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Adventures in the Harris School of Animals: The Day of the "D" in PE, Part 2

Three days into motherhood, I wondered, “Where will this kid go to school in 5 years? Public? Private? Dare I...(gasp)... homeschool him? Most new moms probably worry about cloth verses disposable or bottle verses breast feed.

Makes sense. But I don’t make sense most of the time.

Ethan is now 14 and struggling to pass the 8th grade. Last semester, his grade in PE tumbled to a D. Who gets a D in PE? That would be my son. Why? Because no longer does PE stand for Physical Education. Now it requires research reports, written tests, and even math worksheets to figure out the percentages of weight lifting repetitions. Seriously?

The subject that my son actually excelled in and boosted his GPA now pushes him over an academic cliff, along with all other learners like him. Awesome.

Once again, I wonder how in the heck my kids are going to graduate, let alone learn anything in school. I could write for DAYS and WEEKS about all the things wrong with our Education System and how it doesn’t work for most students, but quite frankly, so could anybody.

But this particular “Day of the D in PE” required action. Just “praying about it” wasn’t cutting it. Time to get serious. Time to pray AND fast. From Coffee. The stuff I’m addicted to. The stuff I drink every day... for the past 20 years. The stuff that brings me joy and happiness. And keeps me awake.

The fast began, and I was exhausted. I had a massive headache and felt like I had a hangover. Perfect way to go to the God of the universe and say, “Help.” Because I felt like crap, it was a constant reminder to pray. In my deprivation, I cried out to God to fill me.

God is not one to answer my prayers quickly. Yeah, He makes me wait it out to the very end. Usually around the 11th inning, I’m finally still enough to hear His voice.

On this final night of my fast, God started talking to me. And I listened. And I agreed.

Ethan is a “duck” in Squirrel School, and it was time to get my duck out. No longer did he need to be failing at climbing trees and gathering nuts and burrowing in the ground when he needed to swim and waddle and even fly (or whatever ducks do with their wings).

But I was terrified, even as an educator. For the next 2 weeks, I read every book I could get my hands on about teaching to his learning style, only to find myself on the final day of vacation being told, “No Mom. I think I’ll stay at school.”

I told God, “If Ethan isn’t willing to do homeschool, there is NO WAY I’m willing to teach him. He’ll just rebel. You gotta do something about that, God.”

The next day, he came home from school and ate a banana. My kid doesn’t eat bananas. “I hate school. I want to withdraw. Let’s do independent study.” I looked at his father, who said, “You’re welcome.”

“What did YOU do?” I asked the father. “Nothing. I just brought him home so he could tell you that.”

I looked at Ethan again to see if he was serious. He was, and I didn’t know what to do. Then I thought, “Maybe this is just today. Maybe tomorrow he'll change his mind.” Yeah, I know. I have a STRONG faith.

But Ethan didn’t change his mind. And I withdrew him from public school. And we are now on this crazy homeschool journey, or as I like to call it, DUCK School... for a DUCK.

I enjoy watching him discover his strengths, his spiritual gifts, his attributes and affinities. I can’t wait to see the goals he sets and achieves, and the future he begins to envision for himself as he learns who God created him to be. I love watching him get to learn “duck things.”

Ben asked if he, too, could be home schooled. “Not a chance," I told him. "One of you is hard enough. Get out of the car and get to class.” Sigh. More praying and fasting to come.

Albert Einstein said, “Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

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