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Thank you, Cheryl! Thank you, Memoria!

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    Thank you, Cheryl! Thank you, Memoria!

    Dears Cheryl and Memoria Press:

    I have three children, ages 2, 4, and 6. Our 6-year-old and 4-year-old both have receptive language disorders; our 6-year-old did not begin speaking until about a year ago and, although his speech has come a LONG way, he is still relatively unintelligible to outsiders without some careful listening. Since the DSM has changed, we cannot classify either child as PDD-NOS anymore in the strict sense, but that is where they best fit before the change in terminology. Both 4 and 6 are right on time developmentally (running, walking, balance, shooting a basketball, etc.) are very affectionate, social, and have ZERO health issues (an immense blessing!). They even eat and sleep well. But my 6-year-old in particular has some fine motor challenges (he is just now becoming proficient at buttoning and zipping his pants and his handwriting is... sweet! But pretty poor.).

    We did a loose version of homeschooling last year as his attention and willingness to sit for "school" were limited -- and because he truly does not understand many, even simple, sentences. (Our "school day" runs best on a series of timers for each subject. Short, varied lessons work best. The total of our homeschool day ran about one consecutive hour, after which he needed a nap.) And frankly, last year was challenging because I was not prepared with good resources that I felt were Quality and his maturity was not yet at a level where he could build on and adequately appreciate what he was learning.

    We had been pursuing a Charlotte Mason-style education (similar to the Classical model, but a bit different systematically and more free-form). However, since Mason was an educator in the late 19th century, her advice for parents with struggling learners was sparse. I had joined a Charlotte Mason online forum with moms of special needs children who have pieced together their own resources and ideas to create their own unique curriculums, but the main challenge was, and still is, what kind of curriculum would work best for MY children? What works for one mom's children (with different needs) might not work for mine. In the mire of endless discussion on what works best for which need, I was starting to feel overwhelmed. And the "solution" was to read all 6 (S.I.X.) volumes of Mason's philosophy on education and prepare materials and lesson plans based on that, tailored to each of my children. (Are you kidding? I have three little children! And we just moved three times in the last four months!) Combine that with the absolute DESERT of resources available for homeschooling, struggling learners, and my panic that we were losing opportunities as I "stalled for time"... I was close to a mental break.

    Every homeschooling parent has the overwhelming responsibility to educate their children, whose formation relies primarily upon their guidance, but much more so with a special needs family. These factors raised my stress to a level that was, frankly, beginning to become unmanageable. I needed "school in a box"; guided and developed by someone who had gone before me and knew what it was like to educate a struggling learner and who had developed a curriculum that anticipated their unique challenges. But all the "school in a box" programs I'd researched were not a good fit for the beautiful, rich, quality education my husband and I want for our children. And nearly none of the online homeschool curriculum providers even had the vaguest mention of "special needs curriculum". The closest I came was being assigned a "counselor" -- literally one person who "might" be able to assist me over email to tailor the K curriculum to our children (amidst all the other work she had to do for the company). My children are incredibly bright -- a surprising fact to some -- and very curious. But they NEED HELP to assimilate and maximize what they CAN do while assisting and integrating what they CANNOT.

    I was up against a high, hard wall. So I prayed. And I found you! (Cue the happy, relieved TEARS.) I began reading "Simply Classical" and almost the same day ordered the Level C lesson plans for our school year. We already have many, many resources that can be substituted for the recommended test books. But those we do not have, we will certainly order. And next year, if all goes well, we will happily order the next level curriculum for our school year.

    Do you know what a MIRACLE this feels like to me and to our family? Thank you from the bottom of my heart. (And tell Michelle thank you -- I know this was primarily her vision from the beginning -- something that, as a mom, truly touches my heart and encourages me for my own children's future desires and dreams.)

    I maintain that most struggling learners are not homeschooled precisely because so many parents are afraid to try it. But... Who knows your children better than you? Who knows their gifts, aspirations, weaknesses and hearts better? Who can better model holiness and guide them to the Lord? Will they flourish better under the tutelage of strangers who do not have the same investment of love as we, their parents? REALLY?!

    We CAN home educate our children -- we just need RESOURCES and SUPPORT! Our children have exactly the same right to a beautiful education as any other child. They should not be denied it because of fear or discrimination. To the contrary:

    1 Corinthians 12:15-
    15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, JUST AS HE WANTED THEM TO BE. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

    21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are INDISPENSABLE, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with SPECIAL HONOR. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with SPECIAL MODESTY, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving GREATER HONOR to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be NO DIVISION in the body, but that its parts should have EQUAL CONCERN FOR EACH OTHER. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

    Thank you for making it possible for a Classical Education to be indispensable for struggling learners.


    Richmond, VA
    Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
    Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
    Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
    Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

    “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
    ~Pope St John Paul II

    Thank you, Anita! This is beautiful.

    Such thoughts help us press forward, as we work on the next levels.

    Thank you -

    Cheryl (& Tanya & everyone at Memoria Press)

    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child

    NEW Simply Classical Curriculum

    Upcoming Simply Classical speaking sessions:
    FPEA Florida Nov 2014
    GHC Texas Feb 2015
    GHC South Carolina Mar 2015
    GHC Ohio Apr 2015
    FPEA Florida May 2015
    GHC California Jun 2015
    MP Kentucky early July 2015
    CCLE mid-July 2015

    "The senate-chamber is not open to all; the army, too, is scrupulous in choosing those whom it admits to toil and danger. But a noble mind is free to all men." Seneca