Today’s post is courtesy of my friend Maureen Lasher Morris – who I’ve known since our days back in high school. We haven’t seen each other since then, but have kept in touch thanks to social media. Maureen has been part of the HOME SCHOOLING community for many years. I asked her to share her thoughts about it and also to share some tips for those interested in becoming home schoolers. Here’s Maureen.
I was a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing for 22 years before I came a homeschooling mom. It was not something that I actually planned; it happened as a result of several things that occurred around the same time.
In 1996, my husband and I adopted a three-year-old girl, Maggie, from China. She became our 5th child as we had four biological children already. Since we were supposed to go to China in late August of that year, I applied for a year’s leave of absence from my teaching job. I thought it would be a good idea to have her well established into the family before I went back to work. At the time, my oldest daughter, Kristen, had just graduated from high school, Patrick my second child was a high school junior. My son, Tim had just finished 7th grade and my youngest son, Sean, just completed 1st grade. Tim and Sean asked if they could stay home, too and I thought it would be a great way for us to bond with our new addition. So, I ordered a home school curriculum for each and began our new adventure in learning.
Shortly after our return from China, my father was diagnosed with leukemia. Since my youngest boys were home schooled, I was able to pick up their books and materials and go help my mother though this difficult period of time. My mother was a retired elementary school teacher. It was good therapy for her to help me and keep busy while she took care of my father. We went back and forth every couple of months from Colorado Springs where I reside to Southern Arizona where my parents were living.
When my leave was up for the following year, we decided that my place was better at home than working so I sent in a letter of resignation. My son, Tim, decided that he missed his friends at school so he went back to school for high school. I continued to home school Sean and Maggie through high school.
My daughter, Kristen, married and has 6 children. I home schooled her oldest son, Joe, through 8th grade. He is extremely bright but struggles with learning disabilities. He has severe dyslexia and even the experts in reading at the university here in Colorado Springs were doubtful that he would ever read. He is also dysgraphic which means that he can’t physically write. This has had a huge impact on his life and it is something that he will always struggle with. He does however, read well. He has a fabulous memory and if he hears something once he remembers it for life. We worked together for 9 years and I mean together. We sat in a big double chair and I read everything to him with him joining in sharing the readings once he was proficient enough. I became his scribe and basically his right hand. I am still scribing for his college work (not at school, but his home assignments). I do not aid him in any other way except to type for him. His level of knowledge has surpassed mine and his vocabulary is excellent.
One result of him being home schooled through his elementary years was that he knew he learned differently from most, but he also knew he was very bright and never had any self-esteem issues that could have occurred. He attended one of the top ten high schools in Colorado. The school was excellent at providing him adaptive materials and he was able to take advantage of programs such as Dragon Speech which is a program that types what the persons dictates.
Dragon Naturally Speaking Speech Recognition. The link for this is http://www.nuance.com/for-individuals/by-product/dragon-for-pc/index.htm.
I am currently homeschooling my 11-year-old grandson, John. It is a temporary arrangement for this year only as he will be attending a new school next year that teaches technical skills while maintaining the requirements for college entrance. I am enjoying this opportunity to have this special time with him. He is as bright as his brother, Joe but does not have the learning disabilities.
If you’re looking to get into to home schooling, there are some things you might consider. I will discuss these in my post next Friday.