Saturday, February 20, 2016

Coming Up For Air

We went down the rabbit hole... or so to speak. At some point we got in a hurry to grow up, to rush out of the grammar stage, to chase the white rabbit. 

And then it happened; we fell. Looking back, the fall shouldn't have come as a surprise.

Our older daughter is every bit of twelve going on fifteen. These days her focus is all about figuring out who she is and where she fits in. My focus has been trying to provide her with the space to discover these things. In giving her that space, we went down the hole.

Last summer, she expressed a strong desire to learn independently (from me), so we decided to enroll in a Classical Christian online school. She spent most of the day, four days a week, in front of the computer involved with live teacher led courses. 

She made many "virtual" friends. Now... they all seem like great kids but... they don't come over to our house and hang out. It's not reality. It didn't make sense.

In preparing these young students to read classical literature, challenging books are assigned, discussed, and written about. Chuck Colson's book Born Again was a difficult read for me. Therefore, I wasn't surprised when she admitted to only skimming it and not participating in the online class discussions. Reading so far above her personal comprehension level caused her to stop thinking; caused her to shut down.

The speed of her fall accelerated at mid-term exam time. Some of you may be fortunate (HA!) enough to have witnessed what happens when a twelve year old girl suffers from severe anxiety. It's not pretty and actually extremely distressing. Her beautiful smiles surfaced less and less.

We decided to stop the insanity and return to reality.

She has returned to her friends and the program that we have been involved with for the past six years. The sweet (most of the time), happy, curious little girl/young woman has returned. The smiles are back!

Conversations with flesh and blood people are happening. 

She's reading wonderful books that spark ideas and foster values.

By way of The Lost Tools of Writing, she's learning to gather, arrange, and express her thoughts and opinions in a logical manner. 

She's dissecting organs. Well... she's not, but she is observing her classmates doing it and so may become inspired to give it a try. 


She's explaining her Saxon 1/2 math problems to her peers and having conversations about the different concepts each student is learning.

The tremendous English Grammar knowledge she has accumulated over the past six years is being applied to her study of Latin. She satisfies her computer desires by using Quizlet to study and review Latin vocabulary, geography facts, biology terms, and catechism questions.

We are learning world geography as a family and interacting with each other almost every minute of every day.

And one of the best parts is that she has an intelligent, enthusiastic, caring mom/friend leading this group of precious young people once a week. 

I could go on and on...

Do you see all the smiles?

As an older mom, I often remind the younger moms that I'm in contact with to enjoy their children and not to rush the learning process. Why is it that I so often don't follow my own advice?

We've learned many lessons this year; mine being one that I wish I hadn't forgotten. Our children desperately need and want our guidance even when they think that they don't. 

Let them be young,