Homeschooling my son has been a mixed bag. Each day seems to bring new issues and lessen others. We create something beautiful and then have full on tears about the idea of counting to 100. The kid gets as far as 25 and then starts saying letters as he is looking out the window at a cloud. I can say with with almost certainty that if he was put in school now he would be labeled as slow or behind. I suffered that kind of labeling as a child and it was terrible. Terrible to be singled out as not good enough, not making the cut, not enough emphasis on what I was doing right.
Because we sent our son to a farm and forest kindergarten the concepts that we are homeschooling in 1st grade are totally new to him. There is no foundation for letters or numbers. I theorize it may be easier if he atleast had some of these concepts under his belt but I am probably just kidding myself, it was gonna be this hard no matter what. In the context of not just homeschooling, but moving and loosing his friend base, his safety net, his home, and layered with the complications of COVID and not really being able to receste those structures for our son in a new place, yeah it was always gonna be this hard.
I see him shine in so many areas I check off his progress on the supplied tracking sheet ( We use the Oak Meadows Waldorf curriculum and I HIGHLY recommend it). In doing so I realize how hard it is to evaluate without judgement. To be clear I am not a trained educator in any way (well except yoga obviousally) but it seems like I need to remove my ego from the process of teaching and just allow him to develop at his own speed. Because the things is he is making progress in the areas where he is struggeling.
So the focus becomes conversations. How do we approach the things in our life that are hard? What is the mood we take? What are our responsibilities as students? Are there things we can do to help us better focus? When does he learn best and how does he learn best. Sure their is a suggested curricula but it doesn’t mean jack shit if it goes against what the kid needs.
We talk a lot about how its ok for things to be hard. It’s the hard moment that teach us the most about ourselves and that we have the opportunity to co-create the person we will become with how we respond to difficult things. Pretty heavy shit for a 6 year old I know, but I see him shifting. I see him focusing and trying harder. Starting to understand that his own actions are holding him back, not someone else’s. About the feelings of validation when we stick through the hard thing and come out the other side successful.
I feel like I had a parenting home win this week and really brought this point home.
When I left my yoga teacher training last winter I did not feel super confident about anatomy. To be clear my school did a great job teaching a class that was accessible to the other students, anatomy in general makes me feel icky. Like I don’t need to know how the sausage is made in relationship to my own body. I am much more about the spiritual connection to yoga and I can appreciate the need for understanding the more physical side as well.
So in the vein of always wanting to be a student to become the best version of myself, or in this instance a better teacher, I started taking some online anatomy courses this past week. And when I was done with them and has a rudimentary understanding of anatomy in relationship to yoga I felt like a freaking rock star. I didn’t just accept that I didn’t understand this thing, or didn’t even like the topic itself, I went and found an avenue that better met my needs to reach a personal goal.
So I went to my son and explained how I also struggle learning new things some times, but that I hadn’t just given up. I had continued to study to meet my own goals in a way that I could feel both confident and proud.
My son gave me a giant hug and told me that we can always learn to be better versions of ourselves. I literally cried a happy tear in that moment. We may not always be successful teaching and parenting each day but it’s such a consolation to know that the overarching themes are making their way in. That we are all still learning and learning together.