When we first started homeschooling, one of the exciting aspects for me was anticipating all the wonderful things that the twins would learn. I thought about teaching them to read confidently, spell correctly and speak clearly. I imagined them being able to do lengthy math calculations in their heads without reaching for a single piece of paper, something I hoped to eventually do as well.
How wrong I was -- not about the twins learning to read, write and calculate, but about who would learn the most. I was the one who would learn the most in that God was teaching me and growing me in different ways that I hadn't imagined.
Obviously, in home teaching the family spends a lot of time together, giving everyone many opportunities for interaction throughout the day. This is a great thing, of course, but at first I found that my patience with the twins was severely lacking and definitely needed improvement.
I regret gritting my teeth and shaking my head one afternoon during a particularly frustrating math lesson as one of the boys simply couldn't understand the concept of one-fourth. "One OVER four," I snipped. "One divided by four." I'll never forget the forlorn look on that round little seven-year-old face when I spoke those words. As soon as the words whipped out of my mouth, I felt horrible. My tone had been harsh, and immediately I knew that I was wrong. I ran to my bedroom, shut the door and begged the Lord to forgive me. I also asked Him to help me and to deliver me from any anger that I had in my life.
Over time -- lots of time -- and amidst countless blunders, things got better and I began to see that the Lord truly delivered me from anger that I had let fester over the years. Completely, lavishly - I was forgiven by God!
Throughout the years, many times I told the twins, "Austin and Justin, I hope that you'll remember me as a nicer mom at eleven than when you were seven." I learned that God delivers us from our weaknesses and that He forgives.
We continued to work on and cultivate the various subjects pertaining to school, but again -- that wasn't necessarily the hard part. The hard part for me was learning different character lessons.
For subsequent math lessons (on fractions), I took a gentler approach. I took all the stuffed animals off the boy's bunk beds, put a cardboard "pizza" on the floor, and announced that lunch would be served to all animals. As each animal was given a "slice" of pizza, the boys started seeing what one-fourth, one-eighth, etc. meant. Fractions now made sense. I learned to be more patient.
I love the quote from the Apollo 8 astronaut William Anders ----
"We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth."
So who learns the most in homeschooling? Many would argue that it's the children, but in our case, I learned the most! This coming year I pray that you'll be open to the lessons that the Lord has for you as a teacher and mom - whether it's growing in patience, discovering how to teach more effectively or even learning to do math in your head!
As always, with God's help -- keep being the best mom you can be!
Enjoy the day,