As number 7 out of 8 children in a blended family, my son Kaleb had a great challenge ahead of him. With 2 older brothers that were “over achievers” and an older sister in the same category he had enough of a challenge ahead of him. To add to this eclectic mix his older siblings had all been home schooled for at least 1 year in their schooling if not all. 3 of the older boys had participated in sports and one the other was into extreme sports prior to a nerve injury that left him with a permanent disability that would rule his life. With the other sister excelling in mathematics and having a perfect score on her GED he felt that he had a lot to live up to.
As if this weren’t enough his younger sibling was born with a rare condition and required a massive amount of attention in the beginning years with many many hospital visits and at the drop of a hat an Emergency Room run our lives took on a revolving door, and Kaleb was rarely in that doorway.
Struggling in school from an early age Kaleb suffered from a learning disability that the school system has been hesitant to diagnose. He tried very hard but did not really seem to get far at times. Repetition was a key to his learning. It took several years to practice this concept and work through a learning plan for Kaleb.
We had to navigate the school system which had a great homeschooling program that we have been able to take full advantage of. By working closely with them we have been able to keep him at level in school though at times it has been a real uphill battle.
Spending some time discussing what he wants to be when he grows up had led us to a plan of action for his education. My son loves to cook and wants to be a chef. We have incorporated this into his education with cooking shows and the required mathematical skills for cooking.
To expand on this interest he is working on a recipe book where he has to write out the instructions for each recipe as well as the measurements and cooking times required. He also has to cook the family meal at least one day per week.
With the youngest in school now for Kindergarten we are spending more time on Kaleb’s schooling and working closely with him to keep him caught up in his schooling.
In a few years we will re evaluate the youngest being in a public school and bringing her back home for home schooling. For now, she is in a great elementary school in our neighborhood. Something that Kaleb didn’t have when he began in school.
Hopefully by implementing a different goal and working towards a cooking major, Kaleb will find his niche and feel fulfilled in his education. All children do not learn the same or as easily as others and success is not always measured in a letter grade or a high score.
Being in the shadow of your siblings can be a very insurmountable challenge for a young child. But it is not impossible.