New Song (about miscarriage): Before I Had the Chance

baby's room

This song is one I wrote about the miscarriages I have experienced.  I am hoping that someone might find comfort in these words.

If you’re interested in the long story of our most recent miscarriage (over a year ago), please go here to another blog I created to get that experience down.  I think there are only about 6 posts, so, to get the whole story you can find the earliest posts starting from “July” on the right hand side of the page.

I wasn’t going to post this song for a while since I don’t have the sheet music finished, but I felt like I needed to get at least the words and recording up.  I hope someone out there might find some comfort in this song–if only to know that there are others who have experienced something similar.

“Before I Had the Chance” Lyrics
I couldn’t wait to see you, my dear one.
I couldn’t wait to know if you were a daughter or a son.
I couldn’t wait to hold you,
I couldn’t wait to show you
How much you meant to me.

But Before I Had the Chance
To even hold your hands,
Before I Had the Chance
To sing you lullabies,
Or calm your cries,
We had to say goodbye.

When I found out I had lost you, oh, how I cried.
And sometimes, all I think and wonder now is “why?”
Do you know that you’re my treasure?
Do you know that I can’t measure
How much I love you still?

Before I Had the Chance
To even hold your hands,
Before I Had the Chance
To sing you lullabies,
Or calm your cries,
We had to say goodbye.

But sometimes at night, as I lie awake
And all I can think about is you.
Something inside tells me we’ve still got a chance,
That we will meet again.

And I will have the chance
To finally hold your hands.
I will have the chance
To look into your eyes,
And you’ll be mine.
And we’ll never have to say goodbye.

We’ll never have to say goodbye.

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The Decision To School at Home: Part 3–The Final Decision

If you’re just joining this little series, please read Part 1 and Part 2 to get caught up 🙂

Onto the final installment . . .

Once I realized Buddy was serious, I decided to go ahead and apply for the various online charters and public schools since I knew for sure that if we DID end up making that choice, I couldn’t do it one my own as his sole teacher–at least not my first year.  So, we applied.  But I had a major contingency on whether I would look into it further.  I told him one of my biggest concerns was that we seemed to argue over simply practicing the piano–how was I supposed to convince him to do 6 hours of school each day??

So, we made a deal.

I told him if he would practice each day without me reminding him, and we could get through several piano lessons without grumbling. . that I would seriously consider the option of school at home.

Piano

As soon as we shook hands on the deal, guess what he did?  Went and practiced.

The next morning before school?  He practiced.

The next day?  He practiced.

You get the drift.  But I still thought it would eventually fizzle out.

It didn’t.  After a month, I realized that Buddy must really be serious.

I wasn’t ready for it.  I have SO MANY issues with home schooling, but I’ll just outline a few:

–I met a boy in middle school who had been home schooled through his elementary years.  Simply put, he was odd.  He didn’t “get” the social stuff we public schoolers had learned through our years.   I never wanted my kids to be that kid.

–As I mentioned in the previous post, I was so looking forward to having kids at school.  This Fall, both my two oldest would be in full-day school, and I would only have my 2 youngest all day.

–I simply LOVE seeing my kids in programs and events that I had

Van-Far Elementary Christmas Program

nothing to do with.  Maybe that’s a little weird, but it’s me.  I love watching their annual Christmas program, especially because I had nothing to do with putting it together–it’s all a fun surprise and I love it all.

–I don’t want to be without all the built-in extras you have in pubic school.  We have been working with the psychologist for Buddy, and we won’t have that in home school. . .we have access to a nurse, a school librarian, etc.

–What I mentioned in the previous post:  I want my kids to go to school with kids they go to church with.  I don’t want them to feel like outsiders in the most important place to me.

–My friends that home school have told me several times that if doesn’t work out, you can always just send him back to public school. This was also an issue for me.  I completely embarrassed myself in front of the principal when I cried over the G/T program. . I completely embarrassed myself with him when we came back to the school after the fiasco with the charter school. . .I was determined NOT to be embarrassed in front of him again.  I didn’t want to try this virtual school out, only to return to the public school again 2 months later, embarrassed again.

So, um, you can see I had my issues. . .  😉  One evening, I talked Buddy out of it.  I really thought I had him convinced to just roll with the punches and deal with it, and stay in public school.  Not my best moment as a mom. . .But, he didn’t mention it again.  I thought I was in the clear.

However, he kept practicing.  And we still hadn’t argued or had problems with whining during lessons.

