Friday, 19 May 2017

Three Days To Go - How Far We Have Climbed...

So here we are.  All the planning, research, investigation and work has led us to the end of the week before Eldest's first IGCSE exam.  We have one full day left to revise (today), and another half-day (more if possible) tomorrow. We are having Sunday off - Eldest, like so many others, works so much better after a rest, it's a principle we have learned time and time again throughout our Home Ed journey.  Last weekend was a perfect example: towards the end of last week he completely hit a wall and couldn't take anything in, couldn't think how to make sense of the questions, couldn't remember things that I knew he knew.  I was stressed - 10 days before an exam is not a good time to crash and burn - but I could see he needed a day off.  It felt like a huge risk: knowing that he is still not working at a high enough level, I felt he should be revising every waking hour. But I am allergic to 'should's and I know that is no way to live, let alone learn! We had Sunday off.  We went to church, he played on his computer, he relaxed (and I drew up the plan for the week's revision).  On Monday he had a lie-in, during which time I asked friends on Facebook to pray for him to find strength for the week ahead.  When he woke up and came down he was so much brighter!  He even commented on how much easier everything seemed! RELIEF!  So this weekend I am summoning all my courage and insisting on Sunday off again.  Monday's exam is in the afternoon which is not ideal as he tends to work so much better in mornings, but it will allow for a lie-in before running through some flash-cards/ last minute pop quiz stuff.

I still have no idea how he will do regards to grade (so much depends on whether the questions are 'kind'). But I am so proud of how hard he is working and how uncomplaining he has been about the mistakes I have taken him through.  He does not seem overly stressed, for which I am so thankful.  And I am consciously focusing on how far we have come...

When we started it was like looking at a mountain from afar on a sunny day and saying "let's climb that", having no idea how to pace ourselves or equip ourselves properly.  We were excited, nervous, and clueless. We did not understand the new depths of character that we would need to draw from, and did not appreciate the lows that occur when you have been slogging away on a tricky bit of the journey, apparently making no progress.  We didn't even really know the techniques that would be needed to climb.  When we started we were strolling along, distracted by the view, and the summit was still a long way off but as long as we were heading towards it we felt we were making progress.  At one point we came to a complete impasse and had to find a different route (when we put Biology on hold and took on Maths instead)  Then we realised that we had got the pace wrong - we still had masses of ground to cover and the climb was getting steeper.  With a few weeks to go, after sending out a distress call (thank you God and social media) we acquired a couple of mountain guides in the form of tutor support.  They are showing us the best route and teaching handy techniques as we go.  We sill do not seem near enough to the summit and have no idea how close we will get, but we are going to do as much as we can in the time left - and most importantly, we now believe in ourselves.  We are experienced mountaineers: we are equipped to do this again and we are not so intimidated by the mountains any more.  So even if it turns out that we did not travel far enough, we have learned so much more than that which can be measured by questions on a paper.  And that is success.  We will climb again and we will reach the top, as so many Home Ed mountaineers have done before us :)