It’s been a while, so let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room: I cut my hair.
That was a year ago now, right after my son’s graduation party, and around the time that I closed down my blog and ran away from social media. Still, I see people and the first thing they say is, “You cut your hair,” and I want to respond: “Yup, and that’s just what you can see, sister.”
This past year has been full of more change than my car ashtray.
Where Are They Now?
To keep this brief – my oldest, 19, went away to college. My youngest, now 16, started dual enrollment at community college. That sort of marked my retirement as a homeschool mom, but only like 85-87 percent.
I have stayed off of social media, and I don’t miss it. I do miss YOU terribly. All of you who let me spew my feelings into this space for years, and each of you who made me feel like maybe my goof-ups and insecurities had some meaning.
I would tell you about what I thought was some great homeschool failing, and you were there, saying, “YUP. It’s OK.”
And then I grew a little and I was telling you, “Yup. It’s OK,” and then before I knew it, my oldest was moving into an apartment.
He owns a microwave and 50 percent of a rug that he bought with his roommate.
He was accepted into his major of choice (it’s a thing at his school – they are a little fancy-pants 🎩 about some things, but I will tell you that his dorm bathroom last year was DISGUSTING), and so one more time for the folks in the back:
Yes, messy, imperfect homeschooling works, if your goal is to make sure your kids can keep going, even when they are 180 miles away.
(This is the furthest I have personally been able to test this, but I know A LOT of homeschoolers, and their kids are growing beards and becoming people who SAVE LIVES, and traveling to Argentina and otherwise #followingtheirdreams.)
And I know their mamas, and I know they were scared too. Frequently.
Just like us!
Loving Learning – That Worked Out Well 👍
I’ll also tell you about some feedback my daughter got from her professors after her first semester. They both commented on her enthusiasm for learning.
So this amazing person who used to insist on wearing rainbow dresses and tights and 14 barrettes and 3 ponytails and often went to the grocery store with me dressed as a cheetah with eyeliner drawn-on whiskers, nose and “cat freckles,” was learning not just philosophy and history – she was learning note-taking and how to write papers and how to take tests and about 800 other life skills, and still, both of her professors noted that she seemed to be enjoying it.
You would have thought that THAT finally would be enough for me to walk away like a blackjack dealer, flipping my hands, effectively saying, “Look how done I am with The Worrying.”
Except for one pesky thing.
Last year we found out that all three of us have ADHD.
Yup, All Three of Us (and probably one of our cats) Have ADHD
It went like this:
My son suspected he had ADHD. He is the boy who wouldn’t sit on the line. And when he started dual enrollment classes in person (he initially took classes remotely when the school was shut-down early-pandemic) he started to notice a few things.
Sometimes, it felt hard to focus. Sometimes, the ticking clock made him a little antsy.
He was 17 by this point, and he could sit still, but sometimes his brain was filled with possible song lyrics or the teacher seemed to be talking … very … slowly …
There were other things, and so I talked to the college department that handles accommodations for stuff like ADHD.
(Younger me flipped out that even our local community college has a whole DEPARTMENT set up for kids with learning differences, anxiety, depression, physical limitations, etc.)
>>If I would have known this earlier, it would have made a lot of difference, so I’m telling you now.<<
The person I spoke with at the college gave me a list of names of doctors who diagnose ADHD. We found one covered by our insurance!
It was meant to be! We made an appointment, and my son met with the doctor, and came out an hour later.
“Yes, it seems like ADHD,” Dr. Schmoctor said.
Huh, I thought. I feel like there should be a way to know …
So I called the school and explained that the doctor said “it seemed like ADHD,” and they dug a little and found out he was a doctor of ministry. Maybe the Focus on the Family magazines in the waiting room should have alerted me to this, but I’d brought a book.
“Our list may be a little outdated,” the nice person from the school said.
My son explained that the doctor (of ministry) had given him his “seems like” diagnosis by asking my son a series of 7 questions in a book including, “do you ever misplace things?” and “do you ever have a hard time keeping things tidy?”
I joked then that by those standards, all of us had ADHD, especially our cat Pablo.
(Don’t buy that book it’s crap, is what I’m saying.)
Still Getting Diagnosed
And so we began an exhaustive search for someone who could actually diagnose ADHD, and who was covered by insurance or at least affordable. We found a nearby university that does testing starting at $1,200, and I made the appointment.
But I continued searching, (this was my summer), and eventually found someone local, more affordable, and with medical degrees and testing practices that are acknowledged by the AMA and therefore schools.
(I respect the man with the degree in ministry. I feel a little skeptical about the book he uses to diagnose “Seems-Like ADHD.” If anything, I think he was still operating under the early 2000s stereotypes of ADHD – just like I was. [More on that in this second post in this series.])
The point is my son ended up taking a number of tests, including the Tova, and was officially diagnosed with ADHD.
And all this time, I was getting my learn on.
Researching Like a Library Ninja
If you’ve seen that meme about worried moms being able to research like they’re in the CIA, worried homeschool moms are the same, except they know how to use the library super well, and have been learning about, collecting, processing and distilling random information for so long, we’re like if James Bond, Sherlock Holmes and Adrian Monk had a kid and that kid had a COLLECTION of clipboards, notebooks, colorful pens, sticky notes and rolly carts.
So ping, ping, ping – of course my daughter probably had ADHD, and we should get her tested too.
And then when she was diagnosed, the doctor looked at me, folding her little hands together – serious, but kind – and said:
“Well. This all comes from somewhere.”
And that is where I will leave you for now, friend. The three of us have ADHD, and I have a lot I finally want to share about that.