Friday, January 13, 2017

a letter to me in the past- to the new homeschooling mom

Dear younger me,

Today I was sorting books.  Homeschooling books.  Lots of them. Right now, you are in a house with few books, and lots of questions.  You are going to order a years worth of curriculum that comes in a big box.  And thats fine, thats a great place to start.  You are hoping you can do this every year and be all set for all the years of homeschooling.

But on the first day, you will read the 3 pages your curriculum plan tells you to read and then your eager beaver child will ask you to read more.  What do you do?   There is a plan, a plan that will carry you for 12 years of schooling, but you have to stick to the plan.  So for one day you will read just the amount the directions say, no more.  And that day will be frustrating to you and your child.

Day 2, you just go with it.  You read until he seems done, or until you are tired.  And then you read another book.  And that is the rest of your homeschooling career right there.  You will do what they need and what you need.  And the teacher's guides collect dust on the shelves.

In a few years you will start homeschooling your second child, a super special kid.  So special that there is no curriculum that is perfect for him.  Every single one has an element of struggle and frustration.  After many years and many curriculae that have held so much promise and yet fallen short, you learn he has dyslexia.  The written word is not his friend.  The very thing that compromises 80% of school is like chin-ups for his brain.

So you learn to look and to listen, REALLY listen to your child.  You take each subject and think- What is the goal for this subject?  And you make your own path to that goal.

Yeah, I know.  It's way harder than a box of books and a plan that takes you all the way through high school.

But that's what this kid needs, so thats what you do.  And its not pretty.  Lots of days you don't know if you are doing the right thing.  There are still tears and frustration, but at the end of the day, end of the month, you are seeing real learning.  Not nicely filled in workbooks, but real learning.

Just remember this.  Listen to your child. Each one.  Each way that they learn.  And then listen to yourself.  Be realistic with your time and expectations.  Give yourself grace each day.

As you bushwhack your way through this homeschool jungle, you will find a way to real learning for each of you.

1 comment:

  1. So far I've launched four kids onto the homeschooling journey and each one has been different. The lure of the curriculum still sings its sirens song sometimes, but I'm generally pretty good at charting the course with one eye on the kid. Each kid has certainly is their own person.