As a homeschooler, this life consumes you sometimes. I find myself even when I am alone, unable to let go and constantly thinking to myself what else can I do to make this educational journey as fulfilling and bright as possible. Then there is the self-doubt of whether you are doing enough, are you doing something wrong, can you be better. I’m not sure about you, but homeschooling has somewhat elevated my mother guilt about 10 times over where it was this time last year.
Today, I was very hard on Mr. 6. And in hindsight, I did not want to be. He diligently wrote out a beautiful writing piece on Peter Rabbit.
His writing for a 6 year old is actually pretty good. He is starting to read as we progress through the 100 Magic words.
But today, as we started to do our Maths, he sighed and said these words that meant more to my inner-judgemental spirit than it was really intended. He said, “Oh maths, not again.”
And to him, it simply meant this. “I don’t like math. Mum says I’m good at it, I just don’t like it.”
To me, I heard this. “My mummy doesn’t make maths fun. I don’t like it because mummy hasn’t made it fun for me.”
See, I can actually think quite clearly now about it, but at the time, I’m not quite sure what came over me.
I did not yell at him. I just implored him to try and see it from my point of view. I then uttered these words that made me think that a lot of this effort I have put into his education was mis-focused and all of a sudden, did not align to my mission statement that I had set in December.
“I’m doing my best. Can’t you see that? I’m sorry that you don’t like maths. I’ll do better.”
I immediately stopped myself when I uttered those words, because all of a sudden, I realised I had lost focus, and that this homeschooling route somehow veered off course and became about how much we could achieve.
The guilt became so much, I was exhausted and at 7pm, I went to sleep, only to wake at 12am… which is why I’m on my blog!
I lost the reason why I initially did all this.
The summarised mission is this:
For Mr. 6, Miss 4 and Mr. 2 to be free to discover themselves. To connect as a family. To have fun, build happy memories and to not be restricted to the standardising of kids based on what year they are born. For our kids to find learning fun, and always be engaged in what they are doing. Being engaged.
Mr. 6 loves Science and History. This week we learnt about genetics and how he got some traits from mum and some from dad. We made playdoh and we did the baking soda/vinegar thing again; that never gets old. We also continue our studies in history, and Mr. 6 loves greek mythology like it’s Avengers. (Pictured below reading Usborne’s Illustrated Greek Myths) He loves drawing and making books. He loves sumos and since he cannot be one (being as skinny as a rake), he’s settling for the next best thing… Kendo classes. Great thing is, is that he is doing these classes with dad, so both him and his father get to spend one on one time together every week, hitting each other with sticks.
Ultimately, we need to stop being so hard on ourselves, and also on our homeschooled kids. They are amazing beings, all children are. And as parents, we make choices to better their lives. But the internal judgement has got to stop, to ensure that the parenting is actually about the betterment of them, and not to make ourselves feel better.
Sometimes as homeschoolers, we lose focus. Sometimes as parents and people, we lose focus. For the sake of my kids, I will freely admit that I am not perfect, and do make mistakes. But for the sake of my kids, I will always be open to change to ensure that they can be happy, resilient and connected kids.
When I speak to mums about homeschooling, no mum has ever said, “Oh I wouldn’t want to do that.” Every mum says, “Oh that’s wonderful. I just couldn’t do that.” We are our own harshest critics, even before we have thought about it or attempted it. But sometimes what I hear is, “Oh that’s wonderful. I just couldn’t handle the guilt. I don’t think I’m good enough.”
And to all you mums about to try something new, maybe it’s homeschooling, maybe it’s going back to work, or maybe it’s doing Kendo with your 6 year old… just remember… You are good enough for you beautiful children, whom God gave you and trusted you to take care of. So take care of yourself, and your kids, and stop being so hard on yourself.