What it is like to have a child with dyslexia, part 2
We have a second grade dropout.
Yep, you read that correctly. Second grade. Seven years old.
What in the world would prompt a seco
nd grader to pack up her locker and tell her classmates that she will “see you around”?
She doesn’t understand. “All day. Every day.” She sits in her classroom, and doesn’t understand. That’s her report on school.
First of all, I don’t believe that it’s all day, every day. I know she has moments and even days of understanding. But, I also know, much of the time, she is sitting there and faking it. She is faking understanding what the instructions are and what she is doing. She is faking understanding what the lesson was. She is faking being happy because it keeps her under the radar.
According to her, “It’s so, so embarrassing to keep asking questions and never get it.” So, she stopped asking questions.
The crazy thing is, her grades are good. As much as she doesn’t understand, I don’t understand. I don’t know if the struggles are all day or if that’s in her mind. I don’t know if she really asked the questions and didn’t get the answers. I don’t know because I am not there.
What I do know is, she is miserable. My happy girl has turned into a kid that cries at night. She is a kid that cries in the morning. We have missed the bus because the tears wouldn’t stop. She has had what looks like breakdowns or anxiety attacks about returning to school. It hurts my heart. I sneak away and cry for her.
So why don’t we just do what we are doing for her brother? Why don’t we just homeschool her? Fear. Absolute, sick-to-my-stomach fear. I don’t learn like her. I am not dyslexic. How in the world can I be sure I can help her learn? What if my teaching is a worse fit than that of the school? What if the frustration level for both of us is so high we end up at each other’s throats more than not? What if this ruins our relationship? So many worries.
On the flip side, the worries of staying on the track we are on seem more known and a lot more worrisome. The behavior issues have started. The confidence is leaving. That is the hardest part. She has a confidence of which I have often been jealous. It’s a confidence that is hard to find in a little girl. I can’t stand to see that leave.
The comments of “I am just stupid!” have started. She is FAR from stupid. That kid can work more angles on a problem than most adults. I don’t want her to have any more insecurities than life will eventually handle her through plain ol’ growing up.
So, what do we do? What is the right answer? I don’t think there is one. I think any choice is going to have its moments and days of being the wrong choice.
And, we are going to have to accept that it is OK. It is OK to not always be right. It is OK to struggle. It is OK to have moments of give up, as long as we leave them at moments. We are going to pick homeschool.
Before the critics jump in with, “I can’t believe they are letting a 7-year-old make this decision!”, know that Austin and I have made the decision. But, why shouldn’t we listen to what our kid is saying to us. This isn’t something she has flip-flopped on. She has been firm in her choice since August. Why are adults so sure kids don’t know what’s best for them? We may be making the 100% right decision. That would be great. I know I am looking forward to more time with her.
We may be making the 100% wrong decision. That will be hard to swallow, but there is no shame in trying something and having it not work. It isn’t as if we can’t go back. Wherever we land, we will always know that we are trying. We are doing our best.
We aren’t accepting that dyslexia means Josie can’t learn and can’t succeed. This isn’t a disability unless we allow it to be. It’s a different way of looking at things. Lots of amazing things have come from looking at things, in a different way.
I pray that is the end of this chapter of frustration and the beginning of a chapter of accomplishment. I know the frustrations are inevitable. The goal is to make the accomplishments twice that of the frustrations.