Thursday, August 25, 2005


I read the blogs of a few other homeschoolers. I'm relieved to find that I'm not the only one that gets anxiety attacks over our son's education. Don't get me wrong; homeschooling can be very rewarding. It's just that it's such a HUGE responsibility!

I worry over his Math education. I'm a Math Whiz. I actually GET Algebra AND use it in everyday life! I was 2 points off a perfect score for the whole year in Geometry! Why do I worry? I'm afraid that I've forgotten too many of the basic principles and that I don't have the time to refresh my memory. I'm worried that MY explanations won't get through to Z and there's nobody else to turn to in this subject.

I'm scared to death that the school district won't understand why our progress has been so slow to begin with. With Z's learning disabilities, we've had to do a LOT of research on alternate learning styles. We're working by trial and error to find what works for HIM. Z was in Special Ed for 3 years and they NEVER tested him for any of this. Nor did they try to work around his disabilities.

I worry that Z won't do well on the standardized test he's required to take yearly. If he has a bad day, ALL his concentration flies out the window.

After the initial nausea and breathlessness of my anxiety passes, I can usually talk myself out of worrying. Z has a 131 IQ. Z is my Math Whiz; he usually catches on to math concepts with ease. Z has been reading at a post-college level since the 4th grade. Thank God dyslexia ISN'T one of his disabilities!

The BIGGEST comfort to my anxiety is the fact that he was failing miserably in our clueless local school system. I KNOW we can do better than that!

A BIG THANK YOU goes out to my homeschooling friends Alix and Monica for making me realize that I'm not the ONLY scared parent out there!!


At 8/25/2005 8:40 PM, Blogger Laura said...

Do they have the option of specially proctored tests? Some schools will accomodate LD students in that way - giving the students more time or whatever because of a disability or learning issue.

It sounds like a huge responsibility, but it also sounds like you're doing a great job. Are there peer tutors from the local school for certain subjects? I remember when I was having problems witn advanced trig that really helped a lot to have another, more advanced student help me understand.

At 8/25/2005 9:25 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Yeah, we can have special compensations, if he fails. Then we have to petition to have them review all his records, including medical. It's a route we'd rather not take if we can avoid it.

At 8/25/2005 11:25 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Isn't it awful what we do to ourselves?! I worry so much sometimes but looking back I see that everything is going just fine.

You're doing a great job. You're definitely doing a MUCH better job than the public school. You're definitely the one who cares most about your son. You're definitely more motivated than ANYONE to see that he gets a great education.

Oh - p.s. I've been worrying about the higher math meself. I'm loving starting from the beginning again though - it's refreshing my memory on things long gone hazy. I'm sure that since you love math yourself that you probably will encounter less problems than you are worried about. :-)

At 8/25/2005 11:29 PM, Blogger MonicaR said...

Oh - I wanted to ask you a question. Have you ever - at the introduction of a new concept - been worried that it will be difficult for the kid to grasp? I have - and have worked myself into quite a tizzy about it only to see that the concept was grasped in 2 seconds flat?!

That happens to me quite a lot. That's why I try hard to keep my mouth shut and just present things sort of matter-of-fact-like.

At 8/25/2005 11:54 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Z has a 131 IQ.

Wow, that's pretty high. If I'm not mistaken, that puts him in the upper 5% of the population.

As for homeschooling, if we had the resources, I'd do it in a heartbeat. I hate California schools. They're so bad. The public school Junior went to in Texas though was wonderful. Texas hasn't succombed to political correctness just yet. I hope they hold out. :\

But I'm sure you're doing fine as a teacher. Just to know that you worry as much as you do shows that you care.

At 8/26/2005 4:17 AM, Blogger SME said...

Oh for crying out loud you'll both do FINE! I'M the math dummy in the family!

At 8/26/2005 3:36 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Monica, that's why I LOVE you!!
I worry all the time that Z won't get it, and there are some days when NOTHING sinks in (ADD). Then, out of the blue, he starts discussing these topics with us or his grandparents and I'm floored!

ZS, this is the only thing that Special Ed tested him on. The amazing part is that they QUIT the test when they found out he was superior. He hadn't hit a "ceiling" yet. So his IQ MAY be a few points higher.

Sorry, SME, but you're right. You seem to have gotten Grandma's math genes, as Dad, Z, Grandpa and I are all good at math. Maybe your math genes are in the washer with your Scottish genes?
You got extra art genes, from God knows where, so what are you griping about?

