It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly two years without a single post here at the Patch!
I’m both annoyed with myself and yet completely unsurprised by this.
Posting was already coming to a grinding halt in 2017 when at the end of the year we decided to investigate the possibility that Master Oh Waily might be dyslexic. Roll around November 2017 and the testing seemed to be pretty consistent with dyslexia. It was time to research and work out what we were going to do to adjust to this likely reality.
And that led us in to 2018. Our grind year.
The 2018 Grind
Mr Oh Waily was away for nearly half of the year – 171 days to be precise.
We took on the option of specialist tutoring twice a week for Master Oh Waily. We did this so that I could learn what would work for him and so he would have a solid foundation that I could springboard off.
Our regular learning and swimming lessons continued as usual.
Along the way we learned that dyslexia doesn’t always come on it’s own and it’s not really what you may think it is. We began to learn about executive function and memory issues. It has showed the gaps in the educational system around supporting kids with learning differences.* (If you want a formal and official diagnosis you need to pay $1000 or so to an educational psychologist and even with that there’s no practical assistance for kids with dyslexia.)
When you are out of the house three days a week, for more than half the day, it’s inevitable that a number of things slide. Even relatively important things.
In short, it was a steep learning curve with a side order of hard work, over-work and lack of rest.
By the end of the year I was out on my feet. Absolutely zoned out and over it. I rebelled **.
Moving on to 2019
The rebellion helped. I have perspective and a determination to rearrange things so that 2019 isn’t a rinse and repeat of 2018. We will be making some changes this year.
We are reducing tutoring to once a week. It’s the same amount of learning time each week, consolidated in one session. We are not returning to swimming lessons for the first term and maybe the second. This frees up two whole days each week and take the strain off other areas of our learning and life.
And in a nice moment of synchronicity I read, and watched this post by Jo Ebisujima about how she balances her work and her son’s homeschooling. Her comments about how her son organises his own pace of learning really hit home with me. As an eclectic home ed family I want us to balance out the fundamental skills with things the kids are interested in but it didn’t really click in my brain how I was going to help them to be more independent until Jo spoke about how her son worked out how many lessons a week he needs to do in order to complete his year’s work. That was like a lightning bolt moment.
“Well, duh!! We have curricula that we use for the core subjects. I can help them to figure out what they need to do to finish a year’s worth. They can own it.”
So that’s what we are currently doing. I sat down with each child and we looked through what was left of their 2018 year that had slid away on us. We worked out how many sessions for each subject were left and how many they would need to do each week before Term 1 of 2019 started. I have encouraged, reminded and suggested they tackle their lessons.
Miss Oh Waily has taken up the challenge relatively easily with occasional moments of regression.
Master Oh is a different kettle of fish, because executive functioning is an issue. I’ve taken a different tack with him. Keeping long term goals in mind is difficult with short term pleasure overriding that in a heartbeat, so I have created a shorter term reward system for him. At the moment it’s all a bit of an experiment to see what works for his planning and keeping goals in mind. And it’s a lot of reading about strategies to help executive functioning for me.
Even at this early stage of handover I’m feeling good about where this could take us and what it could mean for 2019 – and my sanity level.
The benefits of hearing just the right thing when you need it never fails to amaze me.
I’m also hopeful that my self-imposed silence is now coming to an end and that I will be posting here regularly again. I’m looking forward to 2019, I hope you are too.
* The only benefit that I’ve found so far to having an official diagnosis is when your child needs to participate in formal assessment, so there is little point in paying the money for Master Oh Waily at this point. The diagnosis is only accepted for a matter of 2 or 3 years and then you have to get another one… as though dyslexia “goes away” or “is cured” rather than being a case of permanent neurodiversity.
** See the last couple of blog posts over at Oh Waily Waily for more on obliger rebellion.