The last week of March, we went on a week-long vacation as a family, and the last thing on my mind was home school.  I checked my e-mail one evening, and found out we had been accepted to one of the online schools that had great reviews (on home school forums, etc.). I was a little stunned because it was so far from my mind.  I mentioned it to my husband, and he said he thought we should do it.

Now the story of me getting convinced.

Having my husband so excited about online school, made me realize I should really give this some thought.

New Computer desk

My husband and I talked over the rest of the trip about the positives and negatives of this particular program, and I realized that I was actually getting excited about the potential: In this program, we can place him in whatever grade levels we want–can be different for each subject, even.  He will learn a lot about technology and science, which he not only loves, but will be so useful for him in the future.  He can go at his own pace.  He can learn one of four foreign languages (and he loves languages).  He can participate in any extracurricular activities at a local school that he would like.  Logically, it makes sense.  I was missing the spiritually making sense, though.

Shortly after we came home, I was debating again . . .we knew we had to send in the enrollment forms by April 12th if we wanted to secure his spot.  We knew we had to make a decision soon.

I talked to Buddy.  I asked him to tell me his reasons–one more time–for wanting to come home to school.  I told him it was up to Gerrit (my husband) and I ultimately, but that I needed his input.  I asked him–“If we tell you that you are going back to public school this fall, will you be sad?”  He looked at me in all seriousness, got tears in his eyes, and said, “Yes, I will be very sad.”

I asked him to pray with me to know what was right.

Later on in the day, I remembered a line in my patriarchal blessing (a special blessing we receive as members of the LDS faith that help guide us through our lives).   I won’t be specific, but suffice it to say that earlier in my life, I had the distinct impression while reading that line that I would home school one or more of my children at some point.  I had forgotten all about that impression until now.

I realized that the time I would home school might just be this Fall.

And I realized that what I really want for my kids, is for them to be happy.  If my son is telling me, honestly, that he will be very sad if I send him back to public school, I simply cannot do that to him.  And I realized that I am so willing to potentially be embarrassed once again if it means that my son has the chance to be happy.

I had found out spiritually that this was the right thing.

And since that decision, I have had confirmations of it almost every day.  I am still nervous because I don’t have the answers to many of the concerns I outlined above, but I have to put it in the Lord’s hands and know that He knows what is right.

It may be that this lasts for 2 months–maybe Buddy simply needs to see what online school is like and he’ll willingly return to public. It may be that this lasts for a few years, or several.  It may be that he is the only one of my children that ever comes home for school, and it may end up that I have all four children home for school at some point.  I am finally willing to say that I don’t have all the answers, and we’ll just wait and see how it all goes.

 

When my kids were babies, my philosophy on schooling was simple: Each of the kids will go to public school each day–I will volunteer in the PTA, do class parties and field trips, and help with homework so they know school is important to me.

My philosophy has changed recently:  Each of my kids will go to school in whichever way is best for them at each part of their lives–I will support them in what ever way is best so they know that THEY are the most important to me.

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****I really appreciate the outpouring of support I have felt from so many since I have started this little series about our journey to this point.  Thank you for listening and realizing that this decision did not come easily, but that we really are just trying to do the right thing.****

If you’re thinking about doing an online school, there are many that you can go to full-time for free as they are either public schools and charter schools.  Here are the links to the 2 biggest–offered nationwide 🙂

http://www.k12.com/

http://www.connectionsacademy.com/home.aspx

The Decision to School at Home: Part 2–The Ups and Downs

If you’re interested in the whole story, please see Part 1 before you read this 🙂

Toward the end of Kindergarten, when I saw that we had a real challenge on our hands, I went into full Mom-will-fix-it mode.  Although I rarely, if ever, said “Gifted” to other people, I had come to the conclusion that he was somewhere on that spectrum.

I researched all about Gifted kids and Gifted programs.  After many hours of research, I found that these kids can show marked improvement in many areas (including social and emotional) if a few things can change for them.  From the research, I narrowed it down to 3 criteria I felt were most important for Buddy:  1) He needed to be challenged intellectually, 2) he needed to meet with and know other kids that were similar to him, 3) and he needed to have teachers who understood him.

I got so excited when I found out that many school districts had a Gifted and Talented program where these kids are pulled from their own neighborhood school to attend with other kids that are like them and they are taught by G/T certified teachers.  These programs meet each of the 3 criteria I had set for finding a fit for Buddy.

Our district doesn’t have a G/T program.

