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A "Different" Learner

Encouragement to Homeschooling Parents with LD Children

By Heidi in IN

God has taught me a lot this year.

My daughter has some learning struggles and I had really begun to question this year as to why. After all, I believed all those homeschooling books, articles, and Convention speakers who said our children would jump several grade levels once you began homeschooling them. I also believed all those books, articles and workshop speakers who said homeschooled children were such high achievers that they were ready for college work by age 16 because of the one-on-one tutoring they had received. But you see, my daughter isn't doing any of that and continues to struggle 2 years behind her actual 'grade level' even after 3 1/2 years of homeschooling. I also have a degree in elementary education, so I KNEW the problem couldn't be me! I had bent over backwards to re-learn how to teach so I could teach to her "learning style'. So I just KNEW the problem HAD to be her! So I began reading books and listening to old convention tapes on learning disabilities. I was so emotional during one tape, I cried through the whole thing---THAT'S IT! SHE HAS LEARNING DISABILITIES!!!! So now, I, being so well trained in the philosophy of the world, began reading more books on the various types of learning disabilities and I lowered my expectation of mastery learning for her schoolwork--after all, she has 'Learning Disabilities'. Oh, and honey, we need $1,000 to have her tested and receive therapy!

In the midst of all this inner turmoil, God began to gently lead and teach me.

I went to the Indiana Convention earlier this month and attended a workshop by a Christian man, Steve Demme, some of you, like us, may use his math curriculum. He has a son with Down's Syndrome. He spoke of life with Johnny--the heartaches and the multiple joys and blessings. God used his talk and two books I had bought used off an internet sale board which I had begun to read before the convention. One is by Joyce Herzog, a Christian educator, called, Learning in Spite of Labels and the other is by Christian homeschooling parents, Clay and Sally Clarkson, called Educating the Whole Hearted Child.

Then I saw the problem very plainly.

A Learning Disability is not a Learning Inability, as I was starting to believe, but a Learning Differently. Satan was using that label to create fear in me for my child's future.

I learned that my daughter learns Differently beyond the standard visual, auditory, kinesthetic learning style labels we use. She learns best by seeing things through their whole, seeing the possibilities, the ideals. She learns through the beautiful things in life--nature, music, art, poetry, and classic, wholesome literature, and through interaction with others and in serving others.

She is a beautiful, energetic, imaginative, kind-hearted, sensitive, gentle spirit who loves art, music, poetry, and to have wonderful classic literature read to her. She can dream up more projects than we can ever get done, loves to help with cooking and housework and childcare. She is very spiritually discerning for someone so young. She is so compassionate for people that she loves to visit the sick, prays for them, and for my lost brother. Her heart cries for him. She loves to help at home and church. She begs to study the Bible with us. UnChristlike behavior causes great turmoil inside her. It physically causes her pain.

So what did I learn this year?

I learned that though my daughter learns Differently due some processing problems, but she is not Learning Disabled. She has huge potential! She has a wonderful future!

God taught me that I was the learning disabled one--I wasn't comprehending whom He'd given me to love, nurture, and train. I was trying to make her something He hadn't designed her to be.

I had to repent for my humanistic focus on academic skills and achievement--things that are important in the sight of men. I needed to throw away those man-made scopes and sequences and embrace God's scope and sequence for my child.

I needed to repent of my humanistic philosophy of learning from books written by humans rather than going to the Master Teacher who had created her. He knows her and He knew all along where He was leading her. I just needed to get with the program.

So, we are going through a major philosophy change now. I have sold the curriculum I was using to try to force my daughter to 'catch up' and had hoped would be the magic curriculum which would make her into one of those homeschooling super-scholars. They just frustrated her and made her feel stupid anyway.

We are moving to a more natural approach to learning and are focusing on preparing her to become a Godly woman, wife, and mother.

You know what? We've had a lot more fun homeschooling these past few weeks. The pressure is off of me to 'produce' a certain kind of super-scholar to prove to the world my worthiness as a stay-at -home, homeschooling mother and teacher. That's not why God gave her to us. She's here to learn how to love God with all her heart, soul, strength, and mind and to love and serve His people. That is our new scope and sequence because that's God's scope and sequence for us all.

Read more encouraging testimonies!