Well. I had one sick yesterday (vomiting-waiting for the next kid to begin now) so the pace we expected of our day changed rapidly and instead of shuffling around to activities, we stayed home, did some quiet school and reading together, watched PBS and did some free-form building with hammers, nails and scrap wood outside.
We just finished reading The Apple And The Arrow and the kids loved it. As with most of our read-aloud novels, we finished a week ahead of schedule because everyone keeps begging “PLEEEEEEEASE can we read just a little more?!” My favorite part of reading this book together was when we heard the description of the Austrian King’s nasty governor and Farmer Boy piped up with malice “He’s just like PRINCE JOHN!” (from Robin Hood.)
And I spent a lot of time sitting beside the sick kid – waiting for the next upchuck – giving myself a headache looking at curriculum for next year. I’ve was planning on CHC for all the kids, but I’ve been re-doing all my curriculum research to find something for Farmer Boy that will be as compatible as possible with his dyslexia. I should probably just create a dyslexic curriculum by grade that will
make me a ton of money help other families who want to homeschool their dyslexic kid. Someone remind me to do that later…
I haven’t seen anything to indicate that CHC is not as compatible as (or even better than) any of the other curriculum out there. But I’m still unsure if this is the way to go for us. I feel that, if given the time, I could put together an excellent program for a dyslexic third grader who loves farming more than pretty much anything in the world. And that IS one of the reasons we wanted to homeschool – the ability to meet the specific needs of each child individually and with flexibility.
And at the same time, I am unconvinced that anything I do (which would take the entire summer) would be better than just using the CHC curriculum strait from the box and modifying it as much as possible for his needs.
I spent a lot of my time on the Internet today trying to find audio recordings of the books he would be reading next year. Not a lot of luck. However, I’m not sure I want to switch to an entirely different curriculum just so that I can have one subject on audio. One of the ideas born from this process is to write his reading curriculum only, writing it around which grade-level books that I like are available for download, and just substitute it for the CHC reading.
And in trying to decide what to include in this post (See! MORE indecision!) I realized I’d never really updated the situation after this post about how to approach Farmer Boy’s dyslexia.
After writing that post, I really centered my approach with Farmer Boy around the idea that something new for him requires a process – one that seems long to people like me – that is going to take time. The harder I push and the more I work toward it will only make him feel more pressured and rushed, filled with anxiety and unable to focus at all on the original idea or change.
This also helped me in deciding to interview (and eventually select) a tutor. The person we chose is a lovely, fabulous retired teacher who, after visiting with me on the phone, told me in no uncertain terms that she could not give me a timeline for how long this program would take because she would be moving at Farmer Boy’s pace. She also suggested a meeting to “see if she and Farmer Boy are a good fit.” After that meeting, it was obvious this was the direction we needed to go. And because I kept telling Farmer Boy we were just looking into it, we were still deciding, there were lots of steps left (talk on the phone, meet for an interview, discuss schedule, discuss price, discuss payment options) and that helped him feel that there was no rush. And still, it all happened on my timeline. I just needed to present it in a less aggressive way. The other tutors I had been in touch with had all had points in their favor (aggressive personality like mine, children of their own with dyslexia, location nearby, taught a friend’s child, available more often, less expensive, etc etc etc) but none of these alone were a reason to choose them and none of them were so perfect for my little guy. This is also what led us to choose a professional rather than continuing to work exclusively at home – I felt it would be advantageous to Farmer Boy’s learning speed and confidence if he could work with someone who has a more compatible personality with his.
Since then the rest of it has fallen into place and Farmer Boy spends three days each week with his friend working on Alphabet Phonics (An Orton-Gillingham, multi-sensory program for dyslexics). During two of those days, the main Dojong for Shooter’s TaeKwonDo class (which just happens to be en route) teaches a class during the same time period. Little Cowgirl and I have been saving her phonics and reading to do during the hour of tutoring (the teacher kindly lets us use her basement playroom). And best of all, Farmer Boy really likes it.
So I guess even though I feel undecided and currently without enough guidance in choosing curriculum for next year, I’m trusting that it will come together. Something valuable I have learned from Farmer Boy is the importance of taking things one step at a time. And sometimes, letting something sit for awhile is necessary for processing it (who knew!). I’m going to take some time to let all of the things I read and saw yesterday shift around in my head and perhaps they will have more order and sense to them the next time I revisit the need to select curriculum. And even though I *want* to decide RIGHT NOW, I don’t actually have to. Eventually, when I have enough information and have taken the time to really consider each child’s and our family’s needs as a whole, I will be able to be decisive.