We had been praying about what to do for Superhero 4 for months.
Our sweet-and-spicy Energizer Bunny graduated in June from the children's center, where he received the very best PT, OT, speech and educational services for 18 months of his life. And although this motivated little man moved from a 1.5-year-old developmental level to a 4.5-year-old developmental level in several fields during such a short period of time, he was still noticeably (and understandably) behind his peers.
At kindergarten registration day at his big brothers’ school last spring, we sat next to a child who could read sentences from the packet instructions to his mama.
We still couldn't identify five letters.
The preschools we contacted couldn't accommodate a 5-year-old boy with mobility issues and medical needs.
The tutor we loved was already booked for the fall.
Our boy was old enough for kindergarten, but at only two years home, we felt like, even in the talented and capable hands of teachers we knew and loved, with only two years of exposure to the English language under his belt, he might just drown.
Which left one other option.
"Lord," Super-Spouse and I prayed on a Tuesday night following kindergarten registration day. "Please just show us what we are supposed to do with this precious child you have entrusted to us. And if that is to homeschool him, please make it super clear. Because I can't imagine giving up this work-from-home publishing job I've loved for 13 years. And I am just not gifted enough to do both well. "
The very next day, my boss and dear friend of 13 years called.
Although our publishing company was remaining open and would continue servicing the churches and clients we all knew and loved, we were moving in a different direction, and my specific department was closing.
This girl is apparently so dense that Jesus can’t all be using subtleties; he’s gotta whip Him out a bullhorn.
So, after I bawled at the incredible loss of a job I adored and bosses who I made promise on their lives they would never stop being my friends, for the last month, we’ve been preparing for this new homeschool adventure.
Since I no longer needed an office space for a job I no longer held, the amazing Super-Spouse used a week of his block leave to transform my former office into Superhero 4’s new homeschool room.
He built me window seating and storage, and he moved furniture and my favorite rocking chair to create a cozy space for Superhero 4 to learn.
I waded through the kindergarten curriculum I used the year I homeschooled Superhero 1 and, with lots of notes and instructions from PTs, OTs and speech therapists (along with a closet full of supplementary materials I had purchased each summer for the last 13 years when I pretended like I would be a good mom and make my children learn during the summer) created a holistic curriculum and schedule we could use for our Monday through Thursday routine.
(AKA, Google, A Beka and I are making this up as we go along with a little help from our friend Pinterest. And we’re taking off Fridays. Because, Friday.)
And, because this whole pretend-to-be-a-teacher-in-your-own-home thing initiated a strange homeschool nesting phase that I didn’t anticipate (and because my sister gave me The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which took my already obsessive organizational ways to an entirely new Marie Kondo level), I then spent the rest of the month purging every basket, drawer, closet and corner of our house.
Every. Single. One. (Pray for my man. It’s a disease.)
And essentially discovered an entire classroom full of goodies my children had lost, neglected, hidden or forgotten about that we then used for our really-good-intentioned-but-will-likely-never-get-used stockpile of homeschool materials.
Superhero 4 and I started our new homeschool adventure last week during Ge Ges’ first week of school.
And truly, I have not stopped laughing since.
There are some gaps you just don’t discover until you’re sitting on the floor with a little boy who is still figuring out the English language.
We were practicing our full sentences like good little speech therapist patients and identifying people and their careers or titles.
Superhero 4 then pointed to the firefighter.
“He. Is. A. Fire hydrant.”
Close. Except he probably doesn’t enjoy being peed on by dogs.
Later that day, we were practicing manners and “L” sentences we use when we interact with others.
“I LIKE your hair,” I gave to him as an example.
“I LIKE your booty!” he replied back, so proud of himself for pronouncing his L sound correctly.
We’re working on cultural appropriateness next week.
For three days of our first week of school, this little guy who thrives on being the center of attention just ate up every second of focused Mama-son instructional time.
The first week alone, he finally figured out how to consistently count past 10.
If that rotten 15 didn’t keep getting in the way, he’d already be at 20.
He laughed through our songs and hand motions, and he rocked out his pencil grip as we worked on the letter I.
He learned our daily date and weather chart routine in a second, and he made math and language and Bible lessons so. Much. Fun.
We were both loving these sweet little mornings together, just Superhero 4 and me.
And then he woke up on Day 4.
“Mama, we gonna do that homeschool thing again today?” he asked me after we dropped big brothers off at school.
“We sure are!” I told him enthusiastically.
I mean, I get the privilege of teaching a boy who wants to be a ninja and a daddy when he grows up. What’s more fun than that?!
“Monday through Thursday all year long!” I sing-sang to him.
He then looked at me with that spicy-honest look that only Superhero 4 can give.
“IIIIIIIIIIIII not such a fan.”
Playing school for three days?
Being forced to learn every week all year long?
Welcome to the real world, Superhero 4. You can be the pooper or the partier, but either way, we gonna be weather-charting, sound-learning, craft-making, number-counting, muscle-stretching, mind-expanding, field-tripping fools who hum annoyingly catchy preschool songs on road trips from now until kingdom come. (Your father thanks you for this.)
Join the party.