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He can read … he just can’t read

Unless you are the parent of a dyslexic child, you don’t know what it feels like to watch him struggle.  You don’t know how it feels when you sit down and feel inadequate because you aren’t sure you are helping him enough.

I see the reality of this daily.  As a homeschool mom, I’m doing my utmost best to make things as easy as possible but yet leave him to feel able to do things himself without getting frustrated.

Just so you know…he will never outgrow it.  No amount of reading will made it ‘better’.

At a gala last year he wanted to buy some raffle tickets.  I saw him take the form but he just stared at it.  I asked Quintus to quickly go over and help him.  Zander couldn’t read what he had to complete.  He was standing between his fellow friends and teammates and couldn’t read.  Thankfully he has amazing brothers.

Last week, I gave him the card to withdraw money for the first time.  It was just us, so I knew he would be okay to alone.  My car was parked right next to him.  He just stared at the screen.  I thought to myself that surely the machine must be broken or something.  It can’t take that long.  I got out of the car and when I got to him, he asked me to read the words on the screen.  He couldn’t make out what it said.

I’m not saying he can’t read.  He can.  Not everything.  Not in every single font.  He needs help when it is a certain font.  He concentrates so much to read that he tends to forget what he read.  Is he intelligent.  Hell yes.  When I teach him via drawings or my very own funny acts, he remembers everything.  Even dates (which I really can’t)

I lie in bed at night, worried about him.  Will he be okay?  Probably but it will take more for him to be okay than it will for non-dyslexic children.

As much as many people believe it is something they can get over, I promise you so do I.  Unfortunately, that is  not the reality.

I don’t want to learn

If there is one child in our family that has the most interesting excuses, it will be Kyla.

A recent example would be her maths marks.  I told her many times that she should be learning. I could see that she wasn’t giving it her all, if any.  She definitely didn’t try more than I would try to run a 100m sprint.

You know how it is.  You get tired of asking and at some stage decide they must man (girl) up and take responsibility.

Well….she did in a very weird and her own way.

She did badly!  Not at all near the normal good marks she gets. When I asked her why she said: “I decided not to learn because I didn’t want to be cross all the time and upset everyone.  So I decided to just not learn”

I could only laugh.

What do I know …

I saw a client this morning who knows two of my children are homeschooled.

She wanted to know who teaches them. Who gives them their classes. Well, I do I replied.

What do YOU know? (In a very accusing you-are-messing-up-their-lives tone of voice) Are you a qualified teacher? What do you know about maths for example.

Well…I told her that I got 98% for maths at university. I think I know enough.

It bothered me all afternoon. How dare she. This is actually the first time that someone has asked me this to my face. Dared to judge my decision, my parenting to my face.

Tonight though I realized one of the things I do know. I know that I have a dyslexic child who just asked me to explain his maths work because he didn’t quite grasp it and he didn’t want to wait until tomorrow. A child who wants to learn.

So no, I don’t have a degree in teaching but I do know my child better than anyone else. I know to encourage him to want to learn and not force him to do so.

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand” Albert Einstein

My biggest wish

Friday we were busy with Afrikaans and part of our work for the day was to conduct interviews.  Jason was promptly nominated as the first person to be interviewed and as always we had some brilliant answers from him and spent most of the time laughing.  He really could be a standup comedian.  Homeschooling would not be the same without him.

Some of the questions were very straight forward…the usual what is your favourite food, colour etc.

Zander was also interviewed and one of the questions asked was what is you biggest wish.

“My biggest wish is to be able to read.”

There was a very short moment of silence, where both Jason and I knew we had to handle this answer the correct way.  We don’t want him to feel any less because he battles to read.  We want to acknowledge the fact that he does, as well as give him praise because he never gives up.

My heart broke.  In that very moment my heart broke for him.  Why should his biggest wish be to be able to read?  Why not to meet his hero (who BTW he said was me), get the newest electronic game, new cellphone or whatever it is that young boys desire?  Why the ability to read fluently?  Life can be very unfair.

However, I am very proud of him.  Proud that he is not embarrassed to admit he is dyslexic.  That is doesn’t mind asking for help if he is not sure how to read a word.  He is fine with the fact that his friends will correct his spelling.  I’m proud that he actually types whatsapp messages instead of sending voice-notes.  Not the lazy kind of typing (where typing 2morrow is such a time-saver!  What on earth will you do with that extra split seconds you saved)  No, even my dyslexic son takes the time to type out the words.

Zander, I love you.  I love how you accept the hand dealt to you even though I know it can’t be easy. I will forever be proud of who you are.

Remember that you are allowed more than one wish.

Love,

Your greatest supporter

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