Welcome! This is where it all began. I no longer post on this website and some of the content reflects former convictions and understandings. Some of these posts are hard core on issues that I am softer on these days. I deleted many posts that I feared would lead people into legalism, so if you find a missing hyperlink that may be why. These days I write at Covered By His Hand.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Learning Delays

The average seven year old girl has very little worries. My daughter, Rebecca, is not average. You see, she has a reading delay. My bright, talented girl happens to be ambidextrous. And, as a result, she often reads forwards and backwards (sometimes alternating mid-sentence). Rebecca can write left of right-handed, though she seems to have more control with her left. She can swing a bat or throw a ball with either hand. Most people think it is a gift to be ambidextrous, but I think that Rebecca might disagree.

You see, these past few months people have taken notice of how slowly Rebecca's reading is progressing (I think it began when she turned 7). At first, I was not too worried, because I know all kids develop differently... that was before the jeering started. Children younger than Becca can almost always read (in homeschool circles, especially). Parents, Grandparents, and children alike seem to take a sick delight in pointing out how Rebecca is not as good as everyone else.

I am literally sick over this issue. I think my migraines have gotten worse, because I know that my seven-year old daughter cannot read. I cry every time she cries... every time someone says something hurtful to her (or within her hearing). She is too young to carry this enormous burden. We pray that God will take away these obstacles, but He does not. We must keep pressing on, regardless of the delays.

I am not writing this to receive advice so much. I have done plenty of research on dyslexia (though if you have something that you have found really helpful you can pass it on). I am writing this, because I never see any bloggers talking about the struggles of homeschooling... and with good reason.... Enemies of homeschooling will likely jump on this post as a reason to put the kids in "real" school.

While I want to promote homeschooling on this blog, I NEVER want to make it look like an easy, walk in the park. Homeschooling is hard. If you want to teach your kids, you will have to be self-disciplined. If you want to teach your kids you will have to be ready for delays along the way. You may even have a child who has some "disability."

I want to be a voice that says "Don't give up! You can do it!" Times will be tough, but just keep pressing on! An education from home will be worth it!


Anonymous said...

I am a new reader and have enjoyed your honest insights. I have to try hard not to compare myself to you because I could put my head down on my computer and cry, I fall so short as a wife and mother. My son who is now 27, had the same learning dfference as your daughter. He was in the Christian school system, which I was generally happy with-except for their handling of special education needs. I ended up taking him out of school for a semester because it was not working for him anymore. What helped was sitting down with him myself, with books that he picked out and reading, reading , reading. We also started reading the newspaper because he loved stories about fires, car accidents etc. You will never find anyone as interested in your daughter as you are. Don't put her in situations where her reading will be in issue right now. Don't cry, or she will really think something is wrong. It will come. Be patient with her and enjoy her, she will soon be 27 and this challenge will be behind you! By the way, my son loves to read now. Hope this will give you a little perspective. If I had to do it over again, he would never have spent a day in traditional school. I just had no confidence in my abilities. Don't lose heart, you are doing the right thing for your little Rebecca.

Bethany W. said...

Anonymous Friend,

Thank you for your kind encouragement! I need to work on keeping the right perspective! (But, right now, this seems like the be-all and end-all of mothering and homeschooling!) As it turns out, she is most interested in reading the Bible! And, we try to put that in her hands as much as we can! But, I get books from the library about all kinds of animals, insects, etc.

Thank you for your kind comment.

Mama Hen said...

Oh Bethany, I feel your heart. I really do. My son (now 9) had such a terrible speech problem that he literally could not learn to read until it was corrected. I too homeschool my children and my first child learned to read "the normal way" and things went smoothly. I kept waiting with my second bc I thought it would get better with age. It didn't and we had to get outside help. It was hard and expensive and time consuming for the whole family, but we did it bc Matt is part of our family. That is the wonderful thing about homeschooling. You can see what needs to be done and find a way to make it work. Just that fact that you care so much about your daughter shows me that you will do the best for her and she will thrive. Protect her all you can.

Steve and Paula said...

