At the Beach

August 25, 2012

Last Sunday night we decided we needed one last adventure before school started.  We packed up some dinner, a blanket, and the kiddos and headed to the lake.  We parked in a spot that I’d been to years before and we hiked (more like slid) down the hill to the beach.  And yeah, it definitely wasn’t what I remembered.  The “beach” was now overgrown with very tall weeds (as tall as Liam) and there was not a clear spot in sight.  SINCE we had already almost broken our necks to get down there, we decided to make the best of it.  Among the tall grass (that sounds better than weeds) we found a clear spot and ate our picnic.  Then we trolled the “beach” in search of treasure.

And Liam was fascinated by the dead fish……….

and the skeleton of a fish. (We actually saw a bunch of these.  Have to remember this spot for when we do science for home schooling) 🙂

And a lot of rocks were thrown.

Tate asked me several times if we were at the ocean.  “No, son.  Not even close.”

The Big K

August 23, 2012

A HUGE thank you for all your encouraging words both on and off the blog about our decision to home school Gavin.  It’s much appreciated and needed!  I already had a scary moment this afternoon when I got home to find a social worker on my front steps.  She was sent by Gav’s school to see why he hadn’t been there the past two days.  Apparently they hadn’t received notice from the district that he was to be home schooled and I hadn’t let them know because I had told the district.  Yeah.  I maybe peed my pants just a little.  I already feel so inadequate to do this job and already I’m being questioned!  It’s just some miscommunication, but it definitely left me frazzled. 

In happier news………..Liam is now an official kindergartener.  It happened yesterday, although he’s pretty much been one since the last day of school in May.  He’s always been a bit mature and grown up.   All summer I was thinking this day would be easy peasy for me to deal with because he was going back to the same school as preschool, would have the same teacher in the same classroom.  Nope.  For some reason, knowing that my sweet little Liam was “officially” in school now made it SO much harder.  I had a mom (of older kids) tell me that once they start kindergarten, the school years just fly by and I can already see that happening.  Just yesterday my sister reminded me that Liam was only 7 months old at her wedding and look how many more kids we’ve added to the mix since then!  Gosh, time really does fly.

This boy was up and dressed (with backpack on) by 6:30AM.  We didn’t have to leave until 8:15!  He was THAT excited.  Which I’m so glad for, by the way.  It would be awful to have a child you have to drag to school every day.

Hey guys, how ’bout a little closer?

Better.  Much better.

And a little nostalgia:

Gavin’s first day of kindergarten 2010

and Liam’s 2012

(Please ignore the bruises on Tate’s face, seems like every time I turn around he’s getting hurt.  He does have a rather large noggin. It must keep getting in the way).

A Controversial Decision

August 19, 2012

Josh and I recently made a controversial decision.  Not everyone agrees with us and that is hard to deal with, but a decision has been made and we are not changing our minds now.  We have decided to home school Gavin this fall.   This decision is controversial because Gavin’s biggest struggle (I’d say) are his underdeveloped social skills.  Many would argue that school is the best place for a child like this.  If we remove him from school, he will be removed from the peer interaction that he so desperately needs.   But I disagree.  School can actually be the worse place for a child like Gavin.   Every day he enters the classroom overwhelmed and overstimulated.  There are hundreds of little noises and distractions stealing his attention.  There are kids who are mean, there are kids who don’t understand, and more importantly, there are TEACHERS who don’t understand.  He ends up not knowing what to do with himself, the kids and teachers don’t know what to do with him, so they just leave him alone.  After all the trouble we had this past year, it broke my heart to think about him returning to an environment that just doesn’t “get” him.

Guess what.  I GET HIM.  I KNOW my Gavin better than anyone else.  I LOVE my Gavin more than anyone else.  I WANT to help him more than anyone else.  I can and I will.

A while back, we took Gav out on a breakfast “date” to discuss what we had decided.   Honestly, I wasn’t sure how he’d take it.  He does really enjoy school (at least he says he does) but he also really loves his time at home on his days off.  Our conversation could have gone either way.

Right as Josh told him our plans for the fall, a sweet old man came up and offered Gavin a piece of hard candy…….the kind of candy Gav remembers swallowing whole…..and then he talked of nothing else except that time he swallowed that candy.  School?  Who cares where I go to school?  Remember when I swallowed the candy and it hurt going down?   So, yeah.  Gav’s fine with home schooling.  Since then, he’s told every random person he meets that he’s going to be home schooled this year…….and that he’s never going back to real school ever again.  (Well, we’ll see).

That same day we also had a date with Liam because we feared he would find it unfair that Gav got to stay home while he had to go all day to school. (We love Liam’s school and don’t want to pull him.  Plus there’s a ridiculously long waiting list and he’d never get back in).

Josh nicely explained how Gav needs some extra help and we think he’d be better suited for learning at home.  All the while, Liam is checking out a painting above Josh’s head.  As soon as Josh was done talking, Liam started commenting on the picture.  I’m not even sure he was ever listening.  Oh well.  We thought the news might rock someone’s world, but apparently candy and art are more important.

I have an awesome support system at the place where Gavin receives tutoring.  One of the directors has her masters degree in curriculum and she was beyond excited to help me figure out exactly what to do with Gavin this fall.  (She has also worked one on one with Gav several times, so she knows exactly where he’s at academically).  One day I dropped him off and she had a list of books for me to pick up at our local school supply store.  Easy peasy.  I trust her judgement completely and as we get closer to our “official” start date the more excited I become.

I truly believe this is the best choice for Gavin THIS YEAR.  I’m not saying we’ll home school forever.  But I am determined to make it work this year.  I know it’s going to be hard.  I know there will be days (probably a lot) where I’ll feel like giving up, but in the end, there’s no better choice.

In sharing my fears with Josh about screwing things up, he joked that I can’t be any worse than what Gav’s already had at school.  And he’s totally right.  I got this.