Sunday, October 28, 2012

In Good Company...

This week was week filled with lesson time, appointments, classes and commitments. It was also one replete with fellowship.

On Sunday, after Mass, we enjoyed our weekly family Sabbath time by going hiking and visiting the otter at the Blue Hills. While there, we bumped into someone we know from Mass.

Along the Trails at the Blue Hills
On Monday, we learned alongside other Catholic families at a homeschool co-op and then played with many of them at a local playground.

On Tuesday, we enjoyed a picturesque autumn morning while hiking and picnicking with two other faith-filled families we know.

A Picture Taken By a Friend on the Way into Our Pratt Farm Hike

On Wednesday, we started the day with a phone call from one of our co-op friends.

On Thursday, the kids did their lessons at Grammy and Grampy’s while Mommy went to an appointment. While at Grammy and Grampy’s, ever helpful Grammy rustled up some costume pieces for an upcoming All Saints Day party the kids and I will enjoy with their friends.

On Friday, we participated in a gym class attended by many fellow homeschoolers and then went on a field trip to a nature preserve with Our Lady Queen of Saints families, before attending Mass at a local Shrine.

At Oak Knoll Preserve

Today, on Saturday, as I write this, I smile. I recognize that we have truly been living parts of our family mission this week:

  • Spending time together often. 
  • Making choices that allow us to focus on family, faith, fitness and friends. 
  • Loving God, others and ourselves. 
  • Exercising our minds bodies and spirits, often outdoors. 

In doing so, we are continuing to do something that I think is vital in training up young children to have happy faith-filled hearts: We are surrounding ourselves with good people who also know and love God through scheduling our lives to foster friendships with such folks. For, while I definitely do not feel every friendship needs to be based upon similar religious views, I do think it benefits children to grow in faith alongside a significant portion of their friends.

At the Blue Hills
 How do you promote friendships among your young children and folks of similar faith?

An SPD Connection

Continuing to honor my commitment to making a connection to Sensory processing Disorder in every post I write this month in honor of Sensory Processing Disorder Awareness Month,  One of the reason we chose to homeschool in the first place, I would like to touch on three things:

  • When our oldest child was less than two years old, my husband turned to me and suggested that he was going to be "one of those kids", a child who my teaching colleagues would not understand and, therefore, a child who might struggle in traditional school settings.  At the time, we did not know our son had sensory issues.  We just recognized that he might not be a good fit for our school systems.  Thus began our foray into homeschooling, which has turned out to be a life-changing decision, which we are so grateful to have been led to.  Truly, if our oldest had not always been "different", our family's life as we know it would not be as rewarding and blessed as it is.  I am not saying all homeschoolers have "different" kids, and I am not saying all "different" kids should be homeschooled.  What I am saying is that our oldest child's SPD was the catalyst for a family decision to homeschool and I cannot imagine a better choice for us.
  • As I have mentioned in previous posts, getting regular sustained doses of "heavy work" helps regulate our son's sensory system.  Hiking is fantastic for this!  The climbing, jumping, navigating over, under and around things...  It all works into providing sensory diet experiences for our son that our entire family can enjoy.  That said, there was a time when long stretches of outdoor time were almost over-stimulating for our son.  Or perhaps the transition from outside to inside was difficult.  Whatever the case was, our son would enjoy hikes, but then have challenging periods after we got back home.  I am so glad this is not the case anymore.
  • Although we have always chosen to participate in family, community and homeschool group activities, we have not always done so with smiles on everyone's faces.  Until quite recently, our oldest's struggles with sensory issues, social skills and impulsiveness often resulted in combinations of unease, meltdowns, embarrassment or danger for him, us and those around us.  These days, participation is far more pleasant.   Through consistent use of strategies, large doses of love and learned patience, our ability to enjoy (and be!) good company has vastly improved.  
The disorder of our oldest's sensory system has brought challenges and required accommodations, yet it has also proven that hope is not unfounded.  Through God's infinite grace, and intentional choices that our family makes, we have come to a much better place than we were several years ago.  Good company, I think, only strengthens our efforts.  It is with great thanksgiving that I reflect on the friendship we were able to share this week.

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