Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Adventures in Homeschooling...

Today while I was having lunch with the kids Talyn rattled off the answer to a math problem we where discussing. It wasn't something I had taught him, yet. So, I asked him how he came up with the answer.

He shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't know, I just read it in my brain."

Read it in your brain? I ask....

Yeah, he said in a nonchalant tone that implied-Doesn't everyone?

Talyn has been able to do math in his head since a little before he turned four. He would sit in the back of the van and rattle off the answers to math problems, occasionally asking Jesse and me if he was correct... more often than not he was and when he wasn't he went back and corrected it himself. I have been trying to figure out how he comes up with the answers for years, but he still can't explain it to me. It's actually one of the big reasons that we homeschool. His preschool years and kindergarten year where fine, but upon entering the first grade in a different school, it was a sharp, steep, plunge to the bottom. The system took a kid that could answer math problems in his head, correctly, and decided he was "special needs" and "ADHD". Our pediatrician, who has known him since birth, vehemently disagreed... interestingly his kindergarten teacher, who adored him, went to bat for him as well, even though she worked at another school. They put him in special classes and tried to medicate him. That only lasted a week resulting in the worst mood swings I have seen since my sister was teenager. Why? Because according to our ped, medication only works if you actually NEED it. Imagine that.

The end result of all this helpful intervention?

A lively, energetic child who had an incredible spirit for immersing himself in learning and a knack for doing math in his head was, by the year's end, unable to complete 2 basic subtraction problems on a standardized test and was convinced he was stupid. He would walk to the bus every morning like the weight of the entire world was on those small shoulders. He would cry his heart out on Sunday nights. It broke my heart in to a million little pieces.

I was reminded again today, while I watched him fly through his math book and animatedly discuss math problems, how incredibly far we have come. We where at our homeschooling PE class yesterday where he competed, chatted and was completely comfortable with his peers. Thank You, Heavenly Father, for this amazing journey. You have shown me time and again that my plan is not needed. YOUR plan is all I need. Amen.

I still really want to know how exactly he figures the math out in his head. Hopefully, someday, he will have the verbal ability to walk me through it. Till then, I am content to just sit back, smile and marvel at my beautiful, smart, vibrant son.

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