Iʼd like to share with you the homeschooling tale of our 18-year-old son, the most difficult child Iʼve ever taught. Itʼs 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 donʼt 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 childʼs education. From the beginning, my son wouldnʼt 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.
Iʼll never forget the day I was in tears, begging him to just “do school,” when he looked at me and said, “Mom, Iʼm 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 Iʼd 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 wasnʼt 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 didnʼt 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 wasnʼt available for fall, so heʼll begin in the spring. For now, heʼs working at my husbandʼs office and just enjoying the freedom of being out of school.
Iʼm enjoying the sense of completion.
If youʼre a homeschooling mother, have a difficult student, or are just in a tough spot right now I hope this story encourages you. Although Iʼve told scores of women that “God has a plan for your child and you wonʼt mess it up,” there were many days when I didnʼt believe it in my own heart. Not for this child.
While I was teaching my son, God was teaching me. Although itʼs 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