With a new year comes evaluation, changes, praise, regret, resolution.
Perhaps these are amplified for the homeschool mom. I sure feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders constantly.
And even more so for the homeschool mom of a teenager.
Teens have a way of putting you in your place, don’t they?
We’ve spent the last few years tapering back, evaluating priorities, setting goals, discussing plans for success.
It’s time to simplify.
Several years ago, my daughter was fired from her piano lessons. Her teacher just called me and gave me no notice that lessons would not continue. Nice. Apparently, theory workbook hadn’t been completed in a month and practicing had been scarce to none. She needed to cut her client list and my daughter was at the top of that list. Ouch.
Way to feel inferior as a mom.
I should’ve been checking and encouraging, nagging about practicing and the homework, right?
But it’s not my piano lesson.
It’s her responsibility.
While reviewing curriculum for the blog is a blessing for our family, it also causes upheaval for a time to see if this or that is a good fit or is fun or works better than that other one. Often, changing mid stride is necessary if something doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s hard to make the call. Is it too difficult? Is the child just being stubborn? Does it not fit our learning or teaching style? I’ve struggled over the years with making changes and wasting time and money on curriculum that doesn’t work for us. But it’s also great to have the freedom to choose what works best for us. We seldom do reviews now and we’ve settled into a good routine.
Homeschooling and having my four children home with me all the time gives me a better glimpse into their needs, desires, personalities, preferences. I have a better idea of how to guide them since I’m with them all the time and see the dynamics of their interactions.
It’s my job to be proactive and recognize when their needs change and how I should adapt. It’s a constant dance of doubt and wonder. I read and research and pray that I’m not messing all this up too much.
As children grow up, relationships and responsibilities change.
I’m still set on mothering toddlers, young children, tweens…and suddenly, I’m stuck with this woman-girl and I’m at a loss as to what to do with her.
Me, who had no qualms as a high school English teacher, standing toe to toe with burly high school football players and telling them what for.
This girl with her flashing eyes undoes me.
I expect more from a 17-year-old than an 11-year-old than a 3-year-old. Yes, it sucks to not be able to play all the time.
Being a responsible citizen is sometimes tiresome and I would rather lie around and read novels than do dishes, laundry, or pay bills. It’s my job to be positive and proactive and teach my teen daughter these things are better done quickly and cheerfully. Work before play.
I must lead by example.
My attitude matters.
There are difficult years parenting teens when I doubted everything.
I’ve learned that my eldest daughter gets rather run down without one on one time with me. She needs to be away from her younger siblings to recharge once in a while. I need to be intentional about making this happen more. She’s very social but gets easily overwhelmed.
My middle girl needs lots of exercise and outside time to blow off steam and she gets very tired in the evenings, so we try to get book work finished early.
My youngest girl is a free spirit and it’s heartwarming to watch her explore and create.
My son is so compassionate and thoughtful of others and I pray that is never compromised by this cruel world.
It will be proactive to help our household be more stable too in any way I can. Despite moving every few years. Despite deployments. Despite illnesses. Despite the deaths of pets.
I’ve watched the kids blossom and grow and become so independent, but they still ask what I think, what should she do.
My eldest just began college and got a part-time job!
It’s a delicate balance, this granting little freedoms with open hands – while they still think that freedom is something I can grant them.
While wanting to clench the fingers into tight fists.
All the while, praying.
My eldest has an iron will. I know it will serve her well in the future, but it hurts so much sometimes.
- Jesus, the Gentle Parent: Gentle Christian Parenting by L.R. Knost
- Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers by Gordon Neufeld and Gabor Maté
- Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions into Adulthood by Lisa Damour, Ph.D.
- Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! by Rachel Macy Stafford
- Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason by Alfie Kohn
- Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life by Peter Gray
- The Danish Way of Parenting: What the Happiest People in the World Know About Raising Confident, Capable Kids by Jessica Joelle Alexander