Then and Now
(I wrote the below some years ago prior to Owen entering middle school when he was regularly going to Mrs. Brown’s House every other Wednesday. We live 42 miles away. We worked with the school, and let them know Owen would be leaving early on those days. Each time Owen was assigned a new Aide at school, they came with us for a session…..)
Through a friend, I learned of Mrs. Terry Brown. I went to a workshop to hear her speak about her program. While my son was in treatment for Leukemia, we had to find ways for him to learn in addition to a school setting.
My friend assured me Terry would be willing to consider teaching Owen and she was right. Taking the good days with the bad days, Terry was patient and kind.
Under Mrs. Brown’s watchful and caring eye, Owen became a reader and a writer. While it is evident that all children “love Mrs. Brown’s house” and can’t wait to go each time, I can say that as a Mom, I love it too. Mrs. Brown gives me the confidence, guidance, and determination to apply her program across many different learning platforms.
Making books, using flash cards, playing question games, spelling, reading, and math are all of Owen’s favorite activities.
Each time I wonder whether or not there will be a next step (“Will he ever draw a picture independently?”), a next phase (“Will he ever read a book that is not a Mrs. Brown’s book?”), an ability to push beyond what is currently being accomplished (“Will he ever do a worksheet book on his own?”), the next level of effort appears.
With a big, kind heart, a strong listening ear, and a sense of what is right for each child, Mrs. Brown has impacted and changed the lives of countless children and their families. We are so grateful for her!
Owen is in high school and just finished his freshman year. He earned 30 credits toward a high school diploma. Owen is a reader and a writer. He read Animal Farm and wrote an essay for his Final. He passed his first of 2 semesters of Algebra, required for a high school diploma.
After 11 years, we no longer go to Mrs. Brown’s house every other Wednesday, but we still find time to go.
You see, Mrs. Brown’s House is more than a Program, and Terry is more than a Teacher. We go there not only to learn, but to engage with Mrs. Brown, both as a learner and as a Mom. We observe and we learn. We see our children react and respond to a different teacher, a different style of teaching, strategies we can implement ourselves. The takeaways are continued building blocks in working with our children and school teams. This foundational adventure does not differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, smart and smarter. It is the process of learning and creating an environment for all to be successful at learning. Learners in all environments are asked to read, write, and answer questions. They are asked for facts and opinions. They are asked to focus and be good listeners. These traits are taught by Mrs. Brown, required in school and in life.
Owen’s Teachers and Therapists heard Terry speak and became familiar with her Program. They implemented the ideas they learned about when working with children with intellectual and learning disabilities. When they saw Owen’s abilities, they wanted to know how and when it all started:
He completed Algebra 1 his freshman year in high school. This is how that started:
In the end, it is about the journey. What we learn as Moms and as Teachers. It is about what our children learn, and how they learn. It is about the takeaways and what we do with them. Our children will go through life being exposed to many, many things. Mrs. Brown’s House is about learning and the journey. The takeaways reach far beyond reading, writing, and math. It is an opportunity to make of it what you wish for your child in so many different ways!