The Finish Line, Part I -Banríon S.

Standing at the finish line is a glorious place to be.  In this race, my competitors are none other than ignorance and time.

Nearly forty years ago, I attended a Catholic parochial school that served as a testing ground for a now-very well known phonics program.  I was schooled in that phonics program from kindergarten through eighth grade.  It was a fantastic program, and the children in the school, for the most part, became very good readers and spellers.

As a young mom, I was very interested in different curricula.  I loved poring over homeschool curricula reviews.  But I always knew that, if I ever found myself homeschooling, I would use the phonics program that helped me learn how to read.  I knew that program inside and out, having sat in the student seat for nine whole years.  I was convinced it was the best way to teach a child how to read.

Life has a way of having its twists and turns.  In the earlier years of our family, my husband and I were instrumental in founding a school, in which we enrolled our children.  It was a wonderful place for them; the teachers and administration truly understood the nature of children, and our children were flourishing in mind and soul.

Yet, the years were going by, and one of our children was not learning how to read.  It was the spring when she was eight: re-enrollment time.  My husband and I were really struggling as to whether we should re-enroll her, because she simply could not read.  It was a horrifying thought to me that we would take her out of a school that we helped to start.  Her siblings were going to continue to go because there was no reason for them to stop going to such a great school, singling her out as our only student at home.  How is it that the school could be so good for all these other children, but not one of ours?

I still distinctly remember when I went in to discuss the situation with the head of school.  I came right out and said, “She can’t read, and we are thinking of homeschooling her.  It would be hard to take her out, when her other siblings are attending here.  But we don’t think the school is helping her in the way she needs to be helped.”  The head of school, known for her sweet and easy-going ways, looked me straight in the eye and responded, “I think that would be best.  There is nothing else we can do for her.”  It was rather a shock to me because I was bracing myself to hear a pitch about how the school has reading specialists, etc., and to give it at least another year.  At the same time, it was a relief to me, and I took it as a sign that God wanted me to homeschool our daughter.

To be continued….

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