Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Live and Learn

Well, the great 'home schooling experiment' of 2011 is officially at an end. Kate went back to school full time today. She was ecstatic. So am I.

When the schools psychologist gets his evaluation done, we'll get her an IEP that will help mitigate her dyslexic problems, and hope for the best.

We'll be watchful of her attitude towards school, and be willing to re-evaluate if she starts to develop self esteem issues. But for now, she loves her teacher, the psychologist, the speech therapist, pretty much everyone over there--

Chris keeps reminding me that she'll 'figure it out' sooner or later-- eventually she'll learn to 'get around' her dyslexia.


I hope so.

Lesson learned: I can't force her to learn. I can't even help her. I can only be patient and understanding when she is struggling.

Back to life as we know it...

Friday, November 18, 2011

To school or not to school

One benefit of home schooling-- you don't have to sit at a desk!

I got this letter from Kate's psychologist yesterday: 

Hi.  I am introducing some new Ocular-Motor activities with Kate.  I will send you instructions on how to do them at home so that she can do them on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.  They are usually pretty quick, so won't take too much time.
I am starting with Figure Ground, and will continue adding exercises over time.  I have ordered an eye-patch, as the research I have been reading encourages using one eye at a time until they are proficient with each eye individually.  For now, I will just have her cover an eye with her hand.
Figure Ground work is pretty simple...Where's Waldo and I Spy books work great and are fun as well.  There are also on-line seek and find games that I will be searching.  These are the fun activities.  The not-so-fun activity is that I will give her a passage of text, and have her circle all of a specific letter on the page.  I time her to see how many she can find in a minute.  I try to pick the most common letters (S, T, N, L, R, A, E, I, O) so that there are plenty to find.
Another activity is a word find puzzle.  I am going to try it, but will only use it if she finds it a challenge/fun.  I want to keep the exercises at a level where she is enjoying them, and add difficulty as she masters the tasks.
I am excited to move forward on these next activities that I have been researching.  The books that I am working out of areDeveloping Ocular Motor and Visual Perceptual Skills by Kenneth A. Lane, and Eye Power: An Updated Report of Vision Therapy by Ann M. Hoopes and Stanley A. Applebaum

Thank goodness for him, since I seem to be getting nowhere with her. I could do all these things at home, but the problem is, she won't DO them with me. With him, she'll bend over backwards. 

Her report card came home and she is /remarkably/ showing improvement. I say remarkably, because I see no improvement at home. Either in attitude or ability. She improved on her Star reading level, this is the test they give to see what 'color' books she should be reading for AR tests. Her last Star test was a 0.9, or Kindergartener in the 9th month. This test she scored a 1.6, or 1st grader in the 6th month of school. That put her into a new color- so she's pleased about that. While this seems good, it's really a bit deceptive. I watched her take this test on the computer at our SEP conference w/ her teacher. It asks her to read a sentence that is missing a word, and then choose from 4 words to complete the sentence. She is so good at using context clues and 'guessing' that even though I know she couldn't read all the words, she figured it out. She read in her head, but used the mouse to point to the word she was reading, so by following the mouse, I could tell where she was stuck and couldn't read the word. This is how the psychologist says she's 'tricking' the test. 

When she takes the Dibels (reading fluency) tests, she places in the 'well below benchmark' category, back to Kindergarten level. 

We spent almost an hour and a half w/ her teacher in our conference yesterday. Kate was wonderful the whole time, even though it was late, and she was hungry. She seems to want to please her teacher/psychologist/speech therapist so much, that she can put on the sweetest face and do whatever is asked of her willingly. 

Me? Not so much. I get the Mr. Hyde side of her. Tantrums, fits, crying, pouting, whining, complaining. It's been fascinating (read *horrifying*) to see this. When I related this to the psychologist, he actually said that 'working with Kate is the highlight of his week.' *Stunned silence*

So this is where I'm at. Second guessing my decisions. Second guessing my 'inspiration'. Second guessing my relationship with this child. 

