School has started again or will soon for most students across the planet. The students in my school are no exception. I have been busy scoring diagnostic tests, setting up curriculums, counseling homeschool parents, and so much more. Many have asked me how I do it. Simple is the answer. I have an excellent staff that goes overboard helping me day to day, assistive technology that allows me to still do many things independently, and a loving Father in Heaven who gives me the strength to do it all through the Dark Silence. That is the recipe for success.
My staff does endless hours of work setting up new students, counseling parents on curriculum choices, instructional techniques, validating grades, creating transcripts, posting transcripts with the state system, and more. They do all of this as volunteers. They receive no money at all, and most do not have any students in the school anymore to receive any slight compensation that way. My tuition is very low for a year. We don’t make a profit because that is not our intention. Wynfield Christian Academy is a ministry meant to serve homeschoolers and regular students in service to our Lord. My staff has felt the need to help me in that service. You couldn’t find better people anywhere. They love teaching their children, helping others to educate their children, and serving the Lord.
My staff does so much of the work, but I love doing what I can independently, as well. With a braille display or slate and stylus, I use accessible technology to grade student work over the computer using curriculum that is mostly readable on my braille display or print out work with my embosser. I only want to use Christian curriculum, so finding accessible curriculum is very difficult, if not impossible. Christian curriculum is even more difficult. I have found Alpha Omega’s Switched On Online to be the only accessible Christian curriculum so far, though, maybe this won’t be the case for long. I also can send “lectures” for problems through emails or use Google Talk or Apple’s iMessages to have conversations with my students regarding their work. I have even used Facebook to communicate with students, current and past, through our Wynfield Christian Academy page. I realize some have reservations about this, but I maintain an “above board” approach and use others to monitor the page for the safety of all. I strictly use this to help maintain professional connections to evaluate the school’s effectiveness as required by accreditation, and to pray and give inspiration to all my students. I can’t do that through regular phone calls or letters, so this method fits my abilities. During face to face meetings, I use my iPhone, wireless keyboard, and braille display to instruct or monitor testing. I always have a hearing/sighted person with me, but I work as independently as possible with the student. I also get the student involved helping me as much as possible. When we do activities, I get their help cutting out or making the tools. No matter how young, they can help me teach them in some way. They have fun doing it, and they learn even better this way. The students and parents are often amazed at how much I know about what is going on around me. I can feel the vibrations when they walk in the room. I feel the breeze of their movements in the chair. I can feel when they laugh or grumble through the changes in air of the room. I can feel their level of attention when I touch their hands. I interpret many things from such simple vibrations. It all works together somehow to tell me how to help them.
For me, none of this is possible without the one within whose shadow I stand. For me, it is Jesus, the Master teacher, who gives me the strength and the guidance to continue when so many others told me that I could never teach again, that I could never work again. I was told by principals that it could never be done. I was told by some parents that I could never successfully teach their children. That is their right, but others were willing to take a chance. I lean on Him daily and ask Him to show me the way. The ideas still flow. The methods continue to develop. I even manage to find the tools I need to do it all without sight and sound. Jesus knew what I needed before I knew. As always, Jesus provides what is needed. He provides that strength when I feel all is lost, and my heart wants to give in to those who still say, “It can’t be done.”
With all of these ingredients, the recipe for success is found. This is true for anyone, of course. We all can find our way to do the appointed task (whatever it is) with Christ guiding the way and providing what we need when we need it. For me, it is homeschool touches through the Dark Silence.