“Do. Not. Jump. On. That. Bed.”
That’s what I said for the umpteenth time.
I gave birth to a barrel of monkeys on the end ;). If you have back to back boys, then you know.
They are their own party of two.
A two-boy circus with all the acts.
The way our home is set up is almost like a track for them. They love to run from the living room, through the kitchen, and straight across our (large) bedroom floor. Our king-sized bed is their favorite landing pad. I see the appeal, honestly, I do. I just won’t have my super comfy bed broken for their enjoyment and amusement.
As soon as those words snapped out of my mouth I heard that old familiar tune echo in my mind.
“You must be so patient to homeschool. I could never do it.”
Just recently a sweet friend in my Tabata class reminded me of how patient I must be.
(Sidenote: Need to burn some calories and stress? Google: Tabata.)
That patience thing….I’ve heard it a hundred times in the last dozen years.
Every single time, I nix it. It makes me feel like a fake to let people believe it.
Here’s the thing about me, and every other homeschool Mom out there….
We’re just people.
Regular, flesh and blood, say and do things we wish we wouldn’t have, people.
I will never forget the day my husband and I decided to homeschool our children. I can even remember where I was standing, where he was standing, and exactly what he said,
“Go for it, do the best you can.”
I took a big gulp and swallowed hard. I swallowed down a whole heart full of
“Can I even do this?”
“Are our kids going to be okay?”
I was scared, unsure of myself and pioneering a terrain I had never walked. I felt like I didn’t even know where I was trying to get, let alone using a map. I had a (very) well-meaning friend actually call me and try to talk me out of it. He was concerned that it was going to be hard, really hard, too hard, for me and the kids. I do love him for caring.
This year has been quite nostalgic for me as our oldest, who started me down this path, is preparing to graduate high school in the spring.
I can still see that little boy in those rubber boots sitting at my kitchen table practicing ABC’s and learning all those phonetic sounds.
My mind’s eye can even see a younger version of myself there too as that little boy with tears streaming down said, “I’m never going to learn to read!”
I can also recall exactly what I thought when he said it.
“You’re right. If you’re counting on me, you may never learn to read!” Just a couple of kids figuring it out. ;)
Picture the Flash type of speed, and here we are.
Graduating high school?!
We thought that we would ‘just homeschool until high school’ and now here we are pioneering once again through unfamiliar terrain. There are transcripts to prepare, big life decisions to contemplate, college classes being taken for the first time and growth taking place. That little boy that we didn’t think would ever learn to read completed 4 years of Latin.
I have taught my children many, many things throughout this crazy ride some call home education, I just tend to call it life. I haven’t done all the teaching though. They have taught me just as much and maybe even more.
I’ve learned things along the way that I didn’t even know were a thing.
For instance, the unfortunate animosity and division that can occur between a homeschool mom and her public school mom friends. It has been an elephant in the room. Somehow, in my opinion, when you tell people you homeschool it can feel like an insult to them because they don’t. Maybe I’m way off here, but I don’t think so.
It’s like you somehow said, “My kids are too good to go to “regular” school with your kids.” Or somehow implied that you believe you have the market cornered on Mommin’…
Come on now! That’s nonsense.
We are all in this together.
I saw some things that gave me pause, just as you have. I attended a public school and had a front row seat to some of the things that go on each and every day…
Our choice to keep our children home was so multidimensional that I could write a book about it. For the sake of time, here’s the cliff notes version…
•We have a small window of time (18-ish short years) to spend with our children. I want to make the most of it.
•Great teachers, with kind hearts and a love for their students, but with both hands tied behind their backs, due to agenda and policies
•Curriculums that do not align with our core values and beliefs and little to no control over what our children are being taught as truth and facts are not okay with us
•The normalcy of sexual activity amongst students (Almost everyone I knew was sexually active in high school)
•Bullying and School Violence has (and sadly will) always be a thing
But some things are for certain, we don’t homeschool because we think we’re better, more patient or more loving than anyone else. I know myself. I know my children. We are ordinary. I don’t say this in some self-degrading way. It’s just the facts. We are regular people.
If I had to boil it down, really reduce it, and put a name on it, I could. It was ultimately and continues to be, our faith. Our belief that our children’s best way to withstand what the world is going to throw at them is going to be their own beliefs, their own faith, and what they choose to have faith in.
We all have faith in something. Think on it.
But back to the “Most Patient Mom” title…
I have never had some patience superpower or an extra dose of awesomeness, but I have had a few things that have served me well.
Honesty is at the forefront of the list.
I have a genuine interest and unconditional love for my children. They know because I have told them and shown them, that I am for them. They matter to me. They are valuable.
I have been honest, transparent and real with our children. I have said, “I’m sorry” when I was wrong and “Please forgive me” when necessary.
I have never had all the answers, and I never will. (Thank goodness that is not a prerequisite for homeschooling or parenting.)
I don’t even think that’s our job, to have all the answers. I can’t chase down every single thing for my kids and if I did it would only make them weak. I’m not going to be able to teach them everything they need to know for their whole life, academically and otherwise. I am teaching them how to do things for themselves. I am teaching them how to think and understand that their life is their own and their decisions have consequences, both good and bad.
I am teaching them how to not need me when they are adults, but hopefully, want me. <3
This is the mark that I am aiming for as Homeschool Mom.
Not in the cards.
Real-life, all-in, love you to the end, and do right by you as far as I can…I’m all about that.
So if you just took that first gulp or swallowed down your very first heart-full of fears, hugs, friend.
Maybe you have already been around the block with this homeschooling gig and just need a friend to give you permission to be human, you’ve got it.
You are changing generations to come.
What you are doing IS worth it.
It can NOT be perfect.
It can NOT always be easy, but it will be worth it.
You don’t have to be extra, super-duper patient to make this work.
You just have to be real.
Speak life into those lives that have been lent to you.
Give them and yourself some grace.
I’m rooting for you.