If she can get into resource and if she's willing to go instead of staying home, I'm putting her back in full time after Christmas. 

She is the exception to every dyslexic I know of. She LOVES school. She HATES staying home. Therefore, the whole reason I kept her out (to spare her self esteem), is not the issue after all. She's throwing me curve balls faster than I can get up to the plate, and I feel like they are all hitting me square between the eyes. I'm not accomplishing anything with her at home, unless you count increasing the level of contention. 

I guess we'll see what 3rd grade brings, and take it year by year. If she ever gets to the point where she starts feeling stupid and hates school, I'll take her out. But as long as she is happy, it doesn't matter what 'level' she's on, grade level or otherwise, she'll be just fine. 

This is my self justification anyway. I hope it's mostly true...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Speech Therapy

Kate was tested and approved for an IEP for Speech this week. She cannot say her /r's/. This affects how she spells, because she replaces /r/ with /w/. I still think it's cute, but, obviously, it's contributing to her problem, so it has to be 'fixed'. She loves speech therapy, thank goodness. She has a 'speech buddy' that she goes with every week, her friend Sarah. They have stickers and rewards, it works for her, at least it does there. At home, not so much. Same exact system, two different results. Sigh.

We're still plunking away at the cooperation issue. Every day, I never know who I'm getting. Kate Jekyll or Kate Hyde. I live for Fridays (when she goes to school all day).

I made her work with clay yesterday. She cannot seem to learn the word 'were'. No matter how many times she sees it, she always says 'where'. So, she made it out of clay, and then since the definition didn't make sense to her, we just came up with a sentence and she made this bat to remind her of it.

"We WERE bats, but then we changed into Vampires!" Honestly, you'd think she'd love this stuff, but it's like pulling teeth...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Status Quo

I decided to leave Ella in afternoon Kindergarten. When it came down to it, I just couldn't give up my only free time. My time to recharge. So, we're leaving things as they are. I work with Kate and try to get Ella to entertain Zeke. It's not a fool proof system, but it's the best I've got.

My SIL Kathy was here over the weekend, and she taught Kate some energy techniques(called cortices, it uses taping, and is supposed to help connect the the right and left hemispheres of the brain) that she can do to herself when she feels frustrated or angry. I asked her to do them today and she refused-- until Ella wanted to know how to do it, and I started showing her, THEN Kate jumped in to demonstrate. Sigh.

I met with the school psychologist today. He went over the IQ test with me. I had questions about why she tested at barely behind in reading (1.8 level), when clearly, she is still on a kindergarten level. He told me that she is so bright, she 'tricked' the test. He knows she can't read that well, but she is such a good visual learner, she can take contextual clues to figure out the words she doesn't know.

According to her test, she would not qualify for resource(don't care), or an IEP(definitely need). He is working with her to see if after 6 weeks there is any improvement, if there is not, she will qualify. So far, she is 'flat-lining'. Her progress charts are flat. Very little improvement after 4 individual tutoring sessions. He continues to be astounded by how smart she is, and how she can memorize so quickly. He is constantly having to change the order of words he tests her on, because she memorizes them so fast. She's tricky, that girl.

I asked him about phonics, and he thinks that she will be able to get phonics, based on what he's done with her. Ella's kindergarten teacher has an intensive phonics program that she says has worked well with other dyslexic children. She's going to let me borrow it this week. Hallelujah. A program. Something I can follow, and not have to make up as I go along. I'm sure she'll love it for 3 days, and then not want to do it anymore, as is her M.O. I'm not sure how I'll get her to do it, other than what I do now, "If you want to cry, go to your room until you're ready to work, then you can come out." Followed by her storming away, slamming the door behind her, and wailing into her pillow. She'll emerge 10-30 min. later, red-eyed but willing to give it another go. That is, until I introduce something ELSE she doesn't want to do, and then we repeat the tantrum... over and over again.

It's so FUN. I'm having so much FUN!

I'm actually surprised by my level of patience. I manage not to yell or get mean, but I don't give her control. I think that's what she's trying to do. Test my strength. See how much she can get away with before I snap. I snap alright, just not in front of her. In my head, it's pure pandemonium. Repressed frustration. That's good for your health right?


