Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum.
Head over to her blog to check out all the other Quick takes!
I have waves every so often of panic regarding home education. It probably happens with school-going parents as well, but seeing I have never actually had my children in a school, I can only guess. When I get these waves, I have a few reactions which I am beginning to realise are fairly predictable and seem like they come around like Groundhog Day with regularity.
Firstly, the: “I don’t know what I’m doing and therefore must be failing” reaction.
This comes around regularly and is a result of the truth: I really don’t know what I’m doing. I need all the help I can get. I don’t have all the answers and never will. What makes me think I do or should? Being a parent is hard, and we can never have all the answers because (and it is cliche I know) – children don’t come with an instruction manual.
I am not sure how I would do this if it wasn’t for my faith that somehow God blesses us anyway, and in the words of Mother Teresa: “God doesn’t ask us to be perfect, just faithful.”
The next reaction is:
“My child is not learning enough … (here insert a random subject) and I must buy, buy, buy more curriculum. This will fix all my problems.”
This came up today. Here I was innocently perusing the Birthday Cards at the local newsagent, and right next to them was a big display of school workbooks, with the gripping titles of assurance to solve every struggle your child has with the subject, and have your child brilliant by the time they complete it. Completely unaware of my inadequacy as a home educator, I reached out to grasp one of these hallowed tomes to see how much they were. The glossy cover. The new smell. The neat pages of type assuring me why I should trust them to cover everything that was needed. The price. I began a mental calculation and worked out if I bought what I thought I should, I would spend over $100 right there on the spot.
“I am tired and can’t do everything. This technology* will fix it.
* Here insert laptop/ pc/ software/ online learning site/ app / smartphone/ ipad etc. etc. etc.
Again, feeding into my weakness the answer seems to be to spend more money.
“Those people are right, we are too Amish”
So I have had it said to me regarding our homeschooling that, “You don’t want to come across as too Amish”. But now I am actually beginning to think I quite like the Amish. They are the ones who have kept their faith. Maybe we should relocate to the U.S. and join.. can you even do that ? Can you join the Amish or do you need to be born there? I just need to update my passport.. brain is now ticking with ways of being Amish.
“I must be the only one who struggles like this.”
So the isolation is a biggie for me who would spend all day if I could having coffee with friends, chatting, socialising. Spending the day with my children is actually great but one of the downsides is that at times when I do have struggles, I can feel as though I must be the only one on the planet who is such a terrible teacher/parent/Christian etc.. Thank God we have a great network which has taken years to build up. I can see others in the same boat regularly now and talk beyond the shallow to the real difficulties that arise and get the support – both moral and prayerful – to keep labouring away at the coalface.
“My husband would do a better job than me.”
And he probably would, except someone has to earn the money, and I am not anywhere near as good a breadwinner as my husband. So that means I really need to just get on with it.
“My children would be better in school. I will start looking around at schools. I will surf the internet and look through all the possible schools that my child/ children could attend. I will even download their flashy prospectus. I will contemplate moving interstate to the best school I am aware of. The perfect school will fix all my doubts and give me the peace I lack..”
The thing is, what if I do all of that and then discover it was actually the lack of trust in my loving Father that was the problem all along, and not trying to find the perfect external answer to my doubts? What if God was actually trying to teach me to be patient, to accept mine and everyone else’s weakness, to embrace my duty and to love my family more deeply and not run away from the cross?
What if the answer to my internal doubts was that there is no perfect answer, no perfect school, no perfect curriculum, no perfect parent, no perfect teacher.
God alone is perfect, and He loves working with us in our imperfection, perhaps because great things come from our weakness, not our strength.
So, if you have doubts, fear not. We’re all in the same boat.
Have a great week everyone!