Wow! This school year has kicked my you know what! Dead give away, my serious lack of blog posts! ;) I feel like my head is on constant rotation, spinning, spinning, spinning! But now as the year winds down a bit I will hopefully post a little more often!
It's been quite the year! I learned a lot about my children once again. Their learning styles, their likes and dislikes, their strengths and weaknesses.
For starters I noticed that Atty was still struggling, so we did a bunch of testing this year and we put him on an IEP. Which unfortunately didn't end up helping out a whole lot. Turns out when you homeschool you are expected to be a special ed teacher as well. :/ I don't know exactly what I was expecting but I thought that the IEP through the school district would provide at least a little support. It did give me a starting point though, and we have a great advisor through the learning center that has been a real blessing for helping me figure out how to teach Atty best. :) Also the testing made it possible for us to go in the direction of vision therapy and occupational therapy for him, so it wasn't a total loss. ;) After we had a good plan set up Atty really started to excel, and this year was a much more positive experience. I didn't feel the pressure to keep him to a level he simply couldn't attain. It was defeating for him and frustrating for me. I was instead able to meet him where he is at and encourage him to go a little further.
They all loved the learning center, Monday school. They got to take so many fun and exciting classes and they learned a lot! I'm really glad we did it, even though it added to my paperwork with the monthly (and sometimes weekly) reviews needed by the school. I recently learned that we don't have to go full time and can still take the full five classes. We just don't get the full stipend. I'm not too worried about that as we didn't even need the full amount, and by going part time I won't have to report on as many classes. Which means less work on the monthly reviews! So we are going in that direction next year.
I learned a really hard lesson about not focusing too hard on only one kid. While I was so focus on Atty, Banden was slipping through the cracks. It has become very apparent recently how much he is struggling. Especially with reading/language arts. He has some serious test anxiety as well so his spring test results were awful! It was very disheartening, after all the hard work we've put in. So starting first thing next year Banden will do some testing so we can come up with a good plan for him as well. I'm wondering if he might indeed be dyslexic. It's so sad to see how frustrated and flustered he gets. He really does try hard, but just isn't making much progress in that area. He is doing well in other areas though, and even though his testing for math looked dismal, I know that it was just due to his test anxiety. Because on a daily basis he's been rocking math!
I learned that Ira is on a fast track for learning that I can hardly keep up with! He has passed up both his brothers! So I have to wrap my brain around teaching three different learning plans next year, because I don't want to hold him back. He is reading now for the love of reading, which makes my heart glad. Except for the occasional struggles, because he wants to already know and not learn, the year went smoothly. It's so hard for him to admit when he doesn't know something, so we had lots and lots of talks about how important it is to be open to learning new things and that you aren't born already knowing everything!!! Which is what he would like to think. ;)
Leiella learned a lot and will be working at a kindergarten level next year. She misses the cut off in order to sign up for kindergarten classes through the learning center because of her October 6th birthday. Which is so frustrating because she is very ready. So just like Ira she will just work at a grade level above her age and continue to do so as long as it serves her best.
I have a feeling I will be chasing after the youngest two all through their school years, trying to keep work at their level so they don't get bored. :)
I learned that if I keep everything very structured and follow a set curriculum and schedule I can succeed in teaching my children. I learned that I can and should reach out when I hit a wall and don't know where to turn. I learned (once again) that every child must learn at their own pace and in their own way and that's okay. I have such a hard time with this one, because as a homeschooling mom I want my kids to be very successful. I don't want anyone saying they aren't learning enough or aren't at the right level. I don't do well with criticism because I feel this awful need to be perfect. I'm a perfectionist for sure, and a total control freak. Just being honest. But I have to let that go. Because even if they were in school they would be at the same place they are now, or worse. There are kids in public schools struggling as well. And at least at home I can really tailor their education to suit them. My advisor through the learning center has really helped me see this and it's been a really blessing. She is a certified teacher with a lot of experience under her belt, so her words of encouragement and praise really meant a lot to me this year. There were once again moments where I wanted to give up and she helped me see my worth. :) It's hard not to take my kids struggling personally. Feeling like I failed in some way. I know in my rational mind I have not, but it's so hard not to sink into feeling like I'm not good enough, I've messed up in some way. She really helped me see the bigger picture and to accept that we were dealing with learning disabilities not a lack of teaching.
Over all I would say this was a successful year! I learned so much and so did the kids. :) They made friends at the learning center and so did I. :) Between the learning center, Awana, church, swim lessons, sports, VBS and myself joining the gleaners I am recognizing faces now everywhere we go! It's weird, and being a bit of an introvert, a bit uncomfortable at times. But on the whole it's nice to be connected to the community around us. :) Plus the child I nanny for, his parents are very active in the community and so when I go places with him (which is often) people always come up to say hi. It's sort of funny how well known he is. So there's no getting around it. I must be social, so social I will be! ;) Speaking of the child I nanny for, he has a little brother now and in August I will start watching him as well! He will be three months old and I can't wait to be able to snuggle a baby again! I am very aware that I will have to set my year up to be as successful as possible though, as the work load will be immense! Between two struggling kids who will need lots of extra guidance, plus three others to teach at different levels and an infant. Just typing all that makes me want to break out in a cold sweat. ;) And of course there is also all the other stuff that still needs to be done on top of all that, laundry, cleaning, cooking and the never ending food prep our diet entails, gardening, gleaners, errands, learning center, sports, etc… etc… Sort of makes a girl feel like running away! ;) I plan on not having chickens after this fall, so that is one less extra chore to worry about. I just need to find someone who I can buy a large amount of healthy eggs from. We go through so many that even 12 chickens can't keep up! I've also been decluttering and simplifying and will continue this through the summer. That alone makes such a huge difference! Anyways I will be focused this summer on next year being as successful as possible! I've already ordered the supplies and completed the learning plans, so now I can hopefully grab a day here and there to just have fun as well. :) We continue to learn through the summer but are going to a three day a week learning plan and won't do any work on our upcoming nine day vacation. Very excited about that! Going to see the Redwood forest in California and then travel back along the Oregon coast. :) Well I'm just rambling now, so I should wrap it up!
I'm excited to have some time to finally talk about our daily life around here soon, and I hope to do some catch up posts! :) What a slacker I am. ;)
Strong and Brave
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