At Ones Own Pace

“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with thoughts of other men.”  ~Bill Beattie

Back when William was entering kindergarten, Rob tried convincing me that I should home school him. While it may have been a good idea, I wasn’t up for it at the time. It’s no excuse, but I was just coming off five of the hardest years of my life, and I didn’t have the patience or desire to add homeschooling to my list of things to do. So, like a majority of parents do, I sent him off to school. 

Living 2o miles from the school, I didn’t make my way out there very often. So I stayed home, tending the twins and the farm and assuming school was the perfect place for my son to learn.

When we moved back to Montana, it was time for the twins to start school as well, so I took a job as a Teacher’s Aide. With everyone in school, and me gainfully employed where I could see my kids from time to time during the day, I was content with how things were going.

But then something began to change.

I started to doubt myself and my decisions.

We had William repeat 1st grade because his old school was not nearly as advanced as the new one, and he had had some struggles as it was. Rather than risk him missing out on important learning blocks, we opted to have him repeat the grade. While I was convinced that we made the right decision, he still wasn’t thriving the way I had hoped. 

I watched Nathan struggle in every aspect of school. He was so far behind all of his classmates that he was put into extra reading and math classes. They started him in speech in hopes that it would help with his learning. He had a wonderful teacher, and I think she was exactly what he needed, but still, he fell further and further behind.

Catheryn was the only one who seemed to fit perfectly into the square mold that is public school. She was learning at a nice level and had a good relationship with her teacher and her peers.

As the year went on, I began questioning whether Rob had been right from the get-go. I began having very strong feelings about homeschooling my kids. So much had changed in two short years. But then, perhaps I was just ready for summer vacation. Maybe I needed a break from all the kids at school and would feel differently once fall rolled around again.

I didn’t.

The kids went back to school after the summer and I went back to work, but I never fully embraced it. I counted down the days from day 1. I told myself to give it some time, but as the school year went on, I became more and more confident in my decision.

Suddenly, I didn’t doubt my abilities quite so much. I became aware that I, too, was capable of teaching my children.

After watching Nathan struggle for another year, and William never quite find his place, I knew in my heart that I was fully willing, able and ready to teach my kids at home. Rob and I discussed it with the kids many times, and they were just as ready as we were.

So, at the end of the school year, the kids and I said good-bye to public school. The best way for our kids to thrive and succeed is to allow them to learn at their own pace, in their own time. At home, they will be able to do just that.