Yesterday was Will's first day of school. I waited a week after Kate started back before starting with him. This year I wanted to give myself a little time to adjust slowly, rather than starting them back at the same time like I did last year. The extra week helped some. I know it wouldn't be a big deal if they were both at home, but getting back into the routine of getting Kate off to school needs some getting used to around here.
Will has done surprisingly well with his school work, and getting back into the routine. Of course, this was only the second day :) I can tell that he has really matured between last year and this year. Last year, he didn't do well reading and comprehending on his own; I had to read most everything to him. And he wanted me right by his side the whole school day.
I wasn't sure how he would do this year, but he has done fantastic! He looks at the schedule I printed out for him and moves right along to the next thing. He's reading and comprehending. We still read some things together. For instance, we do geography and science together. And we share two read-alouds together. I know I seem awful excited about a 7th grader (who is 12 years old) being able to do his school work on his own, but my Will has been the "slow" one in school. He's not mentally challenged or dumb. In fact, he has amazed both my husband and me (as well as some family members) by how much he knows about animals, ocean animals in particular. But he doesn't seem to "catch on" so well in other areas. Reading was hard for him. So was memory work. Memorizing bible verses for Awana didn't come easy. And I thought he'd NEVER learn his multiplication tables.
But... he did. And now he seems to have caught up, just like that. That's why I know it's so important not to give up if you have a slow learner. I know that you have to keep going, you have to keep praying, and you have to keep working with him. I have had several well-meaning friends and family ask if I've thought he might do better if I sent him to school. I always knew the answer to that was no. He'd be labeled. Put in special classes. Although I have never thought putting him in school was the answer, I have often wondered if I am the right person to teach him. I can't tell you how many times I've thrown up my hands and thought about throwing in the towel while teaching him. Thank God for friends who have been there, for those who have experienced what I was going through! They are the ones who have encouraged me not to give up, even when it appears that he isn't learning much of anything.
Because you know what? He was learning. Maybe just a bit differently than my others, but learning just the same. And learning on a different time frame, too. But he wasn't the only one learning. God has been teaching me all these years, too. He has used homeschooling to teach me so much! He has been teaching me to depend on Him more and more. Teaching me that of course I can't do this in my own strength. In fact, I know that I can't do anything in my own strength. It is only through His grace and provision that I am able to accomplish anything! And though I've been frustrated many a day along this homeschooling journey, I have never felt in my heart that I didn't want to do this anymore. On the contrary, I look forward to it! I know that this is His plan for my family, and it is with a grateful heart that I continue on this path.