Thursday, May 2, 2013

What our school produces besides good grades

14 days of school left.

I’ve been remiss in my posting these last few months because the schooling has just taken so much of my time and the rest of the time has been devoted to the family or to house projects. I am looking forward to getting some more wiggle room in my schedule.

School has gone quite well this year. Both academically and in character building. I must say that as the schooling years have gone by, I’ve found myself more concerned with the latter than the former. Mr. Steady and I have told our kids many times that we find it more important to teach them to be people of good character than people of good grades.
At this point in my life, the people I know could care less that I graduated sixth in my class with a 3.85 grade point average. The people in my life look to my character. Am I nice? Do I treat them with respect? Do I show care and concern for them? Am I helpful? Am I kind? Am I punctual? (ahem…)
And so, as I look on this school year… I’m not exactly looking at grades to see what my children mastered this year (although I still have to do that!), I’m looking at their character and how they grew it and how we can continue to help them grow good character.

Ms. Books had quite the school load this year. My Girl will be the first one to tell you she is a procrastinator of the first order. She struggles with it lots—however, I’ve seen her make great strides in organizing her time better this year. That in and of itself, makes this a good school year.

Sassafras was in the middle of middle school this year and her hormones took a surge. Woo-wee, was I not ready for that one. My even-tempered girl seemed to disappear overnight and she & I really struggled with the changes. Her biggest hurdles this year were to slow down, listen and comprehend then follow-through. She takes after her mama in that she only listens to half of what you say and then either comes back later with “What was that again?” or doesn’t come back to it at all and leaves it only half done. Since this is something I, to this day have to work on, I understand... yet am still frustrated when it happens with her. I'm my own oxymoron. In the past, because I know these tendencies, I’ve avoided giving Sass certain household chores. This year, I determined that I would be more mindful of slowing down with her and taking time with her to teach her these tasks. I’ve found that giving her the chance to try and fail or try and succeed in the household tasks has carried over into her schooling and she’s not only keeping better track of herself but is the most on-task of all three of my kiddos.

As long time readers know, The Boy is a struggling reader. He knows only two speeds- stop and go. He likes everything to come fast, including his learning (ahem, another trait carried over from the mama) and when he doesn’t get it right away or has to struggle through it, he throws up his hands in defeat and becomes dejected. Immediately. It isn’t pretty and it pretty much leaves me frustrated and angry with him. Not a good combo. So this year we’ve been working on the character traits of perseverance and grace in the midst of failure. His Daddy has been working some hands-on projects with The Boy and teaching him more about the fact that failure doesn’t mean ruined; that instead, it means you buck up and try again or you tweak the plan to work in your favor. One way they’ve been doing this is through various building projects. The latest being our chicken coop. Through working beside his Dad, he’s found that sometimes even the best plans need to be tweaked in the process to make a better ending and having to do so doesn’t mean you failed to create a good plan. That’s been key to the growth we’ve seen in our Boy these last couple of months. We never plan to fail and just because something doesn’t go the way you envisioned doesn’t mean the whole thing is kaput, trashed. Instead, you work around it and through it if need be… you persevere.
Yes, The Boy is reading better, but more than that He’s creating stamina and stick-to-it-iveness; he’s learning to persevere. He may never enjoy reading the way I or Ms. Books enjoy it and I’m coming to terms with that thought.

Academically my children have done well this year but when I look back over the course of the year, it’s the character training and growth we’ve experienced that sticks out to me the most. I thankful for the way God has opened my eyes to see my children differently and individually this year. I’m glad for the character training He’s put me through as I work with each of them. We’ve never too old to develop better character traits. Of that, I am certain.
After all, I'm clinging to this:

… We also glory in our sufferings, 
because we know that suffering produces perseverance, 
perseverance, character; and character, hope. 
And hope does not disappoint us.
Romans 5:3-5a


Linking to The Homeschool Mother's Journal over at iHomeschool Network.


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