Hope for My Hesitant Reader – a follow up

Black Mother And Child Doing Homework

Some months back, I wrote a post about the hesitant reader living in my home. It was hard but also encouraging for me to list the ways in which my girl was on her way to reading, though not yet fluently.

Well here we are, a good deal later and she’s still not fluent. She’s much further along but just not quite there yet. So I felt the urgency to keep it real and share what’s been happening over the course of time but also share the hope I have for her and what she WILL be able to do with ease one day.

Two weeks ago, I was at my wits end!

I had had it with the reading program we were using. It wasn’t clicking for my remarkable six-year-old. You see, she’s really intelligent. And I don’t say that just because I’m her proud mama. I say that because it’s REALLY true!

This kid is so smart!!

We practice the Charlotte Mason Approach in some areas so when it comes to narration (basically your kid/s retelling all they’ve heard and remember from an oral reading), let me tell you, this girl can go on and on! She remembers every single nook and cranny of the reading. There’s times my mind wanders while listening because she hasn’t skimped on any details.


Not only that, she is witty, hilarious even and it comes so naturally. For someone not even able to always lace her own shoes it’s a wonder to me she picks up on punch lines and humor and quirky observations that can be transformed into stand-up comedy.

Any who, with all this in mind, I was confounded as to why whenever it came to picking up where we left off with our reading program it was a fight, push back was always present and amnesia from what we studied the previous day was her modus operandi.

Honestly, I have spent countless hours in prayer when it comes to this school year. I’ve felt like a major failure when it comes to teaching this particular middle child how to read. I didn’t go through the same battles with her older sister. Academics and the like come differently for her and that’s okay. But for my poor baby who so desperately wants to read, I was feeling the pressure of teaching her and badly wanting her to experience success.

Not to mention the anxiety Iย feel whenever she is around kids her age and sometimes even the casual four-year-old who’s already reading with ease. To be honest, I felt defeated as not only her teacher but also as her mother. Here I am participating in an unconventional form of home education, yet, with nothing to show for when it came to what my kid could do.

The ugliness of how much selfish pride oozes from that statement is almost too embarrassing to write.

But its real.ย 

At the end of the day, I was worried about her. But beyond that, I was worried about ME.

How would people view ME?

What would people think of ME?

…and ultimately,

What, if any good was I if I couldn’t even teach my own daughter how to read?


So about two weeks ago, I made a decision to change. I had to change up our whole approach. I mean, the curriculum. The staleness of it. The way it didn’t mesh or connect with her personality. But most importantly, my heart posture towards my own abilities and the lack there of. As well as I had to change my mind about my need for my Savior to intervene in this seemingly non-spiritual issue that had become the ultimate issue of my spiritual life.

Would I root my identity in my performance as a homeschooler and hers as a student? Would I insist on disciplining my daughter for her short comings? Would I allow her the freedom and relief from the pressure I was applying? And would I endeavor to teach her how she would best learn the information?

The answer is yes!

Yes to ALL of that!


After one particular time in prayer, I literally jumped up from the kitchen table, began grabbing many of the supplies and resources I already had on hand and began busily hammering out a whole new phonics and reading “trial” curriculum. I say this because I wanted to test this new approach for five weeks before committing to it for the remainder of the school year.

I can truly say this was an answer to prayer! What I had been stressing about over these past few months and worrying and praying and worrying some more over, God answered me that day.

We started this new approach on October 2nd and I could already tell the difference of how refreshing it felt after only day one. Tears were shed by me on Thursday the 5th but that comes with the territory *shrugs shoulders*.

All that to say, we have been on an upward trajectory and I can do nothing but thank God for his intervention in my daughter’s academic life. But even more meaningful to me was his intervention in my heart as it related to seeing Him as primary for all my needs. Even my needs as a homeschool mom.

Over these last two weeks, this scripture encouraged me and I pray it does the same for you…

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your cares on him, because he cares about you.”

1 Peter 5:6-7


I’m looking forward to sharing what exactly we are doing in the coming posts starting tomorrow. But I had to share this confessional sort of post first and foremost.

Thanks for reading!




Published by Courtney B. Dunlap

Christ follower. Wife. Mother. Friend. Writer...and excited to grow! I believe there's a need for more down-to-earth online spaces in which moms like you and me and anyone else in-between can explore the in's and out's of homeschooling free from competition yet rich with encouragement. My hope is that all that you find here will provide just that!

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