The other day, a college president called our boy.
That boy. The one I wondered if I’d ever be able to teach him enough to fill out an application to work in fast food.
It all started when he was small. I was pretty confident when we started teaching him. His older brothers all learned to read early and well. I knew he was just as smart as they were. He seemed to be brilliant, even.
Somehow, though, he couldn’t seem to get it. He struggled to learn the alphabet at all. Some days he would sound a word out easily and I’d think, “Yes! We’re making progress.” The next day, looking at the same word, it was like he’d never seen the letters before.
I thought it must be the curriculum, so we tried another. And another. And another. He complained his head hurt or his stomach hurt when we did school. I thought he was just old-soldiering. I didn’t know that was common in dyslexia.
When he was finally diagnosed, we actually both felt a lot better. He was smart, he just had a learning glitch to overcome. We started using Dianne Craft’s materials to address those glitches and though there wasn’t any immediate change, we persisted — and that’s the year he learned to read! He was eleven.
It was exciting, but there seemed to be such a long road ahead. We’d worked hard to keep him up to speed with audiobooks and reading aloud, but to be just learning to read in middle school, and not being able to write at all at that point, was downright frightening. How could we prepare him for life??
I didn’t take into account the pure grit in our son and the pure grace of God. By the time he was 13 he was reading on a college level and beginning to write. His curiosity and drive took over from there. He just took off in learning.
And the other day, a college president called our son.
“The professors who met with you last week at Scholarship Day came to see me. They told me they were blown away by your interview, that you were the kind of man we wanted at our college, that I needed to make it happen. They even said they’d look for a job at a different college if I didn’t get you here. I would like to offer you our most prestigious academic scholarship.”
Tears. Oh, God, you are so good. I knew he was smart. I knew he could do well. I just didn’t know we would ever see this day.
To the mama who is struggling right along with her struggling reader: Don’t lose hope. Keep going. Get help. Keep up his spirits — and yours. One day there will be sweet rewards.
If you need some encouragement, my son and I did a workshop you can listen to with your struggling reader. Or you can get it free by becoming a subscriber:
YOUR STRUGGLING LEARNER'S HEAD
Sign up below to hear our son Sam describe his own experiences struggling to learn (he's now in college on an academic scholarship!) with Melanie and learn not only how to help your child learn better, but how to help your struggling learner have hope and courage in this battle!
If you need practical help, you can check out the materials we used to help him with his learning glitches. Be sure to read Special Needs Homeschooling for encouragement, too.