Levi has officially been part of my exclusive private school for almost a year. The meetings with the doctors and specialists are done for now, and we have recommendations on how to proceed with his education. A secret: I truly thought they would all say he needed to be back in public school where teams of experts could help him. The reality, though, is that more than one of his doctors said he’s better off at home for now. At home, I can spend hours with him on a particular reading or writing problem. The typical classroom distractions and the social skills traps are eliminated. And he’s thriving here.
With diagnoses come special sets of books and letter tiles and other stuff to help address specific needs. Levi has dyslexia and dysgraphia among other learning challenges. He’s as excited as I am to finally have names, and therefore possible solutions, for those challenges. Together we dove headfirst into basic phonetics again, and Levi is determined to write more, even as I tell him his doctor suggested writing less to minimize frustration. He’s listening to audio books, and proudly showed me a short book he read today. I really believe that giving a name to the challenges has helped him.
All of the excess school supplies and the realization that we could be doing this for years has made it quite clear that we need a more permanent home for all of this magnificent learning. I envision building a whole new school wing onto the house, but my husband has informed me that, sadly, as with most school systems, money for new buildings is not forthcoming.
Right now, Levi does most of his work at the dining room table. The plus is that he’s right near everyone else and can interact easily. The downside is that he can interact easily, and as a 9-year-old boy with ADHD, he does so constantly. The dining room table is also within view of the television, so if anyone else wants to watch TV, Levi is compelled to watch along with them. He also can’t leave his school work out, because we need to use the table for meals, and if he leaves a pencil and paper unattended, it will be toddler-ized by Collin.
Our workboxes are in the living room. They don’t take up that much space, but they do always look cluttered. Extra books end up on top of the boxes, along with papers and folders, and there’s usually something hanging out of one of the drawers. Toys end up underneath the workboxes, too. Collin leaves them alone for the most part, but on days he wants to annoy Mama, pulling papers out of the workbox drawers is a sure fire way to do it.
I have another desk like the one shown there, so Levi can have his own desk, and I have one for my office and teaching supplies. We’ll add a small table and some chairs for the other kids to use for homework, or for Levi, Collin and I to sit together for projects. If there’s room, I want to put one of my rocking chairs in the school room, too. We do a lot of reading together, and it’s so much more fun to read in a big, comfy chair!
Our basement is a constant construction zone right now. There are bedrooms going in down there, slowly but surely, so the school room walls will not be finished right away. I don’t feel like waiting, though, because I have a vision of a living room without workboxes and now I must attain it at any cost. I’ll put up some large maps and Kansas history posters. The open end of the room will be partitioned off by a set of 5 doors held together by hinges to make a portable wall. I have some bright area rugs to cover the boring, scuffy concrete floor. We will forge on. No lack of walls will stop us!
Did you create a school room in your house? Is it an actual room or part of a larger space?