When your 15yo son is wearing the largest shoe size in the house, has hair everywhere including his chin, and can wear your clothes… suddenly, you realize he’s going to be a legal adult SOON.
And that’s when reality grips you in it’s cold, bony hands…
This is where I’m at, people. Can I get an “Amen”? Because the next, albeit distant, thought is “I really need to lose some weight because he should not be fitting in my clothes that easily”. For real. He’s no longer a toothpick.
So this was the year I decided we were done waiting for him to “grow out of” or into or whatever the things were that everyone tells you not to worry about when you unschool. Unfortunately, mine is legit in the autism spectrum and as was pointed out to me by his last evaluator–“he’s not borderline–he’s definitely well into the spectrum”. You know what that means? That means he could legit play with Legos for the rest of his life. That means he’s just not going to have the same trajectory or journey as a typically-developing kid. That means I can’t roll the dice that it’s going to be okay. And since he also doesn’t respond to attention/focus medications, isn’t managing to get through a simple routine to start his day, and spends a lot more time trying to escape reality than deal with it–it was time to make some changes.
I actually imposed learning on him to some extent this year. Like, I wasn’t just laying out stuff for him to do based on what he asked for and leaving him to his own devices. It was clear that was a mistake. He wanted to learn. I handed over resources and left him alone when he really needed support to execute on his goals. Unfortunately, the combination of autism and the way our relocation ravaged my mental health for several years left us in a situation where he wasn’t going to ask me for that support. I’m trying to make peace with that. It’s done. But unschooling is over here. For both kids although for very different reasons. I’m not sure I can blog about Girly’s needs and respect her privacy–but she also needed this change and I wasn’t great at providing it this year.
This last year, BigGuy attended a one day/week program that should have taken care of English and history plus a cooking elective and we started trying to keep on top of the writing assignments for the English class. That program shut down in early February (yeah–right?) and he finished out language arts via an Outschool class I was kicking off for the semester. He had started chemistry at the local college in the fall but had a medication reaction that wreaked havoc on us for 3 weeks (and the college was on trimesters–so class was only 11 weeks total). We withdrew him and he was pretty rattled. We didn’t focus much on math and he had Latin. Latin was the vehicle for remarkable transformation in many ways.
We learned a lot this year. *I* learned a lot this year. And next year is going to be different. He and I have talked about the issues and what he wants to do and what it would take to get there and how we might best achieve that. We laid out a 3-year plan that we can feel good about and doesn’t close the door to college if he wants to go in that direction. And for the summer, he’s catching up on formal math and science as that aligns with his end goals.
Next year is pretty well planned out and I’m feeling good about the amount of available time we all have to work together as needed. However, that requires me to really work my tail off through the summer so that I can just execute during the school year and not use my non-teaching time to create and prep lessons. To that end, I’m hiring a sitter for a few hours/week to give the kids the attention they deserve while I work through my responsibilities.
Here’s hoping this change in direction creates positive change for my kids…