Why I Love Dyslexia

Our family decided to homeschool when my oldest son was five years old and ready to start kindergarten. Homeschooling was becoming the new thing and I had a few friends who had been doing it for awhile. I asked many questions and listened in awe at their answers of how they managed teaching, being a wife, house cleaner, bookkeeper, nurturer, etc. I was unsure if I could rise to the challenge, but I thought if we took it one year at a time the task seemed less daunting.

So began our homeschooling journey. Amazingly, I discovered that I really enjoyed teaching our son, Aaron, at home and I loved the hands-on approach to learning. I poured over many books about learning styles and homeschooling tips to help with areas I was less knowledgeable in. I found I loved to look at the homeshool curriculum catalogs. Especially living in the mountains and not having access to the internet. Looking at the pages in the catalogs was a way for me to relax and dream about one day having the Cadillac of homeschool curriculums – Sonlight or Abeka.

A few years into teaching Aaron, I was seeing signs of struggle with reading. At first, I thought it was just a slow start and that one day it would all finally click. But, that wasn’t happening. I began to do research and discovered that he had dyslexia. My husband had trouble in school when he was young and reading was labor intensive for him, too. We talked and were discussing putting our son in public school because I thought maybe they could do a better job at teaching him. My husband didn’t like that idea at all. His experience in the special education classroom at school was horrible. He was labeled as “retarded” (Pardon the word usage, but I am quoting what he was called specifically.) and that he would never amount to anything. (Now, my husband reads faster than I do!)

I knew my son was smart. He could build amazing Lego structures. He built a complete hand with movable fingers out of Legos. The detail was astounding. He was extremely good at math, too. I only had to explain math concepts one time and he was off running, working on his daily worksheets and showing me math problems with his base ten blocks. But, then came reading and writing. He just wasn’t getting it. I would cry at night, thinking it was my fault. I thought I wasn’t teaching him properly. I hated this word, dyslexia.

In my struggle I began to cry out. My husband shared with me his thought of taking a break from teaching our son how to read altogether. I thought, “What? I can’t do that. He’ll get even more behind.” My husband’s reply was, “According to whom?” So I prayed about it. A few days later I felt a release to let it go. I decided that I wouldn’t push him to read. If he showed interest, I would definitely help him. But, I was not to force the issue.

In my observation of my son, I noticed how he was able to always see the big picture in everything. He could solve problems better than I could. He could build anything he put his mind to. I was becoming amazed by him. This “handicap” as I thought it was, was turning out to be a blessing.

Slowly over time, things did begin to click for him. I discovered Brain Integration Therapy. We spent 15 minutes a day doing specific exercises to get the left and right brain working together. It was a slow process, but eventually he began to read things that a year prior had been too hard for him.

Dyslexia is looked at as a disability. I am here to say, that it is a blessing. It taught me patience. It taught me to be selfless. It showed me that I would love my son even if he didn’t fit into the mold of 95% of people walking on this earth. Most of all, it revealed to me that my son has a special gift. He looks at life in a completely different way than most people on this planet and that’s why I love dyslexia.

Homeschooling 101

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Aaron, Storm, and Sarah taking a break from homeschool.

I was recently asked what it takes to homeschool. A dear friend of mine has decided to homeschool her kids and as with anything new, it can look  a bit overwhelming. These are just a few things that I recommend that have helped me all of these years to stay on track and not become burdened.

First, I would definitely have a scripture from the Bible that is your “key” verse. Ours was Deuteronomy 6:5-9. A key scripture is great to remind you of the big picture when things look bleak at the current moment.

Next, have fun with learning! Remember learning is an adventure and doesn’t have to be dull and boring. One of my favorite memories was reading Sacagawea to our kids in a teepee that we made on our land. We also took a hike and pretended to cross the Platt River re-enacting the journey of Lewis and Clark.

Third, it’s okay to modify curriculum to suit your needs. To some, this seems easy to do. To others (like me), this thought is out of the norm and can be overwhelming. One thing I have learned is that there is no perfect homeschool curriculum. I have spent thousands of dollars on trying to find the perfect curriculum to fit each individual’s need and it doesn’t exist. I finally have created my own ideas and used many free library resources, resulting in lots of saved money.

Slow and Steady is all that is needed. Our human nature tends to compare ourselves to others. This is true in the homeschool world as well. I have seen many parents compare their teaching style, kids academic progress, and how well they keep their house clean to other homeschoolers. God created us different, which is a blessing. Our home school is not going to look and feel like someone else’s home school. That is okay! Some people homeschool year round. Others, school for three months and take a month off; repeating the process throughout the year. For us, we worked hard on school in the fall, winter, and spring. Then in summer, we stopped formal school and worked on the homestead chopping wood, working on the cabin, and repairing chicken fences, etc.

