Written by: Elisabeth Rigby
Homeschooling my own kids? Psh, no big deal…easy-peasy. Hadn’t I gotten straight A’s in high school, even taking Physics and Pre-Calculus? Didn’t I graduate a semester early from Bible college with Honors? I went into homeschooling with a faith in God and a confidence in my own qualifications.
The first week with my five-year-old was a bit of a transition, I’ll admit, but I had expected that. The second week went slower than I had thought it would, and by the third and fourth week I was down-right frustrated. We pushed through a second month in tears and desperation, and I turned to the Internet. I know it shouldn’t be this hard! He’s so smart… so why is he struggling so much? I thought about my son’s issues and typed in his specific hang-ups—how I’d have to repeat myself three or four times. How he was clearly trying so hard but struggled with remembering even basic alphabet sounds. How he would have a hard time hearing when his brothers were in the room. How I’d tell him to do something and he’d come back and ask me again what I had instructed him to do. There on the screen before my eyes showed up every symptom! The cause? Auditory dyslexia.
What is auditory dyslexia? It’s where a child can hear just fine, but there’s a connection problem between the left and right sides of the brain; so, what their brain translates is not actually what is being said. Words can be jumbled or are processed as one sound instead of several, making the breakdown of words into individual letters difficult. It also means that their brain doesn’t connect what they’ve heard to their short-term memory because it’s not connecting the two sides of the brain.
Well, now what? What had started out as a relatively simple undertaking had suddenly morphed into a heavy job. I don’t like being defined by motherhood. I’m ambitious. Suddenly the window of time I would have each day had shrunk drastically. From my studies online, I recognized that for my son to be successful just for basic kindergarten I would have to work with him doing consistent exercises to adjust the connections in his brain. It was sad, really, how I grudged my child that extra investment. But I was even more disgusted with myself. God leaned down and whispered, “O ye of little faith.” Of course, if He had brought me to this, it was what was best for me; it was what I needed. Wasn’t He the One who had given me those dreams? Isn’t He the One who created in me the talents I wanted to develop? Isn’t it all for Him anyway? I had to trust Him that He loves and cherishes those things that are close to my heart, while acknowledging that my children should be closer still.
Working with my boy through these frustrations and exercises and programs was certainly what I needed. It grew my faith, my patience, and my love for my child. My babies are worth all my time. My children are the souls that I am directly responsible for. Why would I choose to spend more time on myself than on showing them the love of my Jesus? I am grateful because what would have happened had I sent him to school? The odds are good that he would have been written off as slow, stupid, a daydreamer, or worse, deliberately refusing to focus. My little man’s sense of justice is strong and just imagining what that would do to him when he would try so hard breaks my heart. He would have grown so angry, so bitter, so hurt. His self- esteem would have been so damaged. My son was able to finish kindergarten on time and is now doing very well in the first grade.
We still do the exercises, and piano lessons seem to have helped his connections form even better. God has been so good in directing my path through this difficulty and in teaching me to cherish the feelings, hearts, and minds of my children.
Liz Rigby is a boy mom of six, five, and four-year-olds. When not homeschooling, she’s working on her own blog, books, and music. From wiping bums to getting published, the job doesn’t matter as long as Jesus and others are loved. You can find her on her website, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest.