Tuesday, August 21, 2007
With all the commercials and advertisements for "back to school", it's easy to see the portrayal of relief as parents send their children back to school. For those of us who homeschool, this time of year means getting back to work. Most homeschoolers take the summer off or do a lighter schedule during traditional school break times, so the end of summer means it's time to kick it up a notch again. There are notification forms to fill out and turn in, curriculum to prepare, and school supplies to buy or locate. Homeschoolers, it can seem as if everyone else is sighing with relief that school is starting while for you the work is about to increase. Don't buy in to those feelings of dread! We homeschool for a variety of reasons, and it's good to review them before diving into a new school year. Why did we decide to homeschool? What were those benefits again? Keep these foremost in your mind and you will find renewed enthusiasm for the tasks ahead. I started a tradition years ago that I'd like to share with you. The first day of school each year, I do a shorter school day to ease us all back into the routine. After we've finished the day's assignments, I go to a flower store and buy myself some fresh flowers. I pick out a card (okay, sometimes I pick out a sympathy card because let's face it - homeschooling is hard work!) and I have my children sign it. Then I set the flowers and card on the dining room table for all to enjoy...until the cats knock the vase over.
Monday, August 20, 2007
My son, Josh, and my daughter, Beckie, both have been diagnosed with an auditory processing disorder. If you've ever mistaken the words "truck sale" for "drug sale", for example, you'll have an inkling of what it's like for them. Pairing visual cues along with auditory directions is helpful, but sometimes I forget to do that. A few weeks ago we were rushing around getting ready to go to a conference. As I was taking my mental inventory of things I needed to take with me, I realized that I'd left my medication upstairs in my bedroom and would need to take a dose while we were still at the conference. So, as Josh was heading upstairs I asked him to grab my purple pill case from my bedroom so we could take it with us. He answered with his usual, "Sure, Mom" and headed upstairs. He was gone for several minutes, and when he finally came back downstairs he approached me with a baffled look on his face. He was holding up a pillow case and said, "I hope this is what you wanted because it's the only pillow case I could find. I don't know if it's purple or not." Josh's color blindness aside, I'm sure my face mirrored his bewilderment back to him until I realized that he had heard "pill case" as "pillow case" and had done his best to comply. You gotta love a guy who will unquestioningly hunt down a pillow case, no questions asked.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
My son Josh has difficulty remembering things. Once he's gotten information into his long-term memory, it's there to stay. It's hard to make the transfer before the information evaporates. We laugh about some of the things he does remember, which appear to be random snippets of his various life experiences. Once he surprised me by instantly translating the words when I was reading a quote in Latin. He remembered that the Latin phrase for "Death to tyrants!" was shouted at President Lincoln's assassination just before John Wilkes Booth jumped to the stage. Not only did Josh have the receptive understanding, he was able to say it out loud without struggling to recall a single word. He had heard it one time during a documentary his father was listening to on a car trip. Another time we were talking about the time he and his Dad went on a camping trip with a group of friends. At one point during the weekend Josh wanted to get something out of our van and inadvertently locked the keys inside. Since they were in a different state than I was, I could not provide the spare set of keys so they had to call an auto service to unlock the doors. As we recalled the incident together, Josh remarked that he drank a can of ginger ale while waiting for help to arrive. There are times when he can't remember what errand his Dad asked him to do before going to work, but he remembers drinking that ginger ale clearly. Isn't memory fascinating?