This spring Timothy took two AP exams: Calculus and Physics. As a homeschooling mom, whose strengths do not lie in upper-level maths and sciences, this was a bit nerve-racking for me. But Timothy was motivated and up for the challenge. He used Saxon's Calculus, Apologia's Physics and a few other resources on Kindle and the internet and taught himself. (All I did was help to craft a study schedule to make sure he finished everything in time!) About a month before the tests, we realized that the AP physics exam was calculus based and not algebra-based, like apologia's physics textbook that he had been learning from all year. A huge oversight on my part! He ordered more books on kindle and really buckled down for the remaining days...determined not to be thrown off course by this realization.
We just got his results back yesterday and we were so happy for him! He did very well! A 5 in calculus and a 4 in physics! Wow! All his hard work paid off!
I hope that this will be an encouragement to all the homeschooling moms who are still in the grade school years and still have little ones toddling around dumping out juice cups and throwing toothbrushes in the toilet while you're trying to homeschool your older kids. The moms who are sick with morning sickness or chronic illnesses. The moms that are trying to move and in the middle of packing or unpacking boxes. The moms that are learning what it means for their family to live in a new culture.
This is my oldest child...the one who had his education interrupted by 5 pregnancies (that's like 5 years of morning sickness and sleepless nights and newborn struggles! ha!), two adoptions, one cross-country move and one international move (and everything that was involved in pre-field training and settling down in a new culture). That adds up to a lot of days of missed textbook time!
During those days, I never believed older moms when they told me that my kids would be okay. hmm...I fretted a lot over everything that I wasn't getting done. I think they were right though. God's grace covers a multitude of gaps in our children's education. I've done a lot wrong in our homeschool journey but there are three things that were brought to mind last night as I was in bed thinking and thanking God for Timothy's exams. Three ways that God led us that I'm thankful for:
#1-- an absolute and utter dependence on the Lord for all that I need and all that my kids need. By his grace, my kids' hearts are being shaped by the Holy Spirit and this is so important. Even on the best days, with no other interruptions, it is very difficult for academic education to happen if hearts are not submissive to the Lord. I am thankful that was convicted early on that my first job in homeschooling is to discipline their hearts and lead them continually to the Lord.
#2-- When life throws interruptions to school we shouldn't fret so much. But when there aren't major interruptions, we have got to run and work hard and get that school done. Kids do learn a lot by experiences and life, but it actually won't get them to college. haha! Sometimes homeschooling goes at a limp, sometimes it halts all together, and that's okay! But during the seasons that it can go--it should fly!
#3--I think it was drilled into me in my early days of Classical Conversations to give our kids the tools of learning. When Timothy got to pre-algebra and algebra 1, I was still able to dig into the depths of my brain, remember my college algebra and figure out his math with him. But I knew that wouldn't last long. I knew nothing of upper-level math and with lots of other kids and my chronic illness, I knew I wouldn't be able to continue to learn with him... there just wasn't time or strength. So during those two years, I spent hours relearning myself, then teaching him and modeling to him how to take his textbooks and make them his own, how to use google and youtube to figure out concepts, and how to use the answer key to work a problem backwards. I taught him how it was never enough to see where he made his mistakes, but that he had to get to the point where he could teach someone else...then he'd know that he had learned it. I have found the CC idea that our children will always have gaps in their education, but if we can turn them into lifelong learners by giving them the tools of learning, they will be just fine to be so true!
So there it is...three thoughts whirling about in my brain as I rejoice with my son who did really well and my Lord who is so gracious to our little school at home. God has been so good to us!