Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Knowing when to back off. (Or, realizing you're messing up this homeschooling thing.)

We were in the car, driving back from the gym, and I announced that after I took a shower, it would be time for some school.

My 4-year-old immediately piped up from the back. "Awwww man! I HATE doing school!"

I know a red flag when I see one. Something is off. I'm doing something wrong. My 4-year-old WHO IS HOMESCHOOLED shouldn't hate school.

I talk a big talk about letting kids be kids... about going at their pace when introducing academics and hard concepts... about tailoring each child's education to meet their specific needs. But the truth is, I still fall into the "are-you-homeschooling-the-right-way" trap. We don't know how long we'll homeschool, so there is always this fear in the back of my mind that my kids will be "behind" should they be put into public/private school. I worry that they don't know as much as their peers, or don't know the "right" things at the "right" time. And because of that, I think I've put too much pressure on my baby - my 4-year-old - before she's even really started her official homeschooling journey.

There are many reasons that my daughter might not like the way we're doing school right now. Lots of factors like birth order, one-on-one time spent with mom, personality, attention-span, and interest dramatically change the type of education each child will need. And I'm guilty of tailoring my youngest's education to that of... her older sister.

Her sentiment that she hates school is a giant red flag that I need to back off. We homeschool so that my children can truly enjoy learning... so that my children can take as long as they need to master something, or speed right through it because it comes naturally to them. We don't homeschool to keep up with everyone else, or to brag about what a wonderful homeschooling mother I am (don't tell me I'm the only one who gets an ego boost when my kids do well). I have dropped the ball for my youngest because I've forgotten that what our homeschool is about.

Thank you, sweet daughter, for reminding me that you're doing fine just where you are. Thank you for reminding me that you're a blissfully happy 4 years old, and that your brain is simply eager for play and nurturing. And thank you for reminding me that one shoe doesn't fit. You're learning all the time, whether or not it's in the form of a workbook. 

I may be homeschooling my children, but they are constantly teaching me lessons.

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