If you’ve read ‘A Funny Kind of Education’ you’ll remember me telling the story of a close friend and the terrible angst she experienced because of the neglect of her Dyslexic son in school. (Find it on the Books page)
Basically they’d written him off completely and he and a class of ‘disruptive’ others who no one cared about were told they were ‘unteachable’. Enough to make any one disruptive. As the lad said at the time; ‘what’s the point of even trying when they’ve already decided we’re not going to make the grade?’ He was willing to learn. But without support and understanding he was unable to in that climate.
She and I met for coffee the other day. Yep – we still do that together after all these years, still support each other
through the tough bits, and still swap notes about our ‘children’ now successfully out in the world despite our angst.
We were remembering the times back then when her worries were intense. Following the time described in the book her young teen was farmed out of the school to do various other ‘activities’, none of which he wanted to do and none of which were really of any value. Except to keep him off the school stats, of course, as she sees it now. (She’s been with me too long!)
“The one thing that kept me going and kept my faith in him intact,” she said over cake – yep we still do that too, “was something you kept saying to me at the time when my doubts were uppermost.”
“What was that?” I was thinking back fast. I’ve made some terrible gaffes in the past.
“Well you were always adamant he was intelligent, even though dyslexia was hampering his results in school. But the best thing you kept saying was ‘he’s not finished yet’. It was so reassuring. And I think about that a lot now. Even in relation to myself and the things I still want to do’.
It’s a good one to keep by you for when you’re fretting over the kids or something you feel you’re not achieving. You can use it about schooling, home education or about your own personal development.
As an update, thanks to her continual support from home and working through stuff with him, her son went on to college where he received suitable help for his dyslexia, then Uni, graduated, has a good job. She kept her faith in him throughout and credits me with prompting her by say ‘what are his needs now?’ whenever she panicked about ‘the future’.
Her daughter whom she home schooled for a while (starting at the end of the book) has just completed her doctorate. That would not have been the case, she feels, if their education had been left in the hands of the system without parental help and belief.
So whether you home educate or your children are in school, if you’re wobbling over certain things not being achieved yet just remember; the kids are not finished yet. Stay on their side, keep believing and keep with their needs now.
And remember, you’re not finished yet either, whatever age you are!