I sat at the kitchen table, pencil tapping my teacher’s guide impatiently. Knowing that the reading lesson I was attempting to teach was only a fraction of the way finished and that we still had Math, History and Science to complete, this mama was getting antsy.
My son, full of life and joy was elaborately illustrating his every written response. Yes, his letters were going ‘fishing’. As the mom of 7 kids with dyslexia, the fact that he knew his letters and was able to write them was the hope that kept me going; waiting quietly as he shared the silly story of ‘J’s fishing success.
And so here we are. School has started and reality has set in. Homeschooling sure looks different mid-summer while absolutely no school is being done and we’re casually reading colorful catalogues detailing curriculum that will practically teach your kids themselves. Ah, yes, peaceful, sunny July afternoons spent at the beach with memories of crumby floors and crabby attitudes far behind.
Sitting here across from my joyful – yet painfully slow – second grader caused me to dig deep into my reserves of homeschool truth to bring myself to remain calm and committed.
Here is some homeschool truth for you, Mama.
Slow and steady does in fact win the race. A little learning every day adds up to a lot of learning over time. Your faithfulness to do what you can will be rewarded. Do what you can, do it well and don’t fret about what didn’t get done.
I know that for me as the productive type, I like to get stuff done. I like to check off the boxes so I can coast for a bit.
Get child reading – check.
Instill a Biblical worldview – check.
As if these things don’t take years of daily instruction, testing and trying to really do well.
I am teaching myself to let go of the notion of finishing. Not only is the notion that I can finish parenting, schooling, or cleaning and then coast for some extended period of time absurd as a mom of 8, it is flawed for several reasons.
My work as a wife and mother will never be finished (and likely, at least for some time, my home will never be entirely clean). Jesus calls me to be about the business of blessing others with my talents. If not my family, as it is now with my full house, then for others in need. God has blessed me with gifts so that I can give them away to others. That is not something that ends when the kids turn 18 and are finally independent or when I turn 65 and can officially retire.
Just as God has stripped me from worshiping many of my previous homeschool idols; having well-behaved kids (at the expense of having clean hearts) or of owning the best curriculum or of volunteering for every important looking job or of having kids get into the ‘best’ colleges; God is stripping me from the idol of finishing it all so I can rest.
Lord, when will I ever just stop thinking so much of me?!
Please, don’t get me wrong, there is much gain in finding balance in your days.
However, I am learning to enjoy (and at times patiently endure) my days however they unfold. When the phonics lesson is over and my young guy heads outside to fashion himself a fishing rod, math lessons can wait. My list of homeschool tasks can wait because life and school is so much more.
Slow down and enjoy the moments. Believe me, silly fishing stories during phonics instruction, though somewhat painful for busy homeschool moms, will be preferable to the seriousness of the day that you are helping that same boy as a high schooler to analyze expressions of love found in Shakespeare.
Take it from me, if your day is waxing long and the to-do list is largely untouched, it will be okay. Do what you can, do it well, and trust the Lord to take care of the rest.