Sunday, September 16, 2012

A New Way of Thinking

When my oldest was 5, we started to homeschool.  We would do one lesson of reading, one of handwriting, and one of math.  It was supposed to take about 30-45 minutes a day.  Supposed to.  In reality, it tended to take us much, much longer.  As it turned out, my daughter and I didn't understand each other.  We had way different ways of thinking, and it made it very difficult to teach her.  Her brain is wired like my husband's, although we both have a strong perfectionist streak.

It wasn't too long into schooling before I started noticing odd behaviors.  She had a very hard time focusing.  Her mind seemed to be going a million miles a minute.  She couldn't block things out.  If the TV was on, she would hear it, every last word.  Same with any conversation going on around her.  Yet at other times she could block out everything as she sat staring at something for long periods of time.  When she was in large groups of kids, she would always be the one being too goofy, slow to catch commands, and easily distracted.  Even as an 8 or 9 year old, I would repeatedly have to get after her for dancing and singing down the grocery isles, climbing into the clothes racks, and lying on the ground spread eagle at the check out stand.

I was certain she had ADD, just like her dad.

At somewhere around her 10th birthday though, things have started to change.  She will have not only math, reading, and writing for school, but also grammar, spelling, music, and logic.  More often then not, she will now finish all of this in much less then 2 hours.  In groups she's  calmed down, becoming more attentive and aware.  At the store she can now be civilized, though she still needs an occasional reminder.  Basically, she's become a normal, well behaved kid.

So now I find myself wondering if she was really ADD in the first place.  It's possible.  Some people do outgrow it.  Others have a predisposition toward it but never fully develop it.  Others simply learn to cope well enough that you wouldn't even know it was there.  Do I wish I had never thought she had ADD in the first place?  No.  Learning to understand it has helped me to understand my daughter and others who are not hardwired the way I am.  I just need to learn to let go of the assumption that she actually does have it, because she seems to not be ADD anymore.

The thing is, now my son, who is turning 6 soon, is starting homeschool.  In a lot of ways he is very similar to his oldest sister, and I find myself trying to explain his actions as I had done with her.  I'm wondering though if it is better or not to just let things be.  Do I find a label that seems to fit him so that I can understand him better, or do I simply try to understand him without the use of any structural framework?  It's a tough question, and one that I will likely be asking myself for some time yet.

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