Of course, you’ve already downloaded our FREE Educational Mapping ebook, but you might still be asking how the mapping works in real life.
This is the second in a series of articles from one of our BeyondTutoring mothers, detailing how educational mapping is helpful and can be carried out in a number of different situations.
We will spotlight one family with children Joey, Hannah and Molly in our series.
These children all have different needs, yet their mother uses mapping with each child on his or her own level.
Presenting… Joey’s story:
Our son, Joey, was always somewhat of a square peg in a round hole. This necessitated a lot of attention and fancy footwork on the academic front.
Happy and challenged, for Joey, has always been an entirely different ballgame than it was for Hannah.
Challenge wasn’t the problem – Joey challenges himself. To give you an example of what we’re dealing with, I’ll tell you about the end-of-the-year show for K-5.
There was the normal song, dance and drama routine with all the kids, practiced tirelessly for the two weeks prior, polished to paper crown perfection. In the middle of the play, the plot took a twist.
Joey’s carefully practiced part suddenly gained some side jokes, a few extra dance steps and an unrehearsed, personal, hammy curtain call. I asked Joey what was up, after having applauded and complimented and all that, of course.
His answer was, “Well, mommy, it was kind of a boring play, the way it was supposed to be, so I just made it better!” Which he did, no doubt, but you get an idea of what we’re dealing with when it comes to Joey.
From 3-year-old preschool, I’d been asking his teachers and (extremely hyperactive) pediatrician if we were dealing with any sort of attention deficit issues with Joey. The pediatrician firmly espoused that ADD/ADHD were teachers’ problems, certainly not the students’ problems, issue over.
His teachers, one after the other, pointed out that while Joey was certainly “lively”, that when he wanted to do something, he’d follow through with no distraction issues whatsoever, so we had nothing to worry about.
We chose a local, small-class elementary school for Joey. First and second grades were a dream, with teachers who appreciated his quirkiness, allowed him to stand up during class and have a run-around outside when necessary.
They put necessary extra effort into Joey’s writing and directed his imagination into cooperation with the curriculum, rather than allowing it to run away in contrast.
Knowing the general line of education is to stay in the same school through middle school, our educational research on the Joey front was done for a while, it seemed. Smooth sailing is so lovely… until it isn’t.
After a bout of violence in the school, most disturbingly in the form of a teacher who flew off the handle at a student, we kept Joey home from school for two weeks while the administration worked things out. When we saw that the newly-created classroom situation wasn’t as stable at we would have liked, we recommenced the research of available options.
Joey moved schools to start third grade somewhat less locally. While he could no longer walk to school, he did have a regularly arranged bus with numerous friends. We had a preliminary meeting with the teacher to explain our view on how Joey ticks and Joey started third grade just fine.
It took a little trial and error for the teacher to figure out that it was to his advantage to allow Joey to fiddle with the tiny parts of deconstructed do-dads on his desk, but once that was worked out, we were back to smooth sailing.
Through fifth and sixth grades, we did some serious looking into the curriculum. Joey seemed to be learning a lot by heart, which, while being very impressive, seemed to come at a price of neglecting the more interpretive thought that we had hoped he would be starting to develop at this age.
We recommenced the research.
Seventh and eighth grades were a whole different ballgame for Joey.
He was in a larger class.
He was partly behind and partly ahead in the material. Some friends had moved over with him to the new middle school and he made a number of great, new friends as well. The subject material was much more in tune what we wanted to see covered, with supplementary, cooperative projects that left us very impressed.
Periodically, I asked Joey’s teachers about his continuous misspellings. I figured that by this age, the spelling issues should have cleared up, and they hadn’t. I was assured over and over that he would grow out of it.
Eighth grade had us checking out high schools to get a perfect fit. I wanted an open environment, where independent thought could be encouraged and developed.
A healthy balance of academics and social activities was also on our list as vital. In the back of my mind, there was that itch. Why was Joey’s writing still so poor?
Was this really still within the range considered “normal”? I made some discreet inquiries as to the ability of the schools on our shortlist to deal with any learning disabilities that might arise. Together, we made our choice and felt great about it.
It was with great relief that I received a phone call from Joey’s 9th grade teacher. Had we ever noticed issues with his writing? Spelling? Hearing? They suspected learning disabilities. Well, what do you know?!
With some further research, we found an evaluation center very close to Joey’s school, got an evaluation and got him the help he needed, all within a few weeks. The center and school worked together to get an accommodation plan together and now, knee-deep in finals, it’s all paying off.
Joey is finishing up his sophomore year and is doing great in advanced physics and history. His writing is getting much better with all the help he’s gotten. He gets extra time and spelling mistakes don’t count any more. This leaves Joey to feel free to spend his time on learning as much as he can. He feels great, not getting stuck on issues that aren’t going to change very quickly. We’ve all learned to appreciate Joey’s strong points and minimize the tough stuff.
Junior year is just around the corner, so higher education is already on our research field.
If you have more questions, book an appointment with the Beyond Tutoring educational mapping specialists!