Today we were sitting on the couch working together on Language Arts. Specifically, we were learning about adverbs.
I asked, "Looking at the word 'adverb', what do you think it is going to modify?"
The answers came tumbling out. "An adjective?" "A noun?" "The subject?" "A pronoun?" With each answer came more uncertainty and the tears began to flow.
"What is there to cry about? I'm asking a simple question. This isn't hard. What word do you see here?" I spoke back while underlining the word two times. (Obviously, I'm not a trained educator.)
"I just don't know what you want?! What are you asking me?!"
I had to stop and take a very deep breath. Taking off my glasses and rubbing my head I was stuck between feeling defensive and utterly defeated.
What have I done? What do I lack? How can I communicate any better? Why am I homeschooling? It's obvious that I'm not teaching her anything. I'm just frustrating her. I'm not good enough.
We directly closed that book and moved on to science. I was reading about the inner planets with a quivering voice. She quickly caught on (as did everyone else in the room) and there were many red faces and sniffles as I expounded on the clouds on Venus and the temperature on Mars.
"Mom, it's not that your a bad teacher. I'm just a bad learner."
That was like a knife in my heart. There were many hugs and soft whispers as I tried to reassure her that she is in fact amazing. She is gifted in so many ways and specifically made by God Himself to be unique.
As the tension lifted there was soon a giggle from across the room. Then a chuckle escaped from person hiding behind their book. Next the laughter finally broke through the tears for us all. We all agreed that there is certainly nothing to cry about when it comes to the planets.
Today I believe the was lesson for me, the teacher. More than anything, I was reminded that I daily need the Lord's help in shaping these young hearts and minds. I get so busy and caught up in getting it done that I forget to even ask for God's guidance. Homeschooling isn't about my capabilities. It's not about whether or not my kid "gets it" the first time around (or the second or the third). In the end, it's really has nothing to do with academic achievement.
It's all about a mind willing to learn, a heart ready to serve and a life that responds to the Truth. There's a lot more than Language Arts that goes into that sort of education- for the teacher and the student.
Tonight as I tucked her into bed we talked again about what transpired today. Her heart is still tender and the emotions raw. She is struggling to find her place, to know her strengths. I get that. I'm praying for the insight and sensitivity to steer her through these tough times as her teacher and her mom.
When I came downstairs to my bed I found a note on my pillow. It read, "I love you mom. You are a good teacher. A+."
I'm humbled by that sentiment knowing that I fall far short, yet, I'm thankful to know the greatest Teacher of all.