Teaching homeschool

Once upon a while ago… about a year I suppose… I began homeschooling. I made a promise – to myself – that homeschooling wasn’t something I was going to blog about.

I may have to eat my words. 6a0134813bd9b0970c01538e76c72f970b-600wi

During my daily life of homeschooling my 11 year old, I often turn, twist and tune a thought, complaint or idea – and find that I want to share it. So I started a “journal input” category here on my blog. It’s basically for short diary-type posts.

The thought in my head is “I’m NOT a teacher!”

Teaching or being a teacher is and has always been as far from me as my repented sins!

I do not like, nor do I wish to teach in any shape or format. However, the Lord has placed me in a situation where I have no choice. And yet – When I go to Him and complain about me being this homeschooling mom, essentially being someone I do not want to be – He is in full agreement with me.

I know! It sounds strange.

I can’t teach (many homeschooling moms say the exact same thing: I can’t do this), but for me, it’s actually fully true and fully supported by the Lord.

By acknowledging the very fact that I can’t and shouldn’t teach, I am able to take on a role that enables me to homeschool; I can give assignments and I can help my daughter by showing her HOW to find out the things she needs to find out… In this way, I am still mom, not the teacher, and despite having a curriculum to follow, it’s a “working together” thing which in its basic form boils down to relationship.

Did that make sense?

In essence; I can do this.

Scolding-Nun

Not because I want to, because I still cringe at every curve, but because the Lord needs me to, I can relax in my “role” – and (for the most part – ahem!) not turn into some crazy frenzied “nun-mom”.

I struck out – Silencing an Introvert 2

I totally struck out on yesterday’s post! I mean really struck out…

My intentions were to write about introverts in the school system, but I got derailed and went straight into a self-pity party or something down that winding road!

cdfb0904214f7aa4295bf0dae9bd717dd674b57d_hq.gif

I can’t run from my feelings. I am truly both sad, angry and disappointed in school and teachers. For 3 years I have tried to be “a good Christian” about it, but now that I need to process it, it stings. When I’m done processing the whole thing, I’ll get back to the introverts in the school system.

I’ll get there… Because Jesus is with me and knows me and knows exactly how I feel.

Bloggers: Thank you for staying with me during these tough times. I need you and I love you and I pray Blessings into your lives! THANKS! 

Silencing an Introvert

lead_960.jpgI just did something I never actually believed I would do…
I emailed a link to an article about introverts in schools, to the head of school and principal of my daughter’s, now former, school.
A few days ago I was angry, resentful, sad but most of all disappointed. Really disappointed!1e1ac7e2242da1b7802a8f6fe1e910e8.jpg
How did I get there..? And how did I get to the point of trying to educate educators about personality types in schools…? Me? Really?

On April 4th when my girl verbalized her suicidal thoughts, she wasn’t allowed in school until her therapist cleared her. Understandable. She was cleared pretty fast, but refused to return to school. The school principal is one very Godly person… Gracefully gave me all the time I needed to help my girl get back to school – or not.

The reason my girl refused to return to school was her classmates. The mean girls… (yes, plural). 1.jpgAs I had conversations with the therapist (who had been in contact with the principal) it began to dawn on me, that because my girl has anxiety and depression and therefore her cognitive skills aren’t as sharp as should be, school principal and teachers decided to give the other girls “the benefit of the doubt”…

My child may have her struggles, but she is not a liar!! I can’t tell you how angry I got when it dawned on me that these mean girls got away with bad behavior, regardless of what their intentions were.

We do not train children in the way they should walk, by not addressing their wrongs!

Once I made the decision to permanently pull her out, I emailed that decision to 6 school staff members. One replied with love and prayers. Two wouldn’t reply as they still work with my girl outside of school. The principal replied with usual grace as well. Two others did not reply at all: Classroom teacher and school counselor. I’m choosing to believe they had g-o-o-d!! reason for not replying, but honestly – I don’t think the classroom teacher could have done anything more disrespectful than to ignore that mail.

Brush it off! – brushed it off. It’s gone… somewhat.

In the mail I asked if my girl could pick up her things and get a chance to meet the adults she has loved working with, to help her say goodbye in her heart. That part of the mail was addressed only by one and that was a “cotton candy’ed” sentence that sounded “I look forward to seeing her around the community”. That’s American for “no” in case you wonder. Yes, I’m feeling resentful.

