Homeschool moms aren’t perfect, we just have more time

homeschool moms aren't perfect we just have more time too busy to homeschool

Dear frazzled, sick of the morning routine, overworked, busy parents of school aged children:

I recently read an article on Scary Mommy  where this understandably tired out mama listed off the reasons why she didn’t want to homeschool, or be made to feel guilty about her decision not to. To her I say, I support you in whatever you need to do for your family… but just because your morning routine is a mess and your 3.5 yr old isn’t potty trained, doesn’t mean you can’t homeschool.

Homeschooling is not an option for every family. I 100% understand that; I am so thankful that there are kind and intelligent teachers who are willing to teach other people’s children. Even if it is a real, viable, option for your family and you choose not to homeschool… I respect that! I’m all for freedom of choice. I think it’s important to understand when making that decision, that homeschooling does not look like the crazy mornings, jam packed weekends, or even the summer breaks of schooling life. If it were that hard all the time, none of us would do it. Really.

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Farm Days and Outdoor Play

I love taking my daughter to the farm. I grew up going to local pick-your-own farms and it instilled in me this sense of connectedness to my surroundings, to the land, to the way that food grows. Perhaps someday I’ll have a small farm of my own, that’s the dream anyway, but until then, we’ll keep visiting farms near us.

outdoor play toddler farm food healthy sustainable organic

Today we harvested asparagus, straight out of the ground. Miriam is too young to understand this, but there is this concept that has been studied, and the general idea is that when you involve your child in the preparation of food, they are much more likely to eat it.

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Don’t kill the learning!

Last night around 11 pm as my 5 month old daughter whined and reached out to me to help her sit up as I was just about to change her diaper, I thought to myself “Oh my goodness, I just want to change her diaper and get back to bed! If she plays now she won’t go back to sleep!” I took a breath, looked at my sweet child, and helped her sit up. It is a new skill. She has just started sitting up on her own.

She was thrilled. She sat up, played with the box of wipes, revered in her new ability, and in a few minutes I gently helped her lay back again and changed her diaper. No tears, no screaming, no fight. This is something new we’ve been practicing. I like to call it “not killing the learning”.

I find that learning comes at extremely unpredictable times. Often it happens when I as a parent think my child should be sleeping, or running out the door, or getting dressed, or doing other IMPORTANT things. I realized when my daughter was very young that if we were going to be peaceful parents, and if we were going to succeed in homeschooling her, I would have to practice not killing the learning.

After the diaper experience, I thought to myself “That wasn’t so bad. Letting her play cost me nothing and gave her so much joy, so much happiness, and we didn’t fight.” In fact, it brought us closer, because as I chose to help her sit up, I was connecting to my baby. I was saying, “I will help you do what you want to do. I will help you learn. I won’t force you to be on my schedule.”

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “she is nuts, this will never work for my family, we are busy” think again. I am busy too, and we don’t ALWAYS have the chance to let our kids choose, but when we can, we do. When it’s a question of safety, or something BIG, we have to be parents and choose for our kids. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you can take the time to let your kids learn, even if it inconveniences you when you can, they will be much more forgiving of the times that you truly need them to hurry.

Once I began practicing this, I found that the times when I truly couldn’t stop and take a minute to let my child learn were rare and usually safety related. Those times I don’t feel bad about rushing her, because I know that it is truly necessary. I believe as she gets older she too will appreciate these times and listen more closely if they aren’t too often. If I always yell at her, she may not hear me when I need to yell something truly important.

Parents of older children, teenagers, even adults can make the choice to stop rushing, stop yelling and not kill the learning. We were fortunate enough to jump on the gentle parenting bandwagon pretty early, but it can be done at any age. I have seen this work in my relationship too. When I don’t rush my partner, he is happier. When I let him take the time he needs, we have a better relationship. When I do rush him or yell at him or over plan our time together, we fight more.

Good luck friends, and let me know how it goes.

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