Wednesday, October 9, 2013

When Learning Isn't Easy

A reader brought up the subject of children who do not take to learning easy,
 and since I have had three of these, I thought perhaps this would be a worthy topic.

Not all children learn to read at age 5 and are doing multiplication tables at 8,
 this I know first hand. 

As a young homeschooling mama,
I was embarrassed when my child couldn't read like the other children of the same age.
 I felt pressure to get the child up to speed for what the government and my friends  expected.
This caused anxiety and impatience in our school.
The results were not very pretty.
Some of my ugliest days were homeschooling moments when overly frustrated with a slow learner.
Both child and mama were in tears, the morning ending with raised voices
 and a child sent off to "just be done then!"
These are very sad memories.
Days I wish I could wipe away from memory.

The Lord used this difficulty to sanctify me, thus producing patience that was sorely needed.
Remember, one does not develop good character through ease. 
 It is the bumps we grow on.
My husband calls it a "character building opportunity".
The Lord uses difficulties to grow us up.
Indeed, I learned more through my child's inability to learn
than I ever would have if things were easy.
For one thing, I learned that one child's speed is not every child's speed or aptitude for learning.
  Some children just need more time.  

If that is the case, there are two options,
 neither of which will be a quick fix:  
 One would be to put the problem subject away for 6 months and then try again. 
 This would be my recommendation for a young student. 
Two of our boys did not read until they were nearing 10, even though phonics were began at 6. 
 Every fall we would begin again, just like the first time,
 and if, after a  few months, they were still struggling to sound out the alphabet,
 the phonics book was put away,
 and other subjects were read aloud for them. 
 They eventually did read, and read well, devouring book after book. 
 I just had to be patient and wait until that portion of their brain was ready and it all clicked.

  When our daughter could not do simple multiplication after her third year working the problems,
 we tried option #2;  we just kept doing it,
 in every possible way..  flashcards, drill sheets, audio, music and dancing, hand signs,
 rhyming, using rice and sand as manipulatives... you name it.
  Eventually, after much repetition of all of the above, the tables were mastered,
 but it was a long process.

When learning doesn't come easy, one of the most important things to do is 

  Losing your temper, patience, and/or emotional sensibility is never productive or worth it. 
My deepest regret in life is that I did not learn this for many years.
But, praying for the wisdom to know whether to put the subject away for a time 
or try a different method, is worth while!  
Praying is  so important, 
and the Lord is so faithful to answer the broken pleas of a home schooling mama.
(read psalm 86) 

"If any man lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,
 and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him."  James 1:5

"Trust in Him at all times, ye people, pour out your heart before him:  God is a refuge for us."
Psalm 62: 8

Learning will come, but likely not in our time frame.
Let go of expectations.
Speak words of affirmation and encouragement.
 Practice patience.
 Pray for wisdom.

Blessings to you in all your homeschooling efforts, 


  1. Julianne,
    Thank you for this much needed post. Although my children are all past reading at this point, I wish someone would have been wise enough to share this many years ago. My son Joshua is now 16 and had a terrible time learning to read. I, like you, wish I could go back and change how I taught him, the way I spoke, and the days spend in regret and tears. I too have grown along with Joshua. I would also say that I spent way to much money trying to find the "perfect" curriculum for him because I ,of course, loved him. I should have just put the books away or just let him learn at his pace. I think mothers, because they want their children to succeed, will spend way to much time and money on curriculum.
    I hope one mother can be relieved of this stress, I will be grateful.
    Thanks for this encouraging post.
    By Grace Alone,

  2. Oh Julianne, this is sooo true!

    Our eldest boy read at age 5, he devoured history romans at age 8. He still loves to read, every book he can lay his hands on, but especially history.

    His two brothers are much slower, and to wasn't easy, but I've learned through other homeschoolers and our eldest, our daughter. She didn't like to read, doesn't to this day (she was ins school till gr 3) She only started to read a book by herself when she was 12 years old!

    Now she is writing the GED (and English is our second language!) which ask for a lot of reading.

  3. I say yes to this post!

    I have had a few struggle with reading and one of my struggling readers struggled with math too! Slowly but surely, they became excellent readers, and for the math struggler, well, she was proficient but never a great lover of math!

    That was okay with me - every child has his gifts and strengths!

    Great encouragement Julianne!


  4. Dear Julianne,
    I loved this post. It was so endearing and encouraging to me on many levels. Homeschooling can be so beautiful...but also humbling. I can see ever so clearly how God has used this path more than any other to reveal His self to me. I not only rely on Him constantly, it's as you said...santification at it's finest. I am a seasoned mama, but not a seasoned home teacher. And nothing brings out insecurities of the home teaching mama like schooling a struggling learner. I have really had to make a discerning effort to not place myself in a posistion to be probed by other mamas of high achieving students on what we are doing. I also don't compare what my boys are doing with others. I wish I had understood this much earlier on with my older children.
    That would have saved us all so much heartache.
    Thank you for also sharing your heart and your process of learning. I love that. Have a beautiful weekend. I'm off to read Psalms 86.
    Love, Kristin

  5. Thank you or this post. I too have a couple who are slower at then the others. Mainly my two boys. I have learned to let it go and let them learn at their own pace. I feel okay until I get around family or NON homechoolers who pressure me into thinking my kids are behind, comparing mine to theirs. but then after reading this and other encouraging post I see my kids are just fine. They learn things at their own pace and will do just fine.

  6. thank you so much I just found your blog but you telling about your kids and reading makes me a mother of five who homeschools feel so much better my two oldest 11 and 10 are having such a hard time with reading but my youngest 5 is loving learning to read thanks so much for sharing with us glad we are not alone

  7. Our kids had a little stuggle too. We found that the phonics helped them get a good foothold. We constantly read to them and encouraged them to read what they recognized when they did. Eventually they really took off. Now (10 & 14) they love reading and do it as often as possible.


Your comments and input are very much appreciate
- Blessings!

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