Sadness-understand.jpgBut the last drop – the one that sent me into a twirl of anger and disappointment was when I picked up her things from the classroom. Her classroom teacher was there, her desk was already gone, her things stuffed into a plastic bag. I grabbed it, got her indoor shoes, looked into the eyes of her teacher and thought “aren’t you going to say something… anything?“, but despite the sad-ish look in her eyes, there was no greeting to my girl, no questions asked and literally not a word spoken. I kept quiet myself and just walked down the stairs.

That’s when the sadness overwhelmed me.

Not that she had left school, but that school seemed so… not caring.

My girl is an introvert. When I read the above article I thought about her time in the class and how many times I have heard her teachers say “participate more”… Her leaving school could possibly not have been prevented, but the act of telling an introvert “you should participate more” may feel like being asked to enter a snake pit for kids on the introvert scale… It certainly didn’t help my daughter.

May the Lord speak to the hearts of all teachers around the globe. Amen.

Within a spectrum

I have had my daughter home from school since beginning of April due to suicidal thoughts. I’m a deep thinker and there’s a lot on my mind;
Thoughts and decisions. 33.jpg

Should my child go back to school and finish her 4th grade, or not. School will welcome her back and mom wouldn’t mind getting some alone time, but…
The improvement I have seen in my kid since she left school is truly amazing. The cutting has decreased and the girl I knew from about 3 years ago is sticking out her head again and that’s another reason why I’m not inclined to send her back to school. Unfortunately, her therapist seem to think differently and I would prefer we were on the same page (really; Christian therapists do NOT grow on trees in Tokyo!).

The decision to homeschool from 5th grade was relatively easy. I have been online searching for homeschool curriculums and – wow! The amount of “perfect for your kid” curriculums are stunning.
6fbb2cf6ec1e1128f16547bda099fe09.jpgHowever, only a fragment brings me peace and those are the unit based ones and… dare I say it… I found one that is s-e-c-u-l-a-r…
So I’ll add Bible to it, but hey – Beth Moore’s talk shows ought to spark some interest and then we’ll see where it takes us. I leave that peacefully into the Lord’s hands. I want my girl to get to know the Lord and find a desire to feel Him close. She is wired for that

Being out of school hasn’t been a cure. Therapy is still needed, medication likewise. But I have been reading up on psychology and the latest research and get this: Being an introvert could possibly be considered “being on the autism spectrum” – Now, don’t go frazzle on me now… An introvert isn’t autistic as such, but looking at the big picture I can see why a person with a diploma on the wall, would get the idea and explore it. b226fc0a61384c360840542c10732f0c.jpg

What is generally considered “normal” are people who talk, laugh, play, assert themselves, engage in activities – e.g. socialize, but that’s also (somewhere on the scale) the definition of “extroverts”: outgoing, sociable, friendly, unreserved and are energized by being around other people.
So when we encounter someone who is not particularly social, we see it as something “abnormal”. Was it “socially awkward” I heard the other day?

In schools, teachers try their best to teach students to assert themselves, play well with others and “have red cheeks after recess”. To make it in the world we live in, those qualifications are pretty important, but… In my case, my girl would much rather have a peaceful place for some quiet time. Why?
Because she’s an introvert and no amount of encouragement to become more social will change that.
How-to-care-for-introverts.pngBut it’s not allowed in school to bring anything out for recess, so kids who are by nature extremely introvert don’t really stand much of a chance (and no, there is no place to hide from friends…)
You guessed it; I have a beef with that!
It begs the question in my case – was the social anxiety partly grown because she doesn’t fit the “normal kid” standard?
Was she tying knots on herself for years trying to fit in and yet never did, causing low self-esteem, anxiety and depression?
I really think this is something schools in general ought to look deeper into.

If we do not allow kids to be who they are and help them grow into the person God intended for them to be, then we are just trying to mold kids to become what we have defined as “normal”. 

603652f640bb57a679069acb1bbc22e8.jpgBut God’s ways are higher than ours and even standardized school systems will have to recognize that, because the world is seeing more and more “on the spectrum” kids.
Can we afford to wait with adjusting our standards to meet God’s fearfully and wonderfully made children? 

