I have been a teacher for over twenty years and have always maintained that the teacher sometimes learns more than the student. It is the same situation if you homeschool your kids. In the midst of trying to teach them there are lessons to be learned. By mom. Here are a few things that over the years I have learned while homeschooling my boys.
Apologize. Ok, that is a weird lesson. But when it comes right down to it none of us has it together! There have been many times I have blown it with my boys. Apologizing won't right the wrong, but it does allow our kids to see an excellent model of what we should do when we have messed up, and it destroys that seed of bitterness that could take root if we don't deal with the sin we just dished out. An apology (one that is sincere) shows your kids that you aren't so prideful that you aren't willing to make it right. An apology screams "My relationship with you is more important than being right!"
Accept Reality. I had to come to terms early on that my boys are different learners than when I was a student. One of my boys doesn't work on the same type of timetable that I internally click with. His timetable, which is slower than mine, used to drive me bonkers. I have had to learn to accept that different isn't bad and even if you are my son doesn't mean you will end up exactly like me. Acceptance allows me to...
Dole out Grace. I can't be gracious to my boys when I am in the rut of "my way or the highway". There is no grace in that attitude. Showing my boys grace with their mistakes, sins, and personality differences allows me to build a better relationship with them in the long run. It is my hope that if I have shown them grace that they can then one day turn around and show it to others. I pray that as I show them grace they will be able to be gracious to themselves one day when they really mess up.
Run a marathon. This was my very first lesson in homeschooling. It is NOT a sprint. I wanted it to be a sprint! To get through the material and move on. To speed through it and check off that little box that says, "We're done!!" That is so NOT homeschooling. It is more like running a marathon. Slow and steady wins the race. I will never be able to check it all off and say I am done. That day will never come as there is always one more lesson to teach, one more heart attitude to guide, one more concept to review again, etc. By acting like it was a sprint I was driving myself crazy (and the boys, too)...all because I was frustrated that we were never really done. Homeschooling is a lifestyle. Not an event.
Enjoy the Journey. There have been so many great memories along the way! Many of them I haven't enjoyed because I was so wrapped up in getting things done or moving onto the next activity. Being in the moment fully there increases my enjoyment of schooling my boys. We only get one shot (actually multiple shots each and every day) to raise our kids. We should relax, teach to the best of our ability, and marvel at who they become in the end. One way I have learned to enjoy the journey with them is to mentally list the benefits of teaching them day to day. There are so many gifts to being able to stay home and teach. I just need to keep reminding myself of them!
What lessons have you learned along the way as you have homeschooled? Care to share? I would love to hear them!