Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Truthfully Truthful Homeschool Day

*This post isn’t meant to be a gripe.  But just a very personal and real look at one of our recent days here at JuniperHill Academy.  I’m writing this not to be judged or to scare people away from homeschooling. But rather to show the beauty in the difficulty.

Today was hard.

It was tears welling up in my eyes hard.  I want to curl up with a good book and forget my responsibilities hard. I could feel the frustration mounting in my chest.  I pushed down the dread that threatened to overwhelm me.

My words became terse and demanding. Really, how hard could it be to remember what number 6 looks like and that it is called six?  Three weeks into schooling, three weeks of reviewing the same number, and still she can’t remember number 6.

It was the same last year.  It took us all year just to get to number 5.  And we reviewed number 5 throughout the summer just so she wouldn’t forget.

These moments, they bring back the struggles from seven years ago.  Moments of tears, frustration, eventually giving up, and then persevering.  He couldn’t get the letters.  It took us three years.  Three years to memorize all the sounds.  My child with significant dyslexia.  It broke my heart.  It frustrated me.  I struggled to see the light at the end of a very long dark tunnel.

When my daughter was about 9 months old I began to wonder.  She was like her brother in so many ways.  In the back of my mind was a constant niggling.  What if she had it too? 

As I sat there thinking of any new ways to help her remember, to help that number 6 get etched into her mind, I was begging to just have a child that was easy to teach.  I think I even muttered it under my breath. I began to question, why me?  Why do I have to have the children that struggle to learn?

Later my selfishness tore at my heart.  Why didn’t I just take a moment to look deep into those beautiful blue eyes?  I would have seen a little girl with a tender heart trying her hardest to learn and please.

Why me?  I know why. 

God chose this for me.  He chose these beautiful children for me.  Gifts from God.  Gifts that may struggle with conventional learning, but who shine with creativity and imagination.  Gifts.  Plain and simple. 

Yet these children of mine aren’t plain or simple.  They are complex.  They require every ounce of ingenuity I have some days.  Some days I just don’t have what it takes and that’s okay, too, if I remember to take a breath and acknowledge that.  It’s okay if I don’t have all the answers.  It’s okay if I need a break and they need a break and we just call it a day.

And it’s okay if it takes a 3 months to remember number six.

Because I know.  We will conquer this. I’ve seen the proof in her brother.

Number 6, it’s just a puff on the radar screen.  We can do this, together, hand in hand and heart in heart!




  1. Beautiful post. Love your honesty and openness. A good friend of ours had that also and well he is a engineer and makes $75K a year. It can be conquered with the Lord. *hugs*

  2. Hang in there, mama. ((hugs))

    I was thinking just today (once again) how hard this mothering thing is - as in like, I can't do this, anymore - and you know what?, we ALL have our places and moments of "not getting it" and yet, oh how patient HE is!

  3. I know those feelings and those days quite well. I appreciate the honesty of your post, and the hope.

  4. A beautiful post Jenn, Love that you are so transparent :) You have my prayers, and I know...tomorrow will be a better day!

  5. don't have much time to write, but I can't tell you how timely this post is.
    very very very timely.

    and just what I needed.

  6. Boy, can I relate to this right now. I may not homeschool, but I know what it's like to work so hard at home to help your child "get" something they just can't seem to grasp.

    I'm sure it was the stress of everything going on around here lately, but yesterday while helping Lexie with a project, I just lost it. I was aggravated with her teacher, aggravated with Lexie, and mostly aggravated at myself. Instantly after losing it, I was begging for forgiveness.

    It's so tough to always keep our emotions in check around our children. But it doesn't do anyone any good to lose it. I appreciate this post today so much. So nice to be reminded I'm not the only one who gets those overwhelming feelings.

  7. Sometimes its tough for me to remember not to plow over "my students" while I'm trying to teach them something. Teaching these basics, these foundations of letters and numbers is challenging!

    And as you already know so well, God gave you those children and He's equipping you to teach them in just the way they need.

    Glad you posted a real honest look into your homeschooling experience. Some days are just hard and that's okay.

