Today we've been to the ANZAC day service up town.
I am a passionate pacifist (from a long line of the same) - My maternal great grandfather, who fought at the Somme in WWI was the only soldier in our family - I suspect if it came to it - the rest of my lot would be conscientious objectors.... yet my father is patron of the local branch of the RSL (he has supplied the music for the ANZAC Day service in Cobargo every year for the past 60 years.... yes you read that right.... 6 decades). As a child/teen I marched every year. Our two children have attended every service since their births and marched since they've been at school.
Sometimes people ask how you can be a pacifist AND a supporter of ANZAC Day. I don't see the problem. ANZAC Day has never been about the glorification of war to me - instead it has always been a powerful and personal message of peace - and this is what I hope our children also come to understand.
So each ANZAC Day I tell our kids the stories of our family and community to help them realise the value of mateship and the absolute stupidity of war.
And talking of mates and community - today a beautiful soul - local gal Kim - posted a looooooong (pic filled) 'guest nest' post on her blog
all about my little sams creek nest - just in time to tell all her nice
'feather and nest' blog readers about the Sams Creek Bookworks Open Day
(yep that was the obligatory reference to you-know-what... )
and as I watched him get super excited about learning
the teacher in me felt vindication for my belief in the power of student-led education
and as a parent - I felt so happy that Sass was motivated to delve into a book
you see - our boyo has severe dyslexia
books (ahhhh 'my precious') aren't so much his friends
as they are scary, scary things that were put on earth to humiliate and embarrass him....
This is a common feeling amongst folk (young and old) with dyslexia or other 'learning difficulties'
So I suppose you've figured by this stage that this is not a post about crickets - but our tale of dyslexia.... It's a somewhat rambling tale (please bear with me) - shared today in the hope that it may help other parents and folk who 'see things a little differently' ....
We became aware that something 'wasn't quite normal' with our lad's reading around the end of his kindergarten year.... while almost all of his classmates could read simple (or not so simple) booklets, our son seemed to have difficulty just following the line of text.... no we weren't overly worried (I've been a fan of Steiner education that doesn't even begin teaching kidlets to read until after the age of 7...)
In year one sass continued to make very slow progress - by the middle of the year sassy's peers started seriously outpacing our boyo in the reading department and the school started him on the 'reading recovery' program (intensive 16 week program designed to help struggling readers) .... and then there were the tell-tale letter reversals ('b' might be 'd', 'p' and 'q' were swapped - and my fav - 'm' and 'w' were interchangeable!) After Sass completed the reading program (making little progress) it became clear that there was something 'else' going on - we weren't overly worried - but it was time to check all the obvious things - we had eyes and ears tested (like many kids his age sass was slightly long-sighted - they also found he had a small hassle with changing focus from distance to close vision... ), we went off to 'smart body smart brain' for extra testing (turned out sass had a small hassle with audio processing... no not a hearing problem - but his brain had a delay in figuring out what he was hearing - it took in the first and last bits of a word, but not the middle.... and viewing anything black on white on paper just made his brain go into a total spin - the stuff kept moving damn it! like a river of ooze on a page.... no wonder he couldn't track a line of text! and before you ask - yes we looked into irlen lenses - but he isn't a strong candidate right now....) Armed with this knowledge I spoke to everyone from the GP, educational psychologists, his classroom teacher and specialist literacy teachers, the department of education learning support unit, reading tutors... (believe it or not - there isn't a lot known about what dyslexia is - how and why it occurs - and its generally a very loooong process to have 'dyslexia' diagnosed...)
By the end of year 2 it became very clear to all that our boyo had a classic type of dyslexia. Luckily Sass had a wonderful classroom teacher (who also happened to be the wonderful new principal at our little public school) I say luckily because the NSW Department of Education does not recognise dyslexia as a supportable condition (WTF?!!!!!!!!!! don't get me started on this..... totally insane!)
