God’s Provision, Henry’s Adventure

Henry is having an interesting school year. His class, which consists of three boys (and no girls) is having a modified academic year and lots of fun. Technically the boys are in 4th grade, but this year we’re calling it 3.5.

Each morning, the class does a few hours of work, and in the afternoon the boys head out with their teacher for real life adventure. Some days the boys go to a local golf course to hit balls or play a few holes. They also have a class garden and spend time tilling, planting and pulling weeds. The boys have been instructed in pellet gun safety, and have also been learning to play chess and to type.

It’s a dream come true for this mama — watching my son have such an extraordinary year. It will be a school year he’ll never forget.

The reasoning behind this unique year is two-fold: one, the boys are all very young and while they are doing well academically, their behavior has been affected by being in such a small class with other equally young boys. Secondly, their classroom experience, especially as they get older, will be positively impacted by having more classmates.

It’s a very strange and unprecedented move, at least at our school. But as a mom of five boys, I’ve always dreamed of a learning experience that involved lots of “in the field” learning.

And here we are.

The best part for me is that it’s the answer to a prayer I didn’t even know I had.

Earlier this summer, I found myself really wishing Henry could repeat a grade. I didn’t even know what grade, and I knew it wasn’t realistic. He’s a good student, there’s no need to hold him back. And with only two other classmates, pulling him out of the class was out of the question.

But I also knew, more than either of those things, that this boy of mine could sure use a little more time — time for growing up, time for “classroom maturity”. Now that I have three high school boys, I also see how fast time goes. I would rather have Henry a year older than a year younger, especially once he got to be a teenager.

I had all these thoughts and felt stuck. I had something on my heart with no real way to deal with it.

And out of the blue, we got a call from the school superintendent inviting us to a meeting. There we sat, Paul and me and the other boys’ parents, and heard of this proposal — for us to accept or decline — that would allow our boys to be a part of a bigger 4th grade class next year while having this adventure in the meantime.

In the midst of the discussion I discovered that each of the other mom’s felt the same way about their young son — they wanted that extra year for him, but couldn’t figure out how to get it.

God is rich in mercy, because of the great love he has for us. (Eph 2:4)

The great and wonderful thing about God is sometimes he can come up with a solution for us, even when we can’t figure things out on our own.

I laugh at myself so many times when I realize how I fret and muse, trying to solve the problems in our life. Especially as a mom, there are so many times when I have to prayerfully consider ways to better help my children (or help them help themselves), ways to make our home life more peaceful.

Many times God gives me the wisdom I need, using the intellect he gave me. He does that for each of us — God gave us a brain, and we have to use it.

But then there are those times when a solution seems impossible, when no matter how hard we think about something, there isn’t an answer in sight.

These are the times when I have to remember that I can give a situation to God and ask him to figure it out. This isn’t a copout — it’s a viable option! We have to work like it depends on us, and pray and trust knowing it really depends on God.

I’m so grateful for the times that God reveals his great love for me by stepping in and offering a solution far better than I could have ever dreamed.

Our God is indeed rich in mercy, and oh how great is his love for us!


  1. That is a wonderful story! Thanks for giving me something to muse on and rest in God’s mercy and provision with, when I bring intentions to Adoration tonight.

  2. Hi Rachel,

    Congratulations on your 3.5 solution. It sounds so familiar – I have a son who is a July baby, which is near the age cut-off where I live. Many people I knew held their similarly aged boys back a year or repeated kindergarten, but just as he got to that age, we moved to another state, where the cut-off was in October. Problem solved, right? Except… then we moved back, and we were homeschooling, so he could just keep up the pace, right?
    For three years, he would meet or exceed all academic expectations, but the behavior just wasn’t following suit. So we sat him down and told him that fourth grade was going to happen again, except that he wouldn’t have to repeat any material, and he could join the Cub Scout den his best friend was in.
    So he moved from being young and immature to being old and mature, just like that.
    And… when he got to high school and grew up to himself, and wanted to graduate early, we said yes to graduation but no to early college. He found an adventure that lasted two years, and now he is old for his graduation year again. He is mature and exceeding all expectations, both academic and psychosocial.
    And it all came down to that second year of fourth grade (you could call it 4.5).
    Which is a long way of saying – wow! Congratulations on finding the right solution for Henry and his friends.
    And thanks be to God in all things, large and seemingly small.

  3. When homeschooling my boys in 3rd and 5th grades (both with October birthdays) with an older teen brother who was beginning the college application process, I realized my young boys needed an “extra year of maturity” as well. I saw how much maturity matters in doing well on the college entrance exams and I was handicapping them by pushing them through school so fast (and punishing myself by graduating them out of the house a year early). So, even though they were both keeping up fine academically, I had them repeat their respective grades (on the books, that is, not repeating material). That was one of the smartest things I ever did as a mom.

    That sounds like a terrific school where your dear son attends.

  4. Rachel, so glad you are blogging again!! You are worth the wait. You are such a truly talented writer!

    • Exactly what I was thinking! I love your writing Rachel. Many years ago my IRL friend Danielle Bean pointed me in your direction and I have loved reading your blog since then.