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Freedom to Fail

My son is sitting across from me doing Math-U-See. Doing this for a month and a half very very sporadically and never forcing him to keep going after his interest wanes, we’ve accomplished 88 pages of work that’s 20% of the total coursework for math for his kindergarten year. Currently he is crossing out the wrong answers and pretending that he is protecting the correct answers in a battle of numbers. I nearly told him to just work but then I thought, Why? Why shouldn’t he enjoy his math work and play and learn. That the freedom that comes with doing school at home. Something that may be labeled as a behavior issue is really just him enjoying math. I don’ t have to squash that to prove to the parents of this child that he is learning and I am earning my keep. The parent is me and I can see his work and I don’t have to prove that to anyone. I’ve been thinking lately about homeschooling my son. The opportunities are extensive. The possibilities endless and there doesn’t have to be any wasted time waiting for someone else to catch up or times when he is being dragged along because he is just missing a concept.

The problem is my attitude. I’m not the most patient mom. I’m not even Mother Teresa, distant cousin’s next door neighbor. Nope. I’m a yeller and sometimes I break his spirit. I like to be in control and be perceived as having my children under control. What mom doesn’t? It can’t just be me right? I’ve been listening to this amazing podcast about calm parenting and his underlying message is that we need to grow up. Look, its a welcome message, one I know I need to hear and I don’t have to much ego to listen to again and again. The problem is, I just don’t know how. When I worked with kids with behavior disorders it was easy. They didn’t reflect on me or my character or my life choices. The embarrassment factor or self-loathing factor wasn’t present. I could remove myself from the equation and look at things unemotionally. I also got plenty of sleep, days off, sick days, and could go home and unwind. None of that happens now. My husband routinely gives me breaks where I can sleep in, or retreat to my room to watch tv or just be alone. It’s enough to keep me sane, but never quite enough to recharge me to my former self. How can someone like me homeschool? How can I commit to 24/7 with my kids and guarantee we’ll all walk out alive? I’ve been thinking a lot about the kind of Mom I want to be, and I think if I commit to this, it’s sink or swim. There will be no doggy paddling through. There are days I think that this could be great, and days I think that I’ll never exist again if I choose to do this. But I can’t deny that my son is making some amazing progress with the curriculum I bought and I’d be excited to take trips and outings together to broaden his education as he ages. I can imagine us going to the beach while studying tide pools or ocean currents. I can see us camping somewhere we can see the stars while learning an=bout constellations. I can imagine going to a volcano for no better reason than that my son or daughter want to. That kind of freedom is addicting, but can I survive until they get to that age? Can I endure the g=fights in the car and the inevitable flat tire and the noise and drudgery and in between days that come with it? Who will we be when we’re through it? Will it bring us closer and expand their horizons or will it put us at odds and limit their worldview? It’s a little scary to think that’s all on me; exciting, but scary.

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