Life is not easy. Especially when you are in a family of invisible illnesses and disabilities. It can be serious, funny and downright hard! But we make it. Just like everyone else. We just do it in a different style.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Education Along the Way

I have to write about my son and his tutor.

My son, if you recall, has been home since October 31st due to his dysautonomia/POTS preventing him from attending even one straight week of school. I yanked him out amid a bunch of nonsense from the school. I am happy to report, he and I have hit a wonderful routine with his new tutor.

I won't mention names here, but Mr. C is a character. He sounds like some serious old (he will only be 57 soon, but he sound older, if you know what I mean) Southern down and out gentleman. Totally, something out of a novel. In fact, he said his "contemporaries" were Norman Mailer and Tennessee Williams. I can only imagine. How he ended up being a tutor for homebound children...well, maybe that is a story in an of itself. I am trying to pry it out of him, but he is a sly fox and gives very few details.

Back to my subject. They are doing well. My son, having spent most of his life with only Mom, needs male figures in his life and he took to this guy like a bullet slides into a gun shaft. Yeah, that is a strange analogy, but we are talking guys here.

Mr. C is no nonsense, cusses (yes, I don't have the heart to say anything; he sounds so real when he does it), despises textbooks that don't get to the point, and thinks that since he didn't have to learn all that stuff about "farn" countries back in his day, no wonder my son is bored. I couldn't understand his methods at first, but here we sit, going into our third week and my son is actually learning, remembering and participating in a conversation.

Now this might not seem much to you, but for my son, this is a milestone. Confidence has always been in short supply for him and he doubts himself terribly. Here, with this guy, I have seen my son begin to blossom and change.

All this in two weeks? Yes. Two weeks of this booming, southern drawl and an plan of attack that make sure you know "sump'n" before we move on the the next thing. It is beautiful to listen to! Suddenly, my son isn't mumbling with this timid voice, but answering, countering and being squarely honest when he doesn't know "sump'n."

I am not aware whether this can be tested on a standardized test. I am sure that these qualities will not guarantee him an "A" or a "B." But I am so happy to see success in the same ROOM with a textbook that I don't care.

Education is important, but some of the most important things we learn is to learn who we are, what we know and what we don't know. And, if Mr. C doesn't get a lick o' learnin' past that this year, he would have done more for my son than any other teacher has done in his nearly 13 years, including me.

I had wanted to write about how my son hasn't fainted once since he has been home. I wanted to write about how he can wash dishes and sit at the table. Maybe in another post about his progress. But for now, hat's off to Mr. C and reaching a little boy who was floundering in the educational system. Thanks for making sure he is learnin' what he needs to learn.

Take care,