The Ideal Homeschooling Mother Part I
- 2005 21 Mar
You are God's first choice for teaching your children. Out of all the possible women on earth, He chose you to be the mother of your children. Likewise, He chose your children to be raised in your family. He created you for each other. He determined the unique mix of temperaments and gifts that make your family one-of-a-kind. He has a unique life message that only you and your family can present to the world.
Sometimes - okay, frequently - we moms fall into the comparison game. We hold up in our minds a picture of The Ideal Homeschooling Mother, also known as the Proverbs 31 Homeschooler. This woman has it all and does it all. She gardens, cans, freezes, cooks from scratch, and sews all of her family's clothing. She raises livestock for meat and dairy products. She runs a home business to supplement the family income. Her house is immaculate. And her dryer doesn't even eat socks!
She has at least ten children and homeschools them all, allowing for their different ages and learning styles. She finishes every book in every subject every year for every child, while developing creative side projects and unit studies. She never gets behind on grading papers. Her lesson plans are completed for the entire school year in August. She is an expert on every curriculum, whether or not she's used it, and often counsels new homeschoolers.
She never raises her voice in anger to her children but is always calm, cool and collected. Her children, and even her pets, are perfectly behaved at home and away. She is always dressed neatly and you will never see her children with dirty faces. She uses creative table settings every night at dinnertime and regularly shows hospitality. She is an exemplary wife to her husband and assists him in every way.
This Ideal Homeschooler volunteers for church and community groups. She leads the local support group and helps with the state conference. She is politically active, writes letters to the editor, and knows her representatives by name. She has devotions every day and memorizes Bible verses while going about her tasks.
It has never occurred to her (as it has to me) that sometimes she would just like to run away from home for a couple of days!
The Ideal Homeschooling Mom doesn't exist, of course—at least not as we have described her.
You must realize that the Ideal Homeschooling Mom for your family is YOU! Yes, you with all your faults and insecurities and fears. When you don't feel adequate for the task, you are exactly where God wants you—realizing your own weakness and inability to do the job. When we acknowledge our need for Him, He is quick to strengthen us for the task. God's will never leads you where God's grace cannot keep you. His power shows up best in weak people.
I have not graduated from the Management for Moms program at the School of Experience yet. Those who come into my home weekly for piano lessons know that I am very much a work-in-progress. Our sunroom, which doubles as a waiting room for my students, is a staging area for the latest project or event at the Washburn household. Depending on the season, it may include county fair supplies, hunting clothes and equipment, or props for a musical production. Sometimes dust takes up residence on the piano and piles of paper are not uncommon on the rolltop desk. Our house serves us—we don't serve the house. Only by sticking to some basic routines do we keep from collapsing under clutter and drowning in dirt.
Many were the weeks that I didn't get my sons' schoolwork graded. Sometimes we would grade it together; sometimes we just moved on. The boys would tell you we had more boring days than exciting days in school. And yet, perhaps the routine of an ordinary day is a better preparation for adult life than cultivating the expectation that every day will be a Disneyland Day.
[Editor's Note: Don't miss next week's conclusion of this article by Marcia "Mom" Washburn.]
©2003 by Marcia K. Washburn. This article was originally published in The CHEC Update, and was also published in the Jan/Feb '05 issue of Home School Enrichment Magazine, and appears here by permission. Marcia "Mama" Washburn writes from her nineteen years of experience as a homeschooling mom in rural eastern Colorado. She is a workshop speaker and is working on her second book. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit http://www.chec.org and http://HomeSchoolEnrichment.com