Thursday, March 24, 2011


My daughter sees a tutor. She has had the help of this tutor for nearly two years.  And I can honestly say that it has changed her life. Changed our lives.
There were times before the tutor, while home schooling in the summer, that frustrations ran high, and I would need to stop what we were doing...

and just breath.

There were times, mostly while I was trying to teach math, that Haley would get red in the face, play with her hands, slump her shoulders. I knew we needed to stop our lesson. There were times that I would get a pain in my head, put my elbow on the table, cradle my head in my hand, get red in the face. I knew we needed to stop our lesson. Math sucks.

Stop and just breath....

I had to find the strength to admit that home schooling could be a challenge no matter who you are teaching, but it was very tough to admit that home schooling a kid with a learning disability was down right hard. And I needed help. I don't do well at asking for help.

So I found Haley a great tutor! When Haley has her lessons, mostly I stay. I know the tutor thought that it was strange for me to stay, because she told me on a few of those early occasions that most parents go and run errands, go for a coffee, go sit downstairs in the condo lobby couches to read the paper.

She gave up when I told her I was there to learn as well. If teaching Haley was going to be a life long thing for me, then I needed to learn more about how to teach her. Not everything I was doing was working and I just needed to know how to do it!

I bring a book or magazine, and sometimes I read. Other times I pretend to read, flipping the pages carelessly, and I listen. I listen and I learn how to teach my child.

There have been lessons when we walk outside and I say in my head, that was a tough one for her...

Just breath
It could be she has had a bad day at school, she's tired, or she just is not getting it and she feels frustrated.

I remember clearly, the day I sat there on the tutors couch and I heard Haley grasp a math concept that I just could not teach her, no matter what I tried. Her teacher could not teach it to her. The resource teacher and her previous grade teacher could not teach her. I remember thinking, if she can't get this simple concept, how will she ever be able to progress? How will she ever learn all those simple math concepts we take for granted every single day?

Yet here she was, this one day at the tutor, and SHE GOT IT! I was so excited I wanted to jump up and hug her and scream so loud "you got it girl!" I was so overjoyed. I don't know if you can imagine. I sat there, my face red, unable to breath, hands in my head, a lump so big in my throat, but this time for a different reason. A wave of relief hit me a like a semi trailer and from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, I was relieved and happy!

That is the day I knew. Just like the summer all we did was practice reading and she moved up a whole grade in her reading skills... from one summer...she could do this too! If we find the right way for her, if she tries really hard, if we encourage her, if  I remain patient, she will get it! There is a small window of time when I forgot all of that.

I know when you look at Haley, you cannot see her chromosome duplication. An 8q24 duplication means nothing, you cannot see it with your eye. It is something so rare that she was born with, it doesn't even really have a name. So always, all I can ever say is that she has a learning disability. This is a fact I never forget. It is a fact and that is all. It does not define her or who she is. Or what she can do.

Just breath.....

There are days that I look at Haley, in her outfits, a rainbow of color. I see her smile so big. She was always a happy baby, she is still a happy girl. I know I will maybe say good bye to that through her teen years, hopefully only for a short time. It happens to the best of them. If I let myself think about it, I hate how hard some of her days are for her. I can't imagine what goes on in her head. Learning about the brain and how it functions is one big blob of confusion for me. I worry about how difficult some of her future school days will be for her.

In this moment though, I am amazed. With her ability of all things. Her ability to work so hard to meet goals, to not give up, to always be so damn happy! She is at a point in her learning when she is glowing so bright, rising up like the sunshine, and spreading her arms out so wide to see what is within her reach. She is succeeding. She is flourishing in what she is learning at this moment in time. I am so proud of her. The road was so long and reaching, at times it was hard to see if she would ever get here. But she has arrived. It was a long journey, it will be a short stop here, but I hope she enjoys it for the time.

We will bask in this glory, because we know the road ahead will hit a rough patch again. But I know I can always remind her of this success, and I can only pray that she knows she is strong, she will meet the challenge, and again she will succeed! I hope above all, she never is without that big beautiful smile, her make no sense at all songs, and her compassionate heart!

Please do me a favor and share this post/blog with anyone you know who has a child with a learning disability of some sort. I know that it can be hard when no one else you know can relate to the daily challenges. Reading another person's story helps us relate and not feel disconnected. Please pass it on to someone you know who home schools, or is thinking of doing it, it is a bigger community than you think! I have learned so much about this topic from home schooling Haley in the summer and would love to share my knowledge if anyone has questions. Pass it on to anyone you think may just enjoy, and remember to sign up for my blog posts on e mail, it's quick and easy! Thanks for reading, and I welcome all comments, because did you know that comments left on your blog site help it to grow?......