Two of our children have dyslexia. Another has had gut issues, while a fourth has ADHD and sensory issues. There is one child that flat out refused to learn how to read at 7 years old because after discovering that “A” said the short sound with no helper and the long sound with a vowel helper it will also sound like a short “O”, he declared, “English is illogical.” He would not expend his energy on something that would not obey the rules.
With all of these beautifully complex children, there were times I was not only overwhelmed but felt as though I was completely failing my children. I did not know how to fix them. I felt inadequate to figure it out. I often believed that without the help of an expert, I would damage my child so badly that they would be doomed to years of therapy.
I am pretty sure many of you have felt the same. I have heard many women say such things as, “There’s no way I could teach my child math.” Or “I am failing at teaching my child how to read.” Time and time again, I have heard or said, “I am ruining my child!” So often, mothers express the belief that they don’t have enough patience to homeschool their children as if mothers who choose to homeschool are the most patient creatures on earth. That is a laugh!
While I am sure you may have felt the sting of that and laughed sarcastically, it is something all of us Mommas have walked through. Honestly, this is one of the most pervasive issues I have seen in my parenting journey. Mommas don’t feel that we are adequate to care for our children without the help of “experts”. We have niggling doubts often about how our children are fairing in this uphill battle towards adulthood.
It’s not all our fault either. We hear that only teachers that have studied in college for 4 years “know” how to teach. Doctors get on commercials and tell us that their decades of study make them far superior to us in their ability to know what is wrong with our child. Psychiatrists spout the necessity that they dole out the right pill to combat our child’s woes. Nutritionists tout their knowledge to design the correct diet for our children. All because we are not already doing the best job, but failing in some way. To top it off, we are told by the talking box that we cannot fulfill our destinies or be our best selves unless we are self-serving and wearing their brand of clothes.
Momma, you are your child’s best caregiver, teacher, doctor, therapist, dietitian, warrior, supporter, advocate, moral compass and friend. You know more about your child than anyone else could. You taught them how to walk, eat, speak and interact with the world. You taught them that the stove is hot and the dog will bite if they sit on it. Well, maybe the dog taught them that last one. LOL.
Nevertheless, it is you who know when your child is sick or when you should really call the doctor. You know when your child is having a bad day just by the look on their face. You know when they need a nap and when they need to be picked up by their bootstraps and given the best motivational speech you can muster.
Let this sink in right now. The fact that you have doubts and worry about not being sufficient or causing your child to miss out or need therapy forever is the very evidence that you love them enough to make the sacrifices your child needs to become a successful and healthy adult. Only you have the vested interest to pursue the answers your child needs and you will find them even if you must go to an expert to find the answer.
Another aspect of this topic is scheduling. There is often a very strong vibe in the homeschooling community that states we must have a schedule for each 15-minute increment in every day and follow it to the second. Ladies! I am going to be the first to tell you that while I am exceptionally gifted at creating those phenomenal schedules with multiple people all color-coded and organized, I am completely at a loss as to how to follow this beautiful schedule I created.
You read that right! Our family does not follow a schedule each day but generally ends up grasping the moments for reading, math, Bible study, milking, cheese-making, running to a friends, painting a wall, or standing in the kitchen looking for a meal to materialize on the counter. I literally cannot claim that any day is the same as even one other day in our over 30 years of family life. Nevertheless, our children learn, grow in wisdom and ability and become functioning adults that other adults happen to like.
I am telling you that it must be a miracle because life is hard! Even more, I tend to make my life harder with a touch of a button! This is the truth. My children often are at a loss to give me praise, but this one thing they readily agree to. While life seems to kind of drag us around, I am constantly seeking and plowing toward the better life. I have never failed to continue to search. Yes, some of my searches have taken us into rather desert or wilderness adventures (ask me about Patriarchal homeschooling some time), we continue to go up higher, however slowly that may be at times.
Mamas, your home is unique and your family consists of energy, personalities and talents that only your home contains. Do not let anyone tell you how it must be done. Don’t listen to the doubter that says you are not doing it right. What do they know? Their children are not anything like yours! I mean, they probably eat pizza with a fork!
Yes, you will make mistakes just like the teachers, doctors, therapists, police officers, and humans. Yes, you are going to get it wrong. We all do. There will be days in which in the end you have no idea what you accomplished. Yet, you can homeschool your child. You can teach them how to read. You can find the curriculum that fits. Hang in there. Eat 15 pieces of dark chocolate! Ask for help. Take a day off and go to the beach. Then, start again. We are here for you!