Lately, I think I have frustrated my very intelligent Mr. 5.
Because he is so bright, smart and has amazing insight into the world, I can’t help myself but try and stretch him more and more.
We had positives this week.
Our next door neighbour has a telescope that weighs more than I do. It has to be taken apart into pieces so you can transport it, and it requires a high degree of patience to learn how to use it. Our neighbour invited our entire family (and a super excited Alexander) over to see a couple of planets. Well, Alexander was there from 6:30pm to 11pm just waiting eagerly to see anything our neighbour had to show him. (He stayed with dad, I went home and went to bed with the other two kids.) He saw Saturn, Jupiter, the Sombrero Galaxy, a few Nebulas, and got a great view of the surface of the moon. He was on cloud nine and it renewed his want and love to be a rocket man.
He also showed great love for his sister (now Miss 4) on her birthday, and is always loving to Mr. nearly 2. He is starting to help independently clean the house and pick up toys, shoes, clothes (HALLELUJAH!).
But we had a negative yesterday and today.
We sat down to do the sit down element of our homeschooling, namely, math.
Now, generally, Mr. 5 loves maths. He loves it because he’s good at it. So I upped it a little and instead of the usual times tables that he already knows by heart (1, 2, 10 and 11) due to their easy-to-remember principles, I gave him 3 and 5 and 9 this week.
He tried and failed 2 times. And that was enough for him to give up. I couldn’t understand what I was witnessing. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “I just don’t like it when I get it wrong. I like it when I get it right all the time.“ I tried to explain to him that for you to improve, you are always going to have to get things wrong. But you keep trying and don’t give up, and you’ll get there.
But that didn’t work.
I had realised that this week, I pushed too hard. And this week is now called a stalled week. We’re going to stop the schooling this week, and just focus on cooking, craft, gardening and helping each other get the house ready for Miss 4’s birthday party this weekend. (Some would say that this is what you should do all of the time when you homeschool. I guess I feel that I need to be accountable to what they are doing and learning.)
But I forgot to do something so special, so crucial and it was the reason why I homeschooled.
If I homeschooled because I wanted my children to be smarter than everyone else, then I have already failed. If I am homeschooling because I believed that my children would be better off academically, and that they would be able to do this with less stress than their peers, then I have failed.
My reasons for homeschooling are these:
- To have the time to develop a closer relationship with God.
- To have the space to develop and grow with siblings.
- To know who they are and love who they are.
- To spend more precious time with my children, and allow them to know how much I love them.
- To ensure they know the community and how they can contribute.
This is my mission statement. And I forgot it this week. I just wanted him to reach his best and fullest potential, that I changed my focus and forgot why I was doing this in the first place.
I am not homeschooling to prove anything. I doubt anyone homeschools to show how smart and perfect their children are. If you felt your kids were so bright and perfect, why not send them to school and show the world? Homeschooling is not at all perfect and somedays are like an experiment.
I am homeschooling because their relationship with God, us, family, community and themselves is the most important aspects of their lives.
It doesn’t matter how smart they are, how sporting they are, how knowledgable they are (even though they are obviously incorporated into homeschooling). It matters that they know who they are, how to make themselves happy and how they can make the community a better place. And what I believe makes people most happy, is having valuable and meaningful relationships with those around them.
Lets pray that I can always remember this focus and not forget it… again.