The Biggest Transformation of All

It took me until my 30’s to even begin to learn what it even means to be in control of my own problems. I’m still working on it as I look ahead into my 40’s. I was rereading this post about unschooling apraxia by Jennifer McGrail. The following phrase jumped out at me:

“His not being able to tie well or write neatly are not an issue unless he decides they’re an issue.”

Did anyone along the way ever teach you that there isn’t a problem unless you decide there’s a problem? Or, like me, did you learn from early childhood that everyone else around you must be right about what’s problematic… and they have the right to define it for you? Continue Reading

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Unpacking the Parent-Child-Education Conundrum

In a recent conversation about homeschooling special needs (dysgraphia, dyslexia, etc.), a new homeschooler/education adventurer said the following to me. It’s a common reaction, especially if you have limited experience with homeschooling overall.

“I don’t think unschooling is for us. I like the ideas, but I panic. My kids are already middle-school age and I only have a limited amount of time left. And it makes me really uncomfortable. And, I’m a writer. That’s really important to me. I want them to read. Everyone in my family reads. I really think they need to as well.”

I chose not to respond at the time, because it felt like anything I might say would add pressure to a person already putting intense pressure on herself. Knowing that this woman was already maxing out her courage, it seemed like a time to just listen.

Someday, sometime, this is what I’d wish for her to think about. Continue Reading

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An Artistic Strewing Success Story

Strewing can be a little bit like setting a trap, but not at all for meanness. It can be like leaving a gift to be discovered. It can be a little bit like the tooth fairy came, or the Easter bunny. ~ Sandra Dodd

Strewing for a child with Asperger syndrome is just a matter of trying things until you find the one that clicks. When something clicks, it clicks hard, and everything else falls by the wayside.

In my daughter’s case, the click came in the shape of an artist’s lightbox. Continue Reading

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A Moment of Doubt

The room was nearly silent. The awkwardness was palpable. Even the speech therapist … bubbly, outgoing and friendly until just a few weeks prior, absolutely refused to look us in the eye, instead staring down at some imaginary spot on the table. I remember looking at the clock – a standard issue, one-in-every-room school clock – and watching the second hand slowly sweep around until I heard the audible click that signified that another excruciatingly long minute had gone by. Continue Reading

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The Reluctant Unschooler

We didn’t intend to homeschool.

Our son attended pre-k and kindergarten in public school. I had the typical my baby’s going to school all day pangs, but that was the norm, so I dealt with it. Pre-k was fairly smooth, but things started getting bumpy in kindergarten.

One day my little guy came home from school and said, “Mom, would you please homeschool me? School is chaos!” Tears became part of our bedtime routine, crowding out our stories and prayers. I was at a loss. I’d loved school as a child. I couldn’t understand what was causing our son so much anxiety. Continue Reading

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When Unschooling Becomes a Lifestyle

The other day the antique appraiser I help out, remembering how in the past I have needed to work less in order to spend time teaching the kids, asked when I needed to change my schedule and be less available. It caught me off guard because I have gotten so used to our lifestyle of learning.

It took me a moment to come up with an answer that would avoid getting into this whole unschooling business but also satisfy her. I said that the kids had, for the most part, taken over their own learning and listed quickly off all the projects they have done in the last few months, being careful to point out the expected learning that has occurred in this unexpected way. She was satisfied and moved on to the project at hand while I got to be completely honest without going into a detailed explanation. Continue Reading

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