Thursday, February 27, 2014

A Little Catching Up

Though not considered "brag-able" by some folks, we have had a few little successes at Casa LaJoy lately that I wanted to share here.

Angela has been taking a graphic arts class, and LOVING it!  It is a brief, "shallow" introductory course, but she is excited every week to attend and immediately comes home and shows us what she learned.  It is a small class with three other students in it, all boys, and a teacher who has 15+ years experience working in the field in NY and LA.  After the second class, I went in to pick up Angie, and the teacher pulled me aside and told me, "You really have her in the right class, she has a lot of talent and you ought to continue to encourage her in the arts.  She could really make a career of this if she stuck with it."  Though this is just an introduction to what graphic arts is, Angela has already been inspired to watch videos online to learn more, and wants to take additional classes.  We consider this a success.

Olesya and math...whew...this one has been TOUGH!  However, we are working with some new materials, and reviewing the very basics all over again.  Yes, at 14 years old we are doing 2 digit addition, whole numbers, odd and even, and place value.  Again.  She is doing well on many parts of it, but there are places where it is a total blank, and it is reminiscent of Kenny with language.  The good news?  We have found holes, and are plugging them!  Offering a different explanation seems to be helping a little, as does repetition.  Will it hold a month from now?  Who knows? But we're trying, that's all we can do.  I am reminded of Dory in Finding Nemo saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming..."  Also, we celebrated that she made two new items in the kitchen that turned out wonderfully!  A sourdough wheat bread, and a honeycomb chocolate treat.  There had been recently, mainly due to not following directions carefully, doing things out of order, etc.  It was nice to see some success for her in her favorite arena.

Though I mentioned it on Facebook already, Matthew earned a rank advancement in Civil Air Patrol and is now a Cadet officer.  We are very proud of his hard work, and today I learned that only 15% of Cadets in the program nationwide ever get this far.  More important, this now opens up other opportunities for him as far as pursuing more education in aeronautics, attending camps, etc.  We are going to look at what is available and see if we can access scholarships for him to continue to move forward.

Kenny is doing well academically and working very, very hard.  That kid takes twice as long as everyone else to complete his work, but he never complains and always gives it his best.  We seem to be entering another phase where other things are growing more challenging, as it usually happens cyclically.  Organization, logic, "brain turned on", etc. is at a low the past week or two, but every time I start feeling discouraged about the "backslide", I remind myself of how far that young man has come, and how much further I know he will go if we just keep applying ourselves as diligently as we can, and allow for the ups and downs that are inevitable with his disabilities.  He is REALLY liking the Electronics course that Dominick is teaching he and Matthew, and suddenly his writing is taking off, sounding much more mature, and with more structure to it.  He has a terrific imagination and we are beginning to explore creative writing, so he is going to shine there, for sure.

Little Joshie is doing awesome, and though there are currently no "big deals" going on for him, I find myself daily forgetting that he is ELEVEN and 4 1/2 years younger than his older siblings.  During school time, you'd just never, ever know it.  He participates with passion in our conversations and offers well thought out responses.  Oh yea!  I almost forgot about his very recent success!  Two weeks ago, as a 5th grader, he just started Pre-Algebra, having completed the 7th grade year curriculum.  He and Kenny have both decided to participate in the homeschool track season beginning in a couple of weeks, and they will compete in Grand Junction when they are done.  Neither will be contenders, really, but both are looking forward to being around friends from volleyball and enjoying themselves.

All five kids are loving TaeKwonDo, having found a new teacher in Delta (the next town over) after their beloved Mr. Dooley retired.  Because the style is different, and there are new patterns to learn, they will be at it longer to earn their black belts, but they are having a lot of fun and this instructor is teaching them a wider variety of techniques.  Even though Matt earned his black belt already, he wanted to return and keep working on it with the new instructor, so all five are involved.

We're just taking it day by day, enjoying the little things, appreciating that we are making forward progress most of the time, despite the hiccups.  Our successes are modest, our rewards though are great...and we know it.  We have areas of great deficit, but thankfully, the other areas are progressing in ways I never would have imagined.  We keep looking for new outlets for the kids, new experiences, new things to learn that they might be interested in.


Lea said...

You and your entire family are inspiring and I am also continually inspired by your and your husbands' parenting. I have been reading some books by Danny Silk (Loving Your Kids on Purpose and Keep Your Love On: Connection, Communication and Boundaries) and they so much make me think of your family. You are all doing such an excellent job. And thanks for writing about it and inspiring others.

Jane said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. What you are doing is very significant. You are helping five children to be caring and productive members of society who will make a contribution and not be a drain on others. My aim for my two daughters is exactly that, and I admire what you are doing and all the love and caring that goes into it.