Monday, March 12, 2012


I remember how I felt in third grade when introduced to multiplication. The stomach/head anxiety multiplication gave me is still a sharp shadow. Not getting it. Not getting it. Day after day. The whole year.

I don't remember ever receiving a failing grade or my parents being called in for a conference. But I remember that year knowing that this didn't make sense to me and that it terrified me. (So did my teacher that year, but that's not part of this story.)

I believe it was the first time in school something was hard for me. And I didn't know how to ask for help.

I had built the habits, rewarded by the school, of being a quick, independent learner.  Well, not really learner. More of a performer. I had acquired no learning skills.

For the rest of my academic career, I continued on the same path. Mostly it was easy. But when it wasn't, I knew there was something terribly wrong with me, and I would rather live in fear and anxiety than admit it to an adult that I needed help or clarification.

The habits are still pretty similar, though with the coaxing of Marc (for 17years!) and the learning environment we are trying to provide for our kids, I am beginning to become a true learner.

 I just last year began to not feel stupid when I had so say 'I don't understand, please tell me that again.' And the amazing thing is that no one has ever walked away from the conversation or the friendship because I asked for help.


Lisa said...

Em, you are totally not alone! I get this completely. Would you think about sharing this at More to Be. I think girls would be encouraged to hear your story!

Love you!

renee @ FIMBY said...

My school experience sounds much like yours. I "performed" well.

My tendency is to think that I'm stupid when I don't understand something. Of course, I don't want my children to be infected with this disease so educating and learning along side them has taught me so much.

Like you, I am just in the last couple years learning to be ok with not getting it (either right off or just not at all) and still loving myself and knowing I am an intelligent, capable learner.

Removing stupid from my self talk has been a hard go for me.

Emily said...

Thanks Elisa. I'll email you about this.

Emily said...

Renee - yes, yes, yes! I'm convinced that the path of homeschooling was in part meant for my own healing and wholeness.