Tuesday, April 10, 2012

a new story

Today is a new day.

On a new journey that I just know the Lord has all mapped out.

I have so much to say about this.
I want to let you in on a little, well big happening in our house.

I have felt a bit like it's my own personal Nineveh.
And God, in His infinite wisdom (and thankfully ever so gently) has been
guiding me back to the place I have run from in the past.
And that is, this little lady and I are embarking on a homeschool adventure.

You see I felt the Lord plant a desire in my heart to homeschool back when my son was in kindergarten.
And I began researching and I fell in LOVE with Charlotte Mason.
I own just about every book about her method of teaching that exists.

And so in first grade I did bring him home.  But around the end of May I began having
a lot of strange symptoms that took until September to find out, they were because I had lupus.
I didn't feel like I was doing very well for anyone in my family,
I was so fatigued and achey and so we put him in school in the fall.

And I felt like I failed.

Because I couldn't carry through with what I felt in my heart had been God's will.
But I let it go, that perhaps it was for a small season.

I've mentioned here and here that there have been challenges.
And there have been sprinkles of hints to challenges I've been wrestling through,
like my post on listening.

We've been doing educational and language therapy for the last year
and she is repeating kindergarten at a new, very small school.

But struggles picked up again just before Christmas and in January we began an in depth assessment that took until the end of February to complete.

We now know that she has dyslexia, receptive and expressive language disorder
(they explain it as though you're reaching into a cookie jar and you and I would pull out a cookie, but she has to fish around to find the cookie.  That's what it can be like for her.  The knowledge or word is there, but she can't always find it), an auditory processing disorder (which means she doesn't process quickly on the left side of the brain so it has to travel to the right and then back to the left before
she can comprehend.  And the left side of the brain is where we receive language so she's still stuck on the first or second direction from the teacher while the teacher has moved onto her fifth point.  Oh and she can't shut out background noise so she needs no distractions when learning), and a visual tracking disorder
(she tracks from right to left instead of left to right and doesn't see the same thing out of both eyes
when trying to read).

OH and on top of that ADHD (They now call all cases ADHD with or without hyperactivity).
She most certainly does not have the hyperactivity.

That's a lot of labels on one little girl isn't it?

The moment the neuropsychologist started to talk about 504 plans and special needs and disabilities.
I thought, special needs, disabilities.  I just don't like those phrases.

I like the word challenge.  

Because this is just a challenge.  I like challenges. A challenge we can work through to improve upon.
She is one of the most patient, tender hearted children I know.
There isn't a mean bone in her body and I see her sit still and focus at length.

This is a full other post, but I'm being told to medicate, because it will open the window to her being able to focus and learn.  But I don't feel convicted about starting medication right now.  Perhaps one day I'll change my mind.  But there are a lot of variables I can change first.

Because of the challenges she faces, she also has shown to be in the clinical range
for anxiety due to feeling like she can't keep up in school.

And for a seven year old little girl, that just shouldn't be.

A few weeks ago when my educational therapist said she was working with her successfully as
she jumped from sight word to sight word, naming them properly, and enjoying learning.

Then when she went to the worksheet the teacher had given her to go over if she had time.
It was a 100 grid with numbers from 1-100 with random numbers missing and she was
supposed to fill them in.

Well for a child with dyslexia, I'm told the numbers aren't static, it's like they're flying all over the paper and a grid like that is absolutely overwhelming.  And do you know, my daughter completely and totally changed.  She slumped and said I can't do it and her confidence was gone.

I don't doubt that the teacher is doing her best.  But I also have seen how they just can't make the accommodations that she needs to feel empowered and to move at the pace she needs.

I've sat with her as she sobbed over something she said the teacher announced before the class that everyone should know by now.  It was an innocent statement I'm sure.  But my child had giant
tears rolling down her cheeks as she told me I know everyone else knows it, but I don't.

These things stirred in my gut and told me I just can't let her wait it out till the end of the school year. And I told her, "You know what, by the time you're a teenager and you need to know that, you'll know it.  We'll go at your pace and we'll learn in the way you need to learn and it's going to be ok.

And I watched her spirit lift and her crying calm.

Do you know she has been counting down until today with glee.  She can't wait to homeschool. And if I ever feel afraid, I just think of that.
She is so excited and the stress is gone and she has so many questions about what we'll do for PE, and the creations we'll make, and the things we'll discover, and the field trips we'll take, and how she can help me, and how we can do life and learn together.

