Make the new school year a new beginning

 

Back to school means reevaluation

With less than a month to go before most of us start homeschooling for 2012-2013 school year, I am once again asking myself “What the heck and I going to do with these kids?”

This time last year, I was writing the series ‘Why I No Longer Homeschool’ parts 1, 2, and 3.  I was so excited for what we were about to do and our new beginning.  It was such a relief!

It failed miserably.

We ended up dropping out of cyber school and returning to traditional homeschooling by October.  Now it’s a new year and I really want to get it right!  Thankfully, last year’s failure taught me a lot about my soon-to-be 3rd graders:

  • structure is not our friend.  My girls need time to melt down and struggle and walk away from something for a few days.
  • dyslexia is more of an issue than I thought it was and the girls need professional dyslexia tutoring.  A lot of it.
  • switching up subjects does not work for us.  For example, Science this year is going to be only weather and, possibly, botany.  We will learn everything about these subjects because that’s how my girls work.  They want to get IN IT and KNOW it.
  • my twins will not be able to memorize names and dates for the foreseeable future.  Therefore, art and music will be hands on and only supplemented with the “greats.”  We will read books on them and if one of the twins takes an interest in someone, we will do a more in depth study.
  • unschooling is more their style than I ever thought.  I’m going to have to give up on the ‘worksheets and textbooks’ aspect of school.  That is not how their brains work.
  • therapy counts.  My girls need intensive behavioral therapy for a ton of different reasons.  Going to therapy for a few hours a day counts as school.  Therapy is hard work and it’s not fair to expect them to add a full day of learning on top of it.

WHAT works for my family?

These may seem like common sense, but when you’re dealing with children on the Spectrum and with other issues, nothing is common sense.  What works this year, may not work next year.  What works today may not work tomorrow.  I have never been a single Mama to Autistic twins and a 3 year old.  This is my first time and I’m not 100% sure how to do it right.

I’ve been homeschooling my girls for 4 years and it has been uphill the entire way.  I have spent countless hours on the computer and phone researching techniques, therapies, evaluations, doctors and schooling.  I have stalked other blogs that have special needs children.  I have talked to everyone that will listen.

And, I have made mistakes.  I have messed up.  I have taken breaks because they just needed to stop.  I have taken breaks because I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I have cried over the failures, lost hope, found hope and celebrated in the little victories.  I have just packed up and headed South because we had to be anywhere but here.  I have finally admitted to myself that my girls will never be “normal.”  They will always be behind at something.  They will always excel at something else.  They are the definition of unique.

Sometimes, though, failures can teach us more than success would have.  It’s not always a bad thing to fail if we can learn something valuable from the experience.  And, boy, have I learned!

I have learned that they are truly special girls.  I have seen their hearts and learned to embrace them for who they are and who they are going to become, not who they’re not or who they’ll never be.  I have learned that you don’t have to be “normal” to be a force in this world.  They are special and perfect the way they are.  I have learned that they’re amazing and, with God’s blessing, they are going to be amazing adults.  They are going to change the world.

Also, I have learned that I am doing the right thing by homeschooling.  Without a doubt.  They never hear anyone call them stupid, or laugh at them.  They are not made fun of or shunned for their differences.  They have curriculum tailored to their specific needs and a mom that makes sure they have the best in therapies.  They are surrounded. shrouded, in love constantly.  They have never been told they can’t do something or they’re stupid.  If only everyone had that start to life…

As we embark on our new journey, our new beginning, with lessons learned, I encourage you to do the same.  Really evaluate what you are doing and how

Your children should love to learn

your children are doing.  Is it working?  What have past years taught you?   Have you implemented changed based on what you’ve learned?  Ask yourself the questions I asked myself:

  • am I pushing them the way they should go or the way I think they should go?
  • are they falling in love with learning?  {If not, you’re doing it wrong.}
  • am I guiding them to find their love/purpose/niche or am I grooming them to make me look good?
  • am I, truly, schooling the way that is best for them.

If you can answer these questions honestly, and are OK with the answers, then you’ve probably got it figured out.  But, I know I don’t.  I had to spend the summer evaluating my expectations, methods and motives.  I had to dump a lot of the things I was holding on to.  It’s a process and it needs to be done every year and it has to be done honestly.  We owe our kids that.

And honestly, we owe ourselves.  This is not something we have the liberty of messing up for them.  We are shaping their futures, their lives, with the decisions we make for them every year.  Those decisions have to be the right decisions.  There will be no room for regret when it’s all over.  I refuse to have regret when it’s all over.  I refuse to not treat each year as a new chance to get it right.

So, Cheers to caring enough to do what you do, sacrificing all that you sacrifice, and loving your kids enough to question yourself.  I salute you.

And Cheers to being able to start all over each year.  New beginnings are a blessing.

 

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Tiffany is a single homeschooling Mama to the 3 best girls ever born.  She spends most of her time second guessing herself and wondering why she’s half crazy.  She is a lover of Forensic Files, Get Smart and Dragnet and is raising her girls on classic TV and John Wayne movies.  You can find her at Home Grown Families rambling about her suspicions that her girls are purposely trying to make her insane and follow her on Pinterest where she ‘pins’ wedding ideas to “When I Marry T. Tebow.”  She is on Twitter as @MomToSprouts and FB/HomeGrownFamilies.

Comments

  1. 1
    Jennifer Young says:

    I’m a mom to 2 girls- 3 and 5. I have an education background and have always wanted to homeschool, but love our school district so I have compromised a bit. My 3 year old goes to a Montessori preschool 2x a week (that I LOVE) and I homeschool her the other days. It is working out really well so far. My 5 year old goes to kindergarten and I am really happy with her teacher and learning experiences there. I volunteer a lot in her classroom and I have subbed in her class as well. At home, I like to do fun, hands-on learning activities with her as well! :)

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