At 8/26/2005 5:31 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I don't know what to tell you about the homeschooling, but I'll say this: no matter if a kiddo is in public, private, or home school, parents all over are sweating their student being able to pass the mandatory testing. I know as a parent that I am.

At 8/26/2005 8:19 PM, Blogger FunkyB said...

I really commend you for being a REAL Home-school mom. Having worked in the system for years, I saw too many kids being "homeschooled" for a short period of time, then returned to us FAR behind after only a few weeks out. It's wonderful that you're doing it for the right reasons, and putting yourself into it all the way. Go MOM!

At 8/26/2005 9:11 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Wow. I was 132 at his age (and rapidly regressed) and am dyslexic. Fortunately the nuns caught it right away, and gave me special reading classes during recess, and never told my parents. I read at the B level (almost A) letter grade wise.

It is a huge responsibility, tshsmom, but almost everyone I know is doing just that, including men I work with, friends I carpooled to work with (her daughter was severely adhd but was able to get a social worker who turned miracles.

I'm wonderinf if Laura isn't right--a peer community. OR on the Web? It does sound like what you're doing is great, but that you need tools. Is home schooling here more common then where you are?

I used Schaum's outlines to grad from university. Without it, I'd be a McDonald's U grad fer sure.

At 8/26/2005 9:12 PM, Blogger Bridget Jones said...

p.w. my brother has an adult add friend who was never treated. That man's life is hell, and 90% of it has to do with not being medicated/treated.

At 8/27/2005 6:11 PM, Blogger Wandering Coyote said...

tshsmom: Let me commend you on an honest post.

I've said it before: you are so courageous to homeschool Z, and you will do it to the very best of your ability! It's an enormous undertaking, but it will be so worth it in the end.

Oh, I see you're using word verification. Nice. I'll have to enable that too.

At 8/28/2005 6:33 AM, Blogger Sagepaper said...

You are blazing a daunting trail for me. My husband and I decided to homeschool when we were hammering out marital details during our engagement. Public schools are simply unacceptable. They no longer aim for the middle of the bell curve, which was bad enough.

Now they aim at the lowest common denominator, and miss. If they cannot even teach a child with an IQ of 80, how are they supposed to teach one above 130 at all, much less a bright kid who learns differently. It's like clothing: one-size-fits-all means it won't fit anyone.

At 8/28/2005 6:59 AM, Blogger Sagepaper said...

I didn't notice the word verification, I just noticed I couldn't publish comments. I was puzzled, but took it personally. I thought I had offended you somehow. That's another thing that goes with Tourette's, especially later in life: you become accustomed to rejections that make no sense. It's especially bad with me, since I was undiagnosed until I was in my 30's.

In addition to being accustomed to random rejection, I am accustomed to strange stares and slightly freaked-out looks. Before my diagnosis, I swung by a Penney's store on my way home from Kung Fu. I went to the office, and said I was interested in working in Accounts Receivable. Two ladies had gaping eyes.

They asked me what skills I had. I told them that I was very good at collections. I was more experienced in business-to-business collections, but was confident I could do individual collections as well. They looked like they wanted to leave the room. Fine, I thought, I've been through this before, I will simply conduct myself appropriately and ignore their increasing looks of disbelief.

They gave me an application, and encouraged me to take it home with me to fill-out, as in here, take this paper and leave right now! I took the application, thanked them for their time, and left.

Approaching my car, I decided to take off my jacket before heading home. My jacket! I was still in my Kung Fu uniform! I had just gone in there dressed as a martial artist and, with a straight face, told them I was good at collections!

At 8/28/2005 8:36 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Sorry Sage, I enabled word verification to get rid of the damned spammers! You could NEVER offend me; you're my PAL!!
I understand ALL about overreacting! That's what Z has the MOST trouble with. He's getting better, but there are days....
You're right about our schools teaching to the lower end. Boredom was one of Z's major problems in school. They actually admitted this after testing his IQ, even though I'd been telling them this for years! Boredom and ADD are a BAD combo!
TOO FUNNY about the Kung Fu outfit!

Bridg, those nuns did a GREAT job on your dyslexia! I never would have known!
99% of the homeschoolers in our area are religious fundies; not my cup of tea. Most of them homeschool through grade school and send the kids to high school. We're doing it in reverse.(par for the course for assbackwards me)
As for your brother's friend; that's why we felt compelled to homeschool. Z MUST learn to work around his TS behaviors or he'll NEVER get anywhere in life. Unfortunately, OUR school had no clue how to accomplish this!

