We started homeschooling or unschooling or what you might call practicing loving and respectful learning in September.
This is the beginning of the next chapter in our lives. How we got to THAT is a whole other story I have not wanted to write about. Expect a post on that soon entitled something like: It Was Not Just One Reason.
When I explained to Thorin we were homeschooling he had two questions. The first was easy to answer:
“I call you Kari?”
“If that’s important to you, sure you can” I said.
“Thanks you, Mom.”
The second question was difficult and painful and probably at the heart of learning at home:
“Who the teacher?” he asked
“No one is the teacher” I said.
“No! Who the teacher?”
“We could both be the teacher?”
“We are both the student?” I offered
“No! Who the teacher!” he screamed.
“You need to learn reading, writing and math. I have to figure out how to help you by learning how to help you. Confusing, right?”
“Thorin, I am not sure what I am doing, yet.”
“I am your mom. I am learning, too. I don’t want to be a teacher. I want us to be a team.”
“Can we be a team? See if that is okay?”
“Can we try?” I asked
THEY say start with what your child loves. So, Thorin and I are writing a book together. My co-author and illustrator does not want to share anything but the central characters in our story although we have a title, character names and a plot. As a team member I have to honor his request.
Thorin’s word use has quadrupled, reading and math levels have increased more in two months than entire first grade. Most importantly he is happy again.
I have learned that the greatest teacher is: belief.
Expect more on all of IT.
Drawings by Thorin:
I love drawings at that age. They get to the heart of the matter. You can see movement so clearly. He is very talented at putting on paper the essence of the object.
I know, right?
I am learning to draw too which is something I always wanted to do but didn’t think I could:)
Love this! Would love to reprint this on BLOOM. But would need a little intro about your son, his age and disability. Also, was he in the public school system? Please message me if you’re interested firstname.lastname@example.org
Just emailed you. YES. THANKS. unfortunately he was in the public school system:(
Love his drawings, and that he thought of calling you Kari. The horse in particular really is wonderful–I can see the movement and feel his horsey spirit. Bravo to you both!
Thanks. I never predict correctly what i think he will be wondering about:)
I do love that blue cow. :) The horse is super advanced, though. He is growing into an amazing artist. I am so happy that you guys are happy. It makes all the difference in the world.
It does make all the difference. Thanks! I am telling you YouTube videos on drawing are excellent. Even i am drawing:)
I can’t wait to see how the book goes! The drawings look great!
Thanks! all will be revealed eventually:)
I love reading your posts. We have a little bit in common. I too have an eight year old first grade son who happens to have DS. I envy your motivation and bravery in deciding to homeschool your son. I often dream of doing that myself. Kudos!
Thanks for reading and liking what you read:) I have not yet figured out how to write about how we came to this point. I can tell you this — it was an unexpected choice and unplanned for and the road to it was painful. Our school district believes inclusion is placing a kid w Ds in a regular classroom and sink or swim for him. We still believe in inclusion– what we do not however believe in is using our child as cannon fodder for social change. We believe he needs instead to learn. I am not so brave but our son is. He stopped going to school. He wanted out.
I completely understand. My son, Taylor, is experiencing the same scenario for the first time this year. I also understand your difficulty with writing about it. It is a little too personal when it involves actual real people within your community. Taylor has always been in an inclusion classroom, and he has always thrived. This year is different. He isn’t miserable, but he’s much closer to sinking than swimming. Unfortunately we live in such a rural area I’m not sure I can give him everything he needs in a homeschool environment. It is our privilege as parents to help our children be successful. I begin every IEP meeting with informing the “team” for the year that success for my child depends heavily on our willingness to adapt to what works for him. I truly admire you for being sensitive to what works, or doesn’t, for your son.
I’m sorry Taylor is having a hard time. It really doesn’t have to be that way. Feel free to email me as well at email@example.com Don’t give me too much credit:) Best, kwp