Andrea and I are working on her schoolwork 5 hours a day. At first, she cried all the time. Apparently, she never did any work at school in Mexico, preferring to sit and stare at the wall or door. The first weeks were miserable and I thought she would never begin to learn. The school district has some help for parents of home-schooled kids and we had a meeting, some testing to see how well she could work in English and another meeting.
At the first meeting, the teachers, principal and school psychologist tried to convince us that she would do better in a classroom situation. Of course they hadn't even met her. The district gets the same money whether she's in class at the school or at home. It's possible the individual school gets extra funds for Spanish speakers. However, we know that she would feel lost in 5th grade in English. Gratefully, her home school advisor was in that meeting. We stood our ground and came away with the promise of some help.
At the last meeting a week ago, they told us that she was wonderful to work with, but only working at kindergarten and first grade level in English. Her reading seemed close to "early intermediate" but she needed more practice. They gave suggestions for comprehension and gave us a kit to use that will help her form ideas and words in English. Cool. We're ready to go.
Now here's the bit about television. She loves it. We watch all sorts of cool stuff together. She especially loves Discovery Health and Babies: Special Delivery. Now don't get on me about that. I'm a trained midwife and she was in the house when I delivered my first baby in Mexico. She even gave a good report about the program (orally) to her advisor.
Robert likes TV too, and has it on a lot while he's working around the house. As the commercials come on, Andrea stops her studies and repeats them word for word. For the most part, she even loses her accent. Sometimes it's to the point of irritating. But then I realized what was happening (picture me slapping my forhead and an idea bulb above me): she's learning English! Duh! Where did my other kids learn new words and concepts? Television! They had Sesame Street and some of the others. I just never thought about those kind of programs for my 10 year-old. But what they provedyears ago about catching kids attention in short spurts was as true then as it is now. I just forgot.
So now it's not irritating anymore. She may be 10, but she's learning stuff a much smaller kid needs to learn along with stuff for her own age group. It's tough at best. We hardly watched televeision in Mexico and I'm not a fan of letting my kid gel in front of the television, but I see some benefits to having the tube available for her.
and the thing is . . . she's making huge strides in the last couple of weeks. She's not reading woodenly anymore. She is comprehending the words and doing some of her worksheets without me reading all of the instructions to her. And I don't know what happened in math. She wants to do it now. We still have to do board work, letter recognition and such, but I just know that television is helping.
Color mom "helped".