Home schooling woes have been held to a minimum in the past week or so. All of the crying, complaining and fussing has just about withered away; and my children are doing much better as well! I had become convinced that I had made a terrible mistake (having children period) and that I needed to allow someone with more wisdom, patience and bravery to teach my offspring.
What, might you ask, has made a difference?
Ear plugs and muzzles! JUST KIDDING!!! (well... maybe)
Honestly, I had come to my wits end. My dear daughter was/is struggling with reading and comprehension. She was a straight A student in 2nd grade, but was recommended for summer school due to her reading deficiency. ( I know, weird huh? Straight A student going to summer school? Sounds like we are having some issues in the public school system... but that is another blog story.) Understand, that I am not blaming the public school system for my daughters challenges in reading. As her parent, that is my responsibility and I accept it fully. But starting this year, 3rd grade, we have had some "catching up" to do.
We have worked and worked and worked at critical thinking in reading, and it just seems as if the day is never going to come when the light bulb will turn on and she will grasp it. Her favorite words, when the going gets tough, are, "I don't know." Nothing boils my blood more than to say, "I don't know." There is always an answer... you may just have to work to get it, but it is there. I have a competitive nature within me that pushes me beyond normal limits. Don't tell me no, or that I can't, because then I will.
I want more for my children then just okay. I want them to reach their full potential; to be who they were created to be. That is not to say that I am choosing their destiny for them, but I am not going to sit by and let minimum effort be enough. My son has told me numerous times that the effort he has put forth on his work is comparable to other kids his age and grade. Not good enough! If comparable is all we want in life, then we will have to be content with giving up the status of being the greatest country in the world and settle for a 3rd world country, because that is where we will wind up. Competition drives you to be your best, to give better, to try harder, and to not set limits for yourself. Saying, "I at least made an effort" is weak and futile.
Back to my daughter. I had tried numerous things to help her grasp comprehension and critical thinking. I talked with other home schooling parents and public school teachers. I complained to friends and family on countless occasions, and was always met with the same thing each day; the words "I don't know." In frustration and despair I went into my room, and through tears, turned to the One I knew would have the answer for me. I cried out to God. I pleaded my case before Him, and in utter frustration was about to give up and send her back to public school. And then I said it; "God, I just don't know what to do anymore."
We have a gracious heavenly father who puts up with a lot from us! In the true spirit of a father who loves His child, I felt a gentle hand on my shoulder and heard a whisper in my ear saying, "You are using the exact same words that you have told your daughter not to use. You are telling her that she can solve and push through this, but you are about to give up on her. I am trying to teach you the same lesson. You do know the answer! It's just that it is hard. You have to keep on keeping on. She will get it! Don't give up on her, because I'm not giving up on you."
I left my room a few minutes later not fully aware of the impact that little revelation from our heavenly father would have on me. But in the 2 weeks following, I have had a change of heart. I have never asked for patience that I am aware of (unless having children is an automatic request, which i fear it might be) but, I am receiving a renewed abundance of it each morning. I look forward to the challenge each new day brings; and my daughter... lets just say she has had some shining moments!