Thursday, March 3, 2011


I am growing so frustrated with myself!!  Our homeschooling journey has reached a few challenges, and sometimes I lack the personal confidence to know that I'm handling the problems appropriately.  I KNOW that I'm doing the right thing, but because I am the one making the decision and not asking someone else to make it for me, I question it.  This drives me nuts!!

Andrew is struggling with his letters and reading.  He remembers most of his letters (I think he trips up on G, T, I and D) and he can remember the sounds they make some days, but not necessarily every day.  Whether this is a learning weakness or lack of cooperation I have yet to decipher.  I was talking to his speech pathologist, who has mentioned a few times that phonics will probably need to be delayed with him because of his speech challenges.  She said that he's still struggling in speech with the same concepts he was struggling with last year, and phonics might frustrate him because even if he could remember the letter's sound, he can't necessarily say it correctly. So he chooses not to try, out of frustration with his speech delay.

Aimee is struggling in math, and has been for a while.  We are working on long division, with remainders.  She just can't seem to "get it."  Plus, she can't remember half of her times tables from last year.  So this week we put math on hold, in order to rememorize the multiplication facts.  I also borrowed 3rd grade math from the (wonderful!!) woman who loaned us our curriculum this year.  I have been looking it over like crazy, and there is so much that Aimee needs to work on.  She struggled in math a little last year, and since it appears that 4th grade math is mostly a repeat of 3rd grade, only more in-depth, she needs to go back and fully grasp 3rd grade concepts before she can successfully dive into 4th grade.

My struggle is two-fold.

1.)  I fully believe that taking phonics slow with Andrew is the best thing for him.  He will be 6 in May, so he's technically in kindergarten this year.  But had I enrolled my kids in public school back in August, I would have held him back and sent him to kindergarten next year.  I do think he would have done okay in kindergarten this year, but i think he would have done much better waiting a year.  And Aimee...she made the cut-off for school by 1 day.  She was ready for kindergarten when I sent her, even though she didn't turn 5 until late that Fall.  But looking back, I wish I would have had the patience and maturity to wait and send her when she was 5, going on 6.  Even though she was ready for kindergarten at the time, now that she's a 9 year old 4th grader, she's struggling a little bit more than I'm comfortable with.

Since we homeschool, I'm "keeping" Andrew in kindergarten and Aimee in 4th.  They have friends in these grades at church, and I don't see any reason to "move them back" when it doesn't affect anything.  I will instead be teaching them according to their skill levels and readiness for new concepts.  I think I will be doing lighter workloads in the summer without quitting for 2 1/2 months like a traditional school year does, so in the end they might end up ahead of the game, anyway.  But the little voice in my head, who doubts my ability to make grown-up decisions, is telling me that this is unconventional and "out of the box," so it's therefor a wrong decision.  But I know it's a good decision.  I'm praying this through.

2.)  There are certain influential people in mine and the kids lives who feel that homeschoolers should all be geniuses or at least smarter than their peers.  And since Andrew is struggling with phonics, I must not be a good teacher.  I really do think that this is the main reason i am anxious about my decision I stated above.  If I work with the kids at their own level, which may be below their grade level, I'm the first one to be blamed for their "failure or delay."  It's apparently my own failure as a teacher, and not that the kids have an area in school that they struggle with.  As a result, I have been encouraged to throw them back in public school (which i am 100% against).  So for me to then step out and make the decision to teach them at their own pace,which is unconventional, is like throwing myself into the lion's den and hoping I make it out okay.  Not only am I sticking with my decision to homeschool (which I firmly believe is under the Lord's approval), but I'm doing out of someone elses box.  I'm praying about this also.

In a sort-of related side note...these are the reasons I'm so bad about blogging every day ('cuz I know everyone is on pins and needles waiting for blog posts!!).  There is so much going on in my life each day, things like blogging, reading a book, or even making my bed just have to wait until I get a handle on the rest.

If you're still with me and reading this, thank you for being my friend!!!  Thank you for being supportive and understanding and wonderful and taking the time to read my little vent of frustration!!  I pray the Lord blesses each and every amazing person that He has blessed my life with.  :)  And if you remember my kids and I during your own prayer time, I would very much appreciate prayers on our behalf!!  Thank you in advance.  :)


  1. Liz, Liz, Liz...I feel as though I am the one who wrote this!!!! Satan takes jabs at me on a DAILY basis making me question my ability as a teacher. When it comes to math, there are so many things Mason just does not "get!!!" My daily thoughts tend to be: "Why doesn't he get it?! What am I doing wrong?! What should I be saying differently?! If he were in a class with other kids he'd probably get it!!!" My wise sister-in-law (who has been home schooling for 12 years) is the one who routinely brings me back down to reality. Short of slapping me across the face she reminds me that he WILL get it. It does not have to be today, this week, this month- it might take a while. But he WILL get it. People who have a notion about "genius" home schooled kids probably do not home school. Ever hear the phrase "All home schooled kids are A students?" Well, they aren't. We have the responsibility to put the correct grade on a paper (even if it means we feel failure), so we can gauge their level of understanding. It's unfair to put all the pressure on ourselves, just as it is unfair to expect perfection (or anything near perfection) form our dear babies. Your motivation for home schooling is the same as mine. We feel like it's the Lord's calling for our family. I certainly do not think it's for everyone, and I don't think everyone should do what I do. But I am here to tell you that you are not alone. Those thoughts run rampant through my head every day. Satan does not want us to be with our babies. He doesn't want us teaching them God's word. He's going to do everything in his power (including using people in our lives) to convince us otherwise. Keep on keepin' on! I will pray with you!!! We can do this!!!

  2. "I will instead be teaching them according to their skill levels and readiness for new concepts."

    This is one of the beauties of homeschooling! That's how they'll best succeed instead of being forced to move ahead because the rest of the class is.

  3. Liz, the best way I can explain what I thought when reading your frustrations is to compare your situation to another, normal, everyday, typical, common, and expected situation that occurs every year in every class at any grade: Kids will struggle regardless of the ability of the teacher. And if every teacher that blamed themselves for a kid "not getting it" called themselves a failure, there would not be a single teacher in any school who felt worthy of the role. Why should you beat ourself up over this? Because "influential" friends tell you different? Please, you know the answer to that one.
    All three of my kids struggle with different things. The usual plan of action is to incorporate additional time and guidance with the appropriate leader in that area (at their school, they are brought away fromt he class to have one-on-one time with many different subjects). There is no shame or failure in a kid requiring additional effort to understand things. You must shed this stigma you put on yourself, and forgo living up to anyone's standards. You are walking with the Holy Spirit. Criticism for academically struggling kids, whether direct, implied, or just taken that way, is unwarranted and a detriment to your confidence. Stay strong and continue the course you are on if you feel this is the best thing for your children.

  4. I teach Pre-Kindergarten and one thing we do EVERY morning (partly because administration requires it... but it does seem to work) is go through alphabet flash cards saying this: "Letter is "A" Sound is "(the a sound)" Letter is "B" Sound is "(the b sound)" and just go through all the letters... it might be something you would like to try with Andrew... just hearing you say it in a predictable fashion every day may make him want to join in and try some of the sounds more!!! Just a thought i'd give you!! Good Luck with everything!! (and PS- even though I am a public school teacher, i FULLY support those who homeschool! I think it is an awesome thing and really lets you connect better with your kids!) :)

  5. I have no awesome advice. I just love you. I'm praying you realize how amazing you are and stop questioning your abilities. ♥