I had been teaching my nine-year-old son for three years, and we began having difficulties in math and some other areas of responsibility. A passionate teacher, I know that when someone is “not getting it” it’s usually because you’re not communicating it well, but our daily struggles were still irritating, and our relationship had become defined by them.
Every day he procrastinated on his math, and several times a week there were wailing and gnashing of teeth. He seemed clueless about simple ideas and instructions that were not different from ideas and instructions in other subjects. I grew frustrated with him.
There were days I had to bite my tongue to keep from saying something destructive, and though I thankfully never said anything mean or cruel, my attitude was no better than his. My critical spirit had isolated us from one another. We began to dread school every day. We began to dread one another.
And that broke my heart.
I knew the problem lay with me but could not find it or fix it, and all I could do was pray desperately for help. I spent painful time soul-searching. And providentially, I ran across a private Catholic academy that offered comprehensive, inexpensive learning style evaluations.
When You Know Better, You Do Better
I had my son’s learning style evaluated and was stunned by all I learned, how quickly it helped to implement the strategies offered, and how immensely my relationship with my son improved. As my attitude adjusted, his conduct and responsibility improved.
Like me, he is a global learner. He sees patterns easily and must have the lay of the forest before you show him the trees, and especially any of the interesting pine needles, ferns, and ants under the trees. If he cannot understand “why” he is unable to grasp the overwhelming detail of what and how.
In every subject except Math I was instinctively giving him the “why” – the big picture – before the details of what and how. As soon as I approached the subject according to his learning style, he began to “miraculously” grasp and thrive in the concepts.
I felt stupid and ashamed, but so grateful to God and Mercy Academy for the learning style evaluation. We made quick, significant progress in Math, but more importantly, our relationship began to mend.
Be Willing to Seek Help
I wish desperately that I could provide a link to that evaluation for you to use, but Mercy Academy no longer exists. I do know that child psychologists offer such evaluations. If you are experiencing these issues with your children, I suggest you also check with the schools in your area.
Our evaluation was nine pages, and he took it when he was nine. I assumed he would be too young to evaluate accurately, but in digging the results out to write this article, I passed them along to him to read. At 21, now, he was stunned and thrilled at how perfectly they still fit him.
I recommend you find an evaluation that combines learning style with personality and temperament, so you get a comprehensive picture and strategy. Just knowing auditory, visual, or kinesthetic was not enough for us.
The answer to my desperate prayers and willingness to honestly evaluate myself, however, was more than enough to propel us through graduating college with an historical preservation degree and obtaining a real estate license.
We are not special; we were just desperate. If you think you could use such a resource, do not give up until you find one. And ask the Lord to help, because He owns all the resources on earth!