I Laugh Now But I Stressed Out When…
Join me as I journey back to my beginnings as a home schooler over thirty years ago. (Nah, I’m not that old, am I?)
We Received the First Standardized Scores
Yes, you can continue to teach your children at home if one of them scores in the bottom 20th percentile on a math achievement test in third grade.
It’s true. I stressed and thought the homeschool world, as I knew it, was over.
Fortunately, our homeschool evaluator told me, “Harriet, twenty percent of public school students score in the bottom twenty percent. They still let them teach children.”
We lived and now we laugh about it.
They Warned Us About Socialization~LOL
You all know about homeschool socialization because it’s a hot topic. Well-meaning relatives and friends let us know they thought:
- We were treating our children like mushrooms growing in dark isolation because we taught them at home.
- They were growing up to be warped people because we taught them at home.
I stressed then, but now I laugh as our homeschooled “children of the mushrooms” are out making a mark in their world in a positive way.
They are not warped. They are responsible citizens of God’s universe.
Things Didn’t Go As Planned
Adversities happen in life. Most of our children were born in middle of a semester–homeschool’s out. Broken bones, illnesses, blizzards, job changes, and unexpected travels due to extended family circumstances add to the list of unplanned life events.
When we couldn’t follow the schedule, we became creative and devised other ways to teach and learn.
I stressed then, but now I laugh. Why? Adversity builds character, the children’s and ours. I wouldn’t trade any of it.
I don’t want to go through some of those things again, but we are better Christians for it.
I Couldn’t Wait For the Last Homeschool Graduation
When you’re looking at thirty plus years of teaching your children at home, you look forward to that last homeschool graduation. I can’t wait for the day…right?
No, I look forward to helping our children who are homeschooling the grandchildren.
The “last homeschool graduation” isn’t going to be happening for at least nine more years because the first granddaughter will be graduating around that time. Then there will be another and another.
And I laugh with joy.
The Younger Children Don’t Get the-One On-One Teaching Like the Older Ones Did
Those guilty feelings load on stress, don’t they?
It lasted a few years for me. Let me tell you I prayed a lot for grace and mercy on that situation.
I kept telling myself that:
- God knew I’d have this many children.
- He knew that I’d be nursing babies and homeschooling high schoolers at the same time.
- He knew I would be totally overwhelmed.
And He gave us nine children anyway. What was He thinking?
He was thinking that if I was some perfect supermom hover mother, then my children would never learn to be independent, never learn to cook or clean (yes, the boys do, too), never learn to see when help is needed and volunteer, and never be who they are today. Was I in the way so to speak?
Maybe some of the younger children feel deprived, but I will let you in on a secret.
The youngest children didn’t need preschool or kindergarten. They knew their colors because they heard their older sister ask someone to get her blue sweater or red shirt. They heard numbers used in context and learned to count without a book. They overheard the homeschool lessons of the older siblings and popped in with the correct answers.
But mainly, the younger children had the relaxed, laid back teacher mom version of me, who cared more about them and less about how I looked as the homeschool mom.
And I wasn’t afraid of failure anymore.
After All, God Is THE Teacher
God is the One in charge of teaching them. Parents are servants along the way. We make mistakes right and left. God’s grace and mercy cover our works.
I was going to write that He fills in the gaps, but it’s more as if He connects the infinitesimally teensy dots of anything we do as parents with His infinite wisdom. He is THE Teacher. He allows us to help Him by serving our children and dying to ourselves.
And He teaches us as we teach them, and He never, ever misses a teachable moment with any of His children.
Trust in God, Have Faith
God called you to homeschool. He’s not going to leave you floundering. Stay in His will. Pray.
Call in the troops (prayer warrior friends) if you feel overwhelmed.
You are not alone.
You will look back and laugh with joy!