Our children learn more from what you are than what you teach them. W.E.B. DuBois
Even though homeschool is hard and there is anger, overwhelm, and a lot of stress. There are good days too, where we smile and have ah-ha moments, and go to the park and climb rocks and snuggly by the fire and read books and drink tea (my favorite). I am showing up for it all even the hard days and being open to the possibility of average and wonderful days.
A Different Way of Learning
Most ways of learning were not created for children with learning challenges. My daughter learns differently than ninety-five percent of children. I knew about her learning difficulties and after her diagnosis over a year ago, I have found the blessing of homeschooling is I actually can be an active part of understanding how she is processing information.
There have been too many IEP (independent education plan) meetings to count. Reading pages of testing, showing her dyslexia, and math and writing disability, and how her brain processes information at her own pace. The tests don’t do justice to actually being the one who helps, who sees, who understands, and notices the child. I could cry tears of sadness and tears of joy, being able to have this year to be here as a present parent and a teacher to my children.
Always Question Yourself and Understand the Answers
Even though I question myself daily and ask who the hell am I to teach my kids? I am not a teacher. Or am I? I get to say what I am and what I am not. Who is better qualified to understand how each and every one of my children learns. Oh, wait? That person would be me, their homeschool mama.
When this pandemic hit hard remote learning was made in a hurry, I know the creators did their best. Yet this way of learning wasn’t made for children like my daughter. There comes a point when someone’s best isn’t enough. As a parent, it’s my job to advocate for my children. There will be times for struggle and times to support. This year has and continues to be a time of major struggles and support as a homeschool mama.
Why and How I Became a Homeschool Mama of 3
Why I do it? With information and knowing the actual science behind masks and the long-term effects they have plus the social distancing this year I choose to homeschool. Who knows the impact this will have on their health, emotions, and minds for the rest of their lives? All children are different and some may not be affected by this. I strongly recommend listening to this podcast on the actual science of wearing a mask and the psychosomatic effects of COVIDVID19 Lack of Transparency and the Dangerous effects. I am choosing, I remember my why. Two of my children are already coping with everyday anxiety and this is something I am not willing to compromise for their mental and emotional health.
Comprehension Comes Different for Us All
Here I take a break. Milo is on a math lesson, I just finished sitting with him for thirty minutes doing my best to help with division, dividends, and quotients. Having my own comprehension issues and doing my best to encourage him when he freaks out about not feeling like he can do it. This breaks my heart. I can’t do it, he burrows his head into his arm, I breathe and rub his back, I am a dummy he mumbles and I cringe and assure him he is smart and doing good work.
Coming from a thirty-seven-year-old woman who learned how to divide only two short years ago, there are deeper pains I connect with. Thank you to my patient husband who was willing to sit with this stubborn lady night after night and work with me. Long story short, as a child my sisters and I moved over forty-nine times creating many holes in my education. Learning division was a huge boost and growing a better understanding of how different we all learn. Becoming a homeschool mama has helped me be a better listener and learner.
The Reality of Being a Homeschool Mama
Now Jack is finishing learning and writing the letter L and counting to twenty. He is so patient with himself. There he sits pushing his green circle glasses up the ladder of freckles connected to his nose. When the numbers begin to deepen and addition comes in, back goes his chair, and in comes the whales and the kicks followed by screams, and don’t forget the thuds. My heart beats, my face gets hot, my armpits drench. I pop over squatting by his side, grab the wooden blocks. How many is 3 triangles and four squares? The tears soften, the breath slows and he can touch it. It’s only a shift in how he learns. His hands move and sniffles soften.
Juney is customized in “5th” grade and where she is suited best is 2nd-grade math and 3rd grade for the rest of her subjects. Kids with learning disabilities struggle with everyday school and now it is the struggles and gains at home. Yet I am here to support her in any way I can. Sometimes it’s just me reading to her and talking her through in her own way.
She’s like me, Juney keeps quiet when she doesn’t understand, which she does a lot. I have to give her mad props because this girl’s confidence is through the roof. We often sing Alecia Keys This Girl Is On Fire belting the ballad and feeling into the words. Slow and steady it doesn’t matter how long it takes or where she is in numbers. All I care about is if she is understanding at her own pace. This program does exactly that, and I am grateful.
Patiences Mama, Patiences
Yes, somedays I freak out, and my patience is lacking and then I explode and it is ugly. I have to take a break and escape to the bathroom or go outside with a cup of tea and breath. One of many things I am grateful for is my ability to notice myself. I can notice my emotions flaring up. I can even see my little Michelle in my children which is when I can fully step into what I am doing. Patience mama, patience mamas.
These are the moments I learn how to forgive myself (most of the time I am only a person after all). I offer a peace truce and apologize for being the mean mom, how my children like to call me.
Show Your Humanness to your Children
Whatever effect this has, I believe it shows my children my humanness and allows them to be more accepting of their flaws. Because the quote our children learn more from the person we are than what we teach them is beyond true. None of us are perfect, it is unrealistic to believe in perfectionism. It will only leave us feeling unworthy and like we have failed at life. Believe me, I know this is true.
Remembering my own struggles as a child, I know how hard it was to ask for help. The feelings of the fear that others would confirm my stupidity were a daily battle. Today I am a conscious parent, I choose to shift from feeling they are not going to measure up to feel like they are enough as they are. I know I can’t save them and stop them from experiencing the ugly and negatives of life. One of my biggest wishes is that my children will know they are good enough and smart enough because they are who they are. Even when their test scores are below average or even extremely below average, or if they ace a test, we are all where we are and this is good enough.
5 Tips to Help a Homeschool Mama
- Shift your expectations, every child learns differently, special needs or not. Every day is different, shift your expectations, learning is not going to look the same every day and even every week or month.
2. Pause here and take a breath. There are so many thoughts and emotions happening. There will be emotional and mental breakthroughs and even breakdowns. Breath allows us to pause in between the thoughts and re-center. Sometimes that means pausing, taking a break, walking away, finding a change in scenery perhaps go outside. Sometimes it is moving, kids are wiggly and need to move, and so do you mama.
3. Have patience’s with yourself first and then your child/children. Everything starts here with us (patience’s for me equals patience’s for them). Remember you once were a little one and learning this same information. This is new for them. Patience dear sister, patience’s.
4. You can do hard things. Write in bright bold letters on a big piece of paper in your learning space. I Can Do Hard Things! Post it where you can always see it and refer to it (mine is tapped to my kitchen cabinet). When frustration, overwhelm or all of the things arise look to your affirmation, read it to yourself and read it aloud to your children/child. This is a friendly reminder to do hard things and preserve when things get challenging.
5. Be KIND to yourself you are only human. Know you are doing your best. You are here because you love your child/children so much. This could also be an opportunity to grow or even plant self compassion. You know, it is time to treat yourself how you treat those you love. When we are kind to ourselves we will be kinder to those around us in this case our children.
For the Homeschool Mamas Out There, We Can Do Hard Things
You are only one person and can only do some much. I live by the saying I Can Do Hard Things, really it’s printed and laminated, posted front and center on a kitchen cabinet, and it has been such a powerful practice.
5 tips to help you!
1. Shift your expectations.
2. Pause, take a breath.
3. Have patience first for you and then your child.
4. I Can Do Hard Things; allow this affirmation to remind you of the truth.
5. Finally, always be kind to you and offer your heart compassion.
You are doing this. Showing up every day just as you are. We can do this homeschool mamas we are in this together!
I know this is different and our challenges aren’t over. Remember these are things we can do to help ourselves and children. I write for you to know you are not alone in this homeschool journey Sisters, we are in this together.