Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Doing Homework with George

I have to admit something...I am surprised that one of my favorite times of the day is working on homework with George every afternoon. Each day after school, George has at least one homework assignment and on most days he has math and some reading.

When we started school back in September, George would get a little frustrated with his homework, especially the reading. Now, it has become a delight to work with George (on most things).

I am struck by the importance of parental involvement in early childhood education! Obviously, George was given something by his birth parents! He wants to learn, and he is fairly bright. He has these very simple reading books, Title 1 books, and he is reading them! He may struggle over a word or two here and there, but generally, he is doing well. He also has these flip cards with basic sight words, and every day we run through the cards. The first time we did them, he didn't know a single word. Now, he can read most of them.

I laughed the first time George brought home a spelling packet - yea, right! I thought there was no way he would be able to spell a word. Now, to be honest, the spelling does not come easy at all, but he is getting some of the words.

There has been some concern that George is having a comprehension or retention problem. I refuse to believe that is the case until I give George some more time.
I think George has been so focused on assimilating into this family and our culture that his little brain and body can only take so much. He is desperately trying to communicate every things he is seeing, feeling and hearing and sometimes we have very frustrating conversations because he is trying to tell me something and I am just not getting it. It is almost like when our 2 year olds start talking and we just can't understand what they are so diligently trying to enunciate. Same with George. Yet, it is amazing how much language he has acquired!

I remember know right away that language was a huge key to our success. When we couldn't even say "yes" or "no" in the same language, that led to great frustration. i remember calling a woman who had adopted several months ahead of me and crying to her asking, "When will he be able to talk to me?" I knew that communication would either make or break our relationship.

Language acquisition for these older children is a huge challenge. The English language has so many nuances, it makes it nearly impossible for someone not born into this language to "get" those subtleties. George still struggles with comedy; we tell him not to laugh at his siblings when they fall down, yet we all bust out laughing when Kung Fu Panda trips and falls down the stairs.

I look forward to sitting at the kitchen table with George. And he has entered a phase of wanting to start doing things alone and then bringing them to me for checking. Unfortunately, he gets a lot of those things wrong because he is just guessing. But, every now and then, he brings a math paper to me with all the addition problems done correctly! Can you believe it?

I am so excited to see how he continues to grow. I remember reading the paperwork from the orphanage that said little Georgebush wanted to be a teacher. Maybe his dream will become a reality some day. As of today, we are one huge step closer!


Brooke said...

Wow! So incredible how far he has come! You've got a smart one on your hands, Traci!! What a blessing!!

Rbarrow said...

YAY George!!!