Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Catching Up

I can't believe it's been almost a week since I sat down to update my blog. It's been crazy here lately.

First of all I want to Thank you so much for all of the kind and informative posts you left regarding the Oldest and the problems we're having with him. I've been able to find some helpful information in the links you've left and it has made me feel a little better knowing that we aren't alone. Your support and kind words have meant more to me than I can express.

Thursday was the last day of school for the Island Girl and the Youngest Island Boy. The Island Girl graduated from 8th grade and will be moving up to high school at the end of the summer.

They had a nice graduation ceremony in the middle school gym and then had a Hawaiian Luau party after the ceremony. She looked so pretty and I still can't believe that I am now the parent of a kid in high school. I just don't understand how this has happened LOL
I spent Friday morning in a meeting with the guidance counselor from the high school, making sure the Island Girl is registered in all of the right classes and that everything is on track for her to start in the fall. She has the 2nd highest GPA in her class and it's amazing to me how much help and attention the gifted kids get. I'm glad they are being challenged and are offered a wide choice of classes but I was telling the Island King that if I could have that many people from the school system helping me with the Oldest I wouldn't have the problems we have today.

Speaking of the Oldest, I've also had a meeting about him. When I called the woman in charge of the program we went to last week to tell her about the woman who made me so mad at the last meeting she gave the number of the school system's Special Education Services specialist. Why didn't we know there was such a person? We've been rattling cages for almost 3 years now and no one has mentioned her. So I made an appointment and went and talked with her. She was very nice and we talked for almost an hour. She tells me that there is a new learning specialist at our elementary school who specializes in visual disabilities and is using a lot of new and innovative learning techniques. She also tells me that over the past 4 years a lot of the learning disabled kids have been pulled from that school because the principal was not interested in helping those kids. This principal was all about being an A+ school and her focus was strictly on the gifted students (because their test scores made the school look good) They now have a new principal who has a child with a severe learning disability. The woman I was meeting with tells me she knows this new principal personally and that the principal has spent years trying to make changes in the school system regarding children with disabilities. She believes this new principal will be much more helpful. The meeting wound down with the specialist recommending I put him back in the school system and she agreed that he would go into either the 3rd or 4th grade and won't be retained again. He'll be promoted under the 'just cause' act so he'll be with kids his own age.
I know that he would enjoy going to school because he's pretty isolated here with me all day and spending time with kids his own age would be good for him. I also know that he could get involved in clubs or school activities and that would be good for him as well. What I don't know is if his self esteem will suffer or if the other kids will make fun of him for not being able to read as well as they can.
I have found a lot of new information on teaching dyslexic children to read and I truly believe that once he finds a reading technique that works for him he'll be able to keep up with the other kids. So I've decided that we're going to work really hard this summer on reading and when it's closer to time for school to start the Island King and I will decided if we should try him in the school system again or if he'll continue to stay home with me. I'm feeling a optimistic that with the new info I've found I can offer some new ways of learning and maybe they will work.

So all of that went on last week and yesterday I declared a holiday. We spent the day at the beach, not worrying about school, reading or work. We just soaked up the sun and spent the day playing in the water. Today I'm going to do some laundry and try out a new reading technique with the Oldest. Nothing really hard - just some basic stuff to see how he responds. And I think a little fishing would be fun this evening. Now that I have all of my meetings and end of the year stuff out of the way I'm going to focus on summer. Lots of beach time, a little sewing and a lot of play time. I love summer!
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