Our family is in a state of transition. It seems like we’ve been thrown from the perpetual spinning of the hamster wheel straight into a catapult. Two months ago, we sat in the office of our local literacy center nervously awaiting the results of our nine-year old daughter’s cognitive testing. It was years in the making. Up until this point, homeschool was nothing but an anxiety ridden chore. It took everything I had just to get through those days filled with screaming and tears. So many days I threatened to “throw in the towel” or to send her back to traditional public school.
I couldn’t understand why she wasn’t just “getting it” and why there was very little progress being made, despite how much effort we put in. I felt like a hamster, spinning it’s wheel-over and over and still no movement forward. It’s a horrible place to be. To see your child struggling but not knowing why, not knowing how to help them. If you’re in this place today, I am sorry. I am sorry for the days that feel heavier than your shoulders can carry. I’m sorry for the helplessness you may be feeling. I’m sorry for the waiting game you may be playing-waiting for test results or the right diagnosis. I have been there and I can tell you that there is hope.
So back to that diagnosis. It was what we had anticipated and then some. With her struggle to write, to spell and with all the letter/number reversals, we knew she had dyslexia. But we were blind sided by the diagnosis of an auditory processing disorder. All the years we struggled through tears, screaming, it finally all made sense. However, the heaviness that comes along with any type of diagnosis is beyond emotionally draining. One word comes to mind-process. Process, process, process. We spent weeks digesting all the information we were given; the test results, all the tutoring options offered. It was very overwhelming. So give yourself time and a lot of grace.
For us, that diagnosis catapulted us forward. We finally had movement, progress being made. I just about devoured any sort of article, blog post, or book I could find on dyslexia and APD. I prayed for direction, for perseverance and for a softened heart. I began researching how dyslexics learn, how my own daughter learns. That alone made a huge difference. I was expecting her to fit into the mold of my teaching. That didn’t work so well for me. It took me years of homeschooling and a dyslexia/APD diagnosis for me to take a look at the way I was teaching. The reality is, her diagnosis is here to stay, it’s not something that she will grow out of. So we learn to adapt. We adapt how we homeschool, we learn new tricks, we experiment with different curriculum, we give lots of hugs, say lots of prayers and remind each other to look for the glimmers of hope.
Jessica is a homeschool mom to three wonderful children; a nine year old daughter, a six year old son and one very busy 18 month old boy. This is her fourth year homeschooling and her 14th year working in education. She has a B.A. in elementary education and has worked in various settings including montessori, traditional public school and counseling. Jessica blogs at The Home Educator. You can also find her on Instagram @homeeducator where she moderates an encouraging community of homeschooling moms.