Madison has been a self driven learner since she was born. I didn’t fully realize how much until she was 18 months old and recited her ABC’s on her own and sang anything she heard on her own from memory. From Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to songs on the radio. By the time she was two she exceed the numbers of words spoken for her age times 5. She didn’t play with toys like other children. She lined them up and made patterns out of everything. She never kept the sand in the sandbox and the backyard was always a mess with her creations and she was always covered in dirt from head to toe if you let her outside, even for a minute. Everything she did was ‘different’. And in this ‘different’ way she learned. And by learned I mean soared. She always craved knowledge and couldn’t get enough. And if she didn’t, she was a mess emotionally.
Then came kindergarten. She loved school, her friends and her teacher, but she had many tears. She didn’t thrive in the classroom setting. She got in trouble a lot. She wanted it to work so badly, but I also saw it was emotionally draining and I lost a piece of my child during that process. But nothing like what was to come….
First grade came and it was a disaster. I advocated. I got mad. It tore my heart to pieces to see my child so miserable. She became depressed. The child I knew was gone. She begged me to homeschool to her. To pull her and not look back. Instead I chose to test her and advocate. That was the one choice I will always regret. Not listening to her. She had no opportunity to be a self driven learner for an entire year. I had lost the child I once knew. This child was miserable.
I made the decision to homeschool her.. And not without scrutiny from family, which was extremely hard. (Major shout out to my dad for understanding! Honestly would have been 1000 times harder without his support and it means the WORLD!) Slowly, I started to see the child I once knew come back. She became happy again. She started to love learning again. She is a subject matter expert in Ancient Egypt. And rocks. And so many other things. The child who is allowed to pursue their interests retains that information for life.
She drives and I follow. And once again I have the child I once knew. The one who qualified for Mensa. The one who can’t get enough information. The one who loves to learn. And I am SO grateful and thank God everyday that I didn’t loose her. And I thank God that I get to be a part of the miracle I experience each and every day when I watch her learn and not because I tell her she has to, but because she wants to. She is naturally curious. All on her own with such enthusiasm. That in itself is such an amazing experience. One that I am probably not worthy of, but am so very grateful for.
Today she chose to read a biography on Harriet Tubman. Not only did she choose to read it on her own, she couldn’t wait to tell me all about it when she finished. This is Madison’s ‘normal’. It is her normal to want to tell us everything she knows. It is her normal to create projects and to soak up any information on anything that interests her like a sponge. And it is also her normal to play with dolls and to play games and to be a kid at the same time. And with a great balance of both, she is happy. And honestly that is all that matters to me.
I am grateful my husband supports me 100%. He has lived this as well and knows what Madison needs and is grateful I am able to provide that for her. He sees the difference and knows we are making the right choices for her and is proud. I am grateful for this because I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
My dad has always supported me. He has always believed in me. And this has allowed me to do what is best for my daughter even though many don’t and probably will never understand. He took the time to understand. And I will be forever grateful to him for that because I wouldn’t be able to do what I am with confidence without his support.
I am also grateful for my older daughter’s support. She has always thought homeschooling was the best option for Madison and is very helpful with any questions I have. She is my go-to when I am not sure of a direction I should go. I am grateful for her knowledge and success on tests to get into college to base what really is important for Madison to learn outside of her interests and what is not. She rocks!
I am am one very lucky girl.