Feeling like a Failure

This post is originally from Studio 3 Music's blog. As a fellow mom to homeschooled children and teacher, Analiisa's post met me right where I needed it, and I thought a few of you might be there too.

Yesterday, I felt like a complete, utter, failure. I’ve got a sensory child, and I’m also a home schooling mom of three. People often ask me how I do it, and to be perfectly honest, sometimes I wonder, too. Most days, I look (at least I think I do – please don’t crush my delusion) put together on the outside, but like teachers everywhere, there are days when we go, “Did they actually learn anything?”

Back several months. Rob had just finished vision therapy, which for us, was the missing piece of our sensory journey. We’d already done occupational therapy, physical therapy, water therapy, seen a sensory motor specialist, and finished speech therapy. At this point, you can meet Rob and you wouldn’t know he’s a sensory kid. I thought the rest of this schooling year would sort of be an all-come-together year. So much for my plan.

Yesterday, I was doing Singapore Math with Rob. And suddenly, he looked at me and said, “I don’t remember how to divide.” Three weeks ago his violin playing took a huge leap backward. His biggest complaint was that (and I quote), “I can’t keep all the information straight in my head.” I’m having lots of trouble getting punctuation rules to stick in his brain, too.

I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that all he wants to do is PLAY. With his friends. And read. For hours. This from the kid who a year ago couldn’t read for more than 15 minutes without his eyes getting tired. That doesn’t mean, of course, that he doesn’t do school. He does. He likes grammar and history and anatomy and physiology especially. But yesterday, I kept thinking, “How could we get this far and do division all the time, and suddenly, you can’t do it?” It seemed to appear so out of the blue, that I thought that perhaps I just had my head in the clouds and wasn’t paying attention and finally noticed what was going on. Where had I missed the signs?

So I emailed Jesikah, who used to be my assistant, and now bears the more lofty title of Director of Operations. She’s my email therapist, sometimes, too. (She’s also the mother of Rob’s best friends.)
I wrote –
He’s so struggled in some areas at school this year – it’s not a cognitive thing. His brain has just had difficulty processing all the information now flowing in (thanks to vision therapy). However, I feel like I’ve failed him somehow this year. We haven’t accomplished as much as we’ve needed to.

And then I got back the most amazing response –
The Montessori teacher told me recently that some years the children really pour themselves into academics, and some years their social/emotional development needs are so much that it is a distraction against academics and not much is accomplished there…but social/emotional needs are more important than academics – it is what makes us good husbands/wives, parents, friends, siblings, good students and even employees… At the end of one’s life, we always want to be better spouses, better parents, better friends…we never regret that we weren’t as academic as we could have been. Children have a knack for catching up academically, too.

You have not failed Rob. Perhaps, this is a growing year for him socially/emotionally, which is why school is so hard for him. Those other needs are more important at the moment, even if he is incapable of expressing those sentiments.

Thank you, Jesikah. The fact that as a fourth grader, Rob’s brain has felt the need to do something else for his development (rather than what I want it to do), is perfectly okay. So we’ll do a little math this summer, and practice writing a few friendly letters.
-posted by Miss Analiisa, who wants to tell discouraged parents and teachers everywhere that it’ll be okay. Because it will. Even if you have to pull out of the violin recital at the last minute.There will be another one.

Be Encouraged!

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