And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. ~Isaiah 30:21
It’s been a while since I’ve given you all an update on home schooling. There’s a reason for that. I was too embarrassed, but I think I need to be honest and up front with you all. Because maybe I’m not the only one?
This year has not turned out at all like I imagined it would. Not. One. Bit.
The first week or so went pretty well in our lovely little church classroom. But then we started having the behaviors — the meltdowns, tantrums, back-talking, etc. And amazingly, the boys took turns. I cannot recall a day where all three of them were happy to be in school. It was like they had sat down with a calendar and said, “I’ll take Mondays, Wednesdays and every other Friday. How about you take Tuesdays and Thursdays and the other Fridays.”
To top it off, our toddle-bum wasn’t content playing, coloring, building and watching educational videos. She wanted to be held nearly non-stop. When she didn’t, she wanted to write with dry-erase markers, which was all fun and games until she found a Sharpie.
I found that I didn’t have enough arms and legs to hold a toddler while reading a book, or to grade papers while confiscating pens from tiny, incredibly fast hands. And I became so frustrated.
I found that I didn’t have enough minutes in an hour or hours in a day to cover reading, writing, Bible, history, science, math. Let’s face it. I was struggling to find time to shower and dress in anything more complicated than a t-shirt, yoga pants and flip-flops! And I became more frustrated.
Most days I felt like a failure. In fact, until about a week ago, I felt like a failure every day.
Because I have a “line-of-sight” kiddo, I cannot join a home school co-op unless I can be by his side every minute. Most require that I volunteer to teach a subject which my student may or may not be in. More than likely, the longer I live this lifestyle and accept its limitations, I’ll become more comfortable with what I can and cannot do, and what I can and cannot ask for.
But I’m just not comfortable in this “trauma mama” skin yet.
Through much prayer and discussion with other home school mamas, I recently had what felt like a divine revelation. My kids are in elementary school. Even the State is really only requiring reading, writing and arithmetic. The other stuff is fun, but it is just fluff at this stage. I don’t have to do science every day. Geography is awesome, but if it is a source of frustration for my kiddos and me, it can take a hike/swim around the globe for all I care. We already have morning and evening devotions so as much as I want to train my children in the way they should go, I don’t have to teach about a different missionary each week.
The Lord gently reminded me that I was placing far higher expectations on myself than even the State would and definitely more than He was.
And so, with the new year beginning, we’re focusing on reading together and alone, writing book reports and journal entries and really grasping math.
Not only does Pickle receive math tutoring weekly through the public school, but we’re going WAY back to foundational math skills to see where steps were missed in his many transitions prior to adoption.
In addition to all these AHA moments, I had my biggest one yet just last month. We have been incredibly blessed to work with some great people in the schools, especially with the ESD. Pickle gets additional assistance with his hearing aids, etc. and in talking with one of the ladies who works with him, executive functioning came up.
For those of you who are parenting children who come from hard places, you know that one of the biggest missing pieces in their development is the executive functioning. As this ESD representative, who I now consider my friend, was detailing all of the things I can, and really need, to do with Pickle to help him develop these skills, it became crystal clear that I cannot home school both of my boys. Pickle is a full-time job. And Nutkin resented us for pulling him from school in the first place.
I immediately picked up the phone and called Shane at work and told him I felt that I couldn’t do it any longer. His response?
“I was waiting for you to come to that conclusion yourself. I supported you trying, but we have high needs children.”
And just like that, a HUGE weight was lifted off my shoulders and Nutkin was enrolled for the following Monday.
This year looks MUCH different than I expected. But when Shane and I committed to having and raising children, we agreed that we would pray each year for wisdom on where to send our children for school. Little did I know that really, we would need to commit to praying, not only for His wisdom on which school, but for which child.
I’m that Mom. The one who takes one kid to the bus stop and then teaches the other at my dining room table in my yoga pants with coffee at the ready. I’m that Mom that can’t do it all. I’m that Mom that needs tutoring help for my kiddo. And you know what? I’m beginning to accept that that’s OK.
Are you facing similar circumstance? The Lord really can reveal His perfect plan for your child to you. You can hear His voice behind you telling you which way to go. Are you thankful we don’t have to do this one our own?
Are you that mom, too? That’s OK.