His sister, Princess Marlena, is in college now. What a ride for our African beauty.
His oldest brother is in the work force making bank.
His other older brother is rocking 6th grade and flipping across the SE USA, aiming high.
But he, he is in 3rd grade following goals and objectives designed by me and his IEP team. His academic days are filled with modifications for everything including assistance with shoe tying and buttoning. The overall goal is for him to do his best, be his best, feel loved and valued at all times and ...
for happiness to knock every morning and joy to tuck him in every night. That's it. Let's get this kid through each and every day knowing that he is doing a bang up job at being Shawnie.
So far, 3rd grade has been pivotal. He has homework that is enjoyable to do. He can read like a rock star, is acing his spelling tests, accurately adding with number lines and touch-points, and he's also counting coins. His memory is powerful, so often only needs to hear something once and he'll know it for a lifetime.
A few weeks ago Marlena's "college" had a parade and she asked the whole family to attend. The boys had never been to the campus. We arrived, parked and found our spot for the parade. Students on floats strolled by, one after the other, tossing candy to the children. Shawn and Asher collected enough candy to fund Halloween for 3 years. The music was fun and the crowd was lively. Marlena was on cloud nine to have us there. A courtyard was set up with children's activities and food trucks circled about. We never stepped even one foot inside of a building.
A few days later, Shawn begins dreaming big about college, saying he wants to go. He even came and told me "good-bye" one morning with his backpack on. He said he was going to college and then he cried a little when I told him he couldn't actually leave all by himself - which he apparently really wanted to do. All he knows of college is flying candy, dance music and food trucks. It's the first time in a long while that my heart has hurt for him. First, that his bubble will burst some day when he realizes college involves books, and second, that he might not get to go. (Yes - I know there are opportunities now and so yes, we pray!) But in the meanwhile, because it is his current, constant jam, we use this dream to our advantage. "Shawn, eat your broccoli so you can grow big and go to college" and "Shawn, big boys in college have to make their own bed, so get crackin!" These things motivate him to work miracles.
Shawn's education team sends a homework packet home every Monday and we work on it a little each night. There are always 5 new spelling words each week, 4 math sheets and some books to read. The spelling word packet is basic. On Mondays he writes his words. On Tuesdays he puts them in alphabetical order (with much assistance). Wednesday he writes sentences with his words and Thursdays are for a practice test.
Tuesdays are my least favorite. He doesn't seem to understand alphabetical order at all, but he acts like he does. Shawn is the king of agreeable language - saying "yeah" and "Uh huh" all the time, inserting himself into conversations like a wee wise old man, with appropriate nods and timely laughter. If all else fails, he is an incredible actor. Every Tuesday it's the same thing ... I point to the Alphabet Guide (abcdefg.....) and we talk about order, with A being first and Z being last. I take all of his spelling words and I underline the first letter of each word and we try to determine which is first, next, etc. He always guesses wrong. Always. Because, well, he's guessing.
Last night (Tuesday) Shawn was at the table doing his math homework, successfully adding up coins to their correct amount. Joe and I were just a few feet away in the kitchen (getting in each others way) and I told Shawn that Daddy would help him with the alphabetical order homework because I was leaving to pick up Asher from gymnastics. As I refilled my water bottle, Joe said "hey, come look at this". Without any assistance, Shawn put his words into perfect alphabetical order. We didn't even know that he had begun the assignment.