First, a story . . .
From day one of second grade I knew, my daughter was going to really struggle. It seemed that before she could even unpack her school supplies the evaluations and conferences began. Her scores were alarmingly low on assignments and tests and yet she didn't seem to even care. She seemed almost oblivious to what the rest of us knew, "Something was wrong with her."
The weeks marched on. Test after test came back "normal" for eye sight, dyslexia, learning disabilities, ADD, etc. I cringe to think what she must have felt while her own Mother and a team of doctors, administrators and professionals tried to put a label on her shortcomings. Dead end after dead end resulted in frustration and desperation. I was sending my daughter to school every day for eight hours while she sat detached and not learning or absorbing what was being taught. Despite the best efforts of her school, a great school with an amazing staff, she was not thriving. It was then that the thought came to my mind, "If she doesn't pass second grade, I will have to homeschool her."
I was terrified. I always found it a rather bold assertion that a mother thought she was qualified to teach her child when she had received no professional training. How could she possibly be equally as equipped as the professionals that had gotten a degree and had the experience of teaching in a classroom day in and day out? I was more than intimidated at the idea of teaching my own child. Homework had been such a nightmarish exchange filled with threats, emotional outbursts (by both parent and child), a battle of wills, and superhuman patience that I could not imagine doing it all day! I ignored the prompting for months. I looked for another way out with desperation but it just kept coming back, "You are going to have to homeschool her."
I had a conversation with a friend that has stuck with me. I said, "How can I add anything more to my plate?" Her response was this. "You are not adding to your plate, you are going to get a whole new plate." The idea of this "new plate" was alluring. I was so tired of the one I had. I felt like a failure every day as I struggled to help fill in the gaps after school.
Second grade came to an end and you know, they even passed her. But, in my heart I knew that she wasn't ready for the third grade. So, I made the decision to homeschool and I have learned a thing or two about "true vs. truth."
"True VS. Truth"
True: Teachers have a lot of experience. They work with children every day. They have been trained on how to present information and make lesson plans and create a scope and sequence. There are some amazing teachers out there who my child could benefit from. I do not have the same kind of training or experience.
Truth: Teaching my child is more instinctual than I could ever imagine. I know my child better than anyone knows my child and I know what he/she is capable of and I won't settle for less. A teacher may accept that my child is incapable of doing a certain level of work but I, as her mother, know better.
True: I am completely overwhelmed with my life already. I have so much to do and no time to do it. Homework is a major struggle and we are not successful when I try to help her.
Truth: Believe it or not, homeschooling is a way to simplify my life. I am free to create my own schedule around what works best for me and my child. We can work in the morning when both of us have energy and patience rather than at the end of the night when we are both exhausted. Homeschooling takes the pressure off of measuring up to what the school wants my child to learn and helps me to work on ONLY the things that are essential. This gives us MORE time and allows us to cater her work to her level her interests and her abilities. I feel less stressed now that I am in control and have a complete understanding of my child's academic strengths and limitations.
True: I do not know what to teach. I am afraid that I will ruin my child and she will never graduate from high school or go to college.
Truth: I can learn. There are amazing resources available. I had to start over in first grade work with my third grader and by fourth grade she was back on grade level. I have the ability to work with my child on her level. This enables us to go at her own pace. We can gain much more ground when we aren't trying to keep up with the other kids in her class. At school she was sitting through an entire day and getting only thirty minutes of special attention to work on her challenges. Now she has special attention every day, all day and she is able to make progress at a much faster pace.
True: I can't imagine being with my children all day every day! I need a break!
Truth: Homechooling looks and feels different. I learned how to be with my kids and my kids learned how to be with each other. We learned how to go grocery shopping and to the doctor's office without killing each other. I learned how to have more patience. I actually enjoy being with my kids more than I ever thought I would.
True: My child loves the social aspect of school. I couldn't possibly take that away from her.
Truth: My daughter has more friends now than she ever did at school. She goes to theater, art, and science classes. I take her to park days and field trips. She is even involved in a tween club that gets together to do arts and crafts. She has had more fun homeschooling and has interacted with more friends than she ever did at school.
True: I never thought I would homeschool my kids. I don't think I am the kind of mom that can handle that kind of lifestyle.
Truth: I LOVE homeschooling. I AM the kind of mom that can homeschool her kids! Homeschooling has been one of the most natural transitions in my life. It is hard. I have had to push myself to the outer limits of my abilities. But, I have been blessed tenfold!
So what is the truth?
If I CAN teach my child, You CAN teach your child!
I hope you too can discover this truth, dear reader.
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