At times if our kids were struggling with a particular subject, I would stop teaching all other subjects and only focus on the subject they needed more practice with. Granted, I was always reading living history stories aloud as a family, so they were constantly getting history and a little geography worked in.

Finally, homeschooling is ultimately about the relationship you are building with your children. Spending so much time one on one with the kids is a wonderful experience and I am seeing the fruit of all the labor that we put in come to fruition. My kids are nearing the end of our homeschool journey and I love the friendship that is growing between us. My 19 year old son, Aaron, gave me a huge hug the other day and looked into my eyes and said, “Mom, I love you so much. Thank you for teaching me the way you did.” Music to a mom’s ears. Especially when we had a rough couple years when he was in 4th to 6th grade.

Please know that these are just suggestions and there are many great resources out there to help with the task of schooling your kids at home. One of my favorites is www.simplycharlottemason.com. Remember have fun! Your kids will learn and what they lack, they can always learn later. I haven’t stopped learning just because I am not in school. I learn something new everyday!

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth.” Psalm 121:1,2

 

Rite of Passage

“This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.” Matthew 3:17

This weekend we got the pleasure of blessing our only son with a “Rite of Passage.” In our American culture we don’t have a ritual that brings a boy into a man. Having a son and, seeing the need to make a statement that, “He is now a man.” my husband and I started thinking of a way that we could have a meaningful celebration for our 19 year-old son. stream

We decided it would be great if we could take him into the woods for three days and two nights with a tent, some water and firewood, and have the godly men in his life bring him the food he needs one meal at a time.  The thought was to have seven different mentors (one at a time), bring him seven different meals and not only give him a meal, but give him encouraging words along with words of wisdom, and a verse from the Bible to hold onto. We wanted the men to discuss what it means to be a godly man in our world today.

We have been so overwhelmed with the response! My son has been blessed beyond our wildest dreams! But, not only our son, the reply from the men involved has been amazing. Each one of them has told us that they had a great time sitting and sharing a meal with our son, Aaron. The verse “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) comes to mind. Sitting and talking about the trials and troubles this world has in it, but being encouraged because we have each others back and we are not alone in this life is such a wonderful thing.

Tonight my husband will bring all the men together and speak a blessing over Aaron. They will share one last meal as a whole group. I couldn’t be more pleased that the Lord put this on our hearts to do for our son. God is in the details!

Beautiful Dependence

Have you ever wanted to learn to fly with Jesus? Have you ever wanted to go deeper with Christ? Have you ever wanted to tear down your walls and taste freedom?

Well, I am happy to say, my book Beautiful Dependence is now published as an Ebook and is FREE on amazon.com for Kindle Unlimited customers or $2.99 for regular customers! It is my personal story of moving to the mountains of eastern Washington and living off-grid (no power). It is the story of surrendering to Jesus, and letting Him tear down my walls, and set me free, and teaching me to fly higher each day! It is also about the affect that this freedom had on my marriage and the raising and homeschooling of three beautiful kids.

It is finally finished!

We have been hearing from so many of you who have read the book and how it has touched your lives, and left you with a desire to go deeper with Christ. Two of the most common reactions are, “I couldn’t put it down!” and “I’m reading it again, because there was just so much there.”

https://www.amazon.com/Beautiful-Dependence-Off-Grid-Journey-Freedom-ebook/dp/B01M21SRMS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1476463299&sr=8-1&keywords=beautiful+dependence+ebook

Email, and text your friends.

In a world that tells you Independence  is  beautiful, our hope is to get the message out of just how Beautiful Dependence is! We long for every one to surrender to Jesus and let Him have His way with them.

Beautiful Dependence is Christine’s story of  Surrender;  of falling into the arms of God and learning to Fly – daily!

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Our “Homeschool Schedule”

This year I am homeschooling three teenagers! Wow, who would have thought I’d make it this far? If this is your first year homeschooling, hang in there! It is worth all the blood, sweat, and tears. I had my doubts in the beginning, but through patience and perseverance, we are on the “home stretch”.

Here is what our schedule looks like:

8:00 am Everyone up and doing morning chores.

9:30 am School starts altogether. I try to do as much together as I can. This includes; Bible, History, and any read-alouds I want to add to our school year.

10:30 am One on one time starts with a child of my choice. If I know someone needs help with a particular subject, this allows me to have that extra time that is needed. This includes; Math, L.A., and Science.

11:30 am One on one time with another one of my children: same as above, Math, L.A., Science (although my two olders are in the same science we can knock out that with the two of them.)

12:00 pm break for lunch which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.

1:00 pm One on one time with the 2nd child from above if time is needed. If they are able to do their school work on their own then I will continue one on one time with the last child at this time.

2:00 pm Done with “school” per se. We now do any physical activity they want. Some examples are walking, jumping on the trampoline, archery, soccer, catch, etc.

This schedule is not “rigid” and is subject to other things that might need our attention.