We are nearing the end of January and were are behind schedule according to my plan. In the past, we tried hopelessly to cram more lessons in a day in order to catch up. We fought with ourselves (especially me) to learn more, faster and just like everyone else. Did it work? Some days we could breeze through the lessons, but for the most part we struggled. The kids lost their zeal for learning and I just wanted to throw in the towel. I had failed. Just look at all of those blogging mamas who did so much, made up lessons, shared them online. Oh and did you see the birthday party plans and the newly painted kitchen or the hand-knit socks and, and, and? Why did I even bother to make plans in the first place when I know that we never seem to
Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
Upon reading this verse, I am enlightened. Not only do I not have to do all of the things that Mrs. Jones does, but I shouldn't. I need to discern more. It is ok when school doesn't go as planned. I need to do what is good and pleasing to God. What does this mean, though? I thought that I had discerned and prayed about what to teach my children. Perhaps, not enough or I was too proud and planned too much and didn't allow enough time for life to happen.
Since getting back to our studies this new year, I have taken a relaxed approach. We have slowed down and tried to learn more in depth. We have been taking a more accurate approach. Mia is having trouble with grammar, so we ditched the grammar book for now and have started to review what she does know and build upon that. She needs a better foundation. I need to prepare her differently. She needs more time, but she is learning better.
Owen doesn't fit the normal mold in anyway. He looks like a normal kid and is for the most part, but he has a really difficult time remembering ANYTHING that he has been taught. He needs more review than I had hoped he would. We strongly suspect that he is dyslexic. He is a struggling reader. We have tried a few different methods, but are using a combination of All About Reading, Seton Phonics, Starfall, online games and regular games. It is the variation and the combination that seems to be working. He just needs a lot more practice than other kids. This is his second go at grade 1. He is doing TouchMath, now instead of the traditional math programs that most families use. Guess what? It is working and he getting it.
It may seem obvious to others, but I am learning to teach each child for who they are. When school doesn't go as planned, you pray and you make changes. The children are learning using the methods that work best for them. Owen needs lots of multi-sensory stimulation, whereas Noah needs to read and discuss to learn. I am not comparing (as much) and being gentler on myself. I don't know it all and I struggle everyday. I try to pray more and spend more time listening instead doing all of the talking to God. I am discerning and learning as I go. So if it looks like I have it all together, I don't. I learn as I go. I am learning to do things my way and not copy what others are doing. It is hard to not conform, but it is even harder to try not to conform. I must remind myself that I have different gifts and different crosses than others.
School in our house does not represent what happens in a school as I remember it. I teach while rocking a baby, or sitting on the floor. I teach math while baking bread or while I entertain a toddler. I think I would like to try unschooling, but have to discern it more. I have to learn more to be the mother and teacher God is calling me to be.