At 8/28/2005 1:15 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Tshsmom - Maybe you should test him for Mensa. The stereotype is wrong. They're not a bunch of nerdy snobs.

I went as a guest to one of their San Francisco conventions. Lasted a whole weekend. Had a blast. Of course you have your stereotypical geek who smells like a European and can't carry a conversation, but for the most part, they were fascinating people. Booze was included too, so maybe that's why everyone was so interesting. ;)

Oh, they did cool stuff too like wine tasting, went to the Museum Mechanique, all over San Francisco, and had a variety of real good guest speakers.

Also, you'd be surprised just how many of them have similiar learning disabilities to your son.

At 8/28/2005 1:21 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

That last line was REALLY encouraging, ZS! Thanks!
Statistically, TS kids are in the top 25-33%.
Maybe out of whack brain chemicals is what gives them the edge? ;)

At 8/29/2005 8:16 AM, Blogger Gretchen said...

I homeschooled for several years and it was the best, but hardest years of our life.

I would still be homeschooling, but I got too ill and wasn't able to give my daughter the attention she needed.

Don't worry, you know your child best.

At 8/29/2005 3:09 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Welcome, Gretchen!
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

At 8/29/2005 10:24 PM, Blogger Sagepaper said...

ZS -- I went to a MENSA bash in Cincinnati. It was great! Contrary to what most people think, you don't have to submit test scores to join MENSA activities. Just show up, who cares about tests. If you are actually stupid, they will politely treat you like a mascot. If you are capable of decent conversation, that is good enough for them.

There are possibly some advantages to membership, though, for Z. MENSA does have advocacy programs for gifted students. That would be more relevant if Z were in school, but not necessarily useless. There might be resources to which he is entitled for the special education of the gifted.

Besides, I think they also have summer camps for sharp kids. Z needs to broaden his self-concept, perhaps. He is not any of those diagnostic labels. He is Z.

That's important. A MENSA speaker once said the label fairy comes but once. If you play an instrument well, you are a musician, period. You are not also a record-breaking track star, you are not also diabetic, you are not also a math whiz. You only get one label from the fairy.

Keep a bug-light around for the label fairies. They spread mental illnesses. Your focus as a homeschooling parent is necessarily on the differences between how Z learns and how his peers learn. Don't let the burden of taking care of your student interfere with the burden/joy of watching Z bloom in all directions at once.

At 8/29/2005 10:45 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Sage, that was beautiful!

At 8/30/2005 4:42 PM, Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

Sage - what a great way to view people. I know people scoff at me when I say that labels don't matter, but I guess they matter as much as people let them.

BTW, TSHS, this is jen of "jen's journal". :-)

Seems like you've gotten some good advice/inspiration. It always comes when you need it, it seems.

At 8/30/2005 6:00 PM, Blogger Jason said...

We looked into homeschooling, but we're pretty happy with the rep of the schools in our new neighborhood, so we'll hold off for now. The fears are very understandable, of course.

At 8/30/2005 7:52 PM, Blogger Squirl said...

That must be really hard to homeschool. So great that you love your child so much to give him the opportunity to learn in a way that he is able to.

At 8/30/2005 8:39 PM, Blogger Sagepaper said...

TSHS Mom -- I am trying to reach you urgently on an OT matter. I have sent you an email to the address associated with this site. Please make sure you get that ASAP.

At 8/30/2005 8:52 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Try resending the email, Sage. It didn't come through.

At 9/04/2005 7:55 PM, Blogger alix said...

gawd i've missed you.

i've been in ADD hell over here, and not sure what i'm going to do about it. mr wunderland is struggling, as i'm sure most late-dx's do -- as am i. and lil bit, while sharp as a tack and bright as a solar flare, is exhibiting the same.

sage, you have the BEST comments.

and i can commiserate with you and grizzlymama about the "ZAP! they get it!" moments. of course, i sweat everything, lil neurotic that i am! LOL

thanks for the mention. we gotta band together when we can, right? :) even when we ARE hundreds of miles apart...

At 9/04/2005 7:56 PM, Blogger alix said...

oopsie, that sounded like *i'm* ADD, too. i'm not, just struggling with two very chaotic people.


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