My children are like night and day. While Stormageddon's personality is starting to blossom, General Disarray and Professor Chaos are very easy for me to peg. For General Disarray learning and retaining knowledge is effortless, as long as he is somewhat focused. He may not always fill you in on what he has learned that day but, you'll hear about it in full detail when he's ready. Professor Chaos on the other hand struggles with the things "average" kids his age are "expected" to do. He needs more time to process new information, he needs more time to formulate a response, and he needs the information presented in different ways. Sitting still and doing worksheets isn't the best method of instruction for him...I know this now.
About a year ago I was as big as a house and fed up with a lot of things including homeschooling Professor Chaos. Sure, General Disarray and I would have our bad days but, generally speaking we got accomplished what we needed to do without starting WW3. Not with Professor Chaos though, oh boy he is an eye opening experience. We would be chugging along in our Teach A Child To Read lessons, Saxon Math, or a whole host of other materials we used; and then he would just stop, shut down, and not even try. I would push and he would push back, eventually we would both be angry and in tears and I would be left wondering if I was making the right choice.
Maybe he would be better served in public school? He was five years old, surely he should be able to do all these -unrealistic- things we expect of little people who just stopped crapping their pants the year before. The thing is he couldn't. He wasn't developmentally ready for what I had been programmed to believe he "should" be doing. Sure there are kids who can do those things and more with no effort when they're five, General Disarray was one of those kids. Professor Chaos wasn't though and all my pushing did was create a negative attitude towards learning in general for him. Which is something I observed in public schools and it’s not something I wanted to recreate in my own home.
So I backed off. I let go off the wheel. I still read to him, well as much as I could with a baby and an international move. Thankfully, he has a wonderful older brother who would, and still does, spend hours reading to him. I still worked in concepts like letter sounds, numbers, basic addition and subtraction throughout the day but, did very little formal/planned learning with him. I gave him the chance to steer and then one day a few months ago, while sitting in our hotel room watching his brother plow through a lesson, he turned to me and asked "Can I do some school work too?" He had steered the wheel back into the school lane all on his own.
Now, I will admit internally I cringed a bit thinking back to all the struggles we've had, but I said yes and proceeded to dig through the materials I packed until I found something just for him. He's been growing by leaps and bounds ever since. I've had to realize that I'm not the driver of the bus they are, it's just my job/responsibility to help guide them in the right direction. I'm like their own personal Garmin, except I know-well I'm learning- that there are moments when I need to just sit down, shut up, and let them go left when I really want them to go right.
Sure, I could have fought with him over the last year, but where would that have got us? Would he be eager for his assignments every day? Would he turn to me while in the middle of what use to be such a tedious task for him and exclaim "You know mom I think I'm having fun!"? Probably not. He would be like a growing number of kids who decide that school is hard and unpleasant because they were forced into it before they were mentally, emotionally, and physically ready for it.
Just because a child reaches a certain age determined by others doesn't mean they are ready for formal education. One very important lesson I've been learning on our homeschool journey is that there is no one size fits all when it comes to learning and education. What one child may be able to do at five another won't be able to do until they’re seven. It's easy to forget that each person, and that's what a child is-a person-, develops at their own rate. But, they do.
I'm striving to remember that as Stormageddon grows. He may not get there at the same time as other children his age, he may even get there early, but he will get there. And if he, or his brothers, happen to hit a dead end I'll be there on the dashboard to help them make the necessary u-turn in the right direction.
"Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it."~Greg Anderson
Copyright(c)2013 Rayven Holmes