Through his school Sass has undertaken the 'reading recovery' program (twice), a computer 'brain training' program (an expensive program purchased by his little school because the government wouldn't...... grrrrr - I said don't get me started!), multi-lit (a reading program run by volunteers.... because the government doesn't fund..... oh you get the picture!) he has had a one-to-one reading tutor (you guessed it - not government funded but a community volunteer) since Year 1..... Our little school has left no available (educational) stone left unturned to assist our sassy-boy and other kidlets with reading difficulties -- but it is uphill battle.
Sass is now in year 4 and for the first time he is starting to realise that there is a world of reading difference between himself and most of his mates..... we are now entering the really challenging time.
One of the biggest problems for kids with dyslexia (and other learning difficulties) is self-esteem - It's heart breaking to hear your child say 'I'm dumb' or worse - for him to come home from school weeping 'everyone tells me I'm stupid'.... we tell him (and the world!) people with dyslexia aren't stupid - they just comprehend things in a different way (ps check out a few famous folk with dyslexia) - but this is small comfort for our not-yet-ten-year-old.....
yes we've talked about homeschooling to overcome the teasing (I heartily support anyone who has
chosen this path - I just don't know if I've got the 'goods' for our
kids)... but I'm not convinced that homeschooling is the right path for our kids who are both monster (MONSTER) sports stars. Sass is the school's athletics, cross country and swim champ - actually
he's the zone PSSA swimming champ and was recently selected by Swim
Australia to meet and train with AIS
Olympic hopefuls Alicia Coutts and Sally Foster..... (but he's very
quiet about his sporting abilities so I shouldn't start carrying on
here....) Doing well in sport has helped our Sass feel good about
himself - its a small counter to the constant negative messages he is
bombarded with..... but it's a tricky balancing act isn't it?
Our main focus has always been to help both our kids to feel
confident about themselves - to know that they are ok, no matter what
anyone may say (I think this is the main thing all we parents want eh?) We want them to know and feel proud about their strengths (not to be braggards or poxy little snots - and certainly not to use their strengths to make other people feel small) we want them to appreciate that we are all different - and that's ok!
my oh my - I hadn't meant to rattle on and on...... but dyslexia is something close to my heart - and our kiddies are even closer ;~)
And strangely this neatly brings me back to the sams creek bookworks open day (May 5th don't forget) - We are holding the open day as a fundraiser for Cobargo P&C - as a small show of support for our fabbo little school - thanks Cobargo PS for all you do for our kiddies...
The May opening date for Sams Creek Bookworks is approaching at an alarming rate (eeek!!!)
so we've kicked things up a gear here at the creek...
Today we took delivery of a mini B-Double load of mulch
and so you get better idea of just how much mulch a mini B-dub load looks like......
here's our strappy big boyo up on top the 6ft high pile......
yes its a LOT of mulch!
(67 metres aka 28 tonne -
which I think is more accurately described as a FRIGHTFUL amount of mulch!
we will start to move this mountain tomorrow)
The garden is an integral part of the 'bookworks' operation - it's vital to get to a certain stage for opening day - so we've been planting and weeding and preparing garden bits everywhere.....
purple garlic on the go
broad bean seedlings (and weeds galore!)
I love working in the garden in autumn.
We've started painting the exterior of the studio (weird sneak peek of the door colour - a word of warning - if you visit in person you might want to don sunglasses first hee hee heee)
I feel a little bit like a mouse on a wheel right now.... going around and around and around ... but not really getting anywhere.... I just see all the jobs not yet done and am having a small freak out!
Just to add to the stress - I'm in the middle of another exegesis chapter (must be handed in the other side of Easter - eeeeeeeek!!!!!) and as you've heard me whinge before - writing does NOT come easy for me..... this chapter is a real challenge (why-oh-why did I think I could write anything about Pragmatic philosophy and link this to my work? foolish woman!)
at least I have the garden and studio preparations to think about - which might help me stay sane!
Filed under - 'all creative folk should read this'..... two articles
I've recently encountered that talk about copyright, art, art
competitions and the web (and pinterest in particular)...... yes they
are both aussie in origin and focus..... but the message should be loud
and clear for all