Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Our homeschool story

Now, before I start w/ all the gory details, please remember that the story has a happy ending! :) Everyone is fine, health problems get resolved, it's all good! Or if not good, then getting better, ok? ;)

I started out buying w/ workbooks and such from WalMart and the education store. Pretty schoolish. Esp. for my little preschooler. I had energy to burn back then and I wanted to "school" someone!

So in the midst of having my little guy do preschool workbooks, I discovered the Weaver curriculum. I bought the preschool/K program called the Interlock. By this time, I now had a preschooler and a toddler. Before we finished the program, I would also have a newborn.

I didn't know it at the time, but it was a unit study.I really liked it. It was lowkey, not schoolish at all.Seemed overly simple, but very effective. When I have to remember what God made on each day of creation, I still think back to the project we did: items glued to large numbers, representing what God made that day. I still remember the moon phases and cloud formations. And so does my son, all these years later.

I went on to the elementary level, Volume 1, which required alot of planning and studying on my part. At this point, I had a 4 children ages 5 and under.Not the time for a big time unit study. (Just a side note, I still don't want to study and plan!)

So we veered over to Five in a Row.Also very low key, but very effective.I didn't even do it consistently, but my kids were learning alot.

Then I decided I didn't like going to the library and getting the books so I bought Sonlight for the first time because you could get all the books you needed in one package. Level K w/ advanced readers. I dropped it pretty fast. It was just too much for the time.

My first grader wasn't reading well. I felt like a failure and he sensed that he was the cause. It was heartbreaking to me that I was messing this all up. Meanwhile, my newborn baby had colic. For months I stayed awake all night and slept all day. My mom was living w/ us at the time and watched the kids during the day.We eventually switched to formula and I started sleeping more at night!

But that didn't clear up everything.Actually, it was during my last pregancy that I began to feel bad. I didn't know it, but I had depression. I asked for help during the pregnancy, but was told they couldn't do anything for me unless I couldn't get out of bed. I wish they'd recommended counseling or something because I took this to mean that there was nothing wrong w/ me.

Even after, the baby's birth, I believe I had post-partum depression or maybe even "regular" depression. One day during that summer, I couldn't bring myself to get the kids ready to go outside to play so they stayed indoors all day that day. I dont' remember now what the exact hold up was, but it scared me that I could not do what needed to be done for the kids.

This was also at the same time of the Andrea Yates thing. It scared me that she was a homeschooling mom, that she had a bunch of young kids, that she had post partum depression. My friend that is a nurse explained to me that having depression makes you feel low, about YOU, it doesn't make you want to hurt others, that is something else. I definitely was only feeling blah, low, about myself.

So, I didn't need to panic or fear, but we decided I needed some help. Of course, I was seeing a dr. and we enrolled the 2 oldest in school for the fall.I wonder too, if I already had sleep apnea at that time, because no matter now much I slept, I never felt rested.

BTW, my kids did really well in school. We got compliments from the teachers. My son caught up in reading and they commented that he was such a bright, eager learner, even though he was behind. Whatever I had done at home was right on they told me. Funny, huh?

Anyway, the school year went pretty well and we enrolled them for the next year.That year was ok, but we began to investigate our options. We looked into a charter school, but it was going to be so much work, we decided to homeschool again.

I breathed a sigh of relief and bought some workbooks from WalMart. We picked up w/ Five in a Row again. I homeschooled fairly uneventfully for about the next 2 years. I never really found my niche, I never really got completely consistent, I never fully got in the groove but we were doing it.

Then at a well check, I finally brought up my suspicions about my 2nd son to my pediatrician. I'd asked about him before to other drs, but always been told he was fine. She suspected right away that he had Sensory Processing Disorder and dyslexia. I just knew she was wrong about the dyslexia. My older son was suspected of having too in 2nd grade and he didn't have it.

Well he did have dyslexia. And sensory processing disorder.And muscle and coordination delays. At that point, I mentally checked out of homeschooling. I never signed up for this, I could barely do it w/ "regular" learners, how could I even think, even dare imagine that I had the patience and whatever else it took to homeschool a special needs learner?

As far as I was concerned, I would continue to homeschool the oldest, but the younger 3 were going to school. Who knew what undiagnosed needs they had that I didn't know about? Let them go to school and get the services they need. I am not good at this, let the professionals do their job, a better job.

Bless my heart, I tried to homeschool and it just didn't work out, I had no other choice but to send them to school. I had done my best and now I could rest.

Because I was done.

To be continued......

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