Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Homeschool Letters

Albert Einstein's Study at the Institute for Advance Study at Princeton University

My youngest student is a teenage soon-to-be man.    I have been working with him all his life, and he has made tremendous progress. This student is my only one out of five, who was learning disabled, and wasn't able to learn to read well until he was 10 years old.  It just didn't click for him until then.  Day after day, year after year, from the time he was 5, I worked with him.  Now, all these years later, he reads the KJV Bible fluently.  But we still have such a long way to go.  The difficulty is understanding our relationship.  I am his Mother. He is growing up and will be a man.  He doesn't always want to do things my way.  He sometimes senses that I am "nagging" him in our little school at home.  I must adjust.

I realized that we need to communicate in a different way.  We need a way that will work, or his education with me will not progress.    The way I have discovered is through letters.

For a student to learn, he must have time to think.  He must have time to seek out his education.  He must have time and quiet to evaluate and analyze.  He must study and solve.  How can this happen knowing his mother is hovering nearby waiting to "help?"  This is why I have backed away.  I will let him stumble and struggle while he learns the skill of learning for himself, rather than learning for me.

On each weekday morning, I have a set of letters waiting for him.  These are formal letters, with dates and indented paragraphs, and a proper signature.  The letters are instructions for the day, where to find the books he needs, and a little chart to show him a specific lesson I would have showed him in person.  He will use these letters to guide him through his homeschool day.  He will also take notes and write me back, telling me what he learned, and telling me what he needs help with.

He will also see the chalkboard, with problems and puzzles to solve.  They will appear "mysteriously" on the board because I will write them when no one is around to see me.  This adds intrigue and adventure to his learning. 

Each night, I will read his letters to me and check his books.  I will then write back, explaining problems he had trouble with, and giving him the new day's directions. 

As he learns to work all day long, without a hovering mother, he will begin to grow and think more independently.  He will acquire mighty skills he needs in order to be a man.  He will become less dependent on me.  He will also rise in wisdom and knowledge because there is a sense of intrigue in these letters and secret chalkboard puzzles, which will create in him a thirst for learning. 

These Homeschool Letters are my key to finishing the last few years of his education.  I am stepping back, while he is stepping up.   This is the last phase of my mothering of a child.

Mrs. White

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Cathy said...

This is truly ingenious, Mrs. White.

Did it also work with your daughters?

kozimom said...

This sounds really interesting! I have 4 boys here to teach now. Maybe this would work with them. Would you be willing to share where you get the problems and puzzles that you put on your chalkboard?

Farrah said...

Excellent idea, Mrs. White! I must incorporate something of this nature with my learning disabled high schooler. Thank you!

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

I will be interested in how this works for you and your son. I have a child that this might work for as well.

Blessings to you,
Laura of Harvest Lane Cottage

Carolynn Stewart said...

Amazing idea! Wish I had thought of it years ago. I think it would also work for young ladies who just want to do things on their own and resent a hovering mother...

Mary said...

Dearest Mrs. White this truly speaks to my heart. My 19yo son moved away to work/school late last year. House rules, parent rules came into conflict. I started writing him letters with encouragement, prayer, happenings of home. He called me one day, wanting to take me for supper, when he opened his wallet, guess what came out? A letter I had written, I looked away quickly....and he hid it once again quickly. He did tell me one day how he loved my on days knowing (for a mother knows these things) that he needs direction, encouragement, I sit down and write him a letter, knowing that I can say things that otherwise would be difficult for him to hear coming face to face.

Mrs. White said...

For the chalkboard, I find my ideas from schoolbooks (or any books), or riddles from our bookcases. Just anything that looks fun.

A few years ago, I wrote about using the chalkboard for math when I had 2 students. Here is the link: