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  • Maureen Stevenson

Teaching Benjamin



My son hated grade one.

He is a boy who loves waking up and is usually a bit too early for my liking. On school days this past year, it was a battle every day. He would cry and yell, telling me how much he hated it, and I would always remind him of the few things he really enjoyed, playing with his buddies, and learning math. (my son really enjoys math, I do not understand it, but I encourage it).

The winter season was the hardest. The long dark mornings with the early darkness in the evening make the days feel extremely short and then pair with freezing temperatures, so no outside play was happening anywhere on top of COVID, causing restrictions across the World.

That’s not to say he didn’t have his “G” days. He would come home and say, “Hi mom, it was a G – day today.” Or it would be no hi and just straight into, “it was a B-day mom.” And he would throw his things and come cuddle on the couch where he would pour out the horrible things that happened to him at school, like the art he had to do and about how he scratched outside the lines. Whichever endeavour ruined it, so he ripped it up, or how his friends at recess wouldn’t play tag properly or how he got one math question wrong, and his teacher had to help him figure it out. (He hates to fail).

Does anyone else out there have a child who takes failure to the extreme?


“The brain does not learn if it does not fail first.

I’m not sure who said this originally but damn if it isn’t true. Try telling this to a child, though. A child who has a hard time understanding that that is how every person or animal on Earth learns. A child who thinks they should be able to strap it on and pull it off.

I am not sure where his need to be perfect in everything comes from. I am not perfect and do not pretend to be. I show him my flaws and my mistakes. I admit when I don’t know the answer to a question, and then I make it a point to research the question so we can both find the correct answer.

So, when he came home from a tough day and after talking with a friend of mine who had dived into the homeschooling adventure with her two, I gave him the option for us to try homeschooling for grade two. I explained that it would not be his vision of television and gaming every day, but homeschooling will involve paperwork. Still, there will also be outdoor adventures and fun science projects, and he can pick a subject that we will dissect and learn about together. I gave this option to my daughter, but she loves school and was not interested but did request a school change, so we have applied for a variance for her to a new school.

As with any endeavour I tend to decide to take on, I read, and I ask. Most homeschooling programs that are not through any educational system are religion-based. This was discouraging because I did not want to purchase learning packages where I would have to cut out half of the material that was not pertinent information.

I do not believe, agree, or accept any form of Christianity or Catholicism and think no part should be in with education except in the learning of the atrocities that occurred throughout history in the name of the Church and are still occurring today.

After cruising my Instagram feed one evening, I came across a Secular Homeschooling hashtag and began following it, and I am so glad I did. There, I found a ton of references to nonreligious teachings and a whole lot more! I discovered new methods and terms to use and research. I gained a ton of confidence in this adventure my son and I are about to embark on in the coming school year.

I was one of those moms who thought that I was crazy to be doing this, and so did my family, and was this REALLY the correct decision to be making for my shy and stubborn son? Would this make future school years harder? What am I looking for by embarking on this with my child? Will this really help to improve our communication? Can WE do this?

The answers to all these questions will develop as we stumble and prod our way through, finding our method in our own way. For now, I will continue to read, enjoy my summer with my kids and husband and look to the coming school year with excitement.

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