Thursday, May 16, 2013

Outsourced Learning

She skips out the kitchen door at 7:59, across the back yard and down the path Grandpa laid by hand a few years back.  She stops just before reaching Grandma's back door, turns and waves at me.  From my kitchen window, I wave back before she disappears inside.

It's 8 am, and she's off for her reading lesson.

It's been 3 years since we started learning to read, and from the get go there were signs that she needed something different.  Something without the chaos that seems to follow me everywhere, yes even into those schooling hours.  We struggled back and forth, both of us dreading the lessons, fraught with frustration.  I would try this curriculum or that, different "I Can Read" books to catch her attention.  I tried just reading to her, a gentle approach.  I tried phonics and sight words.  Toward the end of this, her 2nd grade year, I had to admit - we needed outside help.

My husband suggested she might do better in school, but from what I had seen, she needed more one on one time - not less.  More time in a quiet place, working with someone to figure it all out.  The few moments we could find together were almost always interrupted by people needing me in one way or another.  Toddlers crying, big kids wanting this or that, babies nursing.  It was plain that the issue did not lie with any learning disability, but a combination of the will to work and learn something that did not come easily, and the lack of quiet alone time to figure it all out.

I agonized about it.  Prayed about it.  Felt so much guilt about it all.  And then, I sought help with one of the best teachers I've ever known - my own Mom.

They started this week and after each lesson, it's a miracle: My girl is smiling.  She's looking forward to doing it again, tomorrow.  And I smile back, knowing that she'll be just fine.  Homeschooling is not about me being the teacher of every little thing.  It's about finding what works, what is right for each individual child.  I daresay this is the first of many times I will outsource my children's learning to people who are able to make it work better than I at any given point.  And while, for a moment, I grieved my inability to be what she needs in this way at this time, I know it's not about me.  For today, being a good mother and teacher to her means sending her to someone else.

At 9:01 she comes bursting through that back door, out of breath, ready to join the rest of us for bible and morning prayers, the tell tale signs of a chocolatey reward around her mouth.  She surprises me with a hug and as I look down at her, I know we're going to be just fine.

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  1. Your achievement in finding a solution that works is just as great as if you'd been able to manage ityourself, well done! (And as an aside, love that knitted dress pattern, it's the best thing I ever made my wee girl!)

  2. Your Mom is wonderful:) What a great solution!

  3. Love that your mom is supportive in our homeschooling journey and is open to helping you. I have known from the beginning I will not be my little mans only "teacher" there will be many people who will play a role in our homeschooling journey and I so look forward to watching him learn from others.

  4. What a blessed little girl she is!

  5. Sometimes it's that special "outside" person who can just make things click for a child. I'm glad you've found that person for your daughter.

  6. I am as well. I'm also grateful it is someone I know, love and of course trust!

  7. Yes! My kids are actually 2nd generation homeschoolers - that is, I am a former homeschool student myself. The privilege of finding many "teachers" for my children is on that I am excited to have!

  8. She really "gets" my Dinah and has the time, the quiet home and the gentle spirit required. I'm so thrilled!

  9. That's wonderful that you mom is willing and able to do this, plus since she's your mom that you trust her. My mom has offered when the time comes if we need help with homeschooling, she's willing to help. It's so wonderful knowing that if need be someone I trust and educated me will help.


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