Monday, January 2, 2017

Reflecting on 2016

Happy New Year to each one of you!

The start of a new year seemingly implies a clean slate. Yet, how can we move forward without reviewing where we've been? History not only has a habit of repeating itself but also can teach us many valuable lessons. While I'm looking forward to the fresh start 2017 has to offer me, I also know the significance of the events of 2016.

2017, hsreviews, new year, homeschooling

Reflections on Life:

2016 was a year of answers. Finally, the doctors had given a name to all of my symptoms. My main diagnosis is Dermatomyositis: a rare autoimmune neuromuscular disease that causes muscle weakness and inflammation all throughout my body and organs. I also have been diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency, which means my immune system is very weak and I can become ill very easily. The treatment for both of these diseases is the same. I receive an IV infusion once a month over three days for five hours each day of Immunoglobulin G (antibodies or a blood product). My life will never be normal but I'm okay with that because God continues to work in and through me in amazing ways. I am beautifully broken and He uses that for His glory.

Reflections on Homeschool for 2016:

We completed our first year of traditional homeschooling in 2016. Although I must confess, this was our second attempt at homeschooling. When my son was in second grade, we had attempted to homeschool him that year using the same curriculum he had used in a private Christian school the year before. This was before my son received diagnoses of Aspergers or high functioning Autism, ADHD, Dysgraphia: a writing learning disability, and Dyscalculia: a math learning disability. The curriculum was very rigid and, in retrospect, not a good fit for my child at all. I felt lost that first time we attempted to homeschool and it truly felt overwhelming. It took my child two hours to write three sentences. He could only have one pencil and a piece of paper in front of him or he would be off-task and have the pencils talking to one another. We changed tactics and for six years, we cyberschooled. Then, they wanted my son to take Algebra even though he was struggling to tell time and count money, which are essential life skills. Therefore, we made the decision to try traditional homeschooling again.

I'll admit that I felt much more confident the second time around. I spent time talking with a dear friend who has traditionally homeschooled her three children all of their lives. My son and I became members of three local co-ops and attended field trips and learning experiences whenever the opportunity arose. We have an eclectic style of learning from various resources. Over the years, I've learned what works best for my child and I've educated myself about his diagnoses. We had a successful first year. His California Achievement Test results surprised me as his math grades were much better than I had anticipated. In the time we spent working together, he had become more confident in his own abilities and was working diligently. The most significant outcome was when my son informed me that he had learned more with me in the 2015-2016 school year than he had during his entire school career to date. I'm looking forward to seeing how much he has grown by the end of this year.

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Lessons Learned:

* God remains the same no matter what challenges we face or who is leading our nation.

* In our weakness, God is our strength, our hope, and our refuge. We only need to be still as He fights our battles for us.

* We can't be afraid to try new things.

* Educate yourself so you'll be prepared to face the challenges ahead.

* Surround yourself with likeminded people who can encourage you and offer insight and understanding.

* Believe in the abilities God has blessed you with and use them to glorify Him.

May your 2017 be filled with the blessings of His love, His hope, and His peace, dear ones!

2016, hsreview, new year, homeschooling, lessons

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