Sunday, December 2, 2012

Falling behind and running forward

So today I got my educators discount card from Barnes & Noble.  All I had to do was ASK!

Now if you know me than you might know that this is a dangerous thing for me to wield as I love books and games and tools for learning.  I love things that my kids might not give one hoot about.  Although that may be because they are not owls.  I digress.
Source: via Erin on Pinterest
 Real (cute) Owl

So I was searching for something to challenge Owen in Math as he surpassed what we already had.  We've been working with money, time and fractions at home without a workbook and at one point we had a free trial for a challenging math program online called Dreambox.  It was good but it was $10 a month that I didn't want to pay.  

As my boys explored the toy area with Legos and a Train Set to play with I poured over curriculum of all kinds with mostly math as the focus.  

Goodness there are a lot of choices.  My brain felt like a computer trying to sort through what to throw out and what to keep, what would be engaging and what would not, what is too advanced or too remedial.  I settled in on a Brain Quest Workbook for grade 1 because it looked like fun.  It's not going to cover everything we'll go over in a year but it's a good jumping off point.  I didn't get something with only math when I saw this could give us some much-needed writing prompts and a short overview of a lot of subjects.  It's full of fun short exercises in many subjects and I'm hoping will be a good supplement to encourage confidence in reading, writing and math.  We'll still be doing things at home utilizing the library, the internet and projects or trips made up from our own creative minds but I think this will be a good addition.

It's funny that although I know Owen may be behind in some ways according to the public schools agenda for reading and writing we've been able to go much further in other areas like science and history.  Plus we get to talk about things like politics, compassion, self-control, current events and ancient religion keeps coming up again and again due to any history lesson.  Owen has even developed a love of cooking fun kid food this year and of course he is still building Legos voraciously.

I feel blessed to be able to choose new experiences based on interests and passions.  We're able to attend a kids class on nature science, robots, or animals as well as sitting together to read an easy reader.  We're able to touch dinosaur bones and not just read about them.  We can have recess with cousins or outings with friends.  Last summer we spent a lot of time picking leaves, berries, acorns and pine cones to identify trees.  I remember doing that in 6th grade science.  :)

So I am leaving the hurt I've held on to from negatives comments and experiences Owen has had in his struggle to adapt in public school, sunday school, his enrichment courses or even in playgroups and only taking the lessons with me.

A few weeks ago I read a church sign as I drove away from Owen's homeschool enrichment classes that said, "Mistakes are lessons too."  I think that has been one of the hardest things for me to resign myself with. I don't jump in just to fix everything socially or academically but I've let myself get hurt so badly watching him struggle and fail or hear other people talk about it.  Being with him has helped change my view to see the passion and compassion he's filled with although his self-control and emotional maturity can still be difficult.  I don't think it's fair to let it define him.

He is six.....and a boy......and was somehow born a very strong individual.  Hmmm....

I'm glad to be here to guide and support him through his hard lessons, reminding myself of the character it will help to build even if we don't see it to begin with.

Last week in his Monday enrichment courses I was overjoyed to hear my son made the choice to move classes from Fitness to Habitats.  He's been having a hard time with the fact that he's been in two gym classes back to back that have very flexible rules( but rules to be kept still) and the whole gym class social dynamic.  Each week he'd been given the choice to participate or not to.  He was choosing not to, almost every time and had been getting in trouble out of boredom on the sidelines with a friend.  So after weeks of talking about it, talking to the teacher, and getting utterly frustrated I thought;  "Whatever, he's only got four weeks left.  He can just ride it out until next semester when we'll change what we need to."

So I was pretty amazed when I let go of the situation( stopped trying to fix it for a moment) that my son made this choice.  We had discussed it a few weeks before but it was by no means resolved.  Anyways, that growth to me meant so much more than anything he would've done because I had stood there and made it happen.  We had disciplined, discussed and lectured but when he finally had a break and a little room to breath and think about it without my interruption he made a good choice for himself.  He's growing.  :)

So God please give me wisdom( and self-control!) for when to intervene, when to discuss and when to allow for freedom to fall or to succeed knowing that those moments help him to become much stronger than any safe, controlled environment ever could.  God I believe you err on the side of Freedom, please help me to get there.

And thank you for these strong-willed, rambunctious, amazing boys!

Help me to guide them as they race toward their destinies, sometimes being more sure of their steps than I am.