Logo Homeschool World ® Official Web Site of Practical Homeschooling Magazine Practical Homeschooling Magazine
Practical Homeschooling® :

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

By Mercy Howell
Printed in Practical Homeschooling #81, 2008.

Pin It

Mercy Howell


Growing up is hard for everyone, but especially hard for "late bloomers." They might be called slow or stupid, but the truth is simply that their brains take a little longer to warm up.

I was a late bloomer. In a house of geniuses, it can be hard when you just do not get subjects and problems you feel you should. Late bloomers hear this comment a lot: "I can't believe you didn't get that!" However, do not give up! Your late bloomer may not "get it" now, but these things have a habit of "clicking" when you least expect it.

Just because you had a slow start, does not mean you will have a slow finish. For example, one subject that just would not click for me was reading. My mother struggled over those flash cards with me. She even sang the songs and repeated the sounds in ways that were supposed to work, but I could not for the life of me pronounce them. One day I was looking at the pictures in a comic book and I had an "ah ha" moment. Suddenly, those meaningless flashcards and sounds made sense! After that, I learned to read at an ever-increasing rate to the point where I got 33 (out of a possible 36) in reading on the ACT the first time I took it at the age of 16. That put me, the late-blooming reader, in the 97th percentile of college-bound students.

Perseverance and patience are important when learning a topic. This applies to both teacher and student. When a late bloomer is learning a topic that he or she does not really get, it is easy to give up in hopelessness. Such students will never get the "click" feeling unless they push through the "I can't do this" part of learning a subject.

I was the queen of hopelessness. My mother would try to teach me a simple math problem. I would sit there with my head aching trying to listen, promptly tell her "I don't get this!" and give up. It frustrated my mom to no end.

We must have gone over reading, math, and grammar a million times. Sometimes we spent hours on one subject while both of my parents tried many different methods to drill it into my head. Finally I did understand, but it took time.

Do not allow your late bloomers to tell you that they cannot understand. Push them through their automatic "give up" response and they might surprise you with the results. Keep in mind that you might have to wait for the "ah ha" moment, but they will never have that moment without perseverance and patience on both your parts.

Another problem late bloomers face is challenging themselves. When you are unsure of your own talents or abilities, it is very easy to settle for little. For years, I accepted the bare minimum from my work and did not press myself to work harder.

This all changed when I began setting goals for myself. Whether it was finishing the course, or some other milestone, I gave myself a reason to do the work.

The biggest turning point, and the most life-changing, happened during my final year of high school. I had been rather lazy in my work. I was not even sure I wanted to go to college because I had never given myself a reason to go. After all, my only goal in life for a long time had been to become a wife and mother, and as I told myself, "Who needs a college education for that?"

This self-limiting view changed when, while college surfing with my mother, I found that it was possible for me to go to college early at a very affordable price. I had found my goal. I pushed myself to finish high school a year earlier than what is conventional, earning the prestige of becoming the earliest high-school graduate in my family. I went to college at the age of seventeen and did well. Although the college I began with was not the one I am graduating from, nor was the degree I initially pursued the one I ended up with, it paved the way for so much more.

Do not give up on your late bloomers. Though they start slowly, they might speed up and surpass every expectation you ever had for them.


Was this article helpful to you?
Subscribe to Practical Homeschooling today, and you'll get this quality of information and encouragement five times per year, delivered to your door. To start, click on the link below that describes you:

USA Individual
USA Librarian (purchasing for a library)
Outside USA Individual
Outside USA Library

Time4Learning University of Nebraska High School

Popular Articles

Top Tips for Teaching Toddlers

What Does My Preschooler Need to Know?

A Homeschooler Wins the Heisman

I Was an Accelerated Child

Myth of the Teenager

Narration Beats Tests

Give Yourself a "CLEP Scholarship"

How to Win the Geography Bee

Bears in the House

Getting Organized Part 1 - Tips & Tricks

Whole-Language Boondoggle

Columbus and the Flat Earth...

Shakespeare Camp

Classical Education

The Benefits of Debate

Joyce Swann's Homeschool Tips

Saxon Math: Facts vs. Rumors

The Charlotte Mason Method

AP Courses At Home

Start a Nature Notebook

Patriarchy, Meet Matriarchy

Top Jobs for the College Graduate

Phonics the Montessori Way

The Equal Sign - Symbol, Name, Meaning

Can Homeschoolers Participate In Public School Programs?

Advanced Math: Trig, PreCalc, and more!

Character Matters for Kids

Who Needs the Prom?

Teaching Blends

Montessori Language Arts at Home, Part 1

Critical Thinking and Logic

A Reason for Reading

Getting Organized Part 3

The Charlote Mason Approach to Poetry

Don't Give Up on Your Late Bloomers

Teach Your Children to Work

Combining Work and Homeschool

The Benefits of Cursive Writing

Getting Started in Homeschooling: The First Ten Steps

University Model Schools

Laptop Homeschool

Discover Your Child's Learning Style

How to "Bee" a Spelling Success

The Gift of a Mentor

Interview with John Taylor Gatto

Montessori Math

Why the Internet will Never Replace Books

What We Can Learn from the Homeschooled 2002 National Geography Bee Winners

The History of Public Education

Art Appreciation the Charlotte Mason Way