Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Growing Up

My child has never, ever said he was a half age. When people would come up to him and ask if he was 6 and a half he would look at them as though they were crazy and should shut up. Then he would inform them he was 6, he does not turn 7 until his birthday. If it was near his birthday and some unfortunate soul, like say his mother, would say "You are almost 8" he would lose his ever loving mind and explain emphatically that he was 7 he does not turn 8 until Tuesday, even if Tuesday was the next day.

My child has opinions on age and responsibility. Preparing food to eat was not his responsibility, it did not matter if it was a sandwich, a bean and cheese burrito, or a 5 course meal, it was Mom's responsibility and in the last 6 months he has come to recognize that Dad can also make food worth eating, but was still not his responsibility to prepare his own food. It did not matter how much his mother told him he could make it, that he had made it before. No, he was being abandon to adult life much too soon in his way of thinking.

My child yesterday, he not only prepared his breakfast, granted a reheated leftover burger, he also prepared his own lunch, a turkey cheese and mayo sandwich with a glass of milk he poured himself, and let me know that he was wearing his last pair of clean underwear, and shirt would I do the laundry please. Then helped fold and put away all the clean clothes.

It was as though a young man sprouted before my eyes. At the end of the evening he was, justifiably, proud of what he had done and how he had carried himself through the day (we are ignoring the testing portion of the day) and said, "Well I'm 9 and a half now. Right?" we agreed "I need to be more responsible, I will be 10 this year"

So I guess nearly 10 is his thresh hold for responsibility. Please let puberty wait a couple more years. I'm enjoying this stage so much.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


We live in Colorado, in Colorado the homeschool law states that every odd numbered year starting in 3rd grade you must administer a nationally normed standardized test and turn the results into a school district in the state, or you can get an educational expert with a masters in education to evaluate the child and turn in the evaluation to the school board.

We choose the test route. First because it makes my husband feel better to have a test result that is given by someone other than the loving mother of his child. Second because while I know some people with the requisite masters degree in education they are all very busy people with jobs and things and I don't like to impose, and I'm cheap. I know how much their time is worth and it is cheaper to pay for a test and administer it myself than pay for someone who knows what the hell they are doing.

We just finished the testing. This was such a painful experience for him. Even the parts that were easy. This is so very different from my experience with testing. I LOVED testing. It is the place I felt comfortable in competing. I was nearly always the first one finished with a test, even in college. I likely could have tested better if I wasn't so damn cocky about finishing first but I never did poorly in fact I always tested as a smarty pants so there was no learning experience from taking it quickly, heh. I understand how to study, take, and do well on a test. Standardized test are a breeze, for me. Watching my child struggle is really hard. I want to put the part of my brain that just 'gets' testing into his and let him have it.

The thing is I really do know where he is at in his schooling. I know what his reading level is(low), I know how proficient he is at writing(not), how well he understands words(wow!) and the use of words (subject/predicate, easy). I know where he is in mathematics(hello pre-algebra I've missed you). These tests are nothing more than a hoop to jump through to appease the state. I get that, but the part of me that wants to test well and finish quickly wants my son to do the same.

I'm glad that we don't have to face this again for 2 years. I'm wondering if I shouldn't look for the 'qualified person' to evaluate him at that point rather than giving him sleepless nights and headaches from the stress and worry of testing. Yes if he wants to go to college he will most likely have to take a standardized test to get in, if he goes back to public school he will have to take standardized tests and I get that. College is a long way off (it is too!) and well, public school who knows where that is.

I'm glad we are done for now. Now to spring break, what should we do with the lovely weather? Watch the wild fires that are sprouting up all over the state because we have had no rain or snow? Maybe.

Friday, March 23, 2012

The emotion of the season

7 years at one time seemed like a very long time. Now it seems like I took a breath and between the inhalation and the exhalation 7 years has past. The photo is the bush I planted 7 years ago, to remember the life that never came to be. I bought this bush because it blooms in March and gives berries in October, March when I had the miscarriage and October when the baby would have been born. Then the silly thing never bloomed, for 7 long years. Then this spring there are blooms. They are small and unassuming. Little balls of pink.

I try not to live in the past, it is easy for thoughts to slip back and relive experiences, or try to 'fix' them to the way I want them to have happened, and I really to work on not letting that become what I do. That said this spring has been harder, while I no longer look at 6 and 7 year olds and feel pain, I am feeling this longing that will not be filled. We are done having children, I will be 45 in 2 months,  and I really don't want to have another 3 year old in my house. (Let's ignore the fact that I have heard many accounts of how teenagers are very much like 3 year olds only able to drive) But none of that is a salve to my heart that is still a little fractured from that loss.

Maybe in another 7 years, you know when I'm dealing with a 16 year old boy, this anniversary won't hurt at all. It doesn't hurt that much now I'm more bruised than fractured, 6 years ago was a very different story.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Decisions and things

We have reached the part of the year where we have started to slump. This is when I'm starting the searches on the web to take us somewhere, anywhere but here. (aka Disney)

This is also when the summer camp listings come out in the local paper. There I found, thanks in large part to my Mom(Hi Mom!), a listing for a camp for dyslexic kids. It is 5 weeks long, it is intense. They work half a day on reading using Orton-Gillingham methods. They have hour long individual tutoring. Then in the afternoons they ride horses, learn about edible & medicinal plants in the mountains, mountain bike, do technical climbing. You know fun camp stuff. 

The thing is this camp is the price of 2 vacations, maybe 3, but I can see him getting so much from it. The kind of intense work they would be doing would have him progressing so quickly. The interaction with other kids who have dyslexia would be empowering. To see he isn't the only one. The freedom from the fear of being asked to read the instructions for something, or to figure something out that is presented in written form only would be a breath of fresh air. 

Now that he is in 3rd grade and doing things with 3rd-5th graders they expect them to be able to read. I get that. I get that it is age appropriate but damn it hurts to see the look of panic that crosses his face when he is in a group setting and he is told he has to read the instructions to complete a task. He will advocate for himself in all situations now and explain that he can't read many things because of his dyslexia but the other night I saw the panic on his face as he looked over at me and it ripped my heart. I went to sit next to him in case he needed me to read anything. He didn't, the instructions were mostly pictures and a few words, but he was able to read them with no problem and did not need the help of Mom, thank you very much. That shows while he will panic and feel the anxiety that comes with the words "You will need to read this" he is able to take care of things and find a way to be in the situation. 

When I first looked at the cost of camp and the application process I was shocked that they wanted a $100 application processing fee. That the cost was so very high. What the hell do they think they are offering? Then I thought about what the hell they are offering. They are offering a private school with certified instructors 5 days a week for 4 hours a day, plus recreational activities like horseback riding and technical climbing that are not inexpensive to provide. They are offering the chance to learn to read in 5 weeks of crazy, intense tutoring. They are processing applications like they are accepting students into a school program and so need to see if the applicant will fit with the program.

So I get the cost, I do. I know the afternoon stuff would be fun, I also know the morning stuff would be hard, and he would consider it torturous.  I just don't know, is it worth it? I know by the end of 2 years he will be reading at or above grade level just doing what we're doing. Is it worth it to send him to the very expensive camp when he doesn't have to show progress next fall to a new teacher? If we were going to put him in a public or private school next year I could see spending the money so he would be on grade level starting in the fall, but he doesn't, and next year isn't a testing year for homeschooling purposes so I don't see that as a reason to do it.

I thought writing this all out would help me make a decision. It didn't it brought up more questions and made me question why we are thinking about it in the first place. Hmmmm. More to think about.

Anyone have some thoughts on this?