Tuesday, February 24, 2015

An 'ah ha' Moment

We have been engaged in this homeschooling adventure for about a year now. Having a MS in Education makes the homeschooling journey an exciting opportunity to explore my educational philosophy. I spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of education I want for our children and why. We decided to commit to three years of homeschooling as our introductory phase. It seemed to me it would be hard to get a real feeling for what homeschooling can be in one year. That has proved to be the case. At the two year mark I feel we are just getting started.

I spent the first year following a pretty strict and concise curriculum for my 1st grade boy. It involved a lot of me doing what teachers do, giving him things to learn. He was a good student and we made it through the year, but we were both relieved to make it to summer. Starting 2nd grade I had a lot of anxiety planning the curriculum. I knew another year of the same curriculum was going to bring us to tears. I made a few changes but stuck with a pretty traditional classic curriculum. We went slower but during the first month we were already having multiple outbursts and lots of tears. I had always felt there was some part of my son I didn't quite understand and this past month made it clear I needed help if we were to continue homeschooling.

After much discussion we decided to have our son tested. He was doing great in many areas but there were some issues with emotional outbursts, sensitivities, and writing that just didn't make sense. After a lot of research I started to suspect he might be both gifted and a stealth dyslexic. The testing was to confirm those suspicions and it did. We learned we have a highly gifted boy with both CAPD *central auditory processing disorder* and several markers of dyslexia.  This was a big Ahhh Haaaa moment for me. There were so many questions answered with these testing results.

From the outside Leo had 20/20 vision and his hearing tests reveal he has perfect hearing. It is the underlying developmental tests that uncovered the processing issues he was having in both of those areas. In the world of the gifted he is labeled 2e *twice exceptional*. As a child in the public school system it is quite likely he would never have been identified with any of these very substantial learning differences. As his mother I knew we were missing something and I trusted my gut. I only wonder how many other kids out there are going left misunderstood and lacking the educational experience and support they deserve.

So here we are mid year second grade and I realize that the curriculum I have been providing is just a bit off the mark. It makes sense that he would not be engaged or interested in the level of work I am providing for him and also why some of the tasks that seem like they should be so easy are really actually very challenging for him. It also answered the questions about why he hates to join new groups (hearing in groups is very challenging) and also why he hates phonics and writing anything.
The testing process has totally reshaped my preconceived approach for educating my children. With a new lens I am reshaping my educational philosophy to fit my children. I only wish we could do the same for every child in the education system.

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