This column is probably something that you never would have expected to see on a homeschooling site. You may even be wondering just what does this title mean. Homeschool Touches, you might ask? And just what is this Dark Silence this woman is talking about and how do you homeschool through it? Well, I must admit that this is totally different, but I am different. I am a mother who homeschooled her children while I just happened to be deaf and blind. Yes, deaf and blind is what I said. I have been deaf since a young child, but my vision was progressive until I became totally blind over ten years ago. Touch is how I perceive the world. I live my life through touch. Touch was also the way I had to teach my children. It was difficult, but it was still a joy to be with my sons and helping them to grow to be Godly men of integrity. Now, I teach other children. Well, I had been a public school and private school teacher for over 25 years. Then I began homeschooling my children after elementary school and soon other people asked me to teach their children. Some of them were Special Needs like my own two boys. I even teach a couple of DeafBlind children like myself and help adults get training and assistive technology. Touches were the key to my communication and to my perceiving their needs and providing for those needs.
I will try to tell you how I live with my DeafBlindness and how I teach other children despite being DeafBlind. We will also talk about how to teach a child who has hearing and vision loss. Through these discussions, I am sure you will learn a lot about life and homeschooling. Now I am sure you want to know about the “Dark Silence”. You may guess that it is my life of living in darkness and silence, but you can’t comprehend what it is like until you have lived it. I wrote a poem a few years ago that might help you to get a glimpse. I hope it can help you better understand me and the others who live in the Dark Silence.
The Glass Pane
The sounds of the world were muted and confusing,
But the girl showed no concern.
She had her pane of glass,
The world she watched and loved.
Faces came and went
While muted sounds played in the wind.
But unseen things darkened the pane.
Of the growing smudges of dark,
The girl showed only slight concern.
The noises of the world had grown duller
But the light and colors held her mostly unaware.
As that pane became almost dark
Save a small not so circular area in the center,
The girl turned woman pressed against the pane
Like that excited child to see what she could see.
But the noises were long gone now.
The light grew dimmer like ever-layering strips of paint.
Shadows fleeted past instead.
Hands reached out closely
Teaching a language of what used to be seen.
A new world shone brightly
When hands close, spoke.
As the light grew smaller and dimmer
Touch was needed to “hear” the hands speak.
Fewer hands were found then
As the woman reached, straining to hear.
But as the world pulled away,
The woman soon realized
When the pane had darkened,
Her world had become a dark, silent box.
When shouting brought none closer,
The woman pulled back within her box.
Alone and untouched,
The woman now craves the touch and
She dreams of the clear glass pane.