Well, I mentioned the idea of a tutor to Farmer Boy last night. If the crying were any indication, I would say the idea did not go over well.
He was immediately furious – he reminded me of a cornered animal, I could actually see the panic in his face.
During the ‘discussion’ I was working very hard to bring things back to calm, so he could actually listen to the things I was saying and articulate the things he wanted to say without coating them in malice or trauma.
Best I can decipher at this point is that he is completely averse to the idea because he is terrified of E.V.E.R reading in front of a stranger. During some of the slightly lucid moments, he talked about not ever wanting anyone to teach him phonics except for me, hating to read AND THEREFORE (aka duh Mom!) hating reading in front of a STRANGER even more! And NO IT WOULD NOT matter if I were in the room with him! And NO it did NOT MATTER if they have special training for teaching people who learn differently!
He did become noticeably calmer when I mentioned that this was not a stranger, in fact it is his friend Henry’s kindergarten teacher. And actually the whole point of going is because dyslexia does not mean that reading will always be this way, it just means you need to learn phonics in the way that dyslexic people learn them and THEN you won’t hate reading because it won’t be so hard anymore! It will make sense! And you would not need to feel nervous about it, because everyone who has special time with a teacher for anything gets to start at the very beginning, like knowing the names of the letters in the alphabet. And in fact, you already know so much more than most kids who are dealing with dyslexia, Dr. P (the child psychologist) told me about that when she was mentioning that you have an absolutely amazing memory.
He is a person of such explosive emotions, and I feel that so much of his life experience has lent itself to his being that way. The first time I EVER let him go anywhere without me (right after his baby sister was born, mind you) his finger got shut in a door and the tip was nearly cut completely off, resulting in the most horrific afternoon of his life up to that point – maybe ever, considering that we didn’t have the boys circumcised. Of course it included me holding him down for numbing and stitching.
When he got his first loose tooth, we were so excited, until a month later when I noticed his new tooth coming in behind it. I told him we were going to show his new loose tooth to the dentist (let me know if you are ever looking for a pediatric dentist in my area, we absolutely adore ours and I recommend their offices 100%) and lo and behold the child needed to have FOUR teeth pulled. Also laughing gas effects him ZERO. And also the numbing shots. ZERO. His pain tolerance is on about the same level, so it does not make for a good story.
Part of what is so hard about this is none of it is the way I want to parent. It is SO FAR away from what I am trying to build. My goal is to have trusting, open relationships with my children, where they know I am in charge but still feel that they are important.
It appears to be working out alright with Shooter and Little Cowgirl, but Farmer Boy is a different mold and I need to change the way I am doing things with him but I don’t know how. I spend a lot of time being the “mean mommy,” which could be because during the time he needed to have boundaries set and held, I had a tumor removed from my leg (it ended up being benign) and was doing my parenting from the couch during a four-month period right before his third birthday. This, of course, mostly involved just getting through each day with everyone intact and my loving caregivers ever wanting to return again.
Mostly I think it’s just his personality combined with my personality combined with life events.
The worst part is, that my personality is the type that believes I probably could tutor him myself. The more I have read, the more convinced and thankful I am that God struck me with the inspiration to purchase (AT FULL COST, mind you!) the one homeschool phonics program that is nearly the same as the tutoring method I would choose if I could. It was completely out of character for me to do so, especially considering that we were already 1/4 of the way into our current school year and I may a complete language arts curriculum switch for him. It was immediately successful and has made a truly measurable difference in his reading ability, which has consistently improved since we began the program. It is modeled after the highly-touted Orton-Gillingham method for teaching dyslexics. It has one more level I could use for him next year.
I think I know enough now to help him if I can’t convince him a $30-an-hour tutor can do it better.
SERIOUSLY HOW MUCH HUBRIS CAN ONE PERSON CONTAIN???!!!
I am torn between the idea that I could not possibly help him as much as a person with months of training specifically for tutoring dyslexic students and the idea that one person with months of training for helping dyslexics could not possibly help him as much as the person who loves and knows him better than anyone except for God Himself and has nearly eight years of training in doing so.
I am embarrassed even writing that.
We live in a culture that gives utmost weight and authority to the opinion and advice of “experts.” I have parented in a counter-cultural manner since the day my first child was born TEN YEARS AGO (holy crap when did I start getting old?) and have grown in confidence that, in all actuality, I AM the expert on my own children.
My usual course of action is more information. I intend to continue to research dyslexic learning and teaching dyslexics, and at some point I will either feel I know enough or I will know I don’t. Until then I’m going to continue promoting the idea of a tutor. I told Farmer Boy when we finished talking last night that Dad and I have not made a decision, and that we do care how he feels. But he is not in charge and does not get to decide, and his best course of action is to continue to discuss it CALMLY with us and to listen to what we think. He is a high-anxiety person and new things bother him. New people, at first, make him shy. The idea of being in a strange place, with a strange person, doing something that is a constant mystery to him, well…it gives him anxiety. However, I also think he will adjust to the idea as we talk about it more.
For now I’m going back to reading Overcoming Dyslexia, which has been a great resource although (as far as I can tell) it completely discounts homeschooling. I expect that is more because, like the rest of the nation (and me) the author has had almost no exposure to (and therefore has no opinion about) homeschooling a dyslexic child than because the author has a poor opinion of homeschooling.
WOW. I also see, now that I have linked the book on Amazon, that I paid two times too much for it at the doctor’s office. (Open hand, insert forehead.)