Generally, I get my act together by obligating myself somewhere. Because then I have accountability. Why can’t I feel accountable when it’s just me and my little family….?!?!
So, I’m finally seeing how NOT getting my act together for BigGuy is failing miserably. And as I have mulled this over for weeks, I’m seeing that I was treating him more like a neurotypical kid than I should have. He needs more structure than I’ve given him. It’s reality that he may never develop the elasticity of thought that a neurotypical kid can (and generally does) develop. It’s just that he’s COME. SO. FAR. that I always feel like he can just go farther. I have refused to see his limitations and in many ways–that’s amazing; but in many ways, that’s not honoring who he is as a person and supporting him in ways that he needs. And that’s not fair.
Simultaneously, Girly is in need of different things, too. For one, she’s clearly hit a developmental milestone in terms of how she sees the world. She is so wise in this way that sometimes I’m stunned. So much so that for the first time ever, I am compelled to find someone who reads Akashic records to find out what it says about my girl–because she is clearly an old soul.
She also has some severe anxiety issues. Some of which are tied to her feelings about being adopted and some I’m sure are related just to having two parents with PTSD that wasn’t appropriately diagnosed or managed for too long compounded by a relocation that had her moving 7 times in the first 5 of her then 6 years of life.
The result is that both of my kids may need more structure than I’ve given with when it comes to their educational environment. BigGuy actually needs this to learn some executive function skills and I need to find a way to structure his environment for the things he wants to take on learning. I feel like, at the moment, that’s the easy part.
Girly will be a little harder. In unschooling, there is always the risk with younger children that they don’t always know all there is “out there” to learn about. Girly is seeking. She knows some of what she wants to learn about but she wants to know as much about “things” as her public-schooled friends on the block. And not knowing “things” is only exacerbating her anxiety. I need to figure out how to make her more aware of how much she knows so that she feels like she can hold her own with the other kids. Because she has been resorting to playing with the little boys rather than the big girls as she feels more and more left behind. Admittedly, the girls are girls and one or two of them make sure to make my Girly feel dumb so they feel better. But these are all things we need to work on.
Inasmuch as I talk about kids needing structure and it not being tied to their education in terms of making their education more like the schools, I’ve neglected to look at structuring their learning in ways that still give them the freedom to learn what they want, when they want to but supports them. Like a scaffolding. Because my goal is to make them independent; but each of them has some significant needs that need support right now. I’m going to be writing about some of the ways I’m going to tackle that.
So, I have begun a very small, new coschool for the secular community in my area. So far, with only me teaching, it will offer 3 classes for the smaller kids one morning each week and 3 for older kids another morning each week. We’ll see if we get enough people to sign up for it to make it a go–but that’s what I’m doing. I’m doing the classes my kids want and I’m doing it in an engaging manner. Central to it are the Great Books curricula and I love that so much that I may, the following year, take it online and do distance learning courses with their content. A girl can dream. 🙂
In the meantime, I’m implementing a few meetings each week with BigGuy AND Girly to check in on what’s going on, what needs to get done and what needs to change so that we are being relatively productive, somewhat fulfilled, and definitely heard on a regular basis.
Wish me luck, people…