the Trigger-happy housewife

Bringing the constantly fantastic and painfully insane together daily!

Odds and evens.

on January 9, 2013

There are so many times when we know nothing about what we are talking about and yet we feel as if we can tell someone how to do it better.

Last Sunday after church the lady who teaches children’s church mentioned, “She needs to work on her odds and evens. I said something about that and she didn’t know them.” She was talking about Mavis, darling! I nodded and smiled, on the inside I fought the urge to scream because I saw Mavis, darling’s face as this woman said this. There was a teeny twitch in her eye, a moment where her smile faltered, though never stopped. She has heard it all before, we have been through it all and I could see for a split second her little thought was, “Here we go again.”

Let me say that my kids love this woman, they adore church because of her and I am thrilled about that. Let me say that I think she is lovely and kind and I could not be more glad that she is the kid’s children’s church teacher. Let me say that she is a teacher and my mother is a teacher so I am used to unsolicited advice when it comes to educating my children. I am sure she was just being kind, and pointing out a small note on my darling. The thing she doesn’t know that we are – once again – purchasing a new math curriculum for Mavis, darling! She doesn’t know that math has been the thorn in my youngest daughter’s foot. She doesn’t know us very well at all and she knows nothing about my baby’s struggles or amazing progress – and her progress has been amazing.

My child has come so far from where she was. Barely reading at the start of last year to reading well and comprehending little to reading at or above her reading level and enjoying her book! Chicken scratch and little effort or care with her hand writing to working hard and writing whole, lovely thoughts. Spelling next to nothing to spelling quite good and trying daily to get better. No interest in Science or History has turned into a happy face who will pull these text off the shelf when given her choice of lesson! Her progress may not be measured in perfect A’s and might not come across as the best academically, but it is real and fierce and all her own. It has given her confidence and hope, it has given her peace. When math comes out this wonderful confident child my youngest daughter has turned into shrinks away. Her “I don’t care” cover comes over her and her eyes, glittering and inquisitive blue, glaze over. Math is a desert and she can’t find water. We’ve talked odd numbers, skip counting, division, we’ve done math for years, she did math for years before we home schooled – she can’t recall math, there is no understanding. Sure after you remind her she nods and can recall talking about it before, but it still means nothing to her.

I have read many home school blogs, message boards and books to come to this conclusion: It’s okay.

Mavis, darling! will quite possibly be reading at a level much higher than her years, and yet her math may be a bit behind. That’s okay. That is the beautiful thing about teaching her at home. We are not on some across the board time line of standards and tests, I am here for my kids to grow and progress in the best way for them. I am here to teach and coax and push, to set standards and to guide – I am not here to harass, be hard or rush their learning.

Two months ago I would probably have let that throw me into a tailspin of anger, defensiveness and, probably, I would not have gone back to that church. Not now. I took a breath and feel okay. I am going to pray over it and then move forward. My biggest concern is Mavis, darling! not feeling inadiquite or wanting to stop attending because she feels bad – if that happens we will just address, adjust and move forward.

Today though I think of how I feel, how may baby’s face made my heart hurt, how someone thinking they were being harmless and simply pointing out a little something made my daughter feel. I will think of that and apply it to myself as I am sure that there have been many times I felt I knew best when in reality I hardly had an understanding of the situation. I am positive there have been times my “helpful” unsolicited advice hurt more than it provided any help. I am going to use this as a turning point for me and strive to seek council before I give council, to pause and gain divine understanding before I speak. I love being the person that people come to for thoughts and advice, but I owe it to the Lord (where any advice I give should ultimately come from) and I owe it to them to make sure that advice is not given without a complete appreciation for the entire situation and the effect that my advice can have.

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