I had the privilege of helping with food and drink prep for a wedding this past weekend.
I ended up slicing cucumbers next to another woman who introduced herself to me. I recognized her name as one I’ve seen on a few local homeschool Facebook pages. I don’t know her, just of her, and I knew I was standing beside a seasoned homeschool mama.
She asked how I knew the family (church friends) and I asked her the same. “Through homeschooling.”
I asked how many children she currently had at home that she was teaching. Just one left. But five in all. And boys. She said she was nearing the end of her homeschool journey and I said how much I envied her.
She told me she was going to miss it, and I told her I couldn’t wait to be done.
She asked their ages, I told her. I explained how this time of year I panic about being behind. I panic that I’m ruining them. That all they want is to play in the dirt and be outside, and half the time we only get half the work done.
“I’ll tell you this,” she says, “Nothing matters until high school. Make sure they read well and can do simple math, but most importantly, let them see you smile. Let them see your joy over them.”
My joy? But homeschooling is my prison. How do I have joy while I serve out this sentence?
“Character is what is important right now, a child with a good character will be able to learn anything.”
Those few minutes talking with and listening to her were not an accident. I know God gave me those few minutes with her as a way to encourage me. It worked.
(I only slammed my fists on the table during school one time today!)
School started late today, and we all have a hard time concentrating when the sun is shining, but we got everything done I wanted to get done, plus a little more. I smiled more, and when one daughter was struggling, and frustrated, I stopped what we were doing and talked out what was troubling her. Normally I’d throw up my hands and be frustrated with her, today I settled us down.
I don’t want them to leave home after years of being homeschooled and feel like they were just released from their own prison sentence. I want them to have seen joy. And to feel it for themselves.
So, for now, there will be less panic and more smiling. More joy.