A learning disability should be right at the top of reasons to homeschool.
A child that needs more one on one help, is going to do much better in a home school setting then being put in with all the others that are having similiar troubles in ps.
Being able to progress at ones own pace is a gift you are giving your daughter. She is not going to be held back and lost in the system as a result.
I second what the fisrt commentor wrote.
Alsways be a source of encouragment for her. Celebrate the little things often.

Anonymous said...

I'm new to your blog too- I find your honesty refreshing. Homeschooling is hard, each of our 5 children has their own unique disabilities making life interesting! Your posts retracting some new beliefs were especially inspiring, now a post about one of your children. I could give a long list of first, all the homeschool mistakes we made with our oldest daughter (she's almost 21); next a list of all the learning issues with all the children, Psalm 139:14 is my "mantra" when discovering the uniqueness of my children.

"I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well"

We recently discovered that one our sons needs extra help with his fine motor skills, he's 13! We've been watching his handwriting forever, working on improving the quality continually - it became apparent during this school year that the handwriting was the result of something else, I blogged about out the occupational therapy that we are doing now at home. Please feel free to visit my blog and read about it. Homeschool is the best place for children with learning issues, like another comment stated, no one knows your daughter like you do, God will equip and yes in her own time things will click.
I like the saying from the Bible Camp our oldest daughter worked at last year, because I really believe it applies to homeschool too - "It's the hardest job you'll ever love" Blessings in Him, Kimberly

Anonymous said...


Kimberly took the words out of my mouth...your honesty and humility is absolutely refreshing. I have really been enjoying your posts lately, and I appreciate you allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to "keep it real" with us...it's very encouraging! We'll keep you and your little reader in our prayers. ((Hugs))

Arthur Sido said...

Frankly, those age levels of reading are incredibly arbitrary. To say that a child should read this well at this age is silly. Those standards are based on the public school system and I really am uniterested in the standards set by a utterly failed system like the public schools. Kids develop at different rates and in different ways. Our eight year old has a number of areas he struggles with and I am glad we homeschool him instead of having him labelled "special needs" by some teacher who doesn't know him.

Bethany W. said...

Gee, Arthur,

I wish you would just say what you think. ; )


Ruby said...

Yes... to just about everything!
Yes, it is VERY difficult to teach children with learning difficulties.
Yes, kids are cruel and tease.
Yes, mum breaks down in tears some times.
Yes, you are doing the best with having Rebecca at home.
Yes, the school system levels are silly.
Oh Bethany, I pray God gives you strength and encouragement to plod on with Rebecca.
You know from my blog the difficulties my guys are having, and they are a few years older. As one commenters said, eventually you may need outside help.
After many years "doing our own thing" we finally registered with a School of Distance ED. At first they said - just boys, keep going. I got more and more concerned and frustrated. Last year, their teacher finally decided they should be assessed.
They also have many talents, especially skillful with ball (basketball) and tested normal in IQ. We had their eyes and hearing tested which were fine. They were eventually diagnosed with Auditory Processing problems by a Speech Pathologist.
(We did start to get Dyslexia investigated before this but I was very wary because you had to go to a Psycologist and the initial consultation asked a lot of questions about ADD type things, home environment, suggesting group therapy sesssions etc The woman commented that she could tell my kids were not ADHD by their behaviour at the interview ;o) However, hubby and I did not like the way it was going and stopped the prcess after that.)
The progress my boys are making is so slow sometimes I can't really be sure they are progressing! But I think I have progressed a lot this last year. I had become so over wrought with it all I wanted to throw it in. I had lost sight of all the happy, positive, spontaneous things I used to do with the older ones. As you expressed. Life becomes consumed with this matter. But God hedged me up. I had a 10 and 11 year old who couldn't possibly slot into the school system anyway. I just don't have an alternative....

So long story short.
Pray,try to positive with Rebecca, seek and accept any help the Lord sends, if necessary look into outside avenues.
You are the best teacher for these children, Bethany!

I know you are not looking so much for advice. I hope this is encouragement!

Bobbie-Jo said...

Oh Bethany - I'm almost sobbing ... again. You have so much guts to post as you do. I truly admire your courage - and I don't even know you.

I have been scared to post about my daughters' learning difficulties because of the worn-out chant "homeschoolers test higher than public schoolers." Well, with us this just isn't the case.

