Her eyes heavy with dread I kissed her goodbye as she walked up the steps to her classroom. My Mommy gut told me to run after her and take her home. The strong voice inside my head said to me:
She will get the hang of it. She needs to be social. She needs this. I need this. Drive on.
The choice to home school one or all of our children always weighed heavily on my heart. With our first child, I knew that I could not home school him, for fear I would end up in a psych ward. His personality needs constant entertainment and structure, or else he will spontaneously com-bust. I love that about him. I value his social and energetic spirit. He was made to go and to DO, very unlike our middle child.
After a rude and insensitive report from Rhema’s preschool teacher my husband and I decided that I would educate her in our home. At first I was completely terrified at the responsibility to teach her her basic educational foundation in life.
Holding her progress report in one hand, eyes on her I began asking her what she knew. With a smile on my face, she became at ease. After all , if we as parents are not a safe place, where is safe?
I went through the entire alphabet and numbers list 0-30. She knew every letter and number with confidence I had never seen in her before. Her eyes shown of accomplishment and peace, very unlike the glisten they had in them at Preschool drop off. Amazed at her skill level, I pressed on. Her shape knowledge and basic math skills blew me away as she shouted out answers with a smile and a giggle. I began to see a child I had never met before.
She was confident in her educational level, far beyond what her teachers had stated. Far beyond what they had classified her as. Slow learner they said. Won’t interact they said. Slow to follow directions they said.
You see, I knew this wasn’t my child. I took matters into my own hands. Momma bears claws came out as I emailed the director a piece of my mind. No longer to attend that school again, we began learning at home. She was eager to roll through her workbooks like a mad woman. I have never seen her have such interest in anything else in her whole life. She was actually EAGER to learn, to turn the next page to find a new lesson.
The days progressed as her learning ability became stronger and more exciting. A few more trips to Target dollar section ( holler ) and she was set to start learning to read. What her teachers had judged in my child was only this:
She felt the need to shut down in an environment where she was only plagued as SHY. No one saw her good qualities, nor the fact that this was her first year in any school setting.
Tell me this, why WOULDN’T our daughter shut down completely if she was only being labeled as shy? Perhaps, just perhaps what if those teachers took the time to make her feel comfortable, instead of acting as if she had a learning disability?
Learning with her Momma at home she flourished. We laughed together learning new ways to make learning fun. Until just today we had never had any set backs. No uncertainty of confidence levels. Until it was time to begin writing her letters.
I called out the letter to write as she froze. Her eyes wide with fear of failure. I saw her confidence level go from one thousand to zero in three seconds and I hated the way she shrugged her shoulders at me.
Sitting there in silence, I prayed under my breath. Lord please help her feel loved. Please help her know how very smart she is, that she is capable of this.
Her little head laid on her arm stretched out onto the table. I was silent for a while, until I only said these words:
” Baby. You are smart. You are lovely. You are doing this so well.”
Still, she lay in silence. As to not push her I grabbed her tiny hand as we sat together in the quiet. I gave her a few minutes to collect herself. I debated whether this was a plea for attention, or completely innocent in her frustration at herself.
It was then that it hit me. This was both.
As she never received one on one attention from her teachers, she craved it. She also never received praise or any kind of personal affirmation. This is what her soul was screaming at mine to do. She needed some encouragement to keep pressing forward. Her little heart needed more than I ever did to succeed.
She is different from me, from her Father. She is our middle one. In deep need of only my encouragement for her to feel capable of learning.
Being in the middle, she so needed my attention in ways including her education. She shut down at school because it was not the same grace based environment she knows. You make a mistake, that’s ok. Let’s try that again. No big deal. You have your whole life to make mistakes, and start over. To learn from those choices, and regain redemption.
As I held her hand in the silence I closed the workbook. You see, I knew she was capable of the task at hand. I also knew she was feeling overwhelmed. That is a normal part of life. Even at age four.
” Honey, do you want to just color now? Then we will try again later?”
She lifted her head and nodded. She wiped her tears and reached for a marker. I dried my tears and kissed her cheek.
All she needs is love to learn. All I need is HIM to teach her.
There are certain children that are meant to learn in a controlled environment stemmed from only love. I am blessed enough to have one of those children, if for the rest of her education, or only for a season. These children are tender to the touch and in need of more reassurance than others.
God lead Home schooling cannot go wrong. For he will tell us specific needs of each child, for we were all made to learn differently. Some in unique environments.
This is a good thing, being different. The world would be boring without differences.