Thursday, August 30, 2012

School's In Blues

As the big school machine cranks up another year, most moms are walking around with a secret smile on their face. With the kids back in school, they now have a bit of time reclaimed to do whatever moms with kids in school do. As a homeschooling mom, this time of year marks the time when I feel most insecure about educating my son at home.

Don’t get me wrong, some days are a total wonder. The gorgeous afternoons with a true North Carolina blue sky where we sit and do nature studies by the lake. The captivating days when we can visit a museum and recite in detail the most important event leading up the Civil War to the tour guide. The best is when someone quizzes him on some rare detail that they are sure no homeschooler would ever know – like the capitol of Gambia. He beams “Banjul” and asks “did you know that it is the smallest country in Africa?” Those are the kind of days that make momma proud.

But then there are the days when I discover he doesn’t know how to spell the word “doctor.” Yes, it’s true. Even worse are when I am checking over his papers to find sentences beginning without capital letters or ending with periods. Then come the days when he forgets how to do long division. Again. The days when math makes us cry (just a little) and it’s only 9 a.m.  I’m sure these types of mental blips happen for public and homeschool kids alike. At least I’m praying they do.

As we begin the 6th grade this year, the fact that he is beginning middle school is one that I do not take lightly. The pressure is on for me. I can’t afford to screw this one up. Sometimes I wonder if I am doing my son any favors by serving as his chief educator. But mostly I feel grateful that I am not missing out on his days. I am thankful that I get to pour into him as much as I possibly can, while I can.

Ironically, it was a pair of dirty tennis shoes that helped me reconcile my feelings. As I was hand washing my sneakers, I thought hand washing something was like homeschooling. Traditional schooling was like putting your clothes in a washing machine. Were the hand washed things cleaner than the machine? Probably not. Did both things get clean? Absolutely. The end result was the same.

For now, homeschooling is our map for the year ahead. With a deep breath, a lot of prayer and effort, we focus on one day at a time. I know my son’s education may not always be homeschooling. I know there will always be holes in his learning, even in a traditional school. Yet, for this season, I will do all I can to pour into him the very best way I can imagine. I know the most important thing is to love him through the journey, even if he doesn’t know how to spell doctor.