I had hoped that this blog would be all 'sunshine and roses' about how successful we were at overcoming dyslexia, but it turns out, it's just a place for me to vent my ever growing frustrations.
I'll try to keep the whining to a minimum.

Side note: She's loving gymnastics. Everyone told me, she has to have something that she is good at to boost her self esteem, so even though it's spendy, we put her back in. She's loving it. She always has been our little monkey.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Confused AND Frustrated

I have to keep reminding myself that I felt prompted to take Kate out of school, and that therefore, it is STILL the right thing to do, because honestly, I'm done. I want to throw in the towell. If it's a battle of wills, she wins every time. I should have guessed this about her, but I skipped right over it in my 'super Mom to save the day!' euphoria. I. Am. An. Idiot.

I told Kate's teacher that things weren't going 'so well' at home, and I might put her back in full time at the end of the term (Oct. 28th). But then how do I rationalize that whole 'inspired to pull her out' thing? Pbbbtttt. Plus, then my life just gets infinitely harder at nights when I am traditionally 'done' and so is she, yet we will still have a ton of homework to complete. I'm at a complete loss.

If it's our relationship that is the most important thing, maybe I should stop caring at all about her school work, and just make sure she feels loved at home- which btw, is much easier to do if I'm not trying to teach her to read as well!

Ella's kindy teacher has given us the option of moving her to mornings, thus giving me one on one time with Kate. Problem is, then I have Ella all afternoon when Zeke is napping and have exactly ZERO time to myself. I'm not sure it's worth it. Personal time (much needed, I might add) vs. 1-1 time with Kate? Sanity vs. Possible solution? I say possible, because let's face it, it may not make a damn bit of difference. I could be sacrificing my afternoons and STILL have this fight every day with Kate.

I can't move Ella back and forth, so once the decision is made, I'm committed.


Sunday, October 2, 2011


I met with Emily, our friend/teacher to discuss Kate's IQ test results. She helped me see that her span was between 110, and 125. So even at her lowest point, she is still above average (100). Based on this, she would not qualify for resource, so that is why the psychologist is doing his intervention, trying to prove that she does indeed have reading difficulties.

For example, Emily's IQ span is from 130 to 79, a big difference. It means her IQ is 130, but because of her disability, she can only perform at a 79 level in some areas. This difference proves the disability. Since Kate's span is not severe, it doesn't prove she has a disability. Luckily, the psychologist believes she does indeed have dyslexia, and so is going another route to help her.

Emily and I talked about methods a lot. She suggested I try one thing at a time, for 4-6 weeks, and measure the outcome. I've been doing 4-5 different methods with her, hoping that something would help, not measuring anything.  This will make it hard to determine what is actually working, and what is not.

I'm so confused.

I have so many theories and methods rolling around in my brain from all my research, that I can hardly think straight. I can't get excited about doing only one thing for 4 weeks. She'll be bored, It'll be a fight...

I went to the temple, hoping to get a clear direction to move in, knowing that only the Lord knows Kate well enough to tell me what to do.

I didn't get the answer that I wanted.

I should have known.

The answer I got is that it doesn't matter what I do, but how I do it. My relationship with Kate is more important than her learning to read fluently.


Obviously, the Lord is still trying to teach me to 'let go'.

Perhaps this is because my patience was waning this week. She spent time in her room crying 2 days out of 4. I get so frustrated with her non-compliance when I'm trying my hardest to help her, and save her the pain of this disability. Even as I write that though, I know I can't save her from it. It's her trial to pass through, and try as I might, I can't keep it from hurting her 100% of the time. I can lessen it's impact on her, and her self-esteem, but she is still going to have to learn to live with it.

She's dyslexic. I can't change that. No method can. She'll just have to figure out how to cope, and my job is just to give her a safe place to rest from that stress. I need to figure out how to do that.

Do you think there is a 'Mom's of dyslexics' support group I could join?