August 1st, 2011

we live in brooklyn

Homeschooling, learning disabilites, and oh hey I have a first grader.

Once upon a time, a girl met a boy on the Internet and they fell in like. When the girl found out the boy had been homeschooled and planned on homeschooling his kids, as he hoped to have some someday, something inside the girl clicked. "I could marry this guy. He's a possibility. We like the same spiritually angsty folk rock, he can quote Anne of Green Gables, and neither of us care if Gavin Rossdale is a poser because come on, 'Machine Head.'"

Like turned into love pretty fast. Twelve years, a diamond, a mortgage, a child and a whole lotta other stuff later, we're about to embark on a new homeschool adventure.

Boy was homeschooled all the way through. As the oldest of six, he still lauds his mom as the bravest and most self-sacrificing person he's ever known. I, on the other hand, went to private school through seventh grade, at which point I was NOT diagnosed with dyscalculia, but should have been. I was excelling in all other subjects, but no matter how many help classes or how much time I spent on my homework, my grades continued to drop.

I understood the processes just fine. I can still look at even an algebra problem and walk you through how to do it. The problem is the numbers and values sort of lose form somewhere between the paper and my brain. I still have to add and subtract on my fingers if I don't have paper. If I do have paper, I have to write it down and check my work twice. I came up with an on-paper counting process early on that I still must use today. In short, even if I have to copy a row of multiple-digit numbers from one column to another, I'll make mistakes. Everything just starts jumping around on the page for me. It's really not awesome. 

Because of my failing grades when I was in seventh, I finally came home one day and told my mom I wanted to be homeschooled. I knew I wasn't stupid. I knew there was something going on that couldn't be corrected in the classroom environment.

My mom was wary at first. She'd been a substitute teacher for a long time, but she was working full-time for my dad (he is an INVENTOR, he hates that term because it makes people think of kooky crazy dudes and insists on saying his is in "R&D" but we all know he is an INVENTOR and I think it's cool and I love saying my dad is an INVENTOR, SO THERE, DAD). But my mom is awesome and she started looking into it.

And in eighth grade, we started.

It wasn't easy. But I think we both loved it. Mom and I have always gotten along really well, and it was just tons of time together, which rocked. My mom is super-organized, so I think all came pretty naturally to her, really. Long, cool story short, I absolutely loved being homeschooled. I got to do amazing things I wouldn't normally be able to do, like be the youngest intern ever at the Governor's Office and work extensively on political campaigns, and I did graduate and I did go to a really good college and --

I would not change it for the world.

It was definitely the best gift my parents could give me. And I definitely want to give that to my daughter.

The entrance date for our school district is September 30. That is, if she's six by September 30, she has to start school. Her birthday is September 22. I have a first grader, yo!

I am so pumped. I know from watching many amazing friends homeschool and my mom's experience that it won't always be easy and sometimes it will be downright hard. But I am grateful, so grateful that I can do this for my kid. I like her. I like being around her. She's the coolest person I know, and I know some REALLY STINKING COOL people, no lie.

Here we go, y'all.