  8. Just keep taking those deep breaths and know that God is walking right along with you.

  9. Dearest Jenn~
    As a mother of a child with Dyslexia....I know this feeling. I know this issue. I know this feeling of crashing and burning....and then pulling myself up again.
    I have this child, who struggles, daily. And these last few weeks...oh the heartache of it. I worry about the future, his future. And then I see another little boy, here, who is so much like the other. The one who struggles. And the worry wiggles in. I think I may have to go down this road again. Pretty sure in fact. And then the worry, that subsides in the sparkle of his eye, the laugh, the trying so hard. And then I feel....relief/fear/joy/hope/angst/love. And we go to bed...and get up and do it all again.
    Sometimes...I envy those whose children seem to learn so effortlessly. It's painful to the heart of this mama, with the boys who try so hard, but never can pull that answer out of the file as easily as the next.
    And so I pray and pray and pray.
    And my heart and love goes out to you, because if you don't have this with your child...it can be easy to assume....things.
    I could feel every nuance of this post, my friend.

  10. I love the honesty of this post. While my children learn things very quickly when they want to, it is the getting them to want to part that can make me climb the walls at times. My son is highly distractable. I'm learning that with him, the better late than early concept is what works with him. You are so right! Each child is a master piece and we need to treat them as such.

  11. Thank you to each and every one of you who encouraged me! Wish I could give each of you a hug! :)

    And Kristin...You know my heart on this and, wow...another connection made with you my friend!

  12. God chose you because He knew you were the exact mama your girl needs. I appreciate your honest heart here. I took a moment to pray for you :)

  13. My precious friend! I will be praying for you as you travel this road with your precious, blue-eyed beauty. The LORD's plans and ways are best. HE has entrusted these children to your care, and HE will give you daily HIS grace for all HE calls you to! Yes, sometimes it is difficult, but it's ALWAYS rewarding!!!

    Sending you (((hugs))) my friend!

    Isaiah 40:31

  14. This was a wonderful post. I admire your honesty and your attitude. This was my first visit to your blog, but I'll definitely be back. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  15. What lucky children your children are to have am mommy like you. A mommy that even though it's the hard route to choose to teach them herself. When it would have been easy to send them to school, she knew she wanted to do the best for them even through the hard parts. Love your photo of your little girl. Beautiful.

  16. That was beautiful. I struggle with teaching my kids at home. I get frustrated way too easily. Thank you for the reminder to be patient, to take it one day at a time, and to not give up. They'll 'get it' eventually. In my house it's the times tables.

    That photo of your daughter is just lovely.

  17. Beautiful post. Your children are blessed to have you for a mommy and for a teacher.

  18. Jenn~ I had to come back and read this again.
    Do you ever do that? Go back and read what someone wrote...I also wanted to see what others had to say.
    Such sweetness.
    Made me teary.
    I have a letter in my head for you.
    A response to our chat.
    But, not enough time to type it.
    Hopefully tonight.

    Thinking of all of the mothers who may read this and may be struggling with a child who learns differently.
    It's all as it should be.
    God has a plan.

  19. Love the honesty in your post. I think God wants us to question things and sometimes him when we got thru difficulties. It helps us to rely and appreciate him. I'm sure some people were thinking "what's the big deal over the number 6". Especially when there are so many things troubling otheres. I think this was just a day you needed to rely on our Lord. Thanks for sharing it. We've all been there.

  20. Oh Jenn! I understand this in my own way. I have watched you fight and fight hard. You have shown me the beauty of homeschooling and how it allows us to take the time to wrestle through the concepts our kids are struggling with.

    You have given me the courage to homeschool so that we can work in an environment and pace that works well for Lucas. Thanks for paving the way, sweet sister and for sharing very real feelings that are pushed aside by very real commitment.

    I love you and I'm praying for you!

  21. Jenn, this picture takes my breath away. She is SO beautiful, and you captured something so lovely in her face, in her expression. She truly is God's gift to you, and He could not have picked a more perfect mother for her. Love you, my friend!

  22. Your honesty is beautiful! My good friend's husband has severe dyslexia and he is very successful in his career and supports his wife and child very well.

    Each day brings a new trial; that I know! I have one "normal" learner and one son that has bipolar disorder, ADD and some learning issues. You bet I've mumbled under my breath, "Why can't you just be more like your brother?" I'm not proud of it and I regret it, but I've been forgiven and have to move on.

    You are doing the best that you know how and THAT matters!

    Have you tried any AKVO products (stands for Audio, Visual, Kinesthetic and Oral. They have awesome products for special learners!

  23. It is really very brave and kind of you Jenn... God Bless you and all your children! What a wonderful mom and lovely children, quite a sweetest bundle you guys are! I'd pray for your number 6 struggle, let us know when you guys overcome it, we can praise the Lord together for His wonderful ways!


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