Saturday, April 16, 2016

Fear Of Writing On The Board

So, I was homeschooled. Homeschooled all the way through from preschool until college. I mean really homeschooled - no tutorials, co-ops, or homeschool groups. My mom taught every class, every subject with the exception of foreign languages and any math more advanced than algebra II. I used a video class for algebra and took a modern Greek class at my local Greek Orthodox church for 3 years to satisfy those requirements. I love that I was homeschooled. I don't feel like I missed out on anything. If anything, I feel like I gained so much more. I mean, what high school do you know of that gives you the option to learn any language you want including modern Greek? I also had a lot of freedom to fly through subjects I was good at and tortoise through the ones I didn't understand.

As much as I loved being homeschooled, there were things I didn't like at the time that I now appreciate. I got a very solid education. When all my friends were passing classes and never looking back, a new year meant review time for me. Passing was not good enough. If I couldn't remember last year's information, I did it again. Grades didn't really matter, remembering and retaining mattered. As frustrating as that was at the time, isn't that what education should be? However, I'm not going to lie, it was really hard for me. My siblings didn't seem to struggle as much as I did, and I often felt like I was just stupid. Reading was especially difficult, and I didn't really learn to read until I was about 7. I remember certain concepts that just didn't make sense no matter how hard I tried to understand. I had trouble retaining information that I read and sometimes it just felt impossible for me to remember things. 

This is a picture I took on my flip phone of me studying my freshman year in college.
I look thrilled, I know. That was a really hard class. 

It wasn't until college that I realized that I'm not dumb. In fact, I realized that my mom making me learn and re-learn really helped me. I realized that I actually knew a lot and that made a lot of my college level classes relatively easy. But there was one thing that I noticed. Reading was a major problem for me. The more I used reading as my study technique, the worse I did. I noticed that notes I took in class made no sense the next day. I wrote words with the letters all mixed up and even backwards sometimes. Now, you might be wondering how I didn't notice this until college, and the only explanation I have is that I never had to write down so much information so fast before then. As long as I had time to think out what I was writing, it's wasn't so bad. Finally, it all made sense. So, I stopped reading and found other ways for me to study the information. I probably made about 2 million flashcards over my 4 year college career, but it worked! And I graduated on time with close to a 4.0. I wasn't dumb. 

Sometimes I still struggle with feeling stupid. I still struggle with reading comprehension, and I have an overwhelming anxiety of "writing on the board". But I'm not stupid, and you're not either if this is something that you struggle with too. I just have a different way of learning, and figuring that out changed my life. I just have to remember that even though I struggle with words, I'm good at so many other things and I don't let it control my life. 

If you can relate, I just want to encourage you to believe that, just because reading and learning is hard for you, it doesn't mean that you're not smart. Recognize things that you are good at, and when it comes to studying, work hard and find ways that work for you. For me, it was flash cards and focusing on small bits of information at a time with lots of repetition. For you, it might be listening to recordings or watching videos on the topic. Find that thing that helps you succeed and use it because, don't forget, you're not dumb.


Kelli Taylor said...

I love this, Sarah! Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

I'm so glad it's not just me who has this struggle. This really encouraged me! Thank you, Sarah!

Unknown said...

Thanks for this encouragement, Sarah. I REALLY needed to hear it today! <3 I've been thinking about similar things recently, about how so many times I just feel dumb when I'm trying to memorize things. But learning styles are different for everyone, so thank goodness for that! :D

-Amanda @ Scattered Journal Pages

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you had a case of some dyslexia (which I have as well, though mainly with math). It took me years and years before I finally found a love for reading (after having my first child). I noticed I could read columned books no problem at first (like the Bible) so perhaps you can look for books made into columns (I had a copy of Gone with the Wind for instance that were columned that I read at 14 years old).

It is good that you shared this with everyone. I sometimes feel badly that I don't have my sons in co-ops (I homeschool them). I am glad that even though your turtled in some subjects you ended up excelling in the long run. That is neat about your language class that you got to choose. I regret never taking a language at all (and people don't know how I cheated out of taking one in a public high school but I did). Greek is a good one to learn. Great work.

Unknown said...

I completely relate to this! I'm homeschooled, too, but I take online classes. In the fall, I'll begin my freshman year of college and I'm so excited! However, as the youngest of five girls in my family, I have always felt like the runt of the family - not very intelligent, slow learner, etc. This was such an encouraging post though. Thank you so much for sharing!

TechyZeldaNerd said...

I was actually homeschooled in much the same way, co-ops simply weren't a thing I attended. I always felt like I was the only one that didn't, so it's nice to hear another did.

I kind-of relate to how you feel, though I've always known I was slightly smarter than average. I simply didn't realize how much until I started college. Currently I'm passing classes with little effort, classes that a significant portion of students are struggling in. I actually wish sometimes that you could "homeschool" your way through college to an engineering degree, since I would be done so much faster.

Alas, homeschooling doesn't teach patience very well, not nearly as well as college

HoneyBlue said...

Its sounds like you have dyslexia. I do too. When I was younger I would write backwards, and was horrible at reading and spelling. But when my mother got rid of the TV six years ago I got really bored and started reading. Now my dyslexia is almost totally subdued. I love reading now, and even write short stories. I still struggle some times, but I have finally learned to live with my condition. This shows that no matter what you might struggle with you can always overcome it.