Tuesday, August 30, 2011

First Day of School

Wow. This year is getting a slow start. I'm currently very happy that my two younger children are in school. It gives me the ability to solely focus on Gabriel. I think that in the future, I will stagger start dates for school. Or, maybe we'll all start with math, then continue with language arts, etc. *sigh*

You would think that after 4 years of homeschooling that we would have it down to a science. The truth of the matter is that prior to last year, we had always schooled year round. Last year was a bit different, since I was sick, and we just kind of went with it.

This year is probably even more discombobulated than usual. I have an 'official' high schooler for the first time. While it doesn't really change a lot about what we're doing, it seems to put a bit of fear in me. After all, this is the first time I have to really be concerned about transcripts... Also, this is the first time I have completely made up my own class. American History and Literature is kicking my butt. I am afraid of missing something, but more important, I am afraid of over-scheduling Gabriel. I don't want him to have too much to do. We'll find our rhythm. Hopefully, we'll find it before Xavier joins us back at home.

And, for those who are wondering, I have every expectation that Xavier will join us back home. I am not letting him know this. I want him to have a nice long time to get use to the way school works, before he makes his mind up about his school situation. He, however, has already made his mind up. In the meantime, we are helping him learn to navigate the rocky shoals of middle school. He is finding things he likes and things he detests. He is also planning his subjects for when he comes home, making lists of projects he wants to do and books he wants to read. I'm glad he's doing this. It will make my life much easier when if he comes home.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Grief

Sometimes, life is not as simple as it seems. Sometimes, a woman feels a grief so deep, so wide that she cannot overcome it on her own. Sometimes, she feels guilty for that grief. Why should she want more, when she has already received so much, when there are others who have none? Why can she not be thankful for what she has? Why can she not let go of dreams she once had? Why can she not move on to new dreams?

Or, perhaps, she has moved on. Perhaps, she is thankful for what she has. But the grief of that lost dream ever pulls at her. Most days she is fine. Most days, she does not even think of that lost dream. Then, one day, the grief just hits her. All she wants to do is crawl inside herself and weep.

Her grief is almost alive. It lives within her, like a parasite, sucking away her soul and happiness. She cannot live with the grief, but she cannot rid herself of it. So, she pushes the grief deep within. She smothers it. She dreams new dreams, ever knowing that the old dream will come back to haunt her. She knows not when; she knows not how. If only she knew, perhaps she could prevent it. She cannot stop living. She cannot avoid those things that trigger her grief. After all, these things also bring her great joy.

So, she lives on. She loves life, and everything in it. She embraces her grief. She realizes that grief is a part of joy. It is, in fact, the opposite side. Without grief, one cannot truly appreciate the joy. She pushes forward through the grief to the joy on the other side. She rises from the pit of despair and walks in hope. She loves.

Sometimes, life is as simple as it seems.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ted Talks

I love Ted.  There is such a range of talks. I have decided to feature some of my favorites here.

Just Crazy Enough




Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Great Public School Experiment

Two weeks before school started, Xavier decided he wanted to try school. We've always left it up to the kids whether they homeschooled. So, off we trundled to get all the necessary documentation to get the boy in school. Suddenly, Dominic decided he would like to try it out as well. The document gathering started in earnest.

After some consultation with Gary, my mother, my sister, and a dear friend I've never met, we decided that the best place for Xavier would be middle school. Xavier is advanced in math (he would be starting Algebra 1 this year if he were to continue homeschooling) and all his other subjects are firmly advanced. I had no trouble deciding to 'skip' him a grade. My only trouble was the knowledge that while Xavier is advanced, he also has learning disabilities. Unfortunately, we don't have formal diagnosis of these, so we knew going into it that the school would balk.

When I took the school counselor examples of Xavier's work, I attempted to talk to her, and show her the differences between his written work and his typed work. She refused to listen. To be honest, I was only trying to head off some of the difficulties Xavier was likely to encounter. I want him to succeed. I know that he will succeed better if he is given the tools he needs to succeed. At home, this meant allowing him to type most of his assignments, while working on his handwriting separately. At school, this means needing some method of taking notes that does not rely on handwritten work. 

Today, I find out that he went to visit the counselor at the behest of his Social Studies teacher. The teacher walked him to the counselor and discussed his need for more time to be able to take notes. Hmmm... Imagine a mother knowing what she was talking about. Did I get a phone call to discuss this? No. Xavier was given time to calm down (apparently he had gotten quite upset at being able to keep up with note taking), and sent back to class.

Xavier is experiencing a lot of frustration in his inability to keep up with note taking. I find it ironic that something so innocuous, and something that will not be a necessary evil in the future (he will be able to type all future note taking- for the most part), could keep a child earthbound who is determined to soar.

I am frustrated because I know this will be a long hard battle. We are in the process of getting a formal diagnosis. Had I known earlier he would return to school, I could have made sure the diagnosis and recommendations were in place. Unfortunately, I did not have a lot of heads up. I will say, though, that I am not questioning my decision to put him in 6th grade. I think it was the best decision I could have made. I am only questioning my sanity in allowing myself to slough through the bureaucracy that is the public school system. I am also questioning the idea of allowing a system that thinks all children should fit in one of three holes control over my child's education. After all, they have come to recognize that some children have learning disabilities, some are 'normal', and some are gifted. Too bad they can't recognize that you can be more star shaped, or perhaps a square connected to a circle. Unfortunately, most children are not nice, neat circles or squares.

Dominic, on the other hand, is thriving. He loves school. He can't wait for the next day to come so he can return to school. I'm not sure if this is a reaction to the novelty, or just that he has the opportunity to be out from under his brothers' collective shadow. I just know he is enjoying school. I am so happy for him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First Day of School

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Xavier and Dominic decided they wanted to go to school this year. This morning, Dominic boarded the bus at 7, and Xavier at 7:30. Dominic was so excited, he could barely stand himself. When he got home, was just as excited. Xavier was cautious, but optimistic. This afternoon, he was the same. We're taking it one day at a time. While I'm not sure how the school year will go, I'm pretty sure getting up so early will probably kill Xavier and me.

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