You know that thing where you realize that people learn at different paces? Some learn quicker. Some learn slower. Some don’t seem to learn at all until they’ve made the same mistake a million times. That’s me. I’m the turtle. I don’t appear to learn or to be moving forward, and I make the same mistake a zillion times. Most of the mistakes seem to be related to pride.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my educational philosophy, the educational path that God put me on with the children, and about how often I lapse from it in fear or in worries that I’m not going the right way. I push and drive and refuse to ever let anyone rest. Then, I realize that I’ve done it again. I learn slow and move slow, kind of like a turtle.
Over the past few months, I’ve spent a lot of time worrying about one of my children who has seemed slow to learn. She’s eight and isn’t really reading yet. She often cries over math, and I spend so much time comparing her to the other kids her age–never favorably. In fact, I’ve spent so much time worrying that I’ve failed to see and celebrate the progress that she’s made this year.
Then, I sat down and actually started thinking about the progress she’s made this year, and I realized that homeschooling really is working. It’s not working as quickly as I had hoped, and the results aren’t any so far that will end up being national bragging rights for homeschoolers. She really has made some big (for her) progress without pushing, stressing or creating intense loathing for learning. (She has a disdain for anything schoolish though. She can spot that a mile away.)
So, when I saw this quote in The Joyful Home Schooler, I thought about my eight year old and about myself and how often I’m slow to learn:
For homeschooling parents, the important thing is to seek God’s will for your children, and set some worthwhile goals for them . . . Also remember that slow doesn’t mean stupid. Turtles are slow because God made them that way. So are some kids. So are some parents and educators, for that matter!
Slow learning is still learning. Slow progress is still progress. “Grade level” is not set in stone and is not holy writ. I need to eventually learn to stop worrying, back off, and trust God to handle things. I only have to be obedient to the task that God has given me to do, and I don’t have to worry about the results. God can take care of them because they all are his children and he only needs me to do the job he has given me and not to attempt to do his job for him. One day I’m going to learn this, even if I’m slow to learn like the turtle!!