Whether you're brand new to homeschooling, or a seasoned veteran with 20 years of experience under your belt, why is it that in mothering & in teaching, we have the tendency to think that we somehow need to be like someone else or do things like someone else? Maybe it's just me -- but I think it's easy to fall into the trap.
That's what I love about golf -- although the pros need to ultimately get the ball onto the fairway & into the hole, they truly develop their own strategies & methods in the process. I think that we can do the same in teaching.
First, it's helpful to realize that we're already completely suited to teach our own children in that we love them more than anyone else (other than our husbands, of course) and have their best interests in mind. So, we can be free to develop our own style & teach them in our own unique way.
If we start thinking that we need to be like the mom down the street, in the magazine, or like the perfectly perfect mom (that doesn't exist) in our minds, we're in the sand pit. The bottom line is that if God calls us to homeschool, He will enable & equip us to do so.
I once fell into the trap of thinking that I had to be like that other mom. It went like this:
It was a beautiful spring Saturday at the end of my first year of teaching the twins at home; I could already see that they were thriving. Our state was holding its annual curriculum fair, so I decided to attend simply to get some new ideas for the upcoming year.
Seeing some familiar faces at the main entrance of the fairgrounds, we politely chit-chatted before heading off into different directions. I meandered into the first building and immediately to my left were dozens of microscopes lined up like perfect tin soldiers. Uh-oh... thoughts of high school Biology entered my mind; not getting a good grade on dissection; smelling formaldehyde; my thoughts started to wander. The representative approached me and said, "We've got some great deals here today." I slightly nodded and walked to the next table. I was already feeling rather inept at doing experiments, remembering the little volcano one that collapsed in total disaster. I kept thinking of my friends who were science whizzes....
The next table was Literature -- for high school. Shakespeare, C.S. Lewis, Dickens. " I absolutely love the classics, but how on earth am I ever going to teach English? I'm having trouble as it is teaching predicates & prepositions." Thoughts of the "C" I got on The Scarlet Letter began to haunt me. I wasn't feeling that well & started thinking of another friend who was so adept at teaching writing....
Walking on. Languages ~ every imaginable tongue. Latin, German, Spanish... I was feeling kind of dizzy.
The twins were seven. Now all I could think about was how I had no idea what I was doing in teaching --- flying by the seat of my pants with impromptu field trips, spontaneous art lessons, lots of music. I began to doubt my decisions about things, and thought I needed to fit the model of wearing denim, baking bread & growing a huge garden. Looking back, I see how ridiculous I was being!
I prayed, and began to realize that these kinds of thoughts needed to be rejected as quickly as they arrived. Eventually, with God's help, I was able to find my own style & stick to it. Was I particularly good at teaching certain subjects? No, but I got better through the years and learned that my job was to be faithful & diligent in my calling. And ironically in the upper years, we found a great co-op that just happened to be exceptional in the areas of Science & English!
So, what's the point?
Simply be who you are. Find your style & stick to it! Forget the fake stereotypes and being somebody else. Whether it's approaching tasks, tackling projects or even decorating our houses, we're going to have different styles. So let your own style emerge this coming year!
Henry Ward Beecher says it so well --- A mother's heart is a child's classroom.
With God's help, keep being a great mom!