Operation “Get Life Together”: Releasing Control

I have been homeschooling for a long time.  I mean a long, long, long, Long time….like really long.  I am a pretty strict homeschooling mom.  I have my list, according to the KY state standards, and we do not deviate.

We do cursive.

We do LOTS of reading (it is a love for all my kids).

We do LOTS of history (it is a love for all my kids).

We do the mandatory math (7th level of Hell according to all who reside in my house).

We do Bible.

We do Science.

We write.

We do Language, Grammar, Spelling……

We do it all.

My oldest two daughters and my oldest son were born under the heart.  Victoria was born talking our ear off….knowing her alphabet at 14 mths…spelling her name at 18 mths…reading early.  Alyssa is my creative child.  She can put words to anything.  She can write beautifully and has always been very articulate.  Noah is the math/science/history kid.  Loves loves loves it.

I am a stickler.  I want all my “t’s” crossed and all my “i’s” dotted.  My kids will attest to that.  I have a routine that has stood the test of time, all these years….I do not like change.  I do not like to yield.  I do not like to change things up.  I like what I like.  I know what I’m good at.  I know what the kids are capable of and I want them to know that they can succeed if they put forth the hard work and try.  That’s all I ever want them to do is try.  Do their best….even if it is a D….if they studied and did their best, then that is great in my book.

Then………came my kiddoes born in my heart.  The early years were spent learning our alphabet, our numbers, our address. What sticks out in my mind is the inability Daniel had to remember our address, our phone number, how to write his letters, learning the alphabet…just so many struggles.  His speech and hearing played a lot in that.  We did 2 sets of tubes, put him in preschool, started speech when he was 2 1/2.  I did everything I know to do.  Nothing seemed to work.

Grayce, on the other hand, has the attention span of a gnat.  She could not “do school” with the other kids.  She needed NO distractions (drapes and blinds down), no noise (we had to be like mice), nothing on her walls to look at, nothing in her room, for that matter.  She HATED doing the work and it was like pulling teeth with no medication to get her to do it.  She failed every single test (except for Spelling and Reading Comprehension).  I could not figure out what was going on.  Her math skills…..whoa Nelly.  Just horrible.  We got her tutors (thank you Mr. Brodsky), we did CDs, we did flash cards.  Nothing seemed to work.

Jude…..he came to America when he was 5.  Much of that first year was just learning to live in America.  Learning our language.  Learning to trust us.  We sat, a lot and watched Iron Chef America.  That is our thing.  A movie comes on and he gets as close to me as humanly possible…even at 11.  Then we worked on our alphabet, numbers, basic Kindergarten stuff.  It was hard.  Good gravy.  They say that for however long a child was in country is how long it takes for them to acclimate to a new country.  That is SO true.  So.  Very.  True.  There are certain concepts (Grammar) that is so hard for him.  I mean, it is so hard.  I bought word puzzles.  Did crossword puzzles.  Videos.  Set it to music.  Nothing seemed to work.

There is a world of difference between children who were wanted, loved, cared for, fed and children who suffered from neglect and abuse or a child whose sweet mama did all she could for him but did not have access to proper health care in order to take care of him.  That is a learning curve….for me.  It also teaches me to release the control that I like to hold onto so tightly.

This year….I have decided to release the reins.  I decided to walk into the enemy’s camp and still back my joy of teaching and molding their education to suit their individual needs.  I want to have fun.  I want them to have fun.  I want to meet their “required” needs but do it in a way that they do not hate learning.

So….with that being said.  Noah’s course of action will remain the same.  We will be scheduling him to take the ACT and his driver’s test this week.  I also plan on applying to Murray State Racer Academy in the spring.  We were aiming for the fall, but ya know, life happened.

Grayce, we are doing LOTS of reading literature (British and American) and lots of writing.  She loves to read and she loves to write.  We are stepping back on Algebra.  This part, we are just going to make sure she has an excellent handle on basic math, counting money, counting back money, etc.  She has FASD and the part of her brain that is affected is abstract.  She is *very* concrete and that is okay.  She just thinks and learns differently than us.  Our main goal, for her, is to get used to her living at home again.  She was at military school for 22 weeks.  It was a break that we all needed.  She is adjusting to home very well.  She knows her boundaries and she is confidant that she can be under authority.  It has been nice.  We will, of course, do Science but I will probably not test in that area because her testing skills are not great.  History, however, is good for her and that will continue on a typical high school path.  Bible will remain the same, as will Grammar and Language.

Daniel….I am gearing EVERYTHING to wars….to the military…..to history.  This kid cannot spell, he cannot remember the same chore he has had for 7 yrs, but he can tell you the history, with accurate detail, how the mountains of Hawaii were formed.  What countries were involved in every single war.  Every.  Single.  War.  This is our golden topic.  I am laying off the spelling.  I got him a little gadget for dyslexia that helps with that.  His penmanship is phenomenal.  I have also bought Dragon software to help him write.  It is all through a microphone and a computer.  Math…he is on target.  History…blows it out of the park.  Language, Grammar, Spelling………we are close to being done.  He knows the basics and we will move as far as he can, but realistically, he has FASD and he is also “low functioning” so I’m not discounting his abilities….we do a lot of lego work (I will definitely post a video of some of his inventions…they are wonderful), reading (real books and audio books for the classics of Literature), Bible….everything else will be a unit study created around military stuff.  It’s working

Jude…..he is now on target.  It has taken some time and he is still behind a bit in math, but for the most part….we will move forward with how I teach the other children.  He is heavy into reading and he loves math (though he goes a bit too fast and makes silly mistakes).  He is a beast at spelling and he has an insatiable love of learning.

Hunter……….we just read and play 🙂

All in all…it is gonna get done.  My kids are going to be well rounded, well socialized (yes, homeschoolers can be socialized and not awkward), and they will be educated.  Some are going to college…some will go to college….some will go to beauty school….some will go to trade school…God has their lives planned out.  He had it planned before He created the Earth.  He knows their beginning, middle, to end.

I just get the privilege of raising all these wildly different kiddoes.

I am blessed.

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