Skip to main content

Getting ready for another year of homeschooling and some changes


I had the best of intentions of writing a post about wrapping up last year, our homeschooling plans for the summer and the big changes that are coming this next year.  Yet, today is the first day that I have been able to sit down and take some time to click out some words on the laptop and share about how homeschooling has been going and what lies ahead of us.

To give a brief synopsis of last year is simple; it was a tough year.  Probably one of our toughest yet.  Homeschooling, the way we have been doing it, was no longer working.  My two oldest needed a great deal of intense one-on-one time.  My oldest also needed to learn how to figure things out on his own, to an extent.  He was in 5th grade and I tried hard to give him room to work on his own and figure out how to manage with his learning disabilities, in a safe environment, but he continued to use me as a crutch.  Homeschooling became a regular battle.  And I was getting worn out. 

By March, I began to research tutorials.  And I already know what so many people are thinking; “You can’t put a child with learning disabilities in a tutorial! You are setting them up for failure.”  And I have heard that.  I had people gently counsel me that a tutorial is NOT the place for a child that struggles with school.  Yet, I continued to search.  I talked with parents and board members about tutorials. I asked specific questions about having a child with learning disabilities in that environment.  And many parents said their son/daughter actually did better in a tutorial than at home.

My boys were not too thrilled about the idea.  Both Joshua and Caleb did NOT want to go to a tutorial and when the day came for us to shadow at St. Thomas Aquinas Tutorial, they were both very against it.  I had asked them to be open to it and see where God may be leading us as a family.  Caleb shadowed the 2nd grade class and Joshua the 5th.  I sat in on Caleb’s class first and I will be honest, I fell in love with the class.  I was impressed with the Classical style curriculum and I loved the interactive nature of the class.  Caleb came alive in the classroom.  Naturally social, I could see how this setting would inspire him to learn more than he would be at home with his two brothers.

I was also impressed with the 5th grade class, and the more I researched the curriculum used, the more I felt it was the perfect way for Joshua to learn.  It would give him a systematic way of writing and learning grammar that would take a lot of the stress and indecision out of the “how” for him.  Yes, his work load would be more, but, in the long run, it would be easier and give him a firm foundation.  Plus, he would be forced to figure out how he needed to work WITH his learning disabilities instead of trying to avoid it all together. 

Earlier this year I read a book called David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell.  While I cannot recommend the whole book, the author does an excellent job at discussing learning disabilities and how they can actually be an advantage, one which he calls a desirable difficulty.  According to the author, when something is difficult, we often look at that as a disadvantage, but it can be an advantage when the person with the disadvantage works to overcome it.  Galdwell relayed story after story of how men and women with dyslexia worked to overcome their disadvantage and learned new ways of learning that allowed them to become some of the top in their professions.

I let Joshua listen to these parts of the book with me.  We discussed “desirable difficulty.”  I shared with him how my prayer for him is that STAT would be a safe place for him to learn how to learn best with the difficulties he has.  It is a place where he can use his voice to ask for the things he needs so that he can learn best.  Ultimately, straight homeschooling was not giving him that environment anymore.  Yes, he was still learning, but there is more for him to learn.  More life lessons; more finding how to stand on his own feet, seeking balance and, if necessary, falling a few times so that he can grow into the man whom God desires for him to be.

So, starting this fall, both Joshua and Caleb will be attending a tutorial two days a week.  There are times I am so happy with this decision.  I know it is the right one.  Yet, there are times I feel like I am admitting defeat; admitting that I cannot home school.  And I worry about the boys’ transitions to a tutorial.  Will they truly thrive there?  Will they love it as much as I hope they will?

Ultimately, like every parenting and homeschooling decision we make, I entrust it into the hands of our Creator, knowing that when we follow His will, it will all work out in the end. It may not be pretty or perfect, but it will draw us closer to the author of our Faith.

Comments

  1. So i am going to flag my ignorance in this world of homeschooling. What is a tutorial? And what is the difference between that and a co-op?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary-
      A co-op is usually one day a week for a few hours. It is parent taught and usually only covers the "extras" like art, science, etc. A tutorial is a bit more structured. This one meets two days a week, all day. They cover all the subjects and the teachers are hired and not necessary a parent. All subjects are covered through the tutorial and then the kids do "home work" from the tutorial the other three days.

      Delete
  2. I like the classical approach to learning as well. We're members of a Classical Conversations group. After 8 years of homeschooling, I still have to change the way we do things every . single . year. What's so great about placing your children in this tutorial is that if it works -- brilliant!! If it's not a fit, you still have the choice to change up as you see best. Good for you for trying new things!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I think the tutorial will be a good addition to what you do with the boys because the teachers have probably encountered the learning disabilities before and can maybe approach them from a different angle?

    This is also not about succeeding or failing at homeschooling -- it's about what works best for your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jen- One of the tutors has her MA in Special Ed and was a special ed teacher. I meet with her next week to work up an "IEP" of sorts for my oldest. I think it will be the best environment for the boys. I already feel more supported in my homeschooling journey.

      Delete
    2. So happy to hear this! Let me know if you have any questions about working up the IEP -- this is my life these days.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Fasting and the Current State of Our Church

I love researching diets.  If it is new and popular, I probably have read about it some and maybe have even tried it.  Lately, fasting has gained popularity.  You can find books that will provide research on just how good fasting is for the body.  And, I have been intrigued, mainly because I am horrible at fasting and the thought of restricting myself from eating food completely sounds too extreme. 



As Catholics we are called to days of fasting and abstinence, and for as strong as I like to think I am, I am quite a wimpy "faster."  But, after reading a great deal about fasting and its physical benefits, I started to feel like God was asking me to get more serious about fasting, not for the physical benefits but for the spiritual ones.  My husband and I were out for a walk the other night and I was talking about my new found respect for fasting and how I feel called to do it more, for spiritual reasons, and I started to speak about how amazing it is that fasting has so many …

My verse for the year

But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.   Isaiah 6:48


There are boxes being unpacked in our home.  Boxes packed and meant to be unpacked in a different home, our new home, in a matter of two weeks.  


About two weeks before Christmas things changed.  Situations changed.  And what we were convinced was God's will just months before, seemed so unlike it now.  Things beyond our control happened and suddenly we were praying and we felt that the best and only solution was to walk away from this new house.  And at the end of  a week of uncertainty, anxiety and tension, once the decision was made to walk away from the house, there was a great deal of peace.   But, as the dust settles from the decision, even though we know it is the best for everyone involved, there is still sadness, still this sense of loss.  As we have prayed again and again, we know each of all of the steps we have made in this whole house journey …

Settling In

I find it ironic that the last post I posted was about our move that did not happen and how God wanted me to be moldable.  When I typed those words and prayed those words, "God make me moldable," "Move to Wisconsin" was NOT what I was envisioning.  But, sometimes God's will is surprising and unexpected.

So, here we are.  18 days as Wisconsinites.  So many people have called and texted, asking me how we are doing and I often find my words fall short.  I am better at reflecting and writing out my thoughts, so this is for all those who have asked and are wondering . . .


We are doing well.  The move has felt very natural in so many ways.  It feels comfortable here. I haven't felt out of place or a "fish out of water" here at all. The kids all like it here.  Some miss their friends tremendously, which is expected.  One of my "littles" has shown some regression, also expected, but everyone is adjusting so well to the new house and neighborhood. …