[This post was originally published at (in)courage and also submitted to the Tide Loads of Hope for the Holidays carnival at Blog Nosh Magazine.]
I’d like to share with you the homeschooling tale of our 18-year-old son, the most difficult child I’ve ever taught. It’s a story of hope, the lessons that both my son and I learned along the way, and the rewards at the end of the journey. I think there’s a little bit of truth in it for all of us…
As a homeschooling mother of eight, lots of undeserved pats on the back come my way. “I don’t know how you do it,” is something I hear on a weekly, if not daily, basis. My 18-year-old son has always had the ability to see right through me. Through his eyes, my every fault and insufficiency is laid bare.
I am not a “super” homeschooling mom.
Homeschool involves obligation; you must be committed to your child’s education. From the beginning, my son wouldn’t sit down and do his work. Once my back was turned, he was gone.
Although a bright child—he made up his own language, which he could read and write; was good with numbers; and loved to read—I always felt like a failure because year after year would pass with largely unfinished curricula.
I’ll never forget the day I was in tears, begging him to just “do school,” when he looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m learning.” Although my instincts told me that he was right, I still struggled with the need for visible proof: graded papers, completed workbooks.
When the scores arrived from his junior year PSAT, they were less than I’d hoped. Depressed, I never showed them to my husband or son.
When senior year came this past fall, a sense of urgency possessed my son as he realized how much ground must be covered in order to graduate. At first I tried to keep up with him, but soon we both lost patience: it just wasn’t working with a house full of other kids. I quit trying to make him adapt to our school schedule, so he usually studied well into the night and slept in the next morning.
He had become a schooling machine, so I just assigned him the work he needed to complete and he handled it on his own. Truly, he schooled himself for his senior year. We didn’t schedule the SAT until March when Geometry was finally finished; he did 2 1/2 years worth of math in one school year.
This time the scores were good.
My son has been accepted to a respected university. Because of our late start in the application process, housing wasn’t available for fall, so he’ll begin in the spring. For now, he’s working at my husband’s office and just enjoying the freedom of being out of school.
I’m enjoying the sense of completion.
If you’re a homeschooling mother, have a difficult student, or are just in a tough spot right now I hope this story encourages you. Although I’ve told scores of women that “God has a plan for your child and you won’t mess it up,” there were many days when I didn’t believe it in my own heart. Not for this child.
While I was teaching my son, God was teaching me. Although it’s not my nature, I had to be patient for years—years of trusting that we really were doing the right thing in spite of discouragement.
Ultimately, the Lord is always faithful. Trust his leading in your child’s education, your family, all of your life, and put your hope in Him.
“I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.” ~ Psalms 130:5