Please introduce yourself and your family to us, and also tell us what country and/or state you are from.
My name is Angela Denis. Here is my family: my husband, John; my mother-n-law, Sophie; my son, Adam; and my daughter, Naomi. We are in the state of Florida.
How long have you been homeschooling?
It’s only been this year in August that I have begun to homeschool my seven-year-old boy.
Why did you decide to homeschool?
The reason why I decided to homeschool was because Adam was having some issues in school because of his autism. It came to the point in time that during his IEP ( Individual Education Plan), it was discussed where else to place him because of his behavior in wanting to disrobe himself in the classroom. So, it was addressed to me that in the interim, whether to check out another choice of school; and, I could also apply for the Gardiner Scholarship which is a scholarship suited for families with children with autism, Down Syndrome, etc.
What style of Homeschooling does your family follow?
I try various learning styles, visual, music/auditory, verbal, physical/kinesthetic, logical/mathematical, social, and sometimes solitary. I haven’t yet seen where he falls mostly. However, I think it could be a little bit of all of them. When it comes to learning songs, he loves when I either write them out into his composition book or type them out. He loves classical, hymns, and scripture songs. He’s now getting piano lessons from mom while I’m learning too. We’re working on verbal by me asking open ended questions. As for the physical, we walk sometimes around the block and sometimes other areas. When he wants to take a break outside, he likes to jump on his trampoline. Now that we have a backyard, he loves to explore, jump on the trampoline, and play with the dirt while learning. He knows his phone number by jumping on the trampoline, and he’s learning how to tie his shoe.
Do you have a philosophy about homeschooling?
“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This is my philosophy in getting things done.
What kinds of tools, resources, or curriculums do you use to home school and why?
Although I’m using Sonlight, I’m using a few other things such as sensory games and other resources. My prime resource is the Bible, as well as scripture songs and hymns. Recently I have created with them a poster board of bible reading, scriptures from A-Z. I like Sonlight. I find the books fascinating from our library.
Are you the primary “teacher” or do your spouse or other family members participate with home schooling?
I am the primary teacher by day, and my husband and I at night.
What does a typical homeschooling day look like in your home?
My son is a very jovial boy (in spite of his autism). He challenges me more each day as I get him to begin with our “Time with Jesus.” It starts with sharing object lessons, then talking about the character quality and reading the Family Bible stories in the Sonlight Education Ministry Curriculum. I can’t say that our days have been the same, but it has been for some parts of the day and sometimes we have to do something different. It’s always a test and trial period to see what he can comprehend. We sometimes get to sing together, do science experiments, and go for walks. He knows that whenever he wants to go on the computer, I say “pause,” and that’s his cue to come to me to do something in the kitchen — for example, putting away the dishes or watching and assisting me with his breakfast and lunch, which to me, is like ABA therapy, which he has not experienced on a professional perspective. He comes to help me in the laundry room. He’s able to put away his own clothes. I try to keep the routine going so that while communicating with him, he is connecting and reviewing in his mind what I have introduced to him, whether it’s through his memory verses, life skills activities, or school work from either his language arts, science, math, or Bible. I take him every Wednesday to the church to distribute Sabbath school bags, placing them on each classroom door. And again on Thursdays, we go to the community service center to help with anything that I think he can do. Lately, it has come to the point that he watches me as he plays with the plastic hangers. 🙂 But at first, he was able to sort the books by colors, fold some towels, and put together shoes into bins. My days with him can be so amazing that out of the blue he will say something or sing a song that I know is only from the Spirit of God working with him to bring a smile to my face, and all I can do is whisper and say, “Thank you, God. Praise your name, Jesus!”
What do you love the most about home schooling and what do you dislike the most?
From the time my children were born, the thought of homeschooling was always in the front of my mind. It’s only now because of life changes that I can truly do so. I love the fact that I can mold my son to recognize what it means to have a sense of order — to be neat and tidy, to be obedient, helpful, diligent, thankful; to do skills that will probably help him in the future. He’s currently learning to play the piano. He hasn’t been given that opportunity outside homeschooling, so by homeschooling I can, and I am loving it. Lord willing, if I could I would love for him to pursue this as a love. From early childhood, he has had the love for music just like his sister. They love musical movies and we have shared some family favorites. Music has been the best therapy for him, and among other things such as cooking with mom, taking care of himself, grooming, learning his phone number, tying his shoes — all has been taught through homeschooling. I can’t seem to think of what I least like about it, only that I would definitely have to live in a state that supports it, and so far I am blessed that I live in one that does. Praise be to God!
Is there anything you would like to share about your home school?
All together, homeschooling is a wonderful experience. I’ve have friends who have questioned me about it, but I can truly say that the ones that have have said to me that I have made the right choice. I can see that I have made the right choice whether my son was or was not autistic. Having taken the time to look into it, it can benefit all children — but it all depends on the parent, right?