Expectations

 Lest you believe that our home, school, children, or parents are perfect, let me reassure you that we are not. There are days and weeks when I wonder why I chose to homeschool because I have gotten so worked up about all the things that are going wrong. There are times when I cannot figure out where to go and how to fix anything. There are definitely moments when I think I have made a huge mistake in homeschooling my kids. I’ve been doing this for ten years, but I still have this picture (along with all of the statistics that support it) of kids that are academically above average in every area, and sometimes my selfish being wants that trophy.

Last Friday was a bad day. A really bad day. The kids drew for an art contest for their dad’s work calendar. Their writing had backward letters, and it was messy. They didn’t really want to do anything that I had planned, and after the art experience, neither did I. I know, it’s art. Chill out. But I was in a bad mood that day. I didn’t have a single nice thing to say to anyone. Nothing they could do was good enough for me. I tried praying about it. I tried rearranging my thinking. I couldn’t do it.  I was just totally fried. I cannot remember the last time that I actually contacted my husband at work and asked him to arrange for a sitter and a night out so that I could get away.  But I needed it.

While it wasn’t the best dinner date conversation, he was kind enough to let me talk through all of my failures that were plaguing me. He’s no stranger to our situation, and it was good to again feel like I wasn’t alone in this effort. Ultimately, though, I was able to really dig in and understand what I was feeling below the surface.

At first I thought it was this: I felt like I had a job to do but didn’t have the tools to do it.

But then I realized it was deeper than that. God didn’t give me kids that are natural easy learners.  He gave me kids that struggle to read and write and do multi-step math problems.  He gave me really neat kids that see such wonderful things in life, but I was not seeing that. I was fighting against it. My “trophy” was at risk.

All of my life, I have struggled to measure up to my and other people’s expectations. It’s bondage, really.  Now I have been taking baby steps to get out of this bondage, but I unfortunately have been known to impose the same requirements on my kids. It’s not my intention, but I fall into it sometimes. And it never ends well.

God gave me four amazing blessings to teach and mentor. My challenge is to look at them each day as God made them to be, and guide them accordingly… NOT to try to make them fit the mold of the “model student”  That is one of the realities behind my delight directed learning decision. My kids need to learn in their own ways, and I need to allow it. Instead of feeling like failures for not fitting a mold, my kids need to know that they are smart and talented just the way that God made them. And I need to remember that too.

And that will lead to better days.

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