We have worked for many years now on creating a home that is healthy, and absent of dysfunction. It has taken a lot of time and effort, and much trial and error to figure out how to structure our home life in a way that pleases God and pleases us. We are working to overcome dysfunctional family generational processes. As we’ve moved through the years, charting our own course, I have seen the hand of God. We found for us that it is much simpler to make the big changes needed, when we aren’t tied down to someone else’s education agenda for our kids. Truly it is a daily struggle. We are still far from where we need to be. Nevertheless, I am certain that for now the most likely way for us to attain that healthier reality is to move forward on our present course. Brain Balance has moved us forward in an accelerated way, towards the kind of family we want to be, physically and otherwise. I am so thankful for the way it has helped us to increase our hope. Our kids’ futures have never looked brighter to me.
I’ve mentioned before that we are homeschoolers. We decided that from August 1st through the end of the program, Brain Balance is our homeschool curriculum. That may seem unconventional or unwise to some of my readers. We subscribe to a number of holistic educational philosophies. We don’t replicate public school environments and learning modes in our home. Utah Code gives homeschoolers a large amount of latitude to determine the specifics of how, when, and what they teach their kids, provided they are receiving instruction in the same subjects that the public schools teach. We are thankful for the way the codes are written, and are active in preserving the God-given right for everyone to oversee their child’s education. One question that comes up is “Why don’t you worry about whether or not your kids are ‘falling behind’ grade level in school subjects?” The answer to that is simple: there are many ways to teach a child in the designated subject areas, none of which prohibit allowing that child to proceed at his own pace. If you teach a child to love learning just for the sake of learning, they will quickly “catch up” with their peers when they are ready. Research has shown that homeschoolers tend to be at, or slightly behind their peers in the early elementary school age groups, but then jump ahead of many peers around the fifth or sixth grades. My only concern is that they are progressing at their own level, and not standing still. For us there exists a more important objective than academic parity with peers right now.
[ej-oo-keyt] ed·u·cat·ed, ed·u·cat·ing.verb (used with object)1. to develop the faculties and powers of (a person) by teaching, instruction, or schooling. Synonyms:instruct, school, drill, indoctrinate.2. to qualify by instruction or training for a particular calling, practice, etc.; train: to educate someone for law.3. to provide schooling or training for; send to school.4. to develop or train (the ear, taste, etc.): to educate one’s palate to appreciate fine food.
5. to inform: to educate oneself about the best course of action.
With Dash nearing the end of his three-month program at the Brain Balance Center, I have been reflecting on what we all have learned, and how he and the rest of us have changed for the better. His final assessment on his physical and academic skill levels, will happen later this week, so that report will be coming. What is not found in the progress reports from the center is a record of how he and his siblings have developed in other important areas over these last three months. This growth has been facilitated by the physical changes to our nutrition and environment, but aren’t limited to physical gains. I look at it as a boot camp of sorts, which has been preparing us with the ability to learn (in whatever individual courses are chosen) more effectively and efficiently in future.
So here is a quick list of important things we have learned, and some of the good things we are seeing. These may seem random, but when taken as a whole, they paint a happy picture of progress for me.
- We’ve had our iPad since Big B was three. A couple of weeks ago he memorized my passcode for the first time ever, on the first time he watched me punch it in. Now I have to hide it from all of our kids.
- Dash blew up today at Big B, and was sent to his room. When he rejoined the family, he headed straight outside to mow his half of the lawn without being asked.
- Freckles mows the lawn super fast now, and does a great job with it.
- Big B sat quietly and attentively through the whole hour-long Sacrament Meeting a couple of weeks ago. First. Time. Ever.
- Freckles decided to pick up his Bible yesterday and read through the first ten chapters of Genesis in one sitting. A kid who *hates* reading.
- Sparkle, Freckles, and Dash have all learned how to create meals for the entire family that are in compliance with our strict diet. Favorites: egg salad lettuce wraps, waffles and breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs with honey lemon tea, honey lemon carrots, steamed broccoli, curry chicken and posho, homemade chili, Brazilian beans and rice, tuna salad on corn chips, sliced apples or pears from our trees with almond butter, carrot bisque, toasted pumpkin seeds.
- Sparkle, Freckles and Dash have carried out recipe experiments with Mom, in order to find the best treat recipes that are within dietary restrictions. (Brownies, waffles, pancakes, cookies and muffins have each undergone at least five iterations of modifications before arriving upon the perfect formula.)
- Baby Blues reminds us every day to do our exercises.
- Baby Blues looks at food labels and pretends to read and tells us whether something is gluten-free or not.
- All five kids took swimming lessons in the month of September and made huge strides in their progress.
- We have come to love creating meals together from raw, whole ingredients.
- Dash has read more classics in the last three months than he has in all of his previous years of life.
- Sparkle has seen great improvements in her ability to adopt new foods into her diet, including green salads. Another big first!
- Big B has started singing all of the songs he knows out loud, throughout the day. He remembers the lyrics really well, and has a great singing voice. This is a first for him.
- Sparkle, Dash and Freckles have all seen improvements since September in the balance, construction and neatness of their handwriting.
- All of our children are developing healthier physiques and enjoy physical activity more than they did before.
- Dash just tonight picked up one of his airplane models that has been sitting in his closet. While he used to be overwhelmed with the undertaking, he completed the first model in just a few hours.
- Baby Blues and Big B have been absorbed for at least a couple of weeks now, with turning anything they can find into a “Beyblade.” The objects vary from kitchen measuring cups with lemons placed inside them, to halves of stacking balls turned up on ends, and from the glass finials of a curtain rod, to small food storage containers.
- We have come to enjoy washing our dishes together by hand as a family, since the dishwasher broke in August.
- All of the kids, — even Sparkle — agreed that instead of going trick-or-treating on Halloween, they wanted to do a Beyblade tournament party with our family, and then watch a Halloween movie, complete with City Cakes Bakery treats that fit within our diet. Hooray!
- All of the kids have consistently declined treats at scouting and church events, if they didn’t fit with our diet.
- Church members have approached us to ask us what they can do to provide treats that our kids can eat. Community support, double yay!