Friday, March 5, 2010

One of those moments....

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.


Tisha said...

Oh friend, this is beautifully written. You are a great mom and teacher!

readermom said...

I had a moment just like this a week ago Wed ("simple" algebra rearrangement needed to solve 10th grader's Geometry problem) "I'm the only math teacher he's ever had, and he still can't do this."

It was a real wake-up call for us both, and God prompted me to make some changes (after spending a little time, pouring out my heart to Him).

Your post was lovely; thanks for sharing.

Mary@notbefore7 said...

Beatifully stated. There are times I get so caught up in "teacher" duties that I forget about mommy duties. I forget the heart.

Thanks for the reminder. I have been there in frustration (usually over writing with my little gal and ehr messiness and wrong pencil grip...argh) And I have to pray over and over to give these things to God and rest in HIs plan.

We feel such pressure from within ourselves and the outside world. Yet, we need to rest in Him.

Struggling to remember that daily right along with you. Thanks for this honesty.

Andrea said...

You have written about a day in the life of mom24 @ Heritage Academy!! This is EXACTLY how things go with my 6yo R more often than I'd like in a week.
Always the tears when I am asking a simple question in a calm tone of voice. And it only gets worse if I make the mistake of letting her hear the sigh in my voice while I'm avoiding eyecontact and biting my lip.
Only difference is that my dd tends to become angry as well and tell me that I'm 'yelling' at her is I ask the question even twice.
THe same toughts go through my head. Exactly.
But this IS the lesson. It does NOT matter if our kids know what an adverb is if they know who is their Savior and can see Him working in their Momma as well as themselves!
Such a hard lesson for me as well! Thx so very much for posting this!!! Would it be alright if I linked to it on my blog since you've worded it so well??

Jen said...

Very good point Monica...and a lesson to be learned by every parent and teacher. Thank you for opening up :)

Saralyn said...

Oh, I'm right there, too. Our first child is a wiz at just about everything, and what he can't do right away, he figures out. I just assumed that was how it was supposed to happen. But my second child is the one who stares blankly at me and often disolves in a heap of tears. I'm learning patience and grace and she's learning focus and diligence. Together we're learning about Jesus.

Angie said...

So precious...I am thankful that you are homeschooling her as it could be even more frustrating in a public school setting.

I am working on adverbs as well...and asked almost the exact question...and got the same answer...but from about 20 kids. I feel your pain!

Praying for you as you find the balance between mom and teacher.

Monica said...

Angie, you give me hope. Today we revisited the adverbs and it went much better. Thanks everyone for the encouragement. Sometimes it comforting to know I'm not alone.

Amy K said...

How sweet. I think one of the best things about hsing has to be the many chances to work out relationships and reaffirm your love. Thanks for sharing! And your post reminded me of how much I HATE English Grammar and how much I am dreading teaching it to my kids. :-/