There is much talk in homeschool circles about the importance of identifying your child’s learning style, rightly so. The beauty of homeschool is tailoring your teaching approach in a way your child can readily receive.
What happens though when the learning style and needs of the child do not match up with the temperament of the homeschooling parent? I don’t see any talk about that. It’s almost as if it’s expected that the parent will automatically transform to easily meet the needs of each child (who by the may each have a different learning style)!
I don’t know if it’s still in print but Spirit-Controlled Temperament by Tim LaHaye is a book I read as newlywed. My hubby had already taken a course on the material and what he shared was so fascinating that I had to check it out for myself. It has gone a long way in helping us understand what makes us tick, why we do the things we do. Especially those things that get on each other’s nerves! Notice I said what makes us tick as opposed to being hard-wired because the Holy Spirit transforms believers into Christ’s image.
In the meantime, though, there is still the pesky manifestation of subconscious traits that impact parenting and teaching style and may be quite opposite to that of one or more of your children. For instance, our homeschool setup is an eclectic mix where the main subjects, Language and Math, are taught online; the others we do as a group. Thank God that works for my kids because having to teach their core subjects out of a book would be so draining it would put me over the edge. (By the way, we refer to texts if they need spot reinforcement but constant interaction tends to drain the introverted part of me.)
However my oldest, and the reason I began homeschooling, demands a lot more of my time and energy than the other two. By God’s grace he’s more successful overall this year compared to last but there is still one area he lags far behind. That frustrates the “diagnose it and fix it quick” part of me (can you tell what I did in my former life). In my zeal to help him overcome, I’ve tried everything I’ve thought of or researched. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve asked God for wisdom and insight only to see this great kid continue struggling, the answer seemingly beyond my reach.
Frustrated, weary and hopeless I cried and cried out to God. What do I do, Lord? I’ve searched the internet, I’ve talked with other homeschooling moms and nothing seems to help! He’s discouraged and I’m beyond discouraged. You promised you would lead me in this homeschooling thing you called me to. What do you want me to do? A still small voice told me to, “Meet him where he is and I’ll take him where he’s going.” Honestly, at first I had no idea what that meant but I knew it was a major revelation; bigger than homeschooling. Eventually I understood that I can’t get hung up on where he “should be” and how I’m going to catch him up. When God called me to this season of homeschooling it wasn’t for me to accomplish what public and private, Christian school did not. It was to meet him where he is today and trust the Lord to make him successful in every area. The Lord knows where He’s taking him, how to get him there, and when.
I had to toss aside conventional wisdom to follow Jesus’ lead. He told me exactly where to meet my son. I had my doubts, but we tried it today and it worked. He understood so much more than usual and afterwards he said he felt “refreshed”. The best part about it was telling him that it was Jesus’ idea and that He said He would take him all the way. The love of Jesus was never more real to him than in that moment and I could totally relate!
© Vanessa A. Harris and The Legacy of Faith, 2013.