It's been a while I feel since I've pulled back the curtains and talked a bit about my wonderful children. They both have grown a lot this last year. They are trying new things and have had some incredible wins and some hardships I wish I could shield them from. I must admit I've been a bit sad as last school year came to a close. My baby girl is officially a Middle Schooler, and my boy is starting High School. While I feel this would be much scarier if I still had them in the public school system, knowing they are that much closer to the finish line is unnerving.
With school and dance running from August to July that is how we describe our "years" lol. It helps me stay organized to just make my whole life flow that way.
So, without further ado here is what they've been up to.
He turned 14 in January and has dropped hip hop dance for Karate. I have to admit I'm a bit excited about this adventure as I am a first-degree black belt myself. It has turned into an incredible bonding experience for him and my husband though. While he loves to show me what he's learned and asks how I learned differently I've taken a back seat on this new journey. As the stay-at-home parent most of the care was on me. That included the trips to therapy and working with him directly at home while my husband provided for us. That unfortunately has made my husband the outsider often times in our happy little Autism world. I'm so happy that my son has found something for he and his dad beyond their Marvel obsession.
He has also started to get a bit braver about being away from us. Just a few years ago he would not walk to a single person public restroom alone even if it was in complete view of our table. We would literally have to walk him the 15 feet across the room and stand outside the door. He's been increasingly able to go to different parts of a store as long as we promised not to move and grab something and come back. Just last night I gave him money dropped him off at the door of the grocery store. He walked in on the opposite side of the store from where the milk was because that door was already locked up for the night. He went to the back got the milk and then went and checked out. I wish I had gotten a picture of his face when he came outside. he was so proud of himself.
He has always struggled with Language Arts because of his Dysgraphia but this past year we've been increasing his workload to prepare him for high school level work. It has caused him a bit of stress. In the two full years I've had him home however he has improved by FIVE grade levels in Language Arts. While technically still one grade level behind (yeah, the public school REALLY failed him) he is within one year of being on grade level.
We have let him try online gaming with the X-Box. While this was scary for us and we had many conversations about things that he needs to watch out for or questions to not answer, he has done really well with it. He has made a lot of friends from all over the world. He has an easier time talking to people not face to face. While we have had our run ins with bullies, he has learned how to deal with them and can just turn off the game and come back to it later to play with someone else. It really has been a good experience for him and helped with some of his social issues stemming from ASD.
She turned 11 in February. She had moved up to the Emeralds team and added more dances and classes to our ever-growing schedule. While we were excited for our new team and that all of our friends were moving up with us. this year was a struggle. The sweet girls that have gotten along for years were suddenly in the midst of the girl drama and it was rough. We also struggled with dealing with puberty and all the hardships that brings. She has conquered it all though and come out the other side a stronger person.
She competed her first ever solo this year. She even placed at one of the competitions which is a hard feat as a first-time soloist especially in the lyrical category. Lyrical is one of the hardest judged categories because you can't hide the flaws. She danced to "Unraveling" by Liz Longley. If you've never heard, I highly recommend giving it a listen. She is an amazing vocalist, and the song is an amazing story of a loved one going through Alzheimer's. It was hard solo, and she came off the stage in tears every time she performed it. She danced it for her Memaw whom she loves dearly.
She has made great strides in school this year. She will be taking Pre-Algebra next year when she starts 6th grade. She also will be taking a high school general science course with her brother. At her current pace she will be able to graduate after her sophomore year. Which is great because her Junior and Senior year can be devoted to dual enrollment classes. I hope she keeps up this pace in her studies. It will definitely help her later on in life.
This year she had 16 dances across the three shows with 9 of those being in one show alone. She spent almost a full 24 hours over two days between rehearsal and recital at the venue. She danced her little heart out and kept a smile on her face the entire day. With Nationals right around the corner this dance season is almost come to a close. This year we've had some long days, but the year has felt very short.
So as "our year" comes to a close and we prepare for a new dance season and the big changes of starting middle and high schools we look forward to sharing more with you. I have so many new products I will be reviewing soon to share with you, and I am so excited about them. I have several games and quite a few language arts curriculum pieces I can't wait to start using.
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