I have five sons. Their brains work in wildly different ways.
I have one son who learned to read overnight when he was barely five. At Bible study that week, we took turns reading a verse aloud, and the study leader confessed at the end that he was distracted by this small boy, reading the King James Version so perfectly. (Mommy pride?)
And I have one son who, at seven, after a year or two of daily work on the first 26 letter sounds, still missed them sometimes, as he struggled painfully and laboriously through each page of Fun Tales. (Mommy guilt?)
And I ask you:
- Should I take the credit for one son’s quick ability?
- Should I take the blame for one son’s painstaking plodding?
Well, I could . . . but that seems a bit silly. The same gene pool and the same educational resources produced them both.
Celebrate Each Child's Success
If I had only one child, I might be inclined to feel either elation or despair at my success or my failing. But because I don’t have only one child, I can see that I shouldn’t project my sons’ abilities onto myself. Each of them is on his own journey.
What would be a better choice would be to celebrate my sons for their successes. Even though I don’t always succeed, I’m trying to celebrate the speed-reading of one son and keep him in books. And I celebrate the incremental victories of another son, rejoicing with him when he remembers that “of” says /uv/ and not /off/.
I can celebrate that I get to be the one to see the joy of living and the perseverance, that I get to be the one to encourage and spur on.
And that’s my hope for you, too—that you would be grateful for where you and your children are, without respect to where they “should” be. That you work with your children to master the spelling and the reading and the math and the writing, and whether they go through the materials by flying or plodding, that you get to be with them as they go.
Christ Has Set Us Free to Live a Free Life
We’re human, which means we’re imperfect. And so we can beat ourselves up in so many ways.
But the words of Paul in Galatians 5:1 keep running through my mind: “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” or “Christ has set us free to live a free life.”
And I realize that this is talking about how we are not under the law but under grace.
And yet … I keep thinking about freedom! The freedom I want to enter into, the freedom I want for my friends and loved ones. If it were easy to live in freedom, Paul wouldn’t have had to remind the Galatians of truth. But it’s not easy. We need reminders.
Homeschooling is a great journey to be on. May you enter into the freedom to enjoy it.