When I was in elementary school, I was always ahead of my peers. I was always the first one finished with all my work - to the point that one time I got in trouble and the teacher accused me of lying in front of the whole class. I learned to slow down, to make mistakes on purpose, and to try not to be noticed. I always scored very high on standardized tests and my mother and teachers had a hard time reconciling my A/B average classwork with my high test scores. I got a lot of talks about not applying myself, but the problem was I was bored and I did not want to be humiliated ever again.
Somewhere along the line, I learned to play the game. I did just well enough to not get lectured, and just poorly enough that I did not get singled out. I could have learned so much more than I did had teachers believed in me just a bit more.
Quin, and Micah are all slower learners. Finally, the reading light clicked on in Quin's brain last year (she was 8 and in the 3rd grade). But, she is still struggling somewhat. However, she is really smart! When she reads, however, this is lost. If I do everything orally with her, it is AMAZING what she can learn and apply but that will not translate into a test right now (another big issue I have with standardized testing). Quin knows what a hypothesis is, can form and test one, and can analyze her results. If I asked her to write it all down, she would not be able to do it.
With homeschooling, I can be really flexible about this. Even though I sometimes get stressed over her lack of fluency in reading, I know that she will get there if given enough space and time. But in the interim, I can do everything else with her orally. We can listen to books on tape and watch documentaries and talk about all her questions that she tends to ask (mostly in the van!).
Micah needs everything just so. He needs to be challenged but not to much at once or else he gets frustrated. I am able to give him things in small bites because we have the time to do it that way.
Then there is my youngest child, Rebekah. She learns easily and has fun doing it! My biggest issue with her is that when I am not challenging her enough and she gets really bored. So, we skip through lessons that bore her and don't stop skipping until we reach the lessons she doesn't know yet. Homeschooling gives us this option.
Hopefully, my kids will never experience the issues I did in school. I hope they learn to maximize their potential and then feel the freedom to really own what they are capable of by putting their knowledge to good use. I hope they are never made to feel less than worthy because of what they know or don't know.