Next to packing lunches, planning is the complete bane of my existence. I loathe each with equal passion. Currently, I am detaching from reality each evening with an inflammation-inducing comfort of organic milk (we have been dairy-free for ELEVEN years) and chunky Chips Ahoy cookies (we have been gluten-free for a decade and pretty much flour free because of blood sugar issues for easily 3 years)… because I am in a quandary about how to proceed with my kids educational needs and I just don’t feel like dealing with it.
But I’m going to deal with it, obviously… Here is the quandary…
My sweet BigGuy loves to learn more things at higher levels and usually hands-on. His brain is ready for college-level work, but his sweet heart is firmly planted in boyhood (where I’d like it to stay). He has such a hard time emotionally when I cannot connect these two parts of his person and I haven’t done a great time of it. But when they connect, he is ALIVE. And I mean he is alive in a way that is obvious to an onlooker. When it happens I am moved to tears from the simultaneous joy that he’s had whatever experience it is that did it, and heartbreak that I’m not helping him find this more often. Just enough to keep him going between experiences. I don’t expect every day or even every week is going to give him that; but I also know that it has to get better than what we’re doing because he’s not really happy.
My Girly is really ready. And I don’t want to screw that up and discourage her in the process. She is also keenly aware that she needs me to move forward and there is resentment building over the fact that mama doesn’t have her shit together.
I seriously do NOT love planning out my kids educations. That being said, none of us functions well “just being” and doing the free-range thing. I’ve tried it. I have. I gave it 2-3 months and BigGuy and I were a complete mess. We didn’t just get to where we followed our interests. Or his interests. With BigGuy’s developmental history and autism spectrum diagnosis, he may never be the kind of person that just picks up and dives into things without an external prompt. He MIGHT, but I don’t think it’s prudent of me to roll the dice on his future over that possibility. He’s certainly far outperformed and developed in ways nobody anticipated; but does that mean I just assume he will continue that way? Or do I take an alternate route that at least helps ensure he becomes a productive member of society? I’ll take the latter, thanks. Honestly, the kid has well enough downtime to show that he’d pick up and run with stuff. It’s not like the academics he currently does are forced on him. If he pushes back, we just don’t do them. He choses the subjects and we help him based on his stated goals. We revisit these maybe twice each year. So when he doesn’t want to do something, it’s really just his own goals that are being set aside.
Regardless, he needs that outside help to structure meeting his goals and I need to own that for a while. I also need to be working steadily on encouraging him to do this independently for himself. I’ve done that a bit, but I need to be more consistent with it. I think my new take on this is going to be planning for shorter periods of time. I think that Husbeau and I need to sit down with our overall objectives for the kids and ask ourselves if those are being met; and if not, how we will be meeting them. We need to talk about what each of us sees in our kids that needs to be fostered and supported or redirected. We have a date tonight that would’ve been yoga class and then dinner to talk about finances. I’m pretty sure it will be a sit-down about the kids education and finances and then dinner. I hate for us to miss yoga class when it’s pretty much the last time we will be able to go together until late August, but we really have to do this.
The kids and I are sitting down later to talk about what they want to learn for the summer. BigGuy and I have already discussed that we will not be doing the online school’s Language Arts program again (it’s a planning nightmare and they haven’t really addressed our issues at all) and we might change the provider for the second half of Pre-Algebra just because the curricula I LOVE offers online accredited courses!! GAH! I wish I’d known that!!! So I’m not really sure what we’ll do yet. Our current Pre-Algebra class is working really well so far.
BigGuy is still pretty bent on the math/science school for high school. We told him a bit about Civil Air Patrol (CAP) and when he heard they compete in the CyberPatriot program he was out of his mind. He can’t even join until he turns 12 so that gives us a good year in Boy Scouts to see if he wants to stick that out or move over to CAP.
The moving and all of the stress of that time being exacerbated because I hadn’t yet been treated for my PTSD has left a lot of life lessons passed by that need to be redone without the resentment and hostility about the fact that “they should know this by now”. Stupid stuff that just comes naturally when you grow up… keeping a clean room and house, making some food, personal hygiene… We haven’t neglected all of it, but before all of the moving, we were on a much different trajectory. I’d like to get back there.
Somehow we need to figure out what needs to be done now, what can wait (and until when), how to do some of this stuff, and still maintain a relaxed and loving atmosphere.