Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Parenting with Marsha Riley: Diary of a single mom and her homeschooled daughter Pt 4

My thyroid has been acting up so that had me flat out in bed on Monday and Tuesday and then as luck would have it Jess got an ear infection so she was flat out on Wednesday and Thursday, now here we are on Sunday morning doing school.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to catch up and work at our own speed, I shall, therefore, avoid complaining and wishing that we were making plans to go to the beach instead.

I’m writing today not so much to deal with the flexibility homeschooling allows me but more as a reflection of an episode that just took place where both Jess and I were in tears.

I know she is intelligent, anyone who has ever had a conversation with her would agree.  She picks up her math book and does the exercises without me even teaching it to her.  She has literally been teaching herself the math curriculum all year, yet no matter how hard we try or how creative we get, she struggles with her spelling tests.

She spelt them all correctly during the week while we were casually and playfully memorising them, yet when it comes to test time her brain freezes.  She appears to be calm but something in that brain just shuts down.  I know all too well how she feels.  I never completed my degree because I simply got fed up of standing in front the class to explain thigs that no one else could, yet my grades couldn’t seem to ever reflect what I was able to, very accurately and eloquently articulate during the term, in front of the class.

I guess that’s when the tears started flowing.  I felt helpless and I know she did too.  I don’t have the finances to allow me to have her see the hundred specialists all on my phone, so how was I ever going to help her?

True to form I allowed myself only one minute to cry and feel pity.  After that, I quickly regrouped and reminded myself that I was more fortunate than most.  At least she was facing this challenge in the privacy of her own home without 30 other judging kids and a teacher that would probably chalk it up to “careless mistakes” as they often did with me.  I hugged her and reminded her as well that there was no one else around.  No one else to see her struggle.  She was blessed to be home-schooled and no one was rushing her.  I reminded her that we were not afraid of hard work and we never backed away from a challenge.  We kissed and she went right back to the table, got out her words and started writing them over and over and over.

I couldn’t help but feel concerned for the parents that aren’t afforded this opportunity.  I couldn’t help but wonder how children just like Jess got through it all.  How damaging this must all be to their sense of self and their confidence.

I don’t have any immediate answers, other than the hope that we will continue to fight for reform and the promise that I will continue to share our own journey hoping it helps in some small form.

I know last week I promised to discuss the cost of home-schooling and the possibility of full-time mom's home-schooling.  I am sure you can understand why I felt the need to share our experience this week with you, but I will resume the Q&A next week. 

Until then, have an awesome week filled with lots of hugs and love.  Remember to be patient with yourself and your angels, don’t’ allow society to rush you, savour life and their childhood!

Do you have questions about homeschooling? Email Marsha at

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