Friday, May 1, 2015

I'm going back to educated!!

I'm writing essays for college scholarships and thought I'd share them here. This one is in the middle of editing so excuse the horrible punctuation. 

What Makes A Successful College Student

I could give you the normal answers; attendance, study hard, etc. But the truth is some successful students don't do any of the things we are suppose to do. I know the world sees them as passing and succeeding of course but is it really success if it isn't done with blood, sweat, and tears? I think the truly successful students have all three in their degree and don't forget passion, determination, and goals. All these things I have learned by being a homeschool mom to learning challenged kids.

Success is measured by not what you can naturally or easily achieve. My oldest son , for example, has dyslexia. We pulled him from public school in first grade. He was a SUCCESSFUL kindergartener! Top of his class, reading everything in front of him. Then he was presented in first grade with the standard cookie cutter method of “sight reading”. Imagine looking at cat and you see tac, then look again and get cta and the third time you get atc. He regressed to the point of not reading in three months. He was labeled UNSUCCESSFUL and we were told it'd be fourth grade before there was really a program to fit a dyslexic's needs.

I had to study, research, practice and plan thirty different ways to read. He had to fight tooth and nail to read Dr. Suess. Together we learned. We would practice and study everyday. Keep it short and fun if it was not clicking. Come back frequently to try again after another subject. Stay positive and never say can't! Last year was the year he would have been in fourth grade. He is joyful in his studies. He reads at his grade level and he is above and beyond in most subjects. He is a successful student, not because he doesn't get a choice on attendance, or study times. He is successful because he learned to work his weakness into his strengths. He learned determination and goals set and achieved are something to be proud of. And these hard won lessons will stay with him for the rest of his life, it shows in everything he does.

My daughter on the other hand....she was successful from the start. Successful at getting out of things, and manipulating others to do it for her. She batted her eyes and pointed and everyone fell over themselves to do it for her. It's what happens when you're cute and sickly. She was handed things on a platter and it drove me mad! Why could no one see beyond the silence and cuteness and see an overwhelmingly intelligent and intuitive child?!

When we started homeschooling it was a battle of a different sort between her and I. The first day is one I'll never forget. It was simple really, I requested she write her numbers to twenty. Five minutes later she got down and went to play. I went to check her work after finishing with her brother and saw she had only written one through eight. I called her over and asked her if she knew what came after nine, she smiled and nodded and turned to go play again. I stopped her and explained she needed to finish her work first. She looked at me, looked at the paper, sighed and sat down. Five minutes go by and she is silently sitting there staring at me. I look at her paper and again one through eight is there in her big squiggly handwriting. When I ask her if she knows what comes after eight again (I know she truly knows this already) she nods and goes to get down again. I tell her, “Evie, you must finish your work first.” She looks up at me and says, “But this is all the farther they ever made me in school.”

Thirty minutes later she hands me a paper with one through fifty written in perfect block squiggles only a kindergartener has. Did she do it because I patiently explained she needed to finish her work? No, there was quite the battle of wills that day and I ended it by telling her there would be no art class without math finished first. All things shiny and messy having the appeal that they do she begrudgingly did her work. When I asked her why she did more than required she stated simply, “I want to get ahead before tomorrow's art class.”
She is a successful student not because it comes easy to her, but because she sees the opportunity to learn is multifaceted and she is passionate about learning itself. She is eager and even when things come to her intuitively she doesn't take it for granted because the next lesson is around the corner and might take extra work. She, like her brother, has a learning challenge but to her it's something to compete against. Telling her she can't is a sure fire method to see something happen because she has passion to be the best and prove others wrong. She no longer is considered a selective mute, now she'll talk your ear off usually about a subject that seems boring to some but the sparkle and enthusiasm will catch you too, and soon you're nodding and smiling with her.

So you see to me....being a successful student is being a student like the ones I've raised. I want to be determined and goal oriented. I want to be passionate about the subject, so passionate that I turn others on to it. I want to look back at the ones who challenged me and know that I exceeded all expectations. I want to be like my kids.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Crazies

      So you're now a mother of a precocious toddler and you start thinking like any other mom. Checking the internet for milestones, clicking the latest blog post shared by other mom's, making major decisions for your little one and yours life. But then other mom's start telling you how idiotic your choice is. Or you see people mocking your life choices. (Come on we've all either been on one end or the other of a vegetarian or vegan joke. In my case I get called a carnivore repeatedly by my veggie friends and I tell them every time, no, I eat my vegetables I'm an omnivore.)

      My question is why do a mother's personal choices affect other mothers in such a way they lose their ever loving minds?! Literally, a sane normal mother can take her five minute respite while her child sleeps, get on facebook, see one post anti/pro whatever, and that's all it takes for Daddy to come home to a raving lunatic. (At least that's what Honeybear says.)

     Every mom has done this too. "Well, I'll just explain from the other side and then they'll see we're really on the same path." .....Thirty minutes later and a hundred plus comments you're either doing one of three things; raving like a lunatic to your toddler as they bring you toy after toy, scouring the web to share links that prove you're right, or sitting there stewing thinking I'm not going to say anything and be the bigger person...oh fine one more comment. 
     Let's look at it from Karen's point of view. She started out with the typical first born, quick to reach milestones, puts on weight like a sumo, and running by ten months of age. (This is extremely bad considering Karen is five months pregnant and exhausted.) But then here comes that second bouncing bundle of joy. Clearly larger the the first at birth, clearly not reaching any milestones, losing weight and withering before Karen's eyes. She finally gets a pediatrician to listen, and down the rabbit hole they go.

     Fast forward five years. Karen has tried every diet, med, and lifestyle doctors have thrown her way. BB2 has had every test and screening possible. His sibling is the picture of "NORMAL"  and gets vaccinated at the correct intervals, while eating everything in sight.

     What does Karen get bombarded with? Your an "anti vaxxer" *appropriate gasp of horror* Karen patiently explains no just one child seems to be allergic to something in them. Next parent; You fully vaccinated your child.  *appropriate gasp of horror* Yes, him being fully immunized is important for the others health. *crazy eyes from other parent* One more parent: You feed one vegetarian *appropriate gasp of horror* No it's a new dr prescribed diet. Aren't you worried about the protein to help with growth. Well, it is doctor prescribed so....NO.  Superior parent at child's play group: You raise your own meat, omgosh you're scarring your children. *runs away screaming* Karen just shakes her head and grabs the goat milk that is the only thing BB2 can have without violently being ill looks from BB1 to BB2 and smiles, knowing only a mom doing her best to fill the individual needs of her children can be on all sides of the mama wars at the same time.