Last year, I had an experience that actually was 7 years in the making. My husband and I went to our first parent teacher conference for our son. I was nervous and excited all at the same time. I had been the kid sitting in a parent teach conference, but this was only my second time being the parent in such a conference over the years, and I was a bit scared. It took me back some years ago to my first experience with our oldest son, which was what encouraged my husband and to make a decision to go in a different direction regarding the education of our children.
I know, it sounds strange to be so emotional about it, but this was a hard transition at one point for our family. Our son did attend school when he was 6 yrs old for one year. But, we ended up taking him out of school, after the completion of that year, to homeschool. He struggled quite a bit to keep up with the other children in school, and we discovered that he simply just wasn’t ready to be in a traditional school setting. It was a hard decision for me because I took it personally. As a parent, when you precieve or are told that your child isn’t equalling up to what it seems to be are the “regular” children, its a blow to your “Parent Ego”.
The “Parent Ego” can be a dangerous thing. It can cause you to see and/or hear things that actually are not being said or heard. There are times when we can find our identity so wrapped in our children and their successes and failures, that we are unable to see that they too play a part in our growth as human beings and them becoming productive adults, who will develop and grow character. They will also discover strengths and weaknesses as a result of experiencing the different stages of life. But, as a parent, that’s not what goes through your mind as you sit and listen to possible challenges they are having. We want the WINS, period! We want to see the straight A’s and amazing progress reports to validate us and our children’s worth.
Some may say, “that’s not why, we should expect them to do well and we should encourage it. To not would do injustice to the child“. But, this isn’t what I am referring to here. Instead, I am talking about the inability to see that each child is different and the idea that the A is what determines their value or worth as your child, or solidify my parenting skills and choices is unfair and a burden they can’t carry. Encouraging them to do their best, and providing them with the help they need to achieve their goals is one thing, but to stake our egos on it is damaging in the end. I eventually learned that there is no such thing as “regular children“. With time and walking with them through life thus far, the “WINS” aren’t always what you think they are, and aren’t always wrapped up in the A’s.
My husband was a true blessing during my time of doubt and continues to be. I would have crumbled without his support and “You can do it!” attitude. My husband and I knew that we needed to make a decision to school our son much later than what was considered normal or regular for the average child. Also, we knew that we would need to school him differently than the what the public or private school educational systems would. While we loved his teachers and Christian school environment, he needed something different. With that, we brought him home and began our home school journey.
Now…..let me give you a little bit of background into my world when we came up with the brilliant idea to home school. It had to have been God, because when I look back, there was no way I would have, 1. Chosen this path for myself, and 2. Been able to make it through the challenges that would come my way.
Ok, picture this…. I was pregnant with my 3rd child, and about 14 months later I ended up giving birth again to my 4th child. The months leading up to that last birth were exciting and perplexing to say the least. I’ll share about that experience in my forthcoming book. I had a 6 yr old son, and a 4-year-old daughter as well. So, 4 children; 2 under 2yrs old, and 2 bellow 7 yrs old, who were all energetic, inquisitive, smart and full of life. That a nice way of saying, I had my hands full! They required my full attention and time. My husband was pastoring on a university campus, which also added a dynamic to our flow of life that made things at time exciting, and unpredictable. While life was happening around me, I was trying to simply wrap my mind around how in the world I was going to go to the grocery story with 4 kids, two of which were in diapers and one nursing. Then, here we come with the brilliant idea to home school! Yep, this was a CRAZY idea, and Lord knows I was just about ready to crawl under a rock and stay there, at least until they all finished college, lol. However, looking back, I can now see the hand of God leading my husband and I through this season, and it’s still not over!
I want to share with you some vital things, simple things God taught me over these last 7 years of homeschooling, that helped me through some of the most trying times in my life as a home school mom of 4.
I am writing a small book about this crucial experience and time and when I have completed the book, which will be soon, I invite you to please read it and use it to also encourage others. I’m defiantly not a seasoned writer, but I believe in sharing my experiences from the heart and hopefully encourage other moms and dads out there to continue to hang in there, and trust God to guide you through these seasons of parenting and difficult choices. Choices that everyone around you won’t always understand, and sometimes won’t always make sense to you in light of where you are in this particular season of life. This isn’t just about homeschooling, but rather about every decision we are in place to make regarding our children. For some, homeschool isn’t it, while for others it is. No matter what your decision and direction, know that God extends His hands of mercy. Take heart, He has never and will never let you down, but we must remain in His hand to guide us through to the end.
I Peter 5:10, “But the God of all GRACE, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you PERFECT, STABLISH, STRENGTHEN, SETTLE you.”