I went to high school with and haven't seen in forever!

So weird and cool how God intertwines human pathways.  Love that about Him!

We had a GREAT time for real though.  And, even better than all of that AND spending it with my favorite husband AND knowing my boys were safe and happy as hippos with my AMAZING, WONDERFUL, FABULOUS, LOVING parents...if that wasn't enough...

GOD TOTALLY MET US THERE, AND I WOULD EVEN SAY DIVINELY SET US UP...though, you know, we just thought we were taking an "impromptu" trip!

I'm so serious.  I don't care if you don't believe me!  Nothing could convince me otherwise.  NOTHING!

As I was in workshops, Tom was in workshops.  Unrelated workshops...or so we thought.

We went thinking we had all our curriculum researched, purchased, and on it's way.  We thought we were good to go and this was just a "Cool, let's see what wisdom we can learn as we jump into a new year" kinda conference.


I got all messed up.  Tom got all messed up.  There were four specific speakers God used to create this glorious collision:  

Andrew Pudewa of 

Kirk Martin of

Rebecca Ingram-Powell of Mom Seriously

Tom Clark of 
In reality, we only ended up changing math curriculum.  We have been doing Teaching Textbooks, which helped me a great deal, as math is not my cup o tea.  But, after Tom (who very much is a numbers guy), sat in Tom Clark's talks on Video Text and learned how much this man has achieved and why he wrote his math curriculum the way he did, well, Tom was hooked.  It just makes so much more sense and shows the students the why, not just the how!

Alex and Trey are not ready for the level of this curriculum, but thankfully, Mr. Clark gives his top picks of elementary level arithmetic that helps with the conceptual and shows the why behind the how:  Right Start Mathematics, Making Math Meaningful, and Math U See.  

Math U See didn't work for our family, so we have now switched to Right Start and though that may seem like it is of little importance, it is a VERY BIG DEAL for my house.

You must understand that my Alex is not a conventional kind of schoolboy.  Garrison and Trey could sit in a traditional American classroom and pass just fine, but Alex does not do well with that kind of teaching style.

Alex needs to wiggle and fig-it and chew.  He would get in trouble at "regular" school and end up...well, I'll just drop that.  I just know it's not the place for him.

Okay, switch gears but stay with me here.  

As Tom is in the way-cool math talks (oh, sorry, that was ME gagging just then), I was sitting with Mr. Pudewa and Mr. Martin learning about tactile (busy-hand) learners and learners who don't thrive well in traditional prisons...I mean classrooms (it feels like prison to one of these kinds of learners).

Mr. Martin was talking about how to best parent and nurture, especially, these "different" kinds of know the highly inquisitive, super creative, think-outside-of the box types that we wouldn't have most of what we have in this world if it weren't for these types... We are now the proud owners of FOUR cd sets by him (which I have already listened to three of).

Mr. Pudewa, on the other hand, was then talking about these same "different" kind of learners and how they process information and learn best.

I have so much information I could share, but let me just bring it down to this:  Tom and I sat at lunch choked up, with tears in our eyes, sharing with each other all the pieces of this puzzle we felt like God gave us for our Alex.  

I mean, WE know he is amazing.  WE have always known he is a wonder of God's creation.  We just didn't know how to help him thrive in the conventional learning methods we were taught or thought we had to use to teach!

To some, you read this and think, "Oh, well how nice...they found a new little math workbook for their son.  Lovely."  NO!  You don't get it!  What we found was a key we have been missing that will mean our son can really have math click in his brain and be able to actually go to college and now do really, really well if he wants!   It is a key to his treasure...a way he can take all the incredible ideas that run through his mind and do something with it!

We had it confirmed to our hearts what God has meant as He has been speaking..."Radical amputation."  There are some very specific things that have to go from our lives. 

There are some very specific things that have to be done...that have to be added and implemented.

And they all mean the difference of our son acting out because his mind and the way it is wired has him utterly bored!  He picks at his brothers because he gets a reaction that stimulates his mind, which increases blood flow to his brain...the same reasons he chews on things, cuts things up, fiddles and fig-its CONSTANTLY!  


I learned so much that I desperately needed to see through my lil boy's eyes.  


That's all I will say tonight, as I need to go hold my little treasures that just got home instead of write about them, but soon I will try to share a very interesting story.


ZimboUSA Girl said...

Oh Mindy - that is how Dan was so we started him in Right Start Math. It was too teacher intensive for us at that time in our lives. WE allow him to fidget all the time through school, He does math laying on the carpet with his toes kicking and erupting.

Mindy said...

We will just have to see how it goes for us, but Alex certainly isn't having it click the best right now so thankfully there are other options and I can be here to help him. We are okay with his need to move, fig-it and chew, etc...but it is really helpful to know why that helps him!