A Trip Down Memory Lane
From the moment she was born, I knew I wanted to homeschool her. As she turned three, we began slowly working on letters and numbers. My husband and I had created a well colored post it note system in which we labeled many items in the living room in THREE languages. We had high hopes. I think most first time parents do things like that. I can laugh about it now, but all it did back then was confuse a four year old about which word she was supposed to use. She had no clue about one language, much less two or three. As we approached first grade, I can remember wondering if I would be able to teach her to read. I wondered if I would some how mess up the way she learned the words and she would be forever be scared and hate books and reading forever. I will tell you, of all the things I have taught her, learning to read was by far the most difficult, NOT because it is hard to do. But because she would sit upside down on the couch and fidget while we went over the lessons and act like we were in some sort of medieval torture chamber.
We used Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons, but I assure you they weren’t easy. It seemed like every lesson got harder and harder. It was lesson 12 that really caught my attention because it was that very lesson I noticed it was working. I couldn’t believe it. I continued on, hoping it would get easier. The harder the lesson was to comprehend for her the more she was upside down on the couch and fidgeting. Then at lesson 96, only days away from the end of first grade, as I was feeling like a complete failure she got it. All of it. And all at once. She just….started reading. I can remember the rush of euphoric emotions as I realized I had taught her to read. She would survive and I hadn’t screwed her up. She was going to be ok.
The next two years proved to be even more difficult. I couldn’t imagine how we were going to make it through 12th grade at the rate we were going. I know I sound really encouraging right now, but this is the really good part and you don’t want to miss it. I began praying, searching, trying to figure out what I was doing wrong. Our days were filled with her yelling at me with things like, “I don’t understand! It just doesn’t make sense!” Please remember this is third grade now, not rocket science. We are talking about adding and subtracting numbers. I fretted if I was using the right curriculum for the longest time, and changed it a couple of times. I was a whiz in math and science and all of a sudden I somehow couldn’t convey simple addition concepts to my offspring.
I couldn’t stop reading it. This man was describing the day to day struggles we had encountered for the last three years. Had he been in our home? Everything started making sense. She had 15 pairs of jeans, but could only wear one because they were the only ones that were soft enough. The bouncing in her seat when she was learning or always fidgeting. I knew it. She was smart, she just learned differently than me. And now to prove it.
He talks in the book about how spelling can be very hard for them if they are taught according to left brain rules. But those that interpret data more with their right side take pictures. He explained that I should pick a word that was TWO GRADES harder than she could do. Then take a piece of printer paper and in colored markers write out the word changing the color for every syllable. Before this her spelling was at 30% on tests. It was awful. So I wrote out the word Michigan. Mi in blue, chi in brown and gan in green. All together though. Then I held it up in front of her eyes and asked her to study it close for 20 seconds. Then I took it away and asked her to spell it. She got every letter right. Then without looking at her or missing a beat, I asked her to spell it backwards. I could feel her looking at me like I was nuts and I was praying hard that I knew what I was talking about. She spelled it backwards as fast as she did forwards. To her there was no difference. There was a picture of the word in her head and right to left or left to right didn’t matter. She was in shock. “Did you know I could do that?” I said, I do now. I explained how I had been explaining things in way she couldn’t understand, but now, I knew how to make them make sense. The next word we tried was encyclopedia. She spelled it with perfection. She refers to that experience as the moment I unlocked her.
Homeschooling has never been the same. It is an absolute joy. I refer to the book often when we get stuck on something, but the old days of tears and fussing are over.
If you are considering homeschooling your child, good for you! It’s the most wonderful experience I have ever had. The bonding that you will have with your child is amazing. One of the best things you can do, is to start by learning HOW your child learns. More with their right? or more with their left? Then pick curriculum that teaches in that manner or learn how to translate it for them in a way they can perceive it.
If you think you can’t do it, I assure you YOU CAN.
If you think you aren’t smart enough, I assure you YOU ARE.
If you think you are not disciplined enough, I assure you YOU CAN BE.
If you ever have questions, please feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to personally encourage you.
YOU CAN DO THIS! 😀