“I am a runner.” These are words I never thought I would utter. Ever. Today despair struck at the biggest moment in the biggest event of my favorite sport. At the finish line, after having run 26.2 miles, emotions completely take over a person. The finish line is the place of jubilation, gratefulness, peace and overwhelming love of life. The Boston Marathon is seen as the reward to many runners after years of hard work and a fast qualifying time in a previous marathon. This was not supposed to happen. Running is a peaceful sport where people encourage and challenge each other to bring out their best efforts.
My heart breaks for everyone personally effected by the events in Boston today. Runners put miles in together, we greet each other at 5:30 AM out on the trail, and runners stop to help others. The image of athletes finishing the marathon and running to the hospital to give blood makes sense to me. This is what people do. People help each other.
“I am a homeschooler.” These are words I never thought I would utter. Ever. I came to running positively, but I came to homeschooling very reluctantly. School should be a place where children feel safe. Like a marathon, it should be a place of jubilation, gratefulness, support, achievement and love. For #2, it was anything but this. His experience was filled with anxiety, misunderstanding, low expectations, learned helplessness and tears. It was not a safe place for him, rather a daily assault that would drain him every time he walked through the doors. Many parents with children who fall outside the norm understand my feelings of frustration and sadness. There were not enough helpers at school for #2…and the school didn’t understand what helpers #2 needed. I could not let him continue to sit in school and watch his self-esteem and confidence melt to zero. This was not supposed to happen.
Sadly our public schools are not set up to handle children with profound dyslexia, especially when it is accompanied by an anxious and sensitive personality. In his book The Dyslexic Advantage, Brock Eide describes 4 personalities of people with dyslexia. One personality is highly sensitive accompanied with high levels of anxiety. At a recent conference at Groves Academy a parent asked Eide how a parent can help a child with this personality cope and learn in school. He responded that unless you are able to send your child to a school like Groves, your answer is to homeschool, there is no other option right now. This is not OK, although this is my reality at the moment. We need more helpers in the schools in the form of teachers trained to understand and teach children with learning disabilities. Many times these children are also gifted. We must form a world where there are more helpers for our children to turn to. Let’s imagine and put forth a world where children who struggle feel safe and parents no longer need to fight to get their children the education they deserve.