Thursday, February 17, 2011

The waiting game

It's one of those days where I'm waiting for my kilns to fire and cool.  There is no immediate gratification in the land of ceramics.   I've thrown a new bowl shapes and a few new mug shapes, made a bunch of new and old glazes and now I have to wait to see what will turn out.  Sometimes this waiting game gives me a little perspective between the heavy process oriented aspect of the work and the final outcome.  Sometimes I feel impatient with it, like I want to know what I did right or wrong now.  I guess it's a little like parenting a child sometimes.  
Johnny is growing so fast.  He's up to my chin for crying out loud.  How did this kid get so big?  Seriously.  We have our good days and our hard days.  Our days when we don't worry or fret about school, where he's gentle and kind, fun-loving, telling jokes and singing to himself.  Days where he's a real pleasure to be around.  And then there are days when I feel as though everything I say comes back to my face with an anger and a frustration that comes out of left field. 
For those of you that are new to my blog, Johnny was diagnosed with a learning disability last June.  His teacher in Grade 2 was completely baffled at how he would un-learn what he had been taught the day before.  He's a bright and intelligent kid and his reading and writing in particular didn't match up.  Last fall he was enrolled in a really great Literacy program for grade 3's with learning disabilities.  It ran from September to the beginning of December, there was only 7 kids in his class, one teacher and one Orton Gillingham Instructor.  Wow, did we ever see a difference.  The confidence that this program gave Johnny was immense.  It was hard work- 30-45 minutes of homework 6 days a week.  Spelling tests daily.  Lots of practicing and reviewing.  And he really improved.  His reading went a whole grade-level higher.  We saw a big improvement at home, his stress level and happiness level surrounding school really improved.  Unfortunately the program only runs for 3 months.  Now we are back in the regular school system and really struggling to keep up.  There are a lot of holes in the way the regular classroom operates that can be hard for kids who struggle with learning ie split classes, too many kids in the class, teacher sharing, too many extra-curricular activities... all of these things are probably fine for regular kids, but for someone who needs space and extra concentration just to learn the basics, these things just distract. 
So, what to do?  I've been researching options for next year already.  Grade 4 is supposedly a big year, there is lots expected of kids in this year.  I've looked into a school for dyslexia here in our area.  $19'500.  Yeah, not likely.  For grade 4???  I realize there could be scholarships but I really don't quite think that's going to cover it.  I think it might be more reasonable to look into a combination of Orton Gillingham tutoring and getting him a laptop for school.  If the frustration continues to mount I've even thought of home schooling him for a set time.  But for that I'd have to really scale back what I do at the studio. Hard decisions. 
Really at the end of this all, I know in my heart that Johnny will be a great person when he grows up.  He has so much going for him and school is really only a small part of our lives over-all.  And really, there's spell check for when he's going to get bogged down with the whole spelling thing, right? Everyone has stuff in their life that they will struggle with, some of us struggle with it early on, some of us later.  I just hope  (and pray) that we are giving him the tools to know how best to cope with his struggles now so that later in life he makes good choices.  Really, isn't that all a parent can hope for? 


arteriole said...

As someone who was taught at home for a great portion of my education, I can honestly say that homeschooling is a double edged sword. It can be a wonderful blessing, or an absolute nightmare (I've experienced both first-hand)

In my circle of fellow homeschoolers, there were those who were completely crippled by it, withdrew into themselves, and to this day are unable to implement in social settings.
But, on the flip side, there were those who flourished, becoming independent learners who think outside the box, and have completely normal social lives.
It greatly depends on the personality of the child. Gender may also play some role, and it seemed to me that the guys had a harder time adjusting.

Hope my two cents helps =)

Unknown said...

Good for you to be on top of it.

My niece was diagnosed with a disability years ago. My sister did what you did- accessed all the support she could get AND followed up at home, by researching and then working her parenting style to best support my niece. Happy "ending"~ my niece is 18 and will graduate high school this june. Though she still struggles, she knows herself and strategies to use to support herself.
Hang in there- it's a difficult reality when kids with disabilities have to work harder than other kids, but as you mention- everyone has something. Its a great life lesson to teach him about not fighting reality, but lean into it and find his way (with you behind him every step!)
Your son is blessed to have you on his side.

Eva / Sycamore Street Press said...

This is such a heartfelt post I appreciate it. Our nephew has autism, and I know it's always been a struggle to figure out how to get him the best schooling. But he's a smart, good natured kid and it always seems to work out in the end as I'm sure it will for you guys. I'm just at the very beginning of being a parent... I can already see that it's a tough thing to navigate, but so worth it.

p.s. Congrats on your vases being featured on Poppytalk. I love the rainbow effect! Great color choices.

p.p.s Your mugs (and everything) are totally worth your prices. Don't feel bad or like you have to apologize for that. (I was just getting caught up on reading your posts and saw the one about that...)