When Dreams Die


This is one mom's experience when her son tested as having a low percentage chance of achieving "school success." Through her determination and dedication the outcome was totally unexpected! It took 20 years, but you won't believe how this one turned out.

Please note: This mom has requested to stay anonymous. Her and her husband were close friends of my wife and me when our sons were young and did activities together.

My heart sank.  Panic set in.

The test results showed “poor chance for success in school.” The principal kindly encouraged me but I heard nothing.  My husband, a tenured professor and I a post-grad library media specialist had a child that had, in my thinking at that moment, NO FUTURE!

Tears.  Fears.

proof-002Emotions similar to those eight years earlier when I discovered I was pregnant with this child at 41, with two teenagers, working part-time and finally finishing up my interrupted college teacher training.  How can this be possible?  What will we do?  I was paralyzed by fear.

He was a late August baby so the youngest in his class, but we decided to go ahead and start him in kindergarten since I was working as the librarian at the school.  The quiet, well-behaved, reserved child made  it through Kindergarten and first grade with average grades.  Meanwhile, I was working on my Master’s degree, my 16 year old was in rebellion, my husband had left academia for corporate and we were stressed, preoccupied and leaving the education of the little one to the able hands of the Christian school.

Knowing he was young and struggling a little, we used a move between states to repeat second grade.  Third quarter of third grade, to our shock, he came home with failing grades.  That’s when we discovered he couldn’t track words on a page and had given up trying because he hated being the last one to complete his work.  We pulled him out of school and since for the first time I was not working, my full attention was centered on getting him caught up so he could return to school.

Then those test results.

In 3rd grade test results said he was unlikely to succeed in school. Mom never gave up and you won't believe, now 20 years later, how this ends.

The Lord had a different plan.  A better one! He always does.  Long story short, I home educated him through high school focusing on his reading issues with the help of my daughter’s special education advice and wonderful literature.   We used a literature based approach and read everything aloud for several years. He learned to love books and studying.  He loved it so much, that he is presently working on his dissertation, finishing up his PhD in Hebrew Bible and biblical archeology.  He has graduated with highest honors all the way through.  THE TEST WAS WRONG!  Praise God for His loving hand guiding us through this process!  The child who tested as having “no future in academics” aspires to be a college professor.  God is good.
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If your son is having trouble reading you may benefit from the free articles at Boys Reading Club including:  http://boysread.club/337/help_for_struggling_readers/

Published by

Mark Strohm

Mark is a devoted Christ follower. He is husband to Ellen, father to a son and three daughters, and grandfather to 9. He holds a Masters of Education in school leadership and has been a teacher and school principal. He has served on Church staffs working with parents and children. His ministry spans over 30 years.

7 thoughts on “When Dreams Die”

  1. I’d like to know what you did specifically. I just recently received the same answer when we had my youngest son tested. We already homeschool, which is good but what did you do different?

  2. From the Author of the article –
    -Since his reading difficulty was tracking: his eyes jumping around from one line/ word all over the page, we used tinted filter sheets to “quiet” the stark black on white print.
    -We also used covers to block all but the line he was reading.
    -We read everything out loud in all subjects.
    -I used interesting subject focus materials with all areas of curriculum tied to that subject.
    -i.e.We studied WW II reading interesting WW II books
    ~–~social studies working with WW II maps
    ~–~science looking at the WW II technology
    ~–~math looking at WW II logistics, etc.
    -The filters and blocking were gradually removed as he learned to track across the line of the page.
    -We continued the subject-focused curriculum through grade school and early middle school.
    -Since he was a visual learner, we used Math You See for math as it advanced in difficulty.
    -We slowly transitioned to Bob Jones live classes and curriculum.
    -High school was a combination of Bob Jones and community college.
    -We started college credit classes at community college so he had a transcript for college application.
    -He took ACT test and was admitted to college.
    The rest is history. 😄😄😄. Whew! Hope this is helpful…

  3. Love this! My son was 9 years old and below 1% academically. The school told me he would never learn and that they advised the teachers to stop teaching him because it was no use. I removed him from public school that year and began homeschooling. He still couldn’t read or write. He’s 11 now and reading on a 4th grade level and he’s above grade level in math. I read to him everyday just to get him to understand that books aren’t torturous school devices, but were actually wonderful stories. He’s drawn to history, politics, and law. I see a future judge in the making 🙂

    1. Seaneen,
      Thanks for sharing! I have seen it over and over – never underestimate the determination and love of a mother to help her child.
      You are an inspiration to others.

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