“Homeschooling is for weirdoes and I am not in the business of raising hermits and social outcasts”, were the first ignorant words I blurted out when my sweet husband asked me to consider homeschooling our son. The truth is I could not wait for all three of my kids to go off to school, so that I would finally get a chance to become a free adult again. I yearned to go back to school, and further my degree. I ached to go back to teaching dancing. I hungered to once more have a clean house. Than, everything changed. My husband asked if I would please just pray about it.
Since I was dead set against homeschooling, I did not see any harm in praying for it. Plus I saw a great opportunity to earn brownie points with my hubby; through openly honoring his request for a prayer. I went to bed that night and prayed. I asked the Lord to make His purposes known to me. I guess I was sincere in my prayer, since what do you know, the next morning I woke up with an answer. Except, it was one I did not care for! The Lord wanted me to homeschool! The certainty of it resounded within me like a vibration of an enormous bell. Though strong and reassuring, it made me feel lost within my self, not quite knowing whether it was the trembling of His will I was feeling or the beating of my own heart. For a moment I thought I knew what Peter must have felt while walking on water. I was scared out of my mind, yet I did not dare to go against my Father’s so clearly stated wishes. This would require a lot of faith and courage!
A short month later I attended the homeschool fair; for if I was going to do this homeschooling thing, I was going to do it right. I researched and prayed. After purchasing my curriculum I lined the books up neatly on the shelf and prepared all the folders. I wrote out lesson plans for each week and allowed the excitement to build. I knew enough about my Maker to realize that when I accept a mission from Him, he will light the fire in me; and sure enough He did! I was ready! I was the teacher and I embraced my new role with passion!
I am glad that the Lord does not promise us the vision of the future, but that He always promises hindsight of 20/20. Indeed, for if I knew then what the next three years would hold for me and my son, I would have gone against my Father’s wishes, and bailed out, sending my son in to the public school system. However, in doing so I would also cheat myself greatly of the tremendous rewards, which awaited my whole family at the end of this rainbow.
Five months into Kindergarten my dear sweet, blue-eyed angel could not write or read. He had the hardest time with simplest letters and their sounds. His pencil became his greatest enemy, which drove him to tears, and me to serious anxiety attacks. He would slouch and slide beneath the table. He would stutter and yawn. In feeble efforts to document our work I purchased every hands on school activity there was. I blamed myself, than I blamed my son, I blamed my husband and finally I blamed God. I fervently asked God, if it was really what He wanted me to do. Maybe I misunderstood. How could I have been so certain and driven in to doing something that brings me so much stress? I cried and cried till there were no more tears left to drown the aches in my heart. I loved my son so dearly, yet homeschooling became a sore wedge between us.
I began waking up at 4:30 each morning to do my Bible study; I was afraid to face the day without the Holy Spirit filling me. You know the fear of failure, or of something so dreadful yet terribly inevitable? That is what each morning would hold for me. My evenings would also be robbed of peace and rest, as I squirmed in dismay, anticipating the next day. I learned to walk with Christ, so closely that the thought of me not leaning on Him constantly became strange and unwelcomed.
At the end of Kindergarten Cyrus was finally able to read short sentences and thanks to the Leap Frog DVDs he knew his letters and sounds. First grade brought more of the same. More prayer, more headaches, more testing of my love for my dearest child. More tears and frustrations. At home I was a mess, yet to the outside world I needed to appear that homeschooling was wonderful, because they would not understand the truth, which Patsy Clairmont stated beautifully, “ true victories are characterized by knee-knocking fear amidst God’s empowering strength.” I had the fear, and I had my Lord, now I waited for my victory.
With the start of second grade Cyrus and I made a pact; there will be no more yelling, just loving. I was spent and there was no more fighting left in me. I secretly began researching dyslexia. What else would make Cyrus, who was otherwise a very bright child, struggle so much with reading and writing? After all, he was a wiz in math and science. But dyslexia did not fit. I felt so defeated, and that is when my great Father allowed His Victory to happen. Again, a simple prayer changed everything. That night I lay next to Cyrus in his bed, praying. We both lifted our hearts up to heaven, and finally laid this burden at the feet of our Maker. We were out of ideas and depleted of human resources. The next day I woke up early, as usual ready to plead for renewing of strength and the gift of patience. After my quiet time I checked my email, and went on my dear friend Connie’s website: “Livingthebodyofchrist.blogspot.com”
There I discovered Stacie Stalling’s journey with her son’s dyslexia, and since dyslexia was already on my radar, I devoured the story searching for clues to my own depressing situation. Towards the end of her touching account, Stacie mentioned vision therapy, a concept I have never heard of before. I quickly switched over to Google and learned as much as I could about it. Within minutes I discovered a comment left for Connie, by another homeschooling mom, sharing that vision therapy was instrumental in extinguishing her son’s dyslexia. Next thing I knew, I was on the phone with Dr. Kotlicky’s office making an appointment to get Cyrus’s eyes evaluated. I was able to book this appointment for a day after tomorrow; everyone else I know had to wait a month. Honestly, I believed that the exam would show nothing at all and that more patience would be required of me.
Miraculously, a good friend of mine was able to watch my younger children. The evaluation took an hour and provided us with more answers than we could have ever hoped for. This was THE moment in my life where I looked back and saw the pieces of the puzzle fall in place so perfectly together, revealing the glorious picture of God’s undying love and mercy. All that He allowed us to endure brought us to a point where, after being humbled by our own weakness, we could worship Him unencumbered. The picture was clear. From the day my son was born, he was never interested in puzzles, blocks, coloring pages, Legos, or picture books. Not because he was a boy, though boys are different, but because he had eyes that could not see well, and those childish things held no interest for him. Instead, I think he learned how to observe the world quietly and listen for God’s ever-small voice in the tiniest of moments. My son’s heart belonged to His maker and his life was filled with actions, reflecting uncompromising truths, which dwelt within him.
This was why he could not write his name after two years in pre-school, and why he could not focus on the page in front of him. This was why his body drooped beneath the table when he attempted to read; for this seemingly simple task was overwhelmingly difficult for him to accomplish. I believe this is why God led me to homeschool him. In His love and mercy He spared us secular school systems and honored us with the trials designed to build His family and our characters.
Today we celebrate. We laugh each day and love school together. Though we are not done with eye therapy yet, my wonderful son now reads! What used to take him forty minutes to read, now takes him four. I did not even know that he loves to paint, and he loves to write stories, and he loves Legos. His hands are busy each day and he no longer mumbles or stutters. The biggest desire, one I yearned for since the moment Cyrus was born, was that one day he would read the Bible by himself. Three weeks ago, he asked me to get him a patriot Bible, which includes speeches of famous folks across the Christian history of our Nation, because his favorite is George Washington. That day for the first time in his precious little life, my son read the Word Of God! As he pulled out the highlighter and went for it, I melted and this time the tears of hope nourished my weathered heart.
Each day I watch Cyrus, I am amazed. Humbly I thank my Master for His perfect love and the Victory, which He gave us.
“All things work together for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His Purpose.” Romans 8:28
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Born and raised in Poland, Monika Holt is a homeschooling mom of three, with a passion for Christ. She has two special needs children, one with a peanut allergy and one with reading disability, on the mend. In her BC (before children) days she was a professional ballroom dancer with an unlikely degree in English Literature and Political Science from Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. She now chairs the Special Needs Committee in her local homeschool group.