Let me go back a few months. Although Carly is an AB student she struggles. She has dyslexia and she has ADHD. I'm not a huge fan of the whole ADHD diagnosis but if you know her then you know it fits like a glove. The school Carly was at had a wonderful dyslexia program. The dyslexia specialist was hands down my favorite teacher Carly ever had. She worked with her and as she worked with her I saw great strides in Carly's reading and comprehension skills. It was amazing. The problem was that she was only with that teacher for 1 hour 4 days a week. The rest of the time she was with teachers who could not seem to understand that it just takes her a little longer to finish things and that putting pressure on her to finish in a certain amount of time only makes things worse. They were not bad teachers at all, I just think they were not a good match for Carly. There were plenty of other kids who seemed to be excelling in there so I know they are not doing a bad job. Anyway, most of this year Carly has come home from school crying or in a bad mood and constantly talking about how bad her days were at school. She had plenty of friends, she wasn't being bullied or anything like that. She was just struggling to bridge the gap between her IQ and her skills. She scores off the chart on IQ but she struggles with day to day tasks at school and the struggle was really taking its toll on her. Then there was the battle with Anna. I was constatnly getting calls about her absences. These were absences for things like EEGs and Gtube placement. We never kept her home just for the heck of it but even if we did it is Pre-K for heaven sakes. They wanted a note from the hosoital to prove she had really been there because apparently the gtube was not enough proof. I suppose they thought we purchased a home installation kit. I know, its school policy and state law, but it is still absurd. The problem really is that this is our reality. Anna will always have Dr appoontmnts and hospital stays and she will always be missing school. So these things just kept building and building until poof- we had enough.
So I started researching and found on online cirriculum that does not require too much parent instruction. After all, I still have to work 5 days a week and Kenneth still works too. Those I know who already homeschool were very encouraging. Those who don't homeschool were supportive but I could read the undertone of "you have lost your freaking mind."
Here we are, a week down, and I will tell you what I have learned:
- Public school wastes an amazing amount of time. It's not really their fault, it is just the way it is designed and they have so many kids there that it just happens.
- Carly is a completely differnt child now. She said she is fianllly able to relax because nobody is rushing her.
- Carly's whole attitude has changed. She has been in trouble with us maybe twice this week as complared to her normal 20 times.
- Carly is completely off of her ADHD meds- meds which the school thought she needed more of.
- I see Carly acting more like an 8 year old than a 12 year old in regards to attitude. I feel like the pressures at school are pushing our kids to grow up way to fast! She is no longer hiding and lying about things she likes to do or cartoons she still likes to watch our of fear of what schoolmates would think or say.
- I am learning to enjoy my kids more because we are not always rushing to get homework done or get here or get there...
- I am learning that every thing in life is a school lesson. You can teach your kids so much by using everyday experiences.
We are still tweaking our schedule to see exactly what works best. It changed a lot just through the first week but so far it looks like we will use computer curriculum for math and language arts. We are using a system called Time 4 Learning. It is great for ADHD and dyslexic kids. Those will be done on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday is history day and for that we are using the American Girl Doll Series. They are fictional characters but historically accurate and Carly loves them so she is very engaged in them. Thursday is science day and we are just going to pick things that are interesting or relevant to things going on in the news and I will develop units about them. This week we did a unit on hurricanes. I was fearful that she would not absorb the information but let me just say she was able to tell me so much more about what she had learned this week than ever before which she attributes to learning without distractions.
Anna is doing well too. She also has the computer curriculum but we are doing more focus with her on letters and numbers. She does daily worksheets and also works on skills like cutting and coloring. She looks forward to doing her "work" everyday and was actually disappointed that I didn't have anything planned for the weekend. When she had a GI appointment last week it was nice to take the kids and not worry about what the school would say about it. As a side note, Anna has gained 1.5 lbs since the gbutton was placed. That is huge!
I know this is all still new but I really feel like this is such a good fit for us. We still have plenty of structure here but it is relaxed structure if that makes any sense. We had committed to doing this for the rest of this school year and then we would reevaluate. Carly told me the other day she is pretty sure she would like to homeschool next year too. There is so much more I could go on about but that will be for the next post.