Monday, October 12, 2009

My goal as a parent

I've been thinking about my goals as a parent - what do I want to teach my kids and what do I hope is the end result? That will play a part in decisions I make now. I also second-guess myself often (think I've mentioned that before) and sometimes wonder if homeschooling really is the best for them. I have no doubt that it's what I want to do but also don't want to hinder them in any way.

I am fairly certain they won't be hindered academically. That is not a real concern. They may not always be doing what their peers are doing but I also believe in going slower when needed so that things sink in and make sense before moving ahead to new material. I also don't believe in frustrating them but want them to be challenged - this can be difficult to navigate. Sometimes there are tears and I realize I've been pushing too hard. Sometimes I realize I'm being too much of a "mom" and not enough of a "teacher" and need to push harder. Overall, I think they are doing very well academically and who else would want them to succeed in education more than me? It's not about getting A's or being able to spout off answers - it's about really knowing the material and being able to apply it. And it's very difficult to be able to assess that in a classroom.

I was thinking today about their ability to face new situations. Sometimes it seems like we just spend our time at home or at church with the same group of people. Then I remembered how eager Brendan was to go to baseball camp (4 days - from 9 until 3) and he didn't know a single person there! I was never like that. I realized that Tori has taken a class in gymnastics, ballet and played basketball and didn't know anyone there but it's never held her back. And I realized that they're going to be okay. They go into new situations with confidance and determination and it makes me so proud.

Our job as parents is not to smother, but to guide and protect and give them the chance to assert some independence. This could be getting on a bus and going to school all day. Maybe it's playing sports and taking classes with kids who are not playground peers. Or it could mean taking on more responsibility at home and having more chores to do. The end result is the same - we want to nudge our kids from the nest when it's time, little by little allowing them to stretch their wings and test themselves, standing by if they crash and cheering them to try again. It truly is the best job in the world.

1 comment:

Ashley Fick said...

you are a great mother and your children will grow up and be great people.