 

Swopping knots

20140918-379-girl-in-bed-7.jpgShe was stuck in a situation she couldn’t get out of. Circumstance she was unable to change. People who chose to disrespect her. It was like a mental snake-pit. She felt like running away. From home, from school, from everything. Or even better, just go home to God, so she would never have to enter back into the snake pit…

In the beginning of April, these were my daughters thoughts and feelings. She’s 10. On April 4th I found a note where she wrote, that she just wanted to die… It wasn’t a suicide note; It was suicidal thoughts and an intense cry for help. mental-health-thoughts_wide-a514e5c72a55accd8ef792b779b91316864bb05c-s1000-c85.jpg

Because of suicidal thoughts she couldn’t attend school – which makes sense – so she’s been home with me, doing some of her schoolwork, intense therapy and some TLC.

During these 20+ days, I have seen her stress-levels drop, I have seen cutting decrease, I have experienced her courage as she ventured into a sleepover at a friends house. When she’s in school, the stress is high, the cutting is daily and having a sleepover is simply unrealistic!

It didn’t take long for me to realize that there is only one way of dealing with this: Take her out of school. So I have… she will be homeschooled from 5th grade. As for finishing her 4th grade year at school, it may be a long shot, but the therapist really wants her to glean something positive before she leaves school, so that she may one day be able to return. It makes sense, but seems impossible.

And the Lord ain’t done with me yet… so once again I’m swopping “knot’s”:

I’m facing homeschooling. post-41755-0-90463300-1447240753.png

Though I know it’s the right thing to do and I also have God’s peace with it, I can feel every cell in my body resisting the “teacher” part. If you read my blog more or less regularly, you will know that I’m pretty well aware of my own sets of strengths and weaknesses. I’m an entrepreneur, a facilitator, a leader and organizer. Creative in many ways and a bit of a “funny clown” too. But there’s not a hint of teacher in me. The closest thing I get to that is an interest in psychology… which doesn’t really say much!About-Homeschooling.png

I’m praying for the Lord to “define my role as homeschooling mom”, because I’m… well… ahem… not there. I have this sense that if I begin “teaching” my child, it won’t go well. My role isn’t supposed to be a teacher, but I’ll try to patiently wait on the Lord to bring me the answer. I did say “try”… Lord knows, I’m not the most patient woman!

reasons-to-homeschool-11.jpg

Guest post on Song of Virginity

I’m happy to introduce the latest guest post on Song of Virginity :

Harmless fun?

Daniel struggles, as so many others, with sexual sin but is clinging on to Jesus as he fights this! Jump on over for a good read and when you’re done… go visit his blog “minus the cynic”

Love in Jesus

12707616843_806cd54ec2_z.jpg
Every-day view on the streets of Tokyo

 

Manifesto

41D6VN7PMcL.jpgThe first time I had a sniff of the perfume scent “Manifesto”, I was hooked.
My mom gave it to me as a Christmas present many years ago and to this day, I love that scent! Every day when I add a whiff to my wrists, I remember my mom.

Manifesto is Italian for manifest. Which means something like transparent, undisguised, noticeable or demonstrate, reveal and declare.

The Italian-American former model, author, actress etc Isabella Rossellini is behind this perfume, though that is entirely unimportant to this post.
quote-adoption-has-the-dimension-of-connection-not-only-to-your-own-tribe-but-beyond-widening-isabella-rossellini-60-99-94.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

This week has been one for the calendar if I ever had one!

My husband was informed that the job project he has been pouring his heart into the past 8 years will close and employees will be transferred to other locations, though we are yet to hear of when and where.
My daughter’s new school-schedule finally fell into place: She’ll be a half day student of her school and then half time student of School support services which is a support to homeschoolers living in Japan. She’ll be dismissed daily at 12:30 and then do reading, math and units with a privately hired, educated teacher doing a tailor-made curriculum with her 3 days a week. 1 day she’ll be with a homeschooling mom close by and the last day I will be supervising her in the afternoons. I’m quite frankly not yet sure how we will be paying for this, but the Lord provides… Things have been heavy for her anxiety wise (due to some bullying issues at school), but now that she is happily aware of her schedule changes, we hope she can focus on progressing in math and regain control of her anxiety issues.
I have had some stomach pains and though not really bad they continue to roam, so I saw a doctor who couldn’t diagnose me, but wants to run a colon cancer test. Praying for a negative result on that one!! The mere thought of me getting cancer at this point is devastating so I’m praying… and praying…

46981fa50a2539686fce4a61e0651bff.jpg
But what I have learned this past week is that when I give myself over to God and openly ask Him to take over everything, I find strength to keep walking. A strength I know exists as I have walked in it before, but possibly never tapped into to this extend.

