Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lurches and Stalls in Our Homeschool Year

When I first learned to drive my mother had a straight shift van that I tried to drive. Emphasis on 'tried'.

We lurched, we stalled, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. I simply had a hard time multitasking enough to drive the blasted thing and finally gave up and swore I'd never drive a straight shift again.

Well, other than my pick up truck that I absolutely adored but wound up not being practical for driving around Raleigh - where I was living and working after I bought it. Something about that straight shift transmission clicked with me. I knew exactly when and how to shift.

Then I got married and had kids and we had automatics again. While I was pregnant with Youngest we had someone very kindly donate a little car that had a straight shift. I tried to drive it. I had lost the skill and I lurched and ground my way across Wilmington. (Honestly, I love it here until I have to drive here. Something about this area makes people drive like they got their driver's license out of a crackerjack box.)

This homeschool year reminds me of trying to drive a straight shift car again.

Oh, I picked out the curriculum. I did posts about it. I sold or gave away what wasn't working. I made out my schedule. (I adore planning - it's follow-through that I need work on.) We used the curriculum for six weeks.

And we stalled out.

This is our seventh year. I should be an old pro at this - right? Uh, no. It's like I forgot how to drive the car all over again.

And I got stuck shifting gears again. Some of the stuff I thought wouldn't work - well I had a piece of it leftover and I thought - well, let's try this again.

And it worked beautifully. I speak of IEW - the writing program that I just really love but thought I could never implement and the boys would never 'get'. The one my boys fight over now because they adore Andrew Pudewa. (Most kids like sports guys? My kids love Steve Demme (MUS) and Andrew. They want to meet them.)

Except this time Oldest clicked with it. Seriously clicked with it. To the point I ordered the upper level and it clicked even better. He used one of the vocabulary words the tutor gave him in a paper! Correctly! All by himself! Happy Dance!

But I ground the gears again. Oh no! He's almost seventeen! He's behind.

For many reasons he's not where most kids his age are. For one thing he started public school later than most because his birthday was past the magic cut off. Then we had five years of public school in which he spent more time out of the classroom than in and had underlying reading issues the school refused to recognize or help him with.  He can't read because he's autistic, they said. I didn't buy that because Middle and Oldest were/are reading just fine. So after we pulled him out we had to save up money to have him tested and then find a tutor and well.... The tutor is like Wonder Woman. She started from the very beginning and now has him almost through the Wilson program. In two years (give or take a few months) with one visit a week. And she told me today he was almost done with Wilson which she had warned me might slow down for the last two levels. Someone forgot to tell Oldest. And I don't mean to diminish the fact the kid has worked his tail off at learning to read because he has. It was just something I couldn't teach him. I don't remember learning to read. I just always have.

But for some reason I keep thinking - He's behind - time is running out.

Time out, Peggy.... Behind What? 

I don't know, God. He's just.. behind.

He is as I have made him. I created him. I have a plan for him. You know this. 

God knows me. I mean, He created me too. He knows that I'm like the Israelites He used Moses to lead out of Egypt. I'd wander around the dessert for forty years if He didn't do something huge - something I can't ignore - like part the Red Sea or something. I call it sending me billboards - flashing, loud billboards.

I do believe! Help my unbelief!

I went to our local support group meeting a couple of weeks ago. We had a great meeting and a parent panel. Wise women who have homeschooled for years answered questions. Mine was - wait for it - my Oldest is behind.

The President - who has homeschooled for seventeen years and had a struggling reader herself - looked me dead in the eye and gracefully and sweetly said, 'Get over that. He's not behind. He graduates when YOU say so.'

Deep breath. Ok, that's really clear. Thanks God. Now what?

Trying switching back to the automatic.

So next week we're changing some of our curriculum. And I'm going to savor that Oldest is making these huge gains and strides. He aced the standardized test last year. (Actually they all did and Dear Husband asked if that meant I'd cut myself some slack. Of course not, dear.)

God has sustained us through a very unexpected lay off. He provided a job my husband likes and is not nearly as stressed over. Its well worth a pay cut. Its well worth me going without health insurance for 90 days. I've always done better trusting God in the big but not the little things.

One step at a time, we will move - and not lurch - forward. And I promise to try and remember that God has a plan for each one of my kids.

In the Review pipeline: Math Mammoth - later this month. See the Light Art - next month.

Til next time,

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