I think my oldest daughter is dyslexic. She is almost 11 and struggles to read grade 2/3 chapter books. I am paving the way to have her assessed in the fall and get the help she needs. I suspect my other daughter might have a similar but less severe difficulty, too. We're enrolled with a private christian school (one of the homeschooling options here in BC) but I've found very little understanding there, although they do try. All this week and last I've been reduced to tears, trying to advocate for my daughter and sort it all out, defending why we haven't done the work the school thinks would have been appropriate while explaining that she's made amazing progress.

Sigh. You didn't ask to hear all of this. I could just post it on my blog, but only my closest real life friends know the struggles we have. Maybe once the diagnosis is underway I'll feel more comfortable. But that's just fear, too.

Thanks for being courageous. I hope you can be encouraged by the number of us who can say "me too."

Bethany W. said...

Bobbie Jo,

I can only imagine how much more difficult your situation is than my own - with your kids being in a school with other kids every day. At least my daughter is protected from her peers most days. Thanks for sharing your heart with me. It does do me good to hear that we are not the only ones. And, I completely understand why no one else wants to blog about these things! I have said very little about Rebecca for the last year (in regards to reading) because our progress was so slow. I don't expect most people to understand.

Thanks for your comment,

Anonymous said...

Hi Bethany,

I'm a little bit puzzled that anyone would consider a seven year old "reading delayed." Most seven year olds I know are just getting started anyway. The best advice I could offer would be to give her time. Drop the reading for a long time if need be and read TO her. Very often, reversals indicate a lack in maturity, not dyslexia. Really, a seven year old does not HAVE to read in order to learn. And I would be very careful to NEVER EVEN HINT to her that you think she has a problem. She might believe it for the rest of her life, whether it's true or not! Build up her confidence in other areas.

BTW, I would be wary of ANYONE who would make rude comments on a seven year old's reading skills. Definitely not very nice peers, or relatives.

Sorry, just an area I get very excited about! Maybe you'd like to read some of Raymond and Dorothy Moore's research on hurried learning, The Successful Homeschool Family Guide would relieve your mind a lot, I think.

I really enjoy reading your blog!

Bobbie-Jo said...

Bethany, I'm sorry you misunderstood. I educate the children here, at home, but I report to and receive support from a certified school.

Kate would crumble in a classroom. It's taken her 3 years to actively participate in Sunday School with her close friends because she didn't want to read aloud.

(Kerri) said...

I do not have the time to read all the comments to see if this was mentioned, so sorry if I repeat someone. I was looking over an email from the Ambleside group, something I usually do not do. However something caught my eye, a book called: "Brain Integration Therapy". I bookmarked it just in case we would need that for Jed. At this point we don't know how much the holistic practitioner can help with his central nervous system problems. Not to mention that now we know he has Apraxia of Speech the reading I did on it says that a lot of these children have learning problems, especially in reading. Anyways, as soon as I closed the window I was in to check out that book, I came here to see what you have been up to :-) And lo and behold you wrote this post. Coincidence???? Hmmmmm, I think not :-) Do take a look at it, maybe it can help.



Mrs. Bridget G. said...

Having special needs children is the very reason i am scared to start homeschooling! But I know it's not impossible. I have seen many books written about the topic. It can be done! lol. As for your child who seems in no way special need, it's just a matter of finding the right groove.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bethany,
One of my girls has struggled with a reading delay. This is one of the greatest reasons I'm happy to have homeschooled her! We can take it at her pace. There is no comparing with a class of students, no pulling out of the class room for "extra help" while others are moving on to new subjects!
As for my daughter,I find her to be my best student! She works so hard and take great time in her school work. For one of my other girls, learning has come easy, but she is lazy. That has been harder to work through!
Be encouraged, dear friend. The only one you can compare her learning to is her own. You may struggle in this but our Lord will lead the way. He may be molding her in a way you don't know. This may be streathening her for service to Him. So really, this is a blessing worthy of praise :-)
And you can tell others that too.
He is the potter, we are the clay.
In Him,

Anonymous said...

boy this brought out a lot of encouraging posts! My 7 year old (with Downs) is just learning to talk - ha ha! He'll probably start to learn to read and talk at the same time (hey - maybe potty learning too...) Just marching to a different drummer.

-Mrs. B