Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Graduation... One down - two to go...

My oldest child has graduated. There - I said it! I am not sure I still believe it. There were a few moments while I was sitting there waiting for the ceremony to begin that my emotions were running very high. I was sitting on the floor changing Sebastian's diaper (yes, I will change a diaper ANYWHERE) and all of a sudden I found the tears flooding to my eyes. Where did my first baby go? I was younger than he is now when I became his mother. When he was little it seemed like forever until he would be grown up. The first 10 years of his life, we only had him. He was our focus, our balance, our everything. We spent years going to one meeting after another while he was in public school. First it was Timmy had issues because he was an only child and next it was he had issues because we just had another child. Of course, there was the overused idea that he must have ADD and we should give him meds. I went down that path and scared myself half to death doing it. It felt wrong! Tim went to school with him all day to see how the meds worked. He came home and said there really wasn't much wrong with our child as much as there was something wrong with the fact that teachers no longer had control over their classroom. He pointed out that children wandered around, spoke out of turn, were loud, etc. This caused our distractable child to lose his concentration and want to join in. Yes, I believe he does have mild ADD. I just don't believe medication is the way to treat it. We soon took him off medication. Then one day right after Savannah was born, I had a meeting with a psychologist or somebody. I arrived at the school. She had a file folder with her and was rushing down the hall. She said she was sorry, but she hadn't had a chance to meet with Timmy. Then she said it didn't matter because she had his file. I stopped and looked at her and told her it DID matter that she was about to give me an opinion on MY CHILD and she hadn't even met him. Mind you, he wasn't doing bad things. He was just a talker. He talked a lot! He also refused to write a daily journal from the day he entered school. He didn't hit people or swear or anything really, really awful. This is where my life - our lives began to change. I went on to work. It was a Tuesday morning. I don't know why I remember that so well, but I do. I got to my desk and felt very lost. I felt like I just couldn't put up with the public school for another moment. My thoughts turned to my sister-in-law, Debi. She had a child the same age as Timmy as well as more children and they were all homeschooled. She had always homeschooled. I remember when Sean (my nephew) and Timmy were starting Kindergarten. I thought she was nuts to homeschool. I didn't really understand the concept at all. I respected their decision, but I was pretty sure it was just not an option for me. I reached for the phone and I dialed her SC phone number. She answered right away. I poured my heart out to her as I often did in our friendship. She did what she always did - listened with everything she could give and gave you her very best advice and then, of course, she would pray for you. My main question was - "Could I homeschool if I was working part-time from 9am to 1pm?" Her answer was as simple as this. "How long do you spend on homework each night?" My answer was "about 2-3 hours". Her reply was "that is how long it takes us to do SCHOOL". Wow! Freedom! Of course I had another very selfish question for her. "How will I live without my "ME" time?" Her answer as simple as the first was "You just make your own "ME" time and take it when you can. Before you know it, you won't think life is any different." Finally, I asked her one last question. "Did she think I could do this?" Her reply was that "She knew I could do anything I set my mind too!" Great! Now I had to tell my husband and then my mom. Why my mom? She babysat while I was at work each day. This was going to effect her. I took a deep breath and just told them. They both were very non-emotional. It was just like I had asked do you want to get pizza tonight? They both said that was fine. Okay, whatever. No big deal! That is where our homeschooling journey began. It was February of his 4th grade year. He finished the school year because I thought he "HAD" to. We began 5th grade at home. I will not lie and say it was wonderful. The first 2 years were great, but then 7th and 8th grade were absolutely a test for me. There were tears and laughs and emotion and love and joy.

His graduation ceremony was very well done. They had 256 kids graduate from all over Florida and a few from out of state. I was very pleased with the actual ceremony. There were a few before and after glitches, but overall it was great. I would definitely do it again with my other kids. Below is a video Tim took with our regular camera. It is not great, but it is something. He just got this camera and is sorta figuring it out. You can see the pictures they put up on the big screen and hear what they read as Tim graduated. The other pictures are of all his friends that attended. Tim graduated with another friend of all of theirs named Alex. They stayed and cheered both guys on! What a great bunch of friends! I was really impressed with them sitting through a very long ceremony. Finally, of course, my graduate! Don't you love the really white tennis shoes? Lovely, huh?


Donna Boucher said...

Well done!

Jenny in Ca said...

congratulations! Wow, what a homeschool story! Love the photos of your son. You should be very proud, of him and of you.