I think I have been apprehensive about writing about our recent decision to homeschool because I don’t want to be defensive about it. I realize it’s a decision that will not sit well with some people who I know and love – and so my first instinct is to sell it. Defend my decision so everyone else will agree with it. But the fact of the matter is that selling my choices is not my job. I believe with all my heart that this is the right choice for us for now. I hope and pray that with time our friends and family will come to see that this choice made things better for our family and not worse.
Nonetheless, not in the hope of selling my story, but rather in an effort to share my struggles and sort my thoughts, here is our homeschooling journey, continued.
I homeschooled Blake in Kindergarten. I taught him how to read, and how to write his letters and numbers. When he started first grade he was ahead of his class and his handwriting was out-of this world beautiful. Last year, in fourth grade, his grades started to slip a little. He went from being an A student to a B student. The B’s were not a big deal to me, but I began to see that he was losing hope and interest. He was beginning to feel like some subjects were too hard for him, and others were horribly boring.
Too hard? When I homeschool Blake I want to encourage him that the subjects we will cover are not too hard, that with some creativity and determination even the most daunting obstacles can be tackled.
Boring? Learning is fun – or it can be. We get inspired to look deeper into something when it sparks a certain button in our heads or hearts. When we homeschool, I hope that Blake will learn to find that button again and be brave enough to dust it off and embark onto those trails down which his heart is leading him – and hopefully he will remember that learning is indeed fun.
This year Blake is in 5th grade and his grades have gone from okay to poor. I’ve seen my very capable and bright child bring home C’s and D’s. Somewhere along his public school journey he has come to believe that if it is too hard, it’s not worth doing. So we will study great inventors, discoverers, thinkers, and hopefully he will see that failing is part of the process, and it is not the end. I want him to learn that when we push past the failures and the tasks that are most difficult for us, there is wisdom to be gained and joy to be had.
I will ask him to be brave and strong. This next year will be challenging for him – he won’t be able to slip under the radar like he does at school now. We will have to work hard on some subjects he has been ignoring. I will ask him to grade himself from time to time. I hope to have the chance to tell him that he is smarter than he thinks. I hope to be a sort of coach to him, encouraging him, letting him know that his best is all that is needed. I hope to let him know how much I appreciate his originality. I don’t expect him to change who is – he will probably never like to write stories for instance – but I want him to fully embrace who God has made him to be.
This year will be challenging for me too . . . I am letting go of a dream for now. A very real dream of finishing nursing school that I’ve had for years. I will let my dream slip into my Makers hands and trust Him to care for my heart like only He can. I am grateful that He is gentle when I need him to be.
Hopefully my being brave and following God’s direction will be some sort of example to my children. You think?