What have I learned this year? Could a question be more loaded? Learned about what exactly? About life? About love? About myself? About the world? On and on I could go forever wondering. So let me narrow that down. What have I not learned that life has obviously been trying to teach me. Here it goes….
- I need to quit feeling like a newbie with this home school thing. I think I question myself now more out of habit and less from actual bad experience. No challenge is greater than to see that T gets an outstanding education. When I started to home school it was because I was desperate for him. He was so miserable. Common Core and loss of Resource plus his time with his Special Education Team was cut by two-thirds. He was left so far behind. There was homework from right after school straight until bedtime. He stayed in a such a horrific state of stress. No child should be able to comprehend that, much less experience it daily. When the final straw bent and bowed, I was terrified at the idea of teaching him myself. What, dear God, what if I let him down? But then again, what else could I do? I jumped in with all my heart and I discovered, gasp, it was SO hard. It wasn’t this part-time thing I had imagined. It wasn’t log him onto the computer and go wash the dishes. Instead, it was hour after hour, step by step, lesson after lesson of hard work for the both of us every day. It took patience, innovation, love, and a very strong commitment that I wasn’t expecting at the onset. It was in a word, sacrifice. That’s the ugly truth. No need to sugar coat. It was SO hard. But, it was also so fun. I started to see how he learned best. I discovered that he needed experiments and things to build with. He needed to be able to move around a lot and he needed times where I could calm him down with words or music. He needed jokes and laughter. He needed lots and lots of visuals. His learning delays, his speech issues, and his ADHD, each had its own lesson plan to teach me. He was learning his Math, his reading, his social studies and I was learning him. I was discovering how he learned and recognizing, “Hallelujah, my kid is brilliant!” I had long suspected but now here was proof. T is without a doubt taking the path less traveled but he is sprinting wildly down it, arms flailing practically in a full and graceful state of flight. There is no doubt he learns differently but I gotta say, his way is much more fun! Home schooling was and is the greatest thing ever. It was and it is still so hard sometimes, but I have got this! We have got this together and learning will be fun and we will get it done and I just need to stop sweating it.
- I can still have my life. I can still be Gwen who loves to write, and sketch bad pictures and read and do yoga and take a ton of photos. I can be a teacher and still be on my journey to capture the beauty of life. When it came time to home school T I just set aside everything that had been my life before that. I had curriculum’s to study. I had to relearn everything from fourth and fifth and sixth grade that I had forgotten. You would be absolutely amazed how much one can forget. Ever play, Are You As Smart As A Fifth Grader? I lived it. I dropped my pen, my first five chapters of my book, and I set my camera aside. Weekends only and first there were lesson plans to prepare. Plus I have this amazing marriage and Mr. Wonderful to love and adore. The only personal passion I kept truly alive was my love for cooking. (Hint, if you choose to keep this passion fed and fired up, better keep yoga going too.) What I have learned this year is that I can still be me. I am now a teacher but that is not all I am. By managing my time and by helping T to become more independent where it is appropriate, I can spend time doing the things I love without guilt. For 2016 I am determined to release the guilt I feel for focusing on myself. It’s ridiculous and time to let it go. I also am committed to better management of my time so that I can enjoy as many pieces of this precious and amazing life as I can possibly breathe in. Wish me luck 🙂