Friday, January 4, 2013

Be all there

January 2, 2013

I spent a few hours this morning at a Starbucks talking with a friend about the challenges of homeschooling, training, chores, various curriculum, special needs, expectations, challenges....  I'm often drawn into these conversations and remember clearly the years when I would wake up in a sweat and seriously question whether or not I was doing the best for my children in homeschooling. After trying not to hyperventilate, I would attempt to fall asleep praying, but not often having even the right words to express my heart.

I'd like to assure you that it's going to be alright. A child which is provided with one-on-one instruction every day for school in their elementary years and allowed to read to their heart's content is going to get what they need to succeed. Being by their side, you are going to see the missing gaps of understanding. You are going to have plenty of time for them to master what they need to know. You are forming and shaping their character by daily living it out before them even though you don't have the hour you had hoped to focus on that character building lesson or read three chapters of the Bible.   They are watching. They are learning.  They are getting it, even though you don't see the end product right now.  

What's the key?
Be there. Be all there.
Not on your phone.
Not paying bills.
Not cooking dinner.
Not reading facebook.
Not sending texts.
Not watching the clock.
Not serving the curriculum's schedule or demands.
Not checking boxes.

This is easier said than done. Life is hectic and overwhelming. Without multitasking how is it all ever going to get done? I'm guilty of doing each of these things (well, not the texting, I still haven't taken the leap there) and done a great disservice to children in doing so. When school time is focused on me, then they suffer. 

More than that, there are countless opportunities each day when the books are closed that growth and development are in full swing. No, I never had the time to go through a character development curriculum with them despite all good intentions. I never had the ability to take the kids to the craft classes at the library.  I used to feel major guilt and remorse about this until the day I realized that each moment at home is that opportunity. Embrace these moments before they pass.

What's the key?
Let them follow you around.
Let them ask "why?"
Let them try to do something hard or beyond their years, even if it's not perfect.
Let them hear about how you are not perfect, mistakes you've made. 
Let them get their hands dirty and make a mess.
Let them listen to you tell stories.
Let them see you listening to their stories. Stop what you're doing and look them in the eye.
Let them hear "yes" (especially when it involves making a mess)
Let them pretend and take the leading role once in a while.
Let them talk.  Ask them questions about themselves. Then ask them more questions until they run out of words to say. 
Let them follow through with an idea, even if it's an inconvenience. 

Certainly each child has their quirks and very unique challenges to learning and life.  Some are quite evident and others not so much.  I couldn't speak wisdom into much of what my friend was sharing, but one thing was clear. This mom was passionate about her son.  She's going to figure this out and he's going to thrive under her loving care. The amazing thing is that God has specifically given each child to each mom to teach, mold and shape in only the way she can.   Mom and kids- we were made for each other.

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