Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sometimes My 14-year-old Amazes Me

My 14 y/o was given an assignment to write a descriptive paragraph about a photo (you can see the picture here).  There was no requirement (or even suggestion) that it should be a religious paragraph, so what he wrote came straight from his heart.  And here it is:

The arctic rainbow settles into place, reflecting God's glory as it is reflected off the chilled arctic waters. The ice chunks, reflected as well, do not distort in any way this magnificent image of God's glory. The colors, red and vibrant, fill the air and the water. A small strip is all that is visible of the orange, the rest lost in the air. Such is the image of glory, it is more visible than anything around it.

He never would have written that for a public school assignment!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Gotta Stop Stressing Out Over It!

"Static" by dcoomes

Well, last week was tough, to say the least.

Phillip was in one of his bipolar phases that makes him simply impossible to teach.  And I internalized it too much, making it my own "failure," and almost concluding that I couldn't teach him.

Of course that's unrealistic.  It completely ignores the fact that the public schools can't teach him when he's like that, either.  And it ignores the beautiful successes that we enjoy at other times in his cycles.

This week is going much better.  It's still very hard work for me (much more so than for him, since most of the time when he's not working, it's because he's off enjoying his own autistic thoughts).  It has taken far more hours than it should.  But he has done a fair amount of work for the past couple of days.

So hey, next time I write something desperate about how badly things are going, please remind me that IT WILL PASS!


One of the main reasons I wanted to withdraw Nathanael from middle school was because of the incessant cruelty of his peers toward him.  He was incredibly nervous all the time and often irritable as a result of it.  And now we're starting to see some payoff from our decision.  When we were at church recently, during that "between services" time when everybody mills around and talks noisily, he informed me that he's becoming less nervous in large groups of people.  Hooray!

Another thing I'm really enjoying is getting to spend as much time as necessary to really teach something, and to make sure it's actually learned.   There's no rush to continue on when there's been no mastery…no need to keep up with an inflexible plan that insists we move on now whether we're ready or not.  As a result, I'm getting to edit and re-edit, and re-re-edit the kids' written work, honing skills to a degree that was never possible before.

And despite many times when educating Phillip was simply impossible, despite times when I nearly tore my hair out, there were other moments that were precious:

  • Phillip sitting on his chair with his legs stretched out across my lap, talking with me about what he was learning. 
  • Getting to tell Phillip that it's a joy to teach him when he's tuned-in, and that God has given him a very good mind.
  • Learning new ways of helping him focus and absorb material (not always effective, but often helpful.)
  • Hearing him tell me that he'd like me to be near him when he's working.
  • Conversely, at other times, seeing him working independently.

Another blessing that keeps happening as I teach my children…I keep hearing God teaching me.  I trust that He is going to use this as powerfully in my life as He does in the children's.  Heaven knows, I need the work!

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