Every week, I will share a “Let’s Get Real (LGR)” post that focuses on an area where I feel overwhelmed or feel like I’m failing. You can look forward to pictures of my messy house, or confessions of bad parenting. The idea behind LGR is to remind us that we can’t Get it All Right all the time. I want you to see the areas in my life that are getting left behind because I’m focusing on other things. Housework will usually be at the top of that list! I’m also starting a hashtag for Instagram and Twitter: #letsgetrealhbom where you can share your own LGR moments. Let’s encourage each other by letting down our guard just a little.
Can I be honest with you? I guess that’s why we’re all here, so I’m going to assume the answer is yes. I am NOT a teacher. I see you scratching your head. Yes, I homeschool our kids, and yes, I teach them stuff. I guess I should have typed “I am NOT a Teacher™.” I teach, yes, but it’s against my nature. I teach, but it exhausts me. I don’t enjoy it. I don’t feel happy when the lightbulb goes off over the kids’ heads. Mostly I feel relieved that they finally got it and I can stop working so hard.
I’m married to a gifted teacher, so I know what it’s supposed to look like. He loves to find new ways of explaining a concept. He effortlessly grabs and keeps people’s attention and when he’s done, they say things like, “Wow! I never understood that before!” or “That’s a really great way of explaining that!” or “Mr. Stanley’s class prepared me for college.” In stark contrast to that, my kids ask me why I’m yelling so much and if I need some Alone Time. What comes naturally to him is a foreign language to me.
When my kids aren’t getting something, I get frustrated. I don’t look for new ways to explain it; I just say it louder in hopes that they’ll finally hear me. When they do get it, I sigh in relief and go find somewhere to be alone and recover. Even when I have a video teacher teaching them, I get frustrated. It exhausts me.
This is not a point of pride for me. It is an endless source of failure and shame. I wonder, “Why can’t I be what my kids need? How are they going to learn if I can’t teach them? Are they going to leave our house uneducated?” I start to panic and wonder if I should send them to school.
And then I remember the project Lily worked on today for a couple of hours. Robby came home at lunch and announced that there were some quail chicks at work that he would bring home for them to take care of, but only if they did the research to find out what was involved in raising them. So Lily got online and did some research, but wasn’t finding anything helpful. I told her maybe feed stores would have the information she was looking for, so next thing I know, she is calling them and telling me what she found out. Then she looked at prices for the various items she would need. Self-motivated learning. Something I’ve been waiting for, hoping for, longing for…since we started homeschooling!
And I remind myself that their test scores are all at or above grade level. That they love to read. That they spend a lot of time playing outside with friends, and other healthy activities. They spend hours every week taking care of their little brother. They do so many chores around here that when they were gone to camp, we felt the difference.
I cling to the idea that homeschool is not only about writing skills and multiplication tables or even test scores. It is more than checking off a list or finishing a book. Even after 6 years, I’m still not sure of all the things it IS about, but I know that God hasn’t released me from this job yet. Until He does, I have to believe He is giving me and the kids what we need, and that I have as much still to learn as they do.
Is there a job that feels too hard that God hasn’t released you from? Are you trusting God in a situation where you feel the stakes are high and you just aren’t enough? If so, I’d love to hear your story. Use the contact page to email me. We can encourage each other, even if we don’t have the answers yet!