Meghan Tells It

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Product Review – Spelling Dictionary October 17, 2016

Filed under: Homeschooling,Product Reviews — Meghan Hamilton @ 9:43 pm
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Last spring (or maybe early summer?) I saw that a fellow homeschool mom was selling some used books that were about Alex’s level. I forked over my money and hoped we’d get some use out of the materials.

One of the books was “A Spelling Dictionary for Beginning Writers” by Gregory Hurray (ISBN-0-8388-2056-5). We have used it extensively. Alex very much wants to spell words correctly. But being a beginning writer, his spelling skills are still rudimentary. This book saves me from the arduous task of spelling all of the words for him as he painstakingly writes them down.

It has about 1,400 words in list format. There are no definitions, just words in alphabetical order. At the end there are a few themed lists, such as numbers and colors. I have an older version with room to write more words at the bottoms of the pages. I don’t know if the current edition keeps this feature.

If you have an early elementary student who constantly asks how to spell words, get this book and empower them to figure it out for themselves.

 

Alex Versus Tick October 15, 2016

Filed under: Family,Natural Products — Meghan Hamilton @ 2:10 am
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My dear son loves to roll around on the ground. I let him because kids need the sensory input. And, let’s face it, I don’t have the energy to fight with him about it. Today we met up with some other local homeschoolers at a playground. Predictably, he rolled around on the ground and ran through an adjacent wooded area.

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I can’t imagine how he got a bug bite…

This evening he came over to me to ask if there was a red spot just below his right armpit because it was itchy. No, it wasn’t a red spot. It was a deer tick enjoying a meal. When I said it was a tick, he panicked.

I’ve never seen him this panicked in his short life. He tried to claw at the tick. I held his hand to stop him because I needed enough of the bug intact to get a good hold to remove it. It took several tries because of the stretchiness of his skin in that area. I felt really bad. It must have hurt. He cried in pain and anxiety.

He begged for some nonexistent potion to put on it to stop a potential Lyme infection. I swabbed the bite with witch hazel to try and soothe him. It helped. Then I got online to see if the essential oil enthusiasts have made any claims about Lyme disease.

I found this article. I knew I had many of the oils recommended. I’d already suspected that oregano oil would be on the top of the list. So I quickly made the following concoction that we rubbed liberally on the soles of his feet and covered with socks.

  • 1 ounce olive oil
  • 1 ounce coconut oil (melted)
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 20 drops oregano oil
  • 20 drops lemongrass oil
  • 20 drops clove oil

I don’t know if it will have any effect as I don’t know if the tick was actually carrying any diseases. I didn’t bother saving it as just yesterday a friend told me she checked into having one tested and the cost was about $300.00. It did have the effect of calming his nerves. And the extra YouTube videos I let him watch seemed to distract him from his terror.

I’m sure he’ll be fine. If he needs stronger medicine we’ll take him to a doctor. In the mean time, I’m glad he calmed down and fell asleep after a very busy day.

 

Healing a Young Heart October 6, 2016

Filed under: Family,Homeschooling — Meghan Hamilton @ 4:32 am
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When Alex was a toddler he had no reason to think about other people’s opinions of him and what he liked or didn’t like. Then he went to preschool. Did you know that peer pressure starts in preschool? It does.

Until he went to preschool, he had no feelings or associations with colors. He simply colored with whatever color suited his fancy in that moment. At preschool he learned that pink and purple were for girls. No amount of reassuring him that colors are for everyone would convince him to use those colors for the next four years.

When he was in kindergarten, my husband and I grew out our hair to donate. Alex tried, but the other kids teased him for having girl hair. So he insisted that we take him to get it cut.

By first grade he was a basket case. He was so worried about what his classmates would have to say about his clothes, his hair, the way he played a game, anything really, that he cried when it was time to go to the bus. Somewhere along the line he had lost his sense of self, and with it, his self-worth.

By October 2014 I decided enough was enough. I convinced him to hang in there until Christmas. Then we began our homeschooling journey. He continued to worry. He was mean to a lot of kids for a while. He had a lot of healing to do.

In the homeschooling world people talk about “deschooling.” It’s the process of letting go of the public school mindset and model in order to make the education fit the child rather than making the child fit the education. For Alex, this went deeper than adjusting to a new curriculum and schedule. This process went to his very sense of self. Educationally speaking, the rule of thumb is for every year in public school, it takes a month to switch gears and adjust. For Alex, changing the education plan went reasonably well. But it took a year and a half to undo the psychological damage.

He first showed signs of his true self being rebuilt when he voluntarily started choosing to use pink and purple in his art projects. Then at the start of the summer he chose sparkly gold flip-flops to wear for the season. I warned him some people might have a problem with that. He didn’t care, “Because who doesn’t love gold sparkly shoes?” I held my breath. If anyone gave him a hard time, I didn’t hear about it and he loved those shoes.

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Here he is, not blending with the crowd.

A few weeks ago his Halloween costume arrived in the mail. I asked him to try it on. Not only did it fit, but he loved it so much that he wanted to wear it everywhere. It’s a bright yellow Pikachu body suit. There is no blending into the crowd when wearing it. He wore it to the playground. Some former classmates were there and started their teasing. I watched to see how it would play out.

Alex stood up for himself. He told them they were being bullies and that he didn’t like them. They left him alone, then soon left the area. He continued to wear the outfit after they left. No one would rain on his Pikachu parade. Most people love seeing him wear the outfit and smile and say so. If you see a kid wearing something outrageous, say something nice. It helps them more than you know.

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Making his project without worrying about the other kids.

Today we went to a homeschool program where he was acquainted with a few of the other kids, but most he hadn’t met before. (We were in Providence, about an hour away from home and away from our usual group.) He knows one of the kids well and they don’t get along at all. He wasn’t distressed about it. He didn’t try to prove himself worthy of her attention. He just went about the business of doing his project.

I used to scratch my head in wonder about why it was so important for him to impress people who really didn’t like him. It takes so much energy and is generally fruitless. To see him put his energy into enjoying himself was wondrous!

As a parent, I want my child to have confidence. I want him to do the things that make him happy without worrying about everyone else’s opinion. I’m happy to see him becoming himself.