Saturday, September 18, 2010


"Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there's love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong."
-- Ella Fitzgerald

"Let me tell you the secret that has led me to my goal: my strength lies solely in my tenacity."
-- Louis Pasteur

"Age wrinkles the body, quitting wrinkles the soul."
--Douglas MacArthur

The good side of homeschooling; the children are close to their parents in a way that is unique to spending hours and hours together every single day. Families have time to get to know each other, time to work, play and spend time talking in between the two. One can demonstrate and reinforce on a daily basis one's value system. Example; twice weekly trips to the library, time spent reading aloud and reading to myself have been incentive enough for my children to become enthusiastic, intense readers. Down side; whatever hang-ups and fears a parent may have are more distinctly reflected in a child's own life. Example; math phobia. It was time to do something about this attitude. Part of me was ready to just let go, the children would most likely figure out how to do the math they needed to do when they needed to do it. Another part of me knew they could do it, if they were just given the right tools in the right situation and the confidence they needed, this too they could do. Persistence, courage and love must pay off in the end. I believe in fairy tales that end happily.

For one child, this has meant engaging a tutor when he (sorry, anonymity is vital here, all pronouns will be masculine for simplicity's sake, not for identification) became interested and motivated enough to want to work more steadily, move at a faster pace and learn more. For another child, this means, I am finally seeing, simply sitting. Like accompanying an ailing patient by staying near the bedside, this one needs me to sit next to him, while he works out each problem, one by one, gaining confidence with each correct answer. In the past, I have rejected this need, believing that the only way to become more proficient and more confident was to have a chance to work things out on one's own, to have a little space and work a little independently. Not for this child. He needs me right there. I used to give a thorough explanation, give problems to do, then leave to do something else. This only caused great angst and lots of noise.

Now I know I need to stay. That was all it took; sitting and answering a question from time to time. It can be accomplished while playing play dough with the two youngest, while knitting socks, while driving if need be, as long as I am available to answer each question.

How proud he was to be able to announce to his father; "I did ALL the math problems today." It was truly a moment of triumph in this young life, all because we persevered. Life's big problems are interesting enough not to be able to be resolved in one day. Who would even need parents after, say, age five? And where would the old ones gain their wisdom, if not from working out the solutions to questions each generation has had to ask itself all over again every time a baby was born? It is not easy, it was not meant to be easy, just remember:

"Never, never, never, never give up."
-- Winston Churchill


  1. I am a fan of gaining strength,this I feel takes time,and I can see that through perseverance that you have developed strength. This is wonderful to see, in your life and your homeschooling story,you are a real model for "Living", cheers Marie

  2. You are such a good mommy. Yeah, sometimes some of us just need company - or extra time - or whatever. It is so cool that you listened. I keep hearing stories of kids who are "special needs" in school because they just need a little extra.
    Anyway, your story is inspiring to me. thanks.

  3. So sweet and encouraging, Marie, thank you! Some days I am a model for the mother they drag away in a straight jacket...ah, but motherhood will do that to a woman!

  4. Great job! Just as we see them growing and changing in front of our very eyes, so do we change, grow, and adapt. And sometimes, removing yourself from a situation and involving someone else, be it the father, an other family friend, or family member, or paid outsourcing (I do that for French) can be the ticket to success.

    As to the straightjacket, we've all been there. Heck, being married does it too...

  5. Robinsunne,

    On most days I'm a good mommy, but on a few...
    I think "special needs" defines most children at some point in their lives, but this is not to discredit those gifted with being more sensitive to the world or in need or more physical or intellectual help on a daily basis. The key is more, and mostly time, which is what we are least willing to give in our rushed society.
    Thank you for writing!

  6. Hi Marlis,

    So right you are! The key to being alive is continual growth, and growing in insight.
    Sometimes the lesson of the day holds wisdom and sometimes our ears may not be screwed on quite right, but you have to keep listening. That's why it is good to give our kids over to mentors for some of their own growth at some point too, their ears will have an altogether different form.
    Thank you to those of you helping to lead my children down a right path.



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