Once I found that out, I looked everywhere for options: We looked into homeschooling, virtual schooling, charter schools, hybrid schools, you name it–we looked into it.  I decided I just could not do homeschooling or virtual schooling. Now here comes a line of this post I’m completely embarrassed by–I had OTHER plans for my life:  I was waiting for all of my kids to someday be in full-day school so I could FINALLY have a clean house and some time for myself.  I know that sounds pretty bad. . but it really was the way I felt.  So, we looked into charters and decided to apply to any that leveled kids by math and reading.  We thought that perhaps other Gifted kids might be there because they needed something different as well.  In the meantime, waiting for the next enrollment for charters to come around, we needed to do first grade in the public school.

Piece of chalk and blackboard

**sidenote I didn’t know where else to fit in: To be honest, I have one MAJOR issue with other options than the neighborhood public school–I want my kids to go to school with the kids they go to church with.  I had that growing up, and I loved it.  I never want my kids to feel like “outsiders” at church. . .So, throughout this journey, I have really hoped public school would end up working out somehow for us.***

The Gifted and Talented program in our district is basically this:  The district will give funds to schools who come up with their OWN individual Gifted and Talented program–a meager amount, but still, some.

Between Buddy’s Kindergarten and first grade year, a brand new elementary school was built, and we were put in the boundaries of that new school.  I guess I had annoyed the principal enough about Buddy that he asked me to serve on the Gifted and Talented committee as the parent representative.  We were going to create a G/T program for the new school, and then get funding from the district for it.  I WAS THRILLED.  Maybe this public schooling was actually going to work out for us, and maybe, I’ll be able to not only help my son, but help other Gifted kids at the same time.

First grade began. Buddy’s teacher was amazing with him.  She watched him for signs of over stimulation and anxiety, and helped him cope; she allowed him to bring home 2nd grade homework; she gave him 2nd grade spelling words; she even worked it out so he could attend 2nd grade math.  I found out that another mother was meeting with the highest readers across the 1st grade twice a week to read books at their level–I offered to come in once a week and do the same thing.  It was great.

Then we found out about the bullying.

My sweet son was an obvious target–glasses, small for his age, and

English: Kids playground Southern edge of The ...

preferring to do math workbooks on his own at recess instead of playing with other kids.  It was a group of 3rd graders that bullied him.  I was heartbroken, and it fueled my desire to figure out something different–something that would allow him to make friends so he wouldn’t be on his own and such a target, something that would challenge him during the school day so he wouldn’t feel the need to challenge himself during recess.

I worked with the G/T committee for most of the year, and I thought near the end we were making headway towards a great program.  I had sent each member several studies, and I had shown them several models and what was working in other schools.  To my incredible disappointment, the proposal we ended up sending the district had none of what I had suggested. I was confused and very frustrated.  I called the principal and asked him what had happened.  After several minutes of discussion back and forth and many tears on my end, he told me, “Amy, we are never going to be a Gifted school, if that’s what you were hoping for.”

I was numb.  I had worked so hard and I felt it was for nothing.

Shortly after this happened, we found out we had been accepted to one of the charter schools. We were THRILLED.  But not for long.

Long-story-made-short on the charter, it was probably the most disorganized “organization” I’ve run into–we just couldn’t send our kids there.  We went back to the public school for 2nd grade determining that we had done what we could, and we would just make the best of it by trying to find excellent teachers.

Buddy had (well, has) another amazing teacher.  She was prepared to send him to 3rd grade math, but he decided against it (the schedule would have required he missed library time with the 2nd graders), she gave him some critical thinking math worksheets along with the regular homework, and the entire 2nd grade team decided together

books

to pull out the top 3 readers (across the grade) to meet once a week with a teacher and read at their level.  All of this was wonderful.  On top of this, he had made a really good friend who introduced him to other friends, so he was never alone at recess.  We thought that maybe it was going to work out after all.

Then, in January (just a few months ago), my sweet boy came to me timidly and said, “Do you think we could do school at home next year?”

I didn’t know what to make of it. I had convinced myself that things were going well for him (after all, overtime, his over sensitivities had mellowed a bit and he had figured out ways to handle them). But, apparently not.  Having a friend and being challenged in a few ways wasn’t enough for him.  After several conversations, we realized he was very serious about this.  He was bored, frustrated, and wanted something different.

We were back at square one.

