Home School Court Report
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The Last Word Previous Page Next Page
by J. Michael Smith
- disclaimer -
How to Push Through the Midyear Doldrums

Wherever you are in your homeschool journey—just beginning or continuing with your spring semester—my purpose with this Last Word is to give you a little bit of encouragement with a little bit of practical wisdom to finish the year with optimism.

HSLDA/Heather Grey
J. Michael Smith, president of Home School Legal Defense Association

As you know, HSLDA was founded to establish the fundamental right of parents to direct the education of their children. Over the years, as we gained success in clearing the way to legally homeschool, we recognized that God had blessed HSLDA with additional resources that we could use to assist families in their ability to homeschool. The wisdom of our board in taking this direction was confirmed recently by a letter from a member family in southern California.

This family had joined HSLDA for peace of mind. As members, they knew that if they ever had problems with state or local authorities about their right to homeschool, HSLDA would handle them.

But then they encountered a problem that wasn’t legal or legislative. Their daughter was having trouble learning. These parents sought the Lord for direction and were led to HSLDA’s website for answers.

Now how many of you, when you’re having problems with your child’s ability to learn, think of seeking help from HSLDA? According to a recent survey we did, many members do not know that we have resources available to help them to teach their children, especially struggling learners.

On HSLDA’s front page, this mother clicked on “Teaching My Kids,” which brought up the “Struggling Learners” icon through which she was able to access helpful articles, archived newsletters, and links to specialized book resources, learning agencies, and tests. She learned that for a small fee, she could view @home e-vents webinars on the very issues she was facing.

As she delved further into the website, she discovered descriptions of the four “learning gates” by which we all discover the world around us, which helped her identify specific learning gates that were causing her child to struggle. She learned that these struggles were not severe and explored some nonconventional approaches to bring about learning growth.

The information on our website empowered her, as her own child’s teacher, to diagnose and solve the problem. Rather than only referring her to experts, we encouraged her to be the ideal teacher given by God to her child—the most effective and best—prepared person to solve the struggling learner situation.

This mother also spoke with one of our struggling learner consultants, who have years of experience with struggling learners. Our member quickly realized that the expertise she was receiving was a specific answer to her prayer for wisdom and direction. Immediately after she began implementing the tools and strategies that she received, she saw improvement in her child’s ability to learn. Her child was literally beaming with joy, demonstrating how deeply the girl had been aware of her learning struggles. Her visible transformation brought tears to our member’s eyes.

Summing up this experience, our member said that she thanks God that HSLDA is not only protecting her right to homeschool, but also supporting her ability to homeschool.

In homeschooling, as in life, there will be peaks and there will be valleys. (I know some of you are saying, “When will we see that peak, Mike?”) All children will struggle in the learning process from time to time. Sometimes, simple changes like switching the curriculum or teaching approach, taking a little time off, changing the pace, or seeking the help of others outside the home may help us evaluate what's happening.

But at times, all our efforts may seem to fail. Self-doubt creeps in and we may begin thinking that the problem is the teacher, not a learning issue. Instead of giving in or giving up, why not see how HSLDA can help you? Visit www.hslda.org, explore the resources there, and if you want personal help, give us a call.

Finally, if things get so bad that you start talking to yourself and people begin to wonder, you can simply tell them that you are having a Parent-Teacher Association meeting. May God bless you!