Monday, February 15, 2016

The Good, The Hard and The Ugly

I said early on in this blog journey that I wasn't here to share "answers" but to share the journey, the questions.  Well, today is one of those days where the answers seem very far and outnumbered by the questions.  While Math is in the process of being re-worked and other things are fair game, a new card was tossed onto the table last night.  I was on the Read Aloud Revival forum reading a post from another homeschool mom.  It was titled "Late Reader or something more ..."  In it, the author shared how she discovered her son's dyslexia.  I replied to the thread.

Oh. My. Thank you for sharing this.  My 9, 8 and 6 year old daughters all love to read.  They will curl up and read in a corner just for fun.  They beg to read aloud to the younger kids.  My 10 year old son, not so much.  I have been telling myself all the things you mentioned above.  “Well, he’s a boy.  Let him learn at his own pace.  Some day it will ‘click’ and he will love to read, etc.”  The more I read from your post and the more I read on the website you mentioned (thank you!!) the more I wondered if this wasn’t exactly what we were dealing with.
He was sitting here in the room with me, so I asked him about some of the things I was reading.  This is what he said, “You know how in Chinese, there is one character for each word?  Well, that’s how I read.  I know the shape of each word.  And if I don’t know the shape, I don’t know the word.  Or maybe I try to think of another shape I know of that looks like the shape of that word.”  He also said “When I am reading, the letters seem to fall out of order.  I will read the first part and then when I read the second part, I forget what the first part says.”  When asked if he found reading exhausting, he said “YES!” – not with a tone of complaint, but with a tone of relief that someone finally asked!
On one hand, I am thrilled (impressed, actually!) that he is so clearly able to articulate what he experiences when reading and to help me to understand it.  I feel like it gives me a new direction to consider and that brings a sense of relief and hope. BUT I am also fearful!  I started out this school year SOOO overwhelmed and reading Teaching from Rest (and the Focus and Align class) have been so helpful.  We’ve experienced SUCH a positive change and a relief.  Now, I must admit, I’m fearful about discovering that I have a child who is going to need some mommy-time-intensive help!
But thank you for sharing!  Now I’ve got something new to research and think about. :-/
I have to be honest, this feels very heavy right now.  Very hard.  The work I've been doing to change how we do math, to streamline the process?  Yea, that was an effort to make this job feasible ... not to make margins, not to get free time, just to make it all fit.  I keep telling myself that as the older kids get older they will transition to more independent work, that as new little ones come on to the official homeschooling stage, the older ones will have more ability to work on their own.  I want to do right by Luke.  I want to invest the time needed to help him to read comfortably.  But I also have a 6 year old who is learning to read, and so far I've averaged about 2-3 times a month of actually getting to sit down with her and read one-on-one.

I am tempted to stew right here in this blog post and list for you all of the things that I want to have in our schedule, that I wish were in our schedule that aren't even waiting in the wings right now.  They are downstairs in prop storage somewhere gathering dust.  But I am going to hold off on that for the moment.  In another half an hour Part 2 of the Focus and Align Master Class on the Read Aloud Revival is starting.  Last week (even in the midst of flu) it was such a balm.  Such a welcome relief.  So, trying not to despair as help might be right around the corner.

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