From Olympics to school and timeless psychology learning, this week has been busy to say nonetheless. All week, school went very well. I added more hands on methods to the lesson plan and it ended up working nicely and their attention span has increased drastically. We didn't need to take as many breaks and the boys were much more engaged and enthusiastic about the class work. We moved into the new classroom facility that is brand new to Open Arms that really provides a great classroom setting rather than the cramped, old laundry and bedroom we were previously using. The classroom was at first a distraction to the boys because of the excitement of a new place, however, we are slowly but surely settling in to our new home. The staff psychologist came for a brief visit on Friday and it was great to sit down with her and discuss the two boys update on schoolwork and behavior. What I noticed this week especially is that one of the boys has finally controlled his emotional breakdowns and is quickly beginning to excel with the curriculum. He had an absolutely wonderful week and now he is going to begin doing homework with the regular grade ones at the local school to help him adjust to their schoolwork, so when the time comes for him to transition out of the homeschool he will be ready and prepared! The other boy was more of a struggle this week. He has started to become more defiant and he daily refused to do his work. After talking to the psychologist, we decided that his largest obstacle is his language comprehension and verbalization. He is not anywhere near what his language proficiency should be in English which causes all school materials to fly over his head and he is simply left behind. With this said, this week I am going to give him simple audiotapes of music and stories for him to listen to as he is playing with clay or coloring. This will help instill the English language into his brain without him having to do any actual work. By just listening to more English, we hope to see progress with his schooling as we will become more aware of his true academic ability without the hindering language barrier. I have been given a large stack of books and activities to read to understand more about child abuse victims, child behavioral psychology, and hands on methods of learning being more than in your brain. I am slowly making a dent in the stack and I am fascinated by all the knowledge and techniques these books have to offer which helps guide me not only as a teacher, but a volunteer and friend for the children.
Lastly, the highlight of my week was the Open Arms Olympics held on Saturday. Each child was on a team of six and wore matching colors to represent their team's country. The events were field hockey, water balloon toss, and several races of different distances. I was nervous that the children would not be able to hold their attention for the entire program of the Opening to Closing Ceremonies, but they all participated and were extremely enthusiastic of every event! It was great to see each of them cheer on not only their team, but other teams and keep a healthy level of competition. There was great sportsmanship and I am very proud of the effort each child had. Everyone from the babies to the staff was involved and we all had an absolute blast!
Overall, it was a very busy week and I only anticipate them becoming busier... cannot wait!