I have had an increase in readers over the last week and it appears that most of you are interested in hearing more on homeschooling boys. I realized that I never wrote the other parts to that blog (ah the joys of a busy life and getting older-hehe!), so I thought I would share some more thoughts with you on what homeschooling looked/looks like for each of our boys. They are very different in personality, temperament, giftings, etc. I think there is enough variety to hopefully give you some inspiration as you teach your sons. Before I do that, I would like all my new readers to know that 6 weeks ago we lost our first grandchild in childbirth. It has been deep loss for all of us. Our daughter and son in law have shown us amazing depth of faith and trust in God through it all, which has definitely lightened our burden. But I have been sharing some of the struggles along the way as well as the specific ways that God met us throughout this tragedy, hoping to fill you with hope that God will be equally faithful in whatever crisis in life you may experience. I will probably intermittently write those in between the ones on boys.
I have also been sharing an economical, easy, delicious crockpot recipe every Saturday.
HOMESCHOOLING BOYS (Jake-the computer whiz)
When our oldest boy, Jake (our third child) was young, the greatest thing in his life was figuring out how things work. He would sometimes come to me and try to explain how he thought something worked or, better yet, what great invention he was going to build. Every. Little. Detail. It would be a matter of minutes before my eyes would glaze over and I would feel an overwhelming urge to shut down. Our older daughters referred to them as “technological lullabies”. His mind was working beyond mine at 4 years old.
Because he was third out of eight children, I had many little ones to tend to and honestly didn’t have time to help him pursue his every interest. My husband and I would buy “stuff” at yard sales- things to take apart and put back together. I think one of the happiest days of his life was when we moved into a house that had a shop full of “junk” that the former owner had left. Jake would go out there and tinker for hours. He was also spent many hours playing Legos.
At one point I was very concerned about his spelling. The thought of doing a “spelling program” with him overwhelmed me. So I prayed about it. I simply asked God to help him learn to spell better. Jake had learned the letters to the alphabet in sign language. I think his older sister was doing a signing course on video. He started to spell words with his hands in sign language(down by his side) while talking to people. At first, I was wondering what in the world he was doing. I soon realized that somehow his spelling was dramatically improving by doing this! Not the method I would have expected God to use to answer my prayer, but I was thrilled! I tell you this to encourage you…it’s so much more effective and less stressful to pray about these concerns that we have rather than counting on our own wisdom to figure it out. God knows our kids better than we do!
Eventually his interests turned to computers. My husband and I are NOT techy people, so we didn’t have a lot to offer him. Fortunately, his love of learning had not been squelched with too much forcing of bookwork, so he would pour over books with titles like, “3-D Game Programming” and “C++Game Programming”. He also used the internet to learn what he wanted to find out. My husband and I would shake our heads and jokingly ask if this was our child! God also sent people into Jake’s life who DID know about computers and were willing teach him.
Jake liked math and soon passed up my ability to teach him, but fortunately, he was self-motivated and able to read instructions and figure things out. Sometimes my husband would help him, but mostly Jake worked his way through it. I know that is unusual and I have recently found some great free tutorials online that help make up for my deficit in math (www.khanacademy.org). Jake really did NOT like language workbooks and I inadvertently ended up not doing a lot with him as far as language curriculum. We speak English well at home and I am stickler about that. I firmly believe that encouraging reading is a great venue to teach our kids good spelling and grammar, punctuation,etc. When they are reading what is spelled correctly and punctuated properly it helps them recognize what is right and wrong in writing. It also teaches them good flow. I had him do a bit of writing and he took a class on current world problems where the teacher required some as well.
Needless to say, when he went to take his entrance exams at the local community college (at age 16), I was sure that I would be mortified with his performance on the English part. I prepared myself to have to face the “judge and jury” for my lack of persistence and “out of the box” approach. I was shocked when he told me that he aced it. And when he took his first quarter of English and had papers to write, I read them. They were well written. Whatever he didn’t know, he picked up quickly.
Jake decided to do Running Start which allowed him to go to college while earning the rest of his high school credits at the same time. So he started college at 16, graduated with his AA (3.8 GPA) and high school diploma at 18 and is currently a Junior at a local university earning a double major (Computer Science and Game Programming) and a possible minor in Math.
The most important thing of all to us, though, is that Jake has a personal relationship with God and is walking in faithfulness to Him. He has continued to hold his convictions throughout public college. In fact, those convictions have been re-enforced by being exposed to many untruths because he had to ask himself the hard questions about what he really believed and why. Jake is also a very hard worker. My husband and I believe that a good work ethic is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
This all sounds like a complete success story. Remember, we’re not finished with the rest of our boys yet! The real story is that I am and was a mom just like you. A mom who had her plate very full and was just doing the best I could with what I had. The REAL story is that God is a big God. He is a loving God, who is faithful and willing to walk along side of you and give you wisdom in raising/schooling your children. Your family isn’t just like mine and that’s okay. Our calling is to do the best with what we have been given, continuously giving our hearts and our children to Him. And as I am continually learning (Isaac is helping me with this), our children are not our own anyhow. They are His. He has a calling and purpose for each of them. We pray and ask Him to fulfill that in their lives and we just do the next thing He is telling us to do.
If you want some good resources on homeschooling/raising boys, I have listed two on two other blogs-http://simplenourishinghome.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/what-i-have-learned-so-far-about-homeschooling-boys/