Homeschooling is really hard. There is nothing easy about it, really. Fun, yes. Easy, not so much. Especially this past year. Frankly, most of my struggles this year have been my fault. That’s not the point of this post, though.
Each of my kids has their own unique challenges, but they have never presented much of a problem for me. With a little advice, some mentoring, and a few new ideas, I have been able to adapt pretty well most of the time.
Until my youngest.
I don’t know whether he is more Boy than most, or if he has full-blown ADD, or if I’m just missing something, somewhere. He is obviously bright, and picks up on things quickly. He is also obviously a hands-on, activity-based learner. He is also a lot like Dug in the movie, “Up.” I have taken to calling him “Squirrel,” which he thinks is hilarious.
I do not fit his mold very well. It’s not his fault. My brain just doesn’t compute what he needs automatically. I stand back, look at him, scratch my head, and think, “What on earth am I supposed to do with you?”
As Levi and I talk and pray about it, we are trying to see all the different angles we could come from to help him. As of right now, we think he is internally motivated. Dain, like his daddy, seems to have to really care about something in order to be persuaded to do it. He will not be talked into anything. Ever. He is that kid who, when told he doesn’t get to eat dessert if he turns up his nose at dinner, just shrugs his shoulders and walks off. He doesn’t care, and there is nothing we can do to make him care.
Perhaps he is the kid who needs more of an “unschooling” approach? Perhaps he needs me to back off and just read to him for awhile? Perhaps he needs to do unit studies and lap books? Does the LEGO company write curriculum? Can I get ninjas or superheroes to tutor him?
Perhaps he needs a year in a public charter school to sort of reset things, and help us gain some insight on new approaches?
We really don’t know. As excellent as most teachers are, and as much as they care, there is no way they could possibly care as much as I do for my son and what he needs (as Levi reminded me when I was in the middle of crying over how terribly I’m struggling to teach Dain). Teachers don’t walk out the consequences of my academic choices for my son the way he will have to.
It’s a big deal. We are up for almost anything at this point.
So, we will keep plugging away, researching, meeting with his teacher at our homeschool support program, doing the best we can, and praying for wisdom in what to do with this kiddo next fall. He’s still only in first grade, so we are still just laying foundations for future learning.
We are not really worried about it, yet. I am just learning to step out of my box to try and see him from a different perspective. I want so badly to put myself in Dain’s shoes. To look at the world through his eyes for even five minutes. He is smart. Really smart. We just need to find The One Thing that will make his eyes light up and delight to learn.
I also know that, by God’s grace, our Dain-boy will blossom in his own good time, with patience and persistence.
In the meantime, can I just whine a little about how hard it is to figure things out? Thanks. I’ll take some cheese with my first world problem, too. Just for good measure.
Grace & Peace,