Wednesday, October 27, 2010

taking responsibility

I'm going to type out a written confession, while I let you look at some pics of the kids having some outdoor fun yesterday, amidst unusually warm, blustery weather.

My confession is this -- I dropped the ball. I fell into the "let someone else educate my kids" trap that I am usually so ready to scorn. I sat back and stopped taking responsibility for implementing what my kids need in order to optimize their development.

I realize that might be hard for some of you to buy. I'm certainly doing plenty of running around and making opportunities available to my kids. In some cases I'm dead-on accurate: the Enki 2nd grade curriculum has been a perfect fit (and I have no doubt 3rd will be the same as we ease into that over the course of the next few months); our Monday Homeschool classes are fabulous; we certainly get plenty of exposure to science and nature and exercise and socialization; our Kids in the Kitchen projects has been a smash hit.

However, in terms of sensory development, I've pretty much left it in the hands of our OTs. Don't get me wrong, our OTs are great. They are also over an hour away, which means we sacrifice an entire afternoon each week to get to them. That's about 5 hours out of our life -- and when doing that math, that's an extra hour each school day that COULD be spent working on sensory stuff at home, but is NOT spent that way. Yeah, yeah, we do some sensory activities, but not to the extent I have done in the past. And you know what? Once a week at the OT is just plain not enough. J is pretty much holding his own -- he's had years and years of thoughtful guidance from me in this area, and is pretty well along the developmental path. Not to mention that fact that ballet (and to a lesser extent his other dance genres) keeps his sensory systems on their toes (literally!). Zoo Boy, however, has been slipping. Not only are we not seeing improvements, he's actually backslid in a lot of areas he was doing OK in previously.

I've also been treading water with the speech issue. For nearly a year, the OTs keep promising us a speech therapist. They keep not working out for one reason or another -- this one is too busy, that one quit, this one is pregnant, that one isn't the right personality. Meanwhile, I've seen a bunch of sliding in Zoo Boy's ability to speak and be understood. And instead of jumping in on my own and DEALING with it, it's been easier to just play wait-and-see with the therapists.

And then there's the whole Spanish thing.

It is VERY important to me that my kids learn to speak a foreign language, and the language that makes the most sense where we live is Spanish. So I've been knocking myself out to find a Spanish class for them, as I am not capable of teaching it (I know less Spanish than they do!). The class they most recently completed was not even close to ideal -- the teaching method was too direct, too lacking in a holistic approach. Zoo Boy was stressed out about how long the class was (sitting at a table for an hour) and how much homework there was. So I went out and scoured the landscape for another Spanish teacher, and found someone who I thought was going to be fabulous. I met with her, she seemed great, she seemed enthusiastic, she seemed committed, she seemed very Holistic and downright groovy. She was even willing to tie in with our Monday Homeschool Classes. I thought she was a sure thing. Then yesterday, out of nowhere and without explanation, she dropped the news on me that she would NOT be offering classes.

That was the wake-up call that I needed to re-examine what exactly it was that I was doing about Spanish. And that's when I realized I was doing NOTHING. Rather than taking what the kids were being presented with at the class they were taking, and turning it into a format that was usable at home, it was just easier for me to whine that the approach wasn't what I'd been looking for. I spent absolutely no effort, other than driving them to and from class, to make that class work for my kids. Here I had a Spanish teacher that is actually willing to work with my kids for the next several years, and I was treating the opportunity like a shopping trip -- try it on, oh this size isn't a perfect fit, let's discard it and find another rather than adjusting it so that it fits right. Never mind that the next one might be cheaply made and fall right off your body after the first couple of uses!

So, here's where I drop my lazy habits and start taking responsibility for my kids again! I told the OTs that we're cutting back to no more than twice a month, hopefully once a month WITH speech (the busy SLP thought that she should be able to fit us in once a month), and I'll do the work with the kids at home, they can provide ongoing professional counseling to keep me on track. I called up the Spanish teacher, whose session we just finished last week, and registered for the next session that starts later this week. I arranged to be IN the classroom with my kids, so that I can learn alongside them, and then I will commit to bringing that work alive in our home and create the program I've been chasing around trying to find.

I'm picking up that dropped ball, and I'm running with it!


MM said...

Are the boys still doing Therapeutic Listening? How's that going?

Harvest Moon said...

Yes, they are, but I'm undecided as to what effect it might be having. I have a post brewing about it, if I ever get time to actually do it! :)

Nguyễn Phú Minh said...

Oh, this is an encouragement for me too. Will try to keep it up.