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Final segment, Part 3, to come 🙂

In the meantime, if you think you might know a Gifted child, check out these links.  I hope any other kids with these same struggles can get identified so they can get the best help they can.

Comparison between “Bright” and “Gifted”: http://www.tag-tenn.org/comparison.html

Gifted Traits: http://giftedkids.about.com/od/gifted101/a/giftedtraits.htm

Overexcitabilities (super sensitivities) in the Gifted: http://giftedkids.about.com/od/gifted101/a/overexcite.htm

The Decision to School at Home: Part 1–Giftedness

School Desk

I have decided, after a long journey to get here, that Buddy, my almost 8-year-old, will be home with me next year for his schooling and will be participating in an online school.  Yes, you read that right–I’m taking him out of public schooling.  I decided to share the journey to this decision on this blog because I know that many people that know us well will wonder how we came to this decision, and maybe there are some out there that don’t know us, that are on the fence and could use some understanding of how others have come to this point.  I’ll write a few posts since one post would be way too long.

So, here goes.  This first post will be all about my Buddy. Buddy isn’t your average child.  Here are some ways he’s different:

Over sensitivity: From the time he was tiny, he has been overly sensitive to various things around him.

–I have cut out countless tags from shirts and pants, and not just because they bugged him a little bit, but because he could not focus on anything else until the tags were gone and he would throw huge fits until we did something about it.

–When we first moved to our new home, he was four years old.  We had a housewarming party, and the house was busting at the seams with people.  After a while, I realized I hadn’t seem for several minutes.  I went into his room, and found him huddled by his bed in tears covering his ears because it was too overwhelming for him.

–There are a few songs that he has kindly asked me not to play or sing when he is in the house, because if he hears the tune, he cannot stop himself from crying.

Obsessions: Also from a very young age, he would find something

English: A plastic soda bottle cap.

to be obsessed with and would seriously obsess over it.  For about a year (when he was 1-year-old), it was bottle caps.  He would carry them around all the time, studying them.  When we went to friend’s houses, he always had to have one with him, at least in his pocket.  In preschool, his teacher introduced him to cutting paper.  For the next several months, he didn’t want to engage in any other activities at free-time except cutting paper no matter how the teachers tried to get him involved in the other options.

Intellectually advanced: When we went to his 18-month well-child check, the nurse asked me if he was saying two words together yet.  He answered her in a full, intelligible sentence.  He started asking questions about what liberty and freedom really meant at age 4.  He understood what a negative number was before Kindergarten, and he is now able to read books and comprehend at a 5th grade level.

Emotional Intensity:  He has never been one to take something lightly.  If he is mad, he can easily act like a 2-year-old who just had his toy taken away. If he is sad, he worries us with signs of depression.  If he is excited, he cannot hold it in and will yell or jump out of his seat.  Even in school, where he wants to impress his teacher–if she announces something fun, she often has to remind him to calm down. 

Perfectionism:  He cannot deal with himself making mistakes.  When he got his first 14 out of 15 on a spelling test, he was so embarrassed, he didn’t want to show me the test.  When he makes a bad choice, he cannot forgive himself for many days.  When I recently tried to give him an assessment for the online school, he was mortified that there was a question he didn’t know the answer to.

So, you get the drift.  He’s not your typical care-free little boy.

I started seeing that he was different from others when we saw him interact with kids and teachers at church, and I noticed that he didn’t really interact with anyone but teachers in preschool, but I didn’t really notice how different he was until he went to Kindergarten.  I visited his class often and found that he was asked to help other kids with their reading instead of him learning something new.  I saw how he preferred to make Origami at recess (his obsession at the time) than play with other kids.  I saw how he reacted when the teacher talked down to him–the other kids didn’t even notice that she talked that way, but it made him feel horrible.

When Buddy was in 1st grade, we had him tested by the District to see if he might benefit from moving up a grade or at least in certain subjects.  The woman who gave the test was the first person outside our family to label him with something we had wondered about: Gifted.

It has taken me a while to be able to say out loud that my child is Gifted because so many people take offense thinking that I am bragging about my child.  How I WISH THERE WAS A DIFFERENT WORD FOR GIFTED.  The closest my husband and I can relate it to is a version of autism–it’s not technically on the autism spectrum, but I wish it was so others could see that we are not bragging if we mention it, we are actually very concerned about him.

If you look at the list I have above about what makes Buddy different, these are many traits that Gifted children have in common.  I hope that you can see the challenge that each of these presents in life in general, and also in public schooling.

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Part 2 to come.