Another Day, Another School Year

Well, the Dunn Family Homeschool officially starts the new school year tomorrow.  The kids are spending most of Monday at our church’s weekly Bible class, but will I let that stop me from having our first day of school?  Never, I say with an evil cackle.

I start this school year like I have so many others – high hopes, high expectations, a ton of curriculum (although not as much as in years past – my shelves are full of very good but unused curriculum).

I’ll be teaching four age groups this year – Seth 4 and Noah 7 (DS) will be doing preschool, Bella 6 will be doing first grade and some preschool with us, Andres and Eden will do 5th grade, and Leah will be doing 7th grade.

Uh-huh.  Or maybe more accurately I should say Uh-oh.

I’m going to go back to basing my preschool curriculum around the alphabet, one letter at a time.  Let’s see if I can get past C this year.

Math will be Math-U-See, Language Arts-Abeka, 7th grade science – Abeka, History – Alpha Omega LifePacs, Bible – Character Sketches by Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (ATI) (and yes, I know about Bill Gothard’s fall from grace) :(, and we’ll be capturing teachable moments along the way to fill in all the gaps.

I realize how less than fully present I’ve in homeschooling the kiddos the last year or so, and I want so much more this year.  I want to get caught up in the excitement of home education again, I want to find and capture the ah-hah moments my children and I have along the way, I want to treasure each and every teachable moment, each and every time of togetherness.  Lord, let it be so!

Disclaimer:  When I first started reading blogs, be it mothering a large family, homeschooling or parenting a child with Down syndrome, I hated it when the authors lamented over their doubts, shortcomings and weaknesses.  If I wanted to read about those, I could just start a journal.  Yet here I am, full of doubts, shortcomings and weaknesses; and here I sit sharing them all with you.  It seems less than honest to do anything else.

The children are all on grade level it seems, except Noah.  I find myself elated and dejected at the same time by all he has accomplished this year.  He has started using spoken two-word phrases; he can, ever so crazily, write his name, he is able to do speech flashcards along with me and by the third repetition he can say the word on his own most of the time.

Those are all big differences between last year and this, and that’s the elating part.  The dejected part is that we have been working on many of these things for 3-4 years.  I think of ALL the time, effort, frustration and creativity that has gone into it, and I am flustered and overwhelmed by how slowly we have progressed.  And then there is the ever maddening question of would he have done better if he had been in the public school system.

A few of the things Noah has been up to during my blog hiatus?  He’s learned lots of potty words that we wish he hadn’t.  He has taken to calling certain people stinky and yucky.  It’s hard not to laugh when I leave him with a therapist or other adult and when I come back, they bubbily tell me, “He kept saying something, but I couldn’t tell what it was.”  And then I have to break it to them that he was calling them one of the two.  Maybe I should just shrug my shoulders next time and tell them I have no idea what he was saying.

Noah has gotten to be resistant during drilling, and I often have to bribe him with the promise of iPad time or a goodie.

Noah spent a week at a horse day camp at Red Arena with three of his siblings.  Much fun was had by all!

Most of Noah’s noises are still unintelligible – I don’t think he is even trying to pronounce a word most of the time.  He uses simple signs and sometimes even speech spontaneously – still mostly one-word phrases.  Noah responds very well to PROMPT speech therapy, and we are seeing some carry over at home.  He says words much more easily if I say them along with him.  Having him place his pointer finger on my lips while I say a word also helps him a lot in his pronunciation.

This road is much longer and steeper than I had imagined it would be, but the scenery is beautiful and the company is the best.  Noah fills our life with love and affection and it is a blessing to know and love him.

And that’s all for today.

Blessings to all for a great school year.  Stay tuned for our adventures through homeschooling and Down syndrome?

Alyson

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “Another Day, Another School Year”

  1. Be comforted by those who have travelled the path you are on. Be encouraged by the fact that parents of DS children have encountered the same doubts and bravely continued their chosen path…or made a different decision and made that decision right by the way they lived it.

    Trinity is on her way home. The small family reunion was a big success. It warmed my heart to see Sky and the teenagers huddled together and sharing themselves. Having her to myself for a few days was a treat and special blessing. I love her openness, her enthusiasm, her ponderings on her future.

    Know that you are an amazing woman, a unique, precious child of God struggling through the morass of life with so many decisions to make for yourself and for your children.

    My prayer is that you concentrate on the challenges already before you, that dealing with them will satisfy your needs, that you won’t stretch yourself further but be comforted and satisfied with what you’ve already been given.

    Much love, Ma…xxoo

  2. Being a mother to a special needs child is it’s own set of difficult. Our almost adopted baby has only been in therapy for six months and I already struggle with disappointment. But no matter what, I believe you who love him best in the whole world can do a better job than even a great classroom teacher. Love just does that. Hugs to you and prayers for a wonderful year!

      1. Thanks Alyson. Once he’s adopted I’ll be able to write about him. For now he belongs to the state, so I have to keep confidentiality. I’m hoping the process can wrap up around Christmas!!

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