Homeschooling in most cases is a parent teaching their child or children. In some families, both parents are involved in homeschooling. There may be other adults involved in the child’s education in some way such as a swimming instructor or piano teacher or sports coach.
Speaking as a homeschooling mom, it can be hard to admit when my kids need something that I cannot provide them. But that has been the case in the past at times and I am certain that over the years, it will continue to be an issue that pops up.
I am not strong in math and struggle to even have the confidence to teach our kids beyond the lower grade levels. When our older boys got to junior high, we enrolled them in math summer school which improved their abilities and their confidence and took a burden off me. I felt much better knowing that they were grasping the concepts and had a solid foundation in math to build on.
A few of our kids have really struggled in learning to read. Two in particular were not making any headway no matter what methods I tried. Yes, there were special needs and considerations for both of them, but even keeping that in mind, I began to feel like I was failing them. If there weren’t the special considerations, I would have been fine with allowing them to come to reading at their own pace, but I knew that would not be possible for these two without some heavy-duty help.
Last spring in baseball, Snuggle Puppy could not read his own name off the roster in front of his team. He was embarrassed but I’m sure no more than me. My husband gently (and then not so gently) suggested that we look into tutoring for the two kids and at first, I was resistant. At one point, I flat out refused.
As the homeschool mom, it seemed that accessing outside help would be admitting that I had failed. I had tried so hard and I had failed. I was ashamed to admit that I could not do this thing that should be fairly simple…teaching my child to read. I had taught my older boys to read. Maybe if I just tried harder or longer or smarter. Maybe if I found a new curriculum that I hadn’t yet tried. Maybe if I prayed harder…
I can look back now and admit how hard it was for me to come to a place where I acknowledged that I could not do it on my own. It hurt.
I had to do what was best for my kids though. It turned out that what was best for them was to bring in some professionals who specialize in reading. Both kids began their tutoring in the summer and they “graduated” this week. The difference the program made was remarkable and now they are both at a level that I can build on at home. Miss Optimism is reading, really reading and Snuggle Puppy is at the beginning stages of reading. I am proud of both of them and so glad that I got out of their way so that they could succeed. My pride had been holding them back.
If you are at a place where you have tried different methods of teaching with a particular child and nothing seems to be helping, do not feel like a failure. You may need to prayerfully consider accessing outside help. This help may come in the form of a tutor, a grandparent or neighbour who has a particular expertise, or even enrolling them in a supplemental class.
There is nothing shameful about being able to admit when someone or something else might be a better fit for teaching your child something. There is however, something shameful about allowing ourselves to be so concerned about our failings as a homeschooler or as a parent that we cause our children to fail. I’m glad that I was finally able to allow my kids access to what they needed.