Homeschooling has been a lot like losing my bathroom privacy. It's messy, it includes lessons that should probably be taught with hushed tones and soft focus lighting and there is absolutely no way to escape the task at hand. Once we enter our homeschool room (previously known as the dining room), it's on. The books are out, the pencils sharpened and little ears are eager to soak up all that I have to say. I admit, I met their expectant faces with a big ego, overconfident in my abilities to teach and impart grade-appropriate knowledge to these future members of the workforce. There are two heavily stocked bookcases in the homeschool room standing testament to my ridiculousness. Pre-packaged curriculum, lined up in neat little rows and printables organized just so in 3" binders decorates the shelves. I have a binder to organize the "Mom" files, a binder detailing each child's curriculum, a binder for completed work, and a binder for each individual subject (should anything get lost). I had all the right books, all the right materials, all the right ideas. I went to homeschool mom mentor groups, local conferences and volunteered as a co-op teacher. And, I created a pinterest board about homeschooling! Didn't that equate a banner year, full of academic excellence and achievement?
Not even close.
As we're winding down the year, I want to remember one thing: my mistakes can contribute to their success.
- Failing at time management teaches my children in real time just how important planning, scheduling and setting an alarm (if not multiple alarms) is.
- When I don't place in a writing contest, my kids learn how to accept disappointment as something that is a natural part of life, not as a death sentence to their dreams.
- During art, my 8 year old tells me, "I'm not sure if I like the way this is coming out, but that's okay because I can just change it with more layers of paint. Just like you do! You change it a lot until it's what you wanted".
- My 10 year old says, "You don't many mistakes when I'm around you. I like big mistakes because they mean big changes. Big changes are exciting. Well, they can be exciting. Big mistakes can also be a way of helping other people because if they listen to your story, then they won't make that same mistake. Or pack a parachute the next time they jump." (I don't free jump, so I have no idea where that last bit came from!)
- My teenage daughters are in a different phase of critical thinking than their sibs. This phase requires the testing and proving of Mom's wrong-ness. I've been stuffing I told you so's way, way down. No parent ever wants to be right about things like broken hearts, phony friends and manipulators. I wish it were as simple as pressing their foreheads against mine, to feel my life, learning the tough stuff by parental osmosis.
-I remember every bad thing that has ever happened to me. I file flunked tests and missed SAT prep questions into this category. Very handy for teaching my kids all the wonky ways I've remembered the correct information.
This first year of homeschooling has been a real doozy. It's also been rather rewarding, humbling and full of joy. My failures are treasures now.
My failures have become the easiest way to teach my children anything.