Jonathon was no longer smiling or playing with toys. His preference was to play in blankets and pillows on the couch for hours.
We decided to home school because we could not afford to send Jonathon to the expensive school that was recommended. Our speech therapist had been giving us different curriculums to buy that would help Jonathon read.
Much thanks to my sister in law, Jackie, she also helped me find resources for schooling Jonathon. I gave him about two weeks off after withdrawing him from his school. I tried to play games with Jonathon and get him to relax again.
As time unfolded, Jonathon began to tell me how children were making fun of him, how he had no idea how to sing certain songs, how he felt very lost. I soon knew, Jonathon’s learning style was not audible learning.
The psychologist had told us he needed a systematic, multi-sensory approach. So as I gave him time, I collected worksheets for him to complete.
Upon the first day of homeschooling, I was horrified to find Jonathon in tears as he looked at the first worksheet. He shook as he tried to trace the letter on the page. I had no idea how impaired my little guy was! Asking what was wrong, he told me it hurt his hands to write.
I knew from the psychologist that they also diagnosed Jonathon as dysgraphic which goes along with dyslexia. Dysgraphia is very sloppy hand writing, often the children with this, hold the pencil in such a way that it hurts their hands. I assumed this was the problem.
Wanting home schooling to be a positive in Jonathon’s life, I wanted him to do things he enjoyed. So I began a quest to find as many web sites as I could that would help Jonathon play and learn at the same time.
Jonathon’s speech therapist began us on a daily regimen. It was so tasking and monotonous, but it probably was the one thing that got Jonathon reading. Every day we would put alphabetic letter magnets in order in the shape of a rainbow. Every day he had to touch each letter and say the sound each letter made.
Jonathon often bucked this and would beg to not have to do it. After weeks of doing it, I gave him the week off. I thought it was no big deal. Again, I was horrified, he could not remember how to do it properly after one week of not practicing. From then on, I stuck with our ritual.
We would then pull out a few letters and practice writing the letter and would go over the letter and how it was used in three letter words. After months of doing this, the time had come to segment phonemes.
We got out legos of two different color. Each block represented a letter. We started with the simplest words: on, an, as, etc. Jonathon would have to repeat the word and then drag down each block as he said the word over. Eventually, he connected these sounds to letters and could spell the small words we were reviewing.
I was delighted, Jonathon was making progress. He seemed to smile just a little more often. He was gaining confidence. His speech therapist was excited too. But the bills were mounting. We had quickly blown through our small nest egg from the withdraw from private school, even with insurance and co-pays.
Jeff was not sure if we could continue. I could not see how we couldn’t. I felt strongly that we were saving Jonathon’s life. And then an idea came, Ohio Virtual Academy. Maybe I could home school and his IEP would make a way for the school to pay for Jonathon’s therapy.
And you know, my plan worked! His therapy doubled to twice a week. They felt he needed more intense amounts of therapy. I was over-joyed! I felt we were on a wonderful path, Jonathon was blossoming like a wonderful flower. Soon, as the psychologist at the Virtual Academy was reviewing Jonathon’s file, I got a phone call the offended me to my core. I was enraged with the audacity. That is for next time’s blog.
During this time, a book that worked beautifully for Jonathon was Sounds Abound. The activities were not Jonathon’s favorite, but it laid a foundation that he needed to be able to read. Bob books were also wonderful readers that helped to build Jonathon’s confidence without adding any confusion.