Saturday, January 24, 2015

How it all started for me...

I really never intended to homeschool. I went to public school growing up, K-12th grade! And I went to good schools. I probably only had a couple lousy teachers, and they weren't bad enough to turn me off of learning... they mostly just left me where I was. I had several wonderful teachers who saw life in me, encouraged me in my strengths, and pushed me past my weaknesses. It's amazing that a good teacher can have such a lasting impact on a little one's life - it makes me so thankful to homeschool, knowing that my child will have someone who really cares about them will be teaching them.

My oldest son is Asher. He's a bit of a tough one, not insanely stubborn, but kind of. He's smarter than he should be - always has been. He is like a mini-adult. Don't get me wrong, he is silly like any young child, and we don't give him adult freedoms or responsibilities, but there's something in the way he talks & reasons that is just different. It's really amazing & inspiring to see. We definitely butt heads often, but so far, I have seen God give me the wisdom to help him through his trials and witnessed God give him the grace to forgive me when I fail. I have to work so hard to just be pleasant after a confrontation, but I'm seeing every day how we both get confrontive when the other person gets confrontive and believe it or not, I'm learning.

When Asher was about 3.5 years old, he had already learned all his letters & could count really well. He started asking what things said, so I thought I would work on teaching him a little bit. I knew a lot of women who were in the midst of homeschooling multiple children, so I asked around for a good beginning to read program. My friend Dar had an old copy of "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy  Lessons." We started at the beginning and the first few lessons were great. Then something happened that was pretty typical. Asher didn't want me to be in charge! Imagine that! I already said he was stubborn... but he really did not want me to know something he didn't already know. Crazy, right? Yeah.

So I started thinking about it & we took a little break. But as he got closer to 4, he just kept asking to read. I kept thinking that I didn't want to fight with him, I didn't want learning to read to become a power struggle, and mostly, I didn want to start him off hating to learn. As my husband & I talked about it, we saw that this was not an issue with learning, ability or desire, but rather, pride. Asher was only 3! He needed to see that mama & papa are in charge. We pretty much gave him an ultimatum: If you want to learn to read, you will do your lessons without talking back and without quitting... Or, if you want to wait & not learn yet, that is fine too.

The struggles were just beginning, but we saw hope. After the first 20 lessons, he seemed to figure out that it was okay for his mom to know more than him. He's very sensitive, so I had to learn how to approach him without making him feel bad for what he didn't know. Once he saw that I was there to help him, not point out his faults, he became much more receptive. Once he saw that there was not another option besides obeying & respecting his mom, he decided to fall in line ;) It really was a wonderful thing to see & it became obvious that he was enjoying the process & the rewards of learning to read.

Asher has since proved to be this way - his pride makes it hard for him to listen to me. I have to be very intentional with being approchable, supportive & not lose my cool when he is being difficult. It's been such a growing process for both of us - not always fun, but definitely worthwhile.

Even after our first reading success, I still did not intend to homeschool. I actually enrolled him into a school just a mile from where we lived. I went to the orientation expecting to feel one of two ways... Either "yeah, this will be great!" or "no way, this just won't work." But I was still incredibly wI shy-washy. I had a good chat with my dear friend who has a son exactly the age between my two boys, and she had found an organization called Classical Conversations. I read up on it a bit, chatted with the director & put it on the back burner for a bit... after all, I was going to be having my 3rd child  within a few weeks!

4 weeks after my daughter was born, there was a mock day for the CC campus I was looking at attending. I showed up, fell in love & went for it. Well, mostly. I still had another wishy-washy couple weeks. I didn't want to homeschool out of fear, so that was the first thing I had to get clear in my heart & mind. My husband was a gereat voice of reason during this time. When I saw how excited he was about it, I had no doubt. It's the best feeling in the world to have your spouse tell you that they think you are capable of giving your children a good education - it might be the best compliment I have ever received!

So here we are, into year two. Lots of ups & downs, now schooling both boys & wrangling my busy daughter, but still committed on this path as far as I can see... Which is not actually that far, but it's my intention for now.  I have made big changes, small changes, accidental changes - schooling is the same yet different everyday. It is boring and exciting, monotonous & chaotic. It's a crazy, wild thing, but also can easily become a giant, tiresome chore. And this is where the goal of this blog lies... I want to help explain the weird extremes that this homeschooling stuff is to those of you seeking help, or advice, or just the companionship gained by knowing others are on the same path.

Please tell me your fears, hopes, dreams, goals & ask me any questions. I do not have all the answers, not even close to half, but I might know someone who does & I am happy to commiserate in the tough times ;) I hope that this is the beginning of something encouraging & inspiring, a place you know you can come & hear things honestly, truthfully. I will do my best not to hide the bad, but expose it to the light, knowing that God shines light in the dark & dispels it into oblivion! I will share my joys, to give you hope, to give you bright spots in your monotonous, wild days. Keep braving the blackboard... it is worth it!

No comments:

Post a Comment