Next week, I embark on a new journey as I am going to be homeschooling, if you can call it that, my 5th and 8th grader. Ironically enough, they have asked on more than one occasion if I would homeschool them. I am a teacher, after all, they frequently remind me. Now, that we're here though, on the precipice of this momentous occasion, I can't help but fear what might or might not happen in the coming weeks
I know what I want to happen. Angelic children, sitting earnestly at their desks every morning working on whatever assignments I give them. Begging for more to do and loving every minute of it. Meanwhile, I'm baking my fourth loaf of bread to stock up during the apocalypse that is Covid-19. We'll read together, play together, learn new skills together. That's my vision. As I type this, a smile comes to my lips, because I know better. I know it will not go nearly the way I plan.
First, how I've prepared. I've created two google docs, one for each of my children. Labeled with their names, each doc is specific to what they are supposed to be doing over the next several weeks. For instance, my son wants to be a physician. We decided it would be a perfect time for him to learn anatomy and more about the human body. So I put links to websites that have information galore and youtube videos that he can check out. Feeling good so far, oh yea. Next, I have listed a website called typing.com. On it, I've created an account for both of my kids so they can learn to use home row and not hunt and peck for the rest of their adult lives. Then I list reading, audio books count too, so I set up a link for them to search for books of interest. Math is covered by IXL in their respective grades.
Last but certainly not least, I listed Bible time activities. These include things like watching the series, The Chosen, reading their Bibles, doing devotionals, and, for my son who is being confirmed this year, listening to podcasts of sermons and taking notes. If I've failed at anything as a mother, it's that I've been entirely too quiet about my faith, and what it means to me. I want to rectify that mistake and this seems like a good time to do that.
But let's face it, if I'm being honest I've made a lot of mistakes as a parent. My kids are on screens way above and beyond what they should be. My son's language could rival that of a sailor. My daughter as a twelve-year-old can throw the tantrum of a two-year-old. On more than one occasion, the guilt of how many, many ways I've failed as a mom consumes me. I guess that's why I consider myself a bad mom. Because of all my shortcomings and failings.
And if that's the end of my story, what a sad sad tale indeed. Thankfully, it's not the end. Although I may have fallen short in many ways as a parent, I still have a chance. No I can't begin again, but I can continue on and take heart with one very important detail.
God is guiding me. My Father in Heaven is guiding me. There is a verse in the Bible that states, God gently guides those that have young. On more than one occasion, I have clung to that promise that as I watch over and take care of my little ones, God is watching over and taking care of me. There's a lot of comfort and encouragement in the knowledge that the One who has raised me up, the best of all parents, is gently guiding me as I raise up my little ones.
In that knowledge, I'm done with guilt as a parent. I'm done with comparing myself to others. I'm done with being embarrassed over how my kids are acting. No one is doing it perfectly. No one. It's time for me to understand this and find the best path for me and my kiddos - to parent as God intended me to parent, uniquely, and individually raising up the ones that he purposefully gave to me and my husband.
I have no idea what these next three weeks will bring. I know I tried to make it less structured and more them focused and I'm hoping that works. I've also appealed to their understanding of my weaknesses as a mom. My follow through and consistency aren't always great. This weekend, I reminded them of that and let them know that part of us having a few good weeks at home is them taking some responsibility and being willing to make the most of our learning time together. I'm hoping that message sticks.
If you are a person of faith, I would covet your prayers. Maybe most of all, a prayer for peace no matter what lies ahead. 'Til next time.