I become transparent and undisguised in front of Him, crying tons of “I’m way too stressed out to cope Lord”-tears and I demonstrate that I have no control at all – but I still declare His Glory!

We are still waiting for news about my husband’s work place.

My daughter’s schedule begins next week.

I get the test results next week.

Manifesto: I can stand because I’m the receiver of God’s strength.

praising-2-1024x768.jpg

Making way 

My last post addressed dyscalculia. This post is about anxiety. 

The other night my daughter had a nightmare. It’s not particularly unusual to have nightmares, but this one was rather intense. She dreamt that her Japanese teacher in school pulled her out of class when she didn’t get any of the hiragana (Japanese alphabet) right, took her to the cafeteria and told her she would get an ice cream. Then the teacher pulled a knife and stabbed my daughter in the heart and she fell down in a pool of blood. 😱

Nightmares tend to be made up from a vast variety of components but this girl of mine can’t watch violence without getting scared. She doesn’t even want to watch narnia. 

She was frazzled but I took her to school and dropped her off at the counsellors office. But 15 min later the counselor called and I had to pick my girl up. She couldn’t cope with school that day. It was fine of course – I had a feeling it would happen. She is still incredibly afraid of her Japanese teacher as well as the Japanese language. 

To get her to school the next day I told her she wouldn’t have Japanese. I would talk to the principal and I would pick her up early. She reluctantly agreed. As a parent I really don’t have the authority to do that… But by picking her up early I could remove the Japanese class from schedule and delete the anxiety for the day. 

Now – the principal of this school is one amazingly wonderful and clever woman of God! Since we can’t just pull any kid out of any class… Can you imagine the chaos?… My girl still needs to be in the classroom during Japanese class, but she will do something other than Japanese. 😮 I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty “wow”! 

Before you have the thought “overprotective moms!” Let me just assure you that my girl have had her fair share of bad experiences with Japanese language as well as teachers. Last year she was pulled out entirely of Japanese class because her anxiety spiked. 

I’m so grateful to this school. They truly do live out what Gods book tells us to do; love one another! 

I still want my daughter to learn Japanese so I took on a role I’m not actually allowed to according to the psychologist; to be her teacher. But we fooled around with a rainbow colored pencil learning the Japanese sound/hiragana “あ” (short sound a) and the “word of the week”: asa. Which means morning. 

It was fun and she ended up grading my あ… With an F!! Unbelievable. 

Way off topic

This post has a content I don’t usually write about…

This post isn’t about Jesus – though He certainly is a part of the healing process.

what-is-dyscalculia.jpg

This post is about awareness of a condition known as “DYSCALCULIA” and the effects it is likely to have on children in and outside of school. 

 

 

It’s not just about math and not understanding numbers though that is always the main focus. This is about how dyscalculia flows into all areas of a child’s life, how it can create anxiety issues and social issues and the feeling of never being good enough… to even simply “cope”.

numbers_game_numbers.jpgHow a child with dyscalculia will feel too “shy” to trust her/himself enough to go buy a small thing in a shop simply because the concepts of numbers/money are off.

 

This article is from a website called UNDERSTOOD.org and this particular article addresses most of the issues that my daughter struggles with in daily life – despite not yet having reached her tween years. 

I urge you to click the link and give yourself a chance to understand that dyscalculia is a big deal – and if not found and tested in the early stages it will likely affect a child throughout life and not just in school related situations.

back-to-school.jpg

Dyscalculia isn’t as known as dyslexia. Perhaps because the school system places a lot of emphasis on the language arts – but more and more kids will experience dyscalculia in years to come, though I have no way of backing up that statement, I urge any parent – AND school system – to pay close attention.

Thank you.