Well we are nearing the end of another school year. This concludes our 9th year of schooling our children at home and it has been such a blessing! This year, however, brought new changes and challenges. With the addition of Tyler in September I went from schooling 3 kids to 4. I experienced new teaching challenges as I worked with an ADHD son for the first time and had to learn how to teach him in a way that engaged him. I also faced the challenge of having to fill gaps that were missed during his previous kindergarten year. We did end up moving him back to kindergarten in November when I saw how much he struggled with the first grade phonics. It was a good call and school became less traumatic for both of us when he was able to find success with easier material. This year also brought challenges with harder materials as the older kids moved into higher grades. Gracie’s Algebra in particular stretched my teaching muscles as I reacquainted myself with material that I hadn’t studied in 20 years. We faced a definite learning curve as we became accustomed to our new “normal” and as I tried to figure out how to juggle these new changes but God was ever gracious and blessed us tremendously. I am happy to see this school year come to a close and look forward to the less rigid schedule of summer learning. We will continue to do some school over the summer but we will be able to work on skills, that I see need strengthened with each of the kids, at a more relaxed pace. Tyler, in particular, will benefit from some remedial phonics instruction. I am hoping that by working with him through the summer months I will be able to help him start 1st grade where he needs to be to find success and confidence with school in the upcoming year.
On Friday Tyler had an appointment with his therapist. I took all of the kids with me. We had an end-of- school picnic in town later that day so rather than come back home for an hour after the appointment we chose to just stay in town until it was time for the picnic. Tyler’s appointment went really well. The therapist commented on the changes she has seen in Tyler since he moved in. She mentioned how his guard has come down and how happy he seems with us. As she watched Tyler laugh and interact with Rusty she was amazed at how “at home” he seemed. It is amazing how far he has come. When I think back to that first therapy appointment with Tyler refusing to go in, the therapist yelling at me, “You must make him obey or you will never have control over him,” and me carrying Tyler, who won’t let go of the 50 pound rocking chair he is sitting in, across the waiting room as the other patients stared in disbelief, I am in awe of how far we have come. He did so well in therapy that as we were leaving the therapist said, “Why don’t we move his appointments back to every 6 weeks.” Yea!
After therapy we had 2 hours to kill until our picnic so we went to McDonald’s to do schoolwork. I let the kids each order a smoothie and we enjoyed our treats while I did phonics with Tyler and the older kids read their novel, A Wrinkle in Time, together.
It was soon time for our end-of-year picnic. The kids were thrilled to find many of their co-op friends had come. We enjoyed the picnic food, games, and a chance to visit with friends. They had a kindergarten graduation for the kindergarten kids. Tyler didn’t want to participate but he did receive a certificate which we will put in his scrapbook.
The picnic was bittersweet because this may be our last end-of-the year picnic with this group. We have been with this school since Gracie was in first grade and have made so many wonderful friends and have had so many wonderful teachers in years past but this year the leaders of our school have made choices that have taken our school in a direction that I don’t agree with. As the school year went on it became all the more obvious that their vision and my vision of what my children’s education should look like no longer lined up. We are now trying to figure out what path we should take and are looking for God’s leading in that decision. I left the picnic feeling a little teary.
After the end-of- year school picnic we headed to a graduation party for the son of dear friends of ours. It was a lot of fun. The food was delicious and the kids had a blast playing games outside. The weather was perfect. As the kids played Toby and I had the chance to talk about what we are going to do about school next year while we watched the kids play. It was nice to have the opportunity to talk through my concerns with him without kid interruptions. I felt much better after his council and feel confident that we are on the same page when it comes to what we want for next year’s school year.
On Saturday morning Tyler had a soccer game. The plan was for the kids and I to go to the soccer game while Toby went to a metal detecting hunt with his metal detecting club that he has been looking forward to for a few months. Tyler had a great game…only one more left of the season!
After the game we had 45 minutes before I had to drive Tyler to his appointment with his psychiatrist (that he has every two months) so we decided to drive over to the metal detecting hunt and cheer Toby on for a little while.
Tyler’s visit with the psychiatrist was uneventful. He weighed and measured Tyler, asked if there are any problems, wrote out scripts for his meds and then sent us on our way. We were in and out in 20 minutes and then back home just as Toby was arriving home from his hunt. Toby had a good time and had a lot of success. He found about $40.00 in coins as well as 20 tokens that he was able to turn in for silver coins and prizes. Toby was most thrilled with his silver coins!
Saturday afternoon was spent doing yard work and chores before we headed to graduation party #2. One of the chores we had to tackle was moving some fish that Toby had received from his aunt to a small pond we have on the other side of our property. When Toby helped his aunt improve her pond last weekend she sent home some of the offspring of her pond fish. Toby put them in the animal water trough this week to keep them alive until we could take them to the pond to release them. Saturday afternoon we drove to the other end of our property to release them. We discovered, when we arrived there, that Winnie had followed us over from the house. It was beautiful out there. The tall grass was blowing in the summer breeze and we enjoyed exploring a bit before we let the fish go and headed back to the house.
It feels as though summer is finally here! We are looking forward to finishing up school and preparing for the fun things we have coming up this summer..camp for the girls, a vacation to the beach, a family reunion and Tyler’s adoption!!