Friday, May 27, 2016

End-of-Year Interview ~ Dean Speaks ...

I conducted the kids' end-of-year interviews last week. You can read Anne's here. This interview with Dean was especially important to me, because he has been losing interest in school this year. He has seemed stunted in his academic achievements and generally withdrawn from his lessons. He also has not shown any growth in independence and relies heavily on me to participate in his school lessons. It seems like I am working harder to keep him on track than he is taking an interest in his own education. So, I chose to have extensive educational testing this year. He was tested for everything from IQ to learning challenges of all varieties. I will talk about the test results at the end of the interview.
Performing as a villager in The Jungle Book
Dean Speaks ~

What did you like best about this school year? I like learning guitar, when you read to us, and finally really learning cursive.

What was your least favorite subject? I really didn't like math. I do like Life of Fred, but the rest of math is boring or confusing (depending on the type).

What do you think helps you the most? I like it when you read to us, and I like when we do workbooks while listening to music.

What was your favorite academic subject and why? I like all of the history. Well, I hated Genevieve Foster books, but the rest of it was great. I like doing all the projects (21 Activities books). I like making historical food.

What do you want to stay the same next year? I like the length of the day and that we start with morning chores and CNN Student News. I like taking a long break at Christmas.

What would you like to see change? Quit lessons in chimes and bells, have more age appropriate school work (especially review items) and stop repeating yourself (this is a complaint he has about me in all things). I want to start high school.

Talk to me more about what age appropriate school is to you. I hate all the silly programs online with the dumb people dancing around. Learning is serious stuff. School is so boring. It's the same stuff over and over again. You repeat yourself so much!

Tell me a list of instruments you would like to learn. Saxophone, ukulele, and keyboard

What do you envision acting classes being like? Mature kids that are close to my age. Where people seriously want to learn. I liked how in youth group we got to write our own skits.

My Reflections ~ My thoughts are still a work in progress. The test results were very interesting. He doesn't have any learning disabilities or ADHD/ADD. He does, however, have debilitating sensory issues that continue to affect his daily life including his school work. Since Dean's biological mother used a variety of drugs during pregnancy and since Dean was born addicted to cocaine (crack), the psychologist felt that he is still coming into his own. The doctor says he has seen lots of cocaine babies not fully bloom until their teens. He suggested that Dean needed more time to develop and was on the cusp of a great neurological bloom. All that said, Dean came out with a 119 IQ with a visual spatial composite IQ score of 132. The visual spatial is in the extremely high range. We knew he was very good at puzzles and games like Q-Bitz. His fluid reasoning score was only average, which makes it somewhat difficult for Dean to use abstract reasoning that doesn't rely on past learning. This may only pose difficulties for him because all of the other parts of his IQ were in the superior range, so he is thinking faster than his fluid reasoning can keep up, which may make him feel dumb at times (to my very basic understanding). He also came out gifted in artistic ability and creativity. He had scattered results with academic achievement. He was a bit behind in some forms of math and spelling and way ahead in other areas.

The End Results ~ Dean is very bright. He needs tons of hands-on activities and internships during high school for maximum success. He is a bit on the bored side but does need some more work in basic math skills (just as I thought). However, the doctor stressed that his education should be as hands-on and real world as possible. Dean needs to know why he is learning things to really embrace learning. He suggested Dean only do partial 9th grade next year to allow me to find ways of making high school hands-on and to allow Dean's brain to develop more.
Trimming tree branches
What We Are Going to Do ~
  • We will be doing only three or four 9th grade classes next year. I think they will be Career Technology Education ~ Career Explorations (with a textbook and lots of career-based field trips), U.S. History I (with A History of Us by Joy Hakim) and Physical Science (Real Science 4 Kids: Physics, Chemistry, and Geology with lots and lots of science experiments and field trips).
  • I am going to try to change over as much of our learning into project based and visual learning as possible. 
  • He will be following a student planner and visual directions as opposed to me giving auditory directions. I will be trying to reduce auditory directions whenever possible. 
  • I hope to start Dean on the piano next fall. I learned to play the piano a little bit as a child, so I can get him started. We will look into lessons as needed.
  • I was going to put him back into Teaching Textbooks and continue with Life of Fred in the fall. However, with the need for hands-on math, I am not sure that Teaching Textbooks is the best fit. I will need to do more research. 
  • Dean will continue with dance in the fall. He loves performing.
  • I hope to find an acting class that is comfortable for him.
  • He will continue to do classes in literature, world history, and art with his sister (all of which will count for 8th grade).
  • My friend and I plan to start a Mindstorm Lego Club to help our sons learn about robotics. This may become a partial 9th grade credit. 
Wow! That was a lot to process. I am glad I have a few weeks before we start school again to get more of this figured out. 

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Again, so interesting. I think I might do the same with my older children. I think both Dean's and Anne's answers were illuminating and very helpful to plan for next year.

  2. I love his answers and how thoroughly you all look at what is and is not working. Such a great idea!

  3. I should totally try this with my kids. I think I'm a little afraid of their answers, lol, but it seems like it would be very insightful.