And I feel like I should be freaking out.  

This should be daunting and overwhelming.
But right now it's not  and I know that's the Lord.

I'm just so grateful to be in a position to be able to help her.
And I'm excited to see things start to click and take off for her.

We're transitioning first by doing a program called Lindamood Bell that specializes in helping kids with dyslexia.  They'll work with her one on one for two hours, five days a week for three months and will train me on how to do it at home after that.
And I'm delving deep into the ways to go about treating the ADHD (without hyperactivity...so annoying to say that isn't it?) with diet and nutrition and exercise. One of the therapists who works with her said, "So you're basically doing an experiment with your child."  And I said, "Well you could say the same about putting her on the medication."

I'm making so many changes right now, if I put her on the medicine I'll never know if she would have been fine without it.

My husband used to call me a pit bull.  Before having kids I was a reporter and I'd dig deep into a story and I wouldn't let go.  I have a heart for research and a heart for justice and a heart for seeing the underdog succeed.

And now this is the story I'm digging into.  

It's not one I would have chosen, like others that I've experienced before.  But I know so strongly that it is those stories we don't anticipate or expect or think we want for our lives that change us the most, making us more like Him and bringing us closer to Him every step of the way.

Yes there have been moments where I've wondered why, I've cried, I've stressed, I've blamed the terbutaline they gave me while on bed rest, I've blamed the zoloft I took (supposedly safely) while breastfeeding for the postpartum anxiety disorder I was diagnosed with after her birth.

I've traveled all those roads.

But I so positively know there could be such greater challenges in life.
She is healthy, and beautiful, and funny, and sweet, and caring, and talented.
And I know God has a plan.  I can't help but think that this is why God planted that desire for homeschooling in my heart all those years ago.

And you know what, I feel blessed to know that He will write the ending of this story.These diagnosis' will not.

I'm excited to watch Him work through this and show off and I'm praying that others
who've met us because of this journey will see Him through our story too.

So here we go, I'm officially a homeschool mom.

Eek.  Did I just announce that!

I can't wait to chronicle this adventure.
And I wholeheartedly welcome any advice anyone might want to give.


Mommy Girl said...

wow. So proud of you for taking a bold move for best of your child. So many things you shared I resonate with. Your daughter is lucky to have you and I am confident God will lead you in all facets of this adventure. I affirm your desire to try diet and health changes before medication. You'll know what is best. Blessings to you as you embrace your calling as a mother in this new season! xoxoxox

Alicia said...

Oh, you are brave and I applaud you for following the Lord's lead. Thanks for stopping by the Overflow! What a treat to meet another sister of faith.

Blessings to you in your new season!

Anonymous said...

I have been so grateful for the ability to homeschool (we've been at it for almost 25 years and our youngest is just four, so we've got a few years to go :-)). The relationship-building opportunities that homeschooling has offered me are indescribably precious. The fruit I see in my adult children is beyond satisfying. I hope for you the same!

Brmsgirls59@msn.com said...

I think you are doing the best thing you can for your daughter. Some days will be easy, some will be frustrating, but know that God's timetable may be different than ours so rest in the knowledge that He will bless you both on this journey together. Plus you will form such a wonderful bond with her that will be hard to break.

Jo said...

bless you for being such a great and insightful mother. good luck in your adventure

Mama to AWE said...

I'm right here with you! Looking forward to enjoying the amazingness of homeschool as you do too! I will support you, encourage you, in whatever way you need. Reading your words encourages me too!

Kim said...

I am so excited for you and your sweet little girl! She is one blessed girl to have her mommy in her corner! Praise Jesus for the tender callings He put on your heart years ago.

lhassler said...

I have a sister and two brothers. The two brothers are nearly a decade younger than me and both were diagnosed similarly. So, when I was in high school, my mom yanked my siblings from public school and started teaching them at home. Now, my sister is a doctor at one of the country's most prestigious hospitals, one brother graduated from the United States Airforce Academy and is sponsored by them to run in the 2012 Olympics. The other brother...the one with the worst learning challenges...just graduated Airforce ROTC and just completed an intensive new training program in Cyber Ops. And now, now I'm about to become a homeschool mom myself. You can do this. And you'll all be better for it.

Kristina Torrejon said...

how exciting!!! I think it's great that you are doing this and cannot wait to hear how it goes! I'll be homeschooling in the Fall...and while I'm so excited, I too am terrified!! :) God bless!

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