What My Kids Have Taught Me

Being is the great explainer. ~ Henry David Thoreau

When I tell people that I’m a homeschool mom, I’m sure most people think that I teach my boys everyday. But the truth is, they have been teaching me. They are the teachers, and I’m the pupil. They have taught me that you can be happy, if you find wonder in simple things. If you find wonder in nature, and you spend time in nature, you’ll be happier. If you can enjoy sitting down to sketch even when you aren’t the best artist, you’ll find joy and relaxation in that. If you have the courage to learn an instrument, you’ll feel good about yourself. Maybe they don’t realize they have taught me these things, but they have.

They have also taught me that you can accomplish an amazing amount of work, if you work just a little bit at a time. I learned this when they were babies. Nothing teaches a woman about time management better than having a baby. If you don’t use those few minutes a day when you’re not feeding or consoling or napping or doing something for your baby, you won’t accomplish anything. And I learned then that by working even a few minutes a day, I could complete things. Don’t get me wrong:  I haven’t accomplished everything I want to accomplish, and I can still get very frustrated about not having enough time to myself. But I do know that eventually I can finish my project, if I keep chiseling away at it.

Homeschooling has taught me how joyful it is to be curious and spend our time learning. It’s also taught me that to learn anything, I have to take it one step at a time. To teach my boys anything, I have to start at step one, break it down into bit-size chunks, and I have to digest it fully before I can explain it. (Something I rarely got to do in a traditional school setting when I had to move on in the curriculum before I was ready.) I used to be an “all or nothing” kind of person. Now I realize that I can be happy by investigating the small parts, spending time with them, and absorbing them. And I don’t have to attain perfection. It’s important to remember that it is the process, the quest, the journey, the learning, that counts.

The boys may be learning many things from me, but I’m learning much more.

I am also learning how important it is to be a role model. Because kids are more likely to do what you do and not what you say.

If I want my children to find joy in learning, then I better find joy in learning. Luckily, my boys are growing up in a home that values learning, nature, music, art, and all the best things in life. But as they get older, I realize how important it is that I continue to learn, wonder, and explore. It’s easy to get bogged down with daily chores and lesson planning. I can’t forget why I am doing this in the first place.

It’s about living a good life, but it’s about being a role model too.

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