This post was written about a year ago.
No Place Like Home
I am feeling so grateful tonight.
I met the leader of my homeschool group tonight for coffee and conversation about her experiences homeschooling her six children, several of whom have learning differences. She has dyslexia herself, so I was really excited to hear her perspective. I sipped my caramel latte and listened to her calming words. What she said made so much sense.
One thing that stood out was the idea that the popular method of educating children is backwards. The elementary years are spent focusing on mechanics or skills, such as handwriting, spelling, and calculation. By the time kids are teenagers and can finally use their creative gifts (such as in projects and creative writing and daily arts classes), they've lost a lot of that spark and inherent love of learning. They've been so bogged down in basics that they've forgotten how joyful and rewarding learning can be.
Young kids are naturally creative and eager to do what they're good at. They don't get a lot of time and space to excel in their unique strengths in today's elementary schools. What if things were reversed and kids focused on creativity and content in elementary school while saving the skill study for the teen years? Perhaps this would preserve their love of learning.
Perhaps learning "disabilities" would be much less common. The late bloomers would have those extra years to develop readiness for serious study. There are no science or history learning disabilities. There aren't physical education learning disabilities either--and we all know that kids (and adults) vary widely in physical skill. Might learning problems be a timing issue?
I'm grateful for this mentoring. I needed it! I feel like I have some direction now.
I am also thankful that my family and I are safe from the tornado that went over our town this evening! My husband and son were at home when the tornado sirens went off. My friend and I were at the coffee shop and didn't hear the sirens. We kept chatting, oblivious to all but the torrential rains (in the weatherman's words) that started as we were arriving. Suddenly Panera Bread's baristas ushered us into the walk-in fridge. Sardined in and freezing with 15 of my closest strangers. There were a couple of aging hippies, a 8 1/2 months pregnant woman who'd been contracting for 2 weeks, a shaking, weepy teenage girl, and a partridge in a pear tree. I was cracking jokes to lighten the mood (and heat the air?) when we got the news that the tornado warning was over.
I must need an ear candle because I didn't hear my cell phone ring either. Yes, to make matters worse, J was freaking out because he and his dad (carrying our anxious 40 pound dog) were heading over to the neighbors' storm shelter (in the aforementioned torrential rain) and he wasn't sure I'd be safe. My husband and my mom each called several times, but I didn't hear a thing. Which freaked J out even more. By the time I noticed my missed calls and called home, J was almost hysterical with worry. Poor little guy. I came home and got a big, relieved hug from my boy and a dog water-shake from Raven. I think my husband might have collapsed on the bed in exhaustion.
Ahhh. There's no place like home.