homeschooling / parenting / what I've learned

homeschool parenting: everything I needed to learn I learned as a homeschool parent, or will learn someday

I had no idea what I would have to learn to be a homeschool parent. Some days, I think back to my idealizing notions of homeschooling and I don’t think I knew what I was signing up for (no, I don’t think…I know I didn’t). I wonder if I would have had the fortitude or the willingness to learn everything I needed to learn had I been a fly on the wall to many of our days in the last eight years.

I remember studying Russia as Mikhail Gorbechev entered leadership in 1989. I remember discussions of the Iron Curtain. And a whole semester of the Soviet Union in Grade 6 social studies. Similar to my daughter’s grade 6 year now, but now we call it Russia. I don’t remember a lot of details other than the gargantuan size of the country, or the dissolution of the states. Now is my chance to learn.

There are math concepts that once I was exposed to that now that my kids are learning, I am learning too. There are grammatical concepts that seemed like a hazy mess back in the day, and now I could sentence diagram (if I wanted to, but I’d rather spend my time keeping the kitchen floor photo worthy–much more fun).

The learning isn’t just talking Russian history or conjugating French verbs, algebraic equations or memorizing geological time periods. Kid you not, that’s the easy stuff. Learning how not to let my spirit rise to complaining for the bajillionth time in a day, or organizing French learning when everyone in the room isn’t at the same level, or incorporating exercise and writing time into a kid-focused extracurricular schedule? There’s the learning.

Learning to let go of my expectations that I can be god to my children: I can’t always listen to everyone’s thoughts on everything, I don’t always not get mad, I can’t love them unconditionally, I can’t and don’t want to multitask most days. Letting go of my expectation of perfection is definitely something I’m learning.

But amidst the mess of everything I want to learn, and need to learn, I get to do exactly what I always wanted to do when I first began home educating. To be with my kiddos at the best times of their day, lapping up their happy juices, their energetic juices, their creative juices–I get to see them consume books like potato chips, write up short stories like they’re flipping through the latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, and conquering math concepts like Napoleon on a European mission. I get to watch them spend time together, playing games or helping each other with a tricky math concept, no matter how far apart their ages. I get to watch them grow right before my eyes.

Melanie Wilson, on her homeschool podcast, Homeschool Sanity, told her listeners:  “I got to squeeze every last drop of my kid’s childhood as I homeschooled him for eighteen years.”

There’s no doubt about it, just as I am squeezing every last drop of experiencing my kiddos, I’m also squeezing every last drop of learning about my world too. The subject could be world geography, or it could be patience. It could be botany, or it could be kindness. It is definitely algebra, and often dissecting my emotional projections of internal struggles onto those I love the most.

So many lessons, and yet so much time to learn them. No worries that I might not get the lesson the first time, I’ll have so many repeat opportunities to learn them. And in the meantime, I get to squeeze every last drop of my kiddo’s childhoods.

Classic homeschool mama: I’m learning what I have to learn when I have to learn it.


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