From Homeschool to Community College

posted in: Large Family | 14

I am no stranger to difficult children. In fact, when I look at my children and run the numbers, I am quite convinced that I have a disproportionate number of difficult children. From car seat screamers to non-nappers to projectile-vomiters…I take the lead.

Even with stiff competition like that, a few of my difficult children stand out as Super Difficult Children (to be known, from here on out last SDC). Enoch qualifies as SDC. From a 30 hour labor to lack of sleep as a newborn, he was determined to rise to the top as SDC. 

The scariest words to be uttered in our house in 2001 were: “Where is Manly?

*Manly is what we called him from infancy to age seven when he announced he wanted to be called by his middle name, Enoch. 

Enoch was the toddler:

  • who I caught unwrapping and lining up sticks of butter in his windowsill during nap time. 
  • who dumped our expensive Montessori school supplies in the kitty litter box and then sprinkled  poop-laden kitty litter throughout our house.
  • who wandered the house so much at night we began calling him The Night Stalker.
  • who pooped and peed on our kitchen table (oh yes he did).

The toddler who grew into a preschooler who’s behavior was so atrocious he couldn’t be left with a babysitter. Ever.

That preschooler grew into a school age child who refused to do his schoolwork, often sneaking off and hiding during homeschooling

That school age kid grew into a teenager who threw all of that energy and brainpower into work. He painted apartments with his brother, helped a man from church lay flooring, has worked full-time at a show garden during the summer. He spent a summer volunteering in Tanzania working at the garden up until the day he left.

He is now hard-working, responsible and ambitious. I’m not quite sure when the transition took place. It was slow and not-so-steady. Enoch is his own man. I don’t think I’ve done anything to mold him. He has grown and developed over the years and we are so very proud of him.

With Judah away at Central for his senior (!) year or university, Enoch decided to spruce up his room a bit. He dismantled the bunk beds, removed the shelving from his closet, painted the walls and ceiling and then laid new flooring entirely by himself. He is fiercely independent (I wonder where he gets that from?) and takes pride in his work.

First day of school: From homeschool to community college.

And yesterday? Yesterday he started his first day of school, ever (aside from his private math class). He is now attending community college just as Adalia, Judah and Tilly have done.

Hang in there, mamas. You will survive and you never know, that difficult child might just surprise you one day.

You may also be interested in reading:

Raising Confident Kids

The Art of Letting Go

How to Pay for College

 

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14 Responses

  1. After sharing with my Grandma-in-law about the difficult time I was having raising my first-born SDC, she shared with me the biggest piece of advice she recieved from her doctor about her own SDC. The doctor told her that if she could channel his energy he would be a child that would go super far in life. That nothing would stop him. But she just had to channel it in a positive direction, otherwise she better watch out.

    • This is so true, and I have thought about it a lot…the scary part, when you are in the thick of it, is *how* to channel it. Thanks for you comment. I know it really helps moms to know there are people who understand.

  2. I just went back and read your post about him avoiding work as an 8 year old. Finally somebody else who has a child who reads upside down! When my youngest was learning to read he would read upside down, sideways and even from the inside of building reading the words on the glass outside. It didn’t seem to matter to him at all which way up the book was. What’s with that?

    • Yes…and he actually read more fluently upside down…He has always been a quirky kid. I am sure if he were in school he would have had labels slapped all over him.

    • I have a child like that too! Teaching preschool, I saw that visual learners were more likely to do that. It seems that to them a word is just like any other picture. After all, we all recognize a picture of a dog whether it’s facing left, right, or upside down.

      • Right! Another reason why kids sometimes write letters backwards or upside down. After all a triangle or duck is still a triangle or duck, not matter which way you look at it…It was so interesting to watch.

      • Yep – he is a very visual learner. We have had him tested due to him being as quirky as all get out. He scored really really well on the task that involved mental rotation of blocks – recreating block patterns. Not surprising really. The first picture he drew for me (when he was 4 or 5 – not interested before that) he drew so it faced me not him. I was on the opposite side of the table.
        Did you know that the RAAF (Australian air force) look for people with dyslexia when they are looking for jet pilots. Their brains often work differently and in a way that gives them an advantage over other candidates. Not all differences are weaknesses in every setting.

  3. Oh my, in so many ways you just described my three year old! If I could attach a picture, I would show you the sticks of butter I found her sitting in the kitchen floor eating chunks out of last week. She’d eaten about half a stick, corn on the cob style, before I caught her. Yuck! Thank you for the encouragement, and the reminder to channel instead of just reacting!

  4. This post made me want to cheer! I’ve been reading your blog since pre Apollo and it’s so good to read about this kind of growing up! Gooo Enoch!

    • Thank you! We aren’t done raising him yet, but I am much more hopeful than I was ten years ago.

  5. I had one of these SD ‘challenging’ children, too ….my second son, Joshua. From his earliest moments of life he was loud, intense, extremely active, quirky and always had his own inimitable way of doing things. He also needed less sleep than any human being I have ever met! My Josh has never done anything by half measure. He has given us many moments of fear and heartache but just as many of joy and delight. I laughed at your list of Enoch stories … I have some similar. When Josh was three he covered the kitchen floor in lard to create a skating rink. In his second week of first grade (just past his 6th birthday), I was startled when he suddenly arrived home from school mid morning. He had gone out for recess and simply decided not to go back when the bell rang. He walked 3 kms home all by himself, including crossing a major highway and then declared matter-of-factly that school was boring. He once made a storm needed for some imaginative play by tossing buckets of water and ice cubes down the stair well. Over the years he has found and brought home SIX stray dogs! I could go on …

    Now at 32 years old, my SDC has grown into a wonderful, loving, successful man who is an amazing father to own two little boys. We are very proud of him.

    • Oh, man, walking home by himself? That is so scary! I am so glad to hear he is now 32 and successful. That gives hope to many parents out there, I’m sure.

  6. […] Enoch has started his first year of Running Start. […]

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