I was going to end our story at part 5 but I felt I needed to explain what my children have taught me because I’m not the only teacher.
1. They have taught me patience through slowing down and letting go.
2. They have taught me to be comfortable with frogs, snails, and puppy-dog tails…and everything in between!
3. They have taught me to wonder about the little things like why a tree can look like a piece of coral in the winter and why it looks like a mushroom in the summer.
4. They have taught me the importance of these little things and of noticing beauty. They always ask me to take pictures of things they find that they find special or completely awesome:
5. They have taught me to look closely and then to step back and look at the big picture in equal doses.
6. They have taught me to love learning again, to make time for myself, and to love creating art in any way I can even if it’s for lessons.
7. They have taught me how to teach them by telling me what doesn’t work and showing enthusiasm when a topic inspires them.
8. They have taught me to stop and to listen. Really listen. Hear what is beneath the words. Hear what is underneath the surface of the question, “Are you busy right now?” I stop mid-dishwash, mid-reading, mid-sewing, mid-stride, and look down (or look up if it’s #1) into their eyes and listen.
9. They have taught me that I cannot be good at everything. I’m really bad at making fires and at explaining long division. Really bad.
10. They have taught me that laughter kills tension and that being silly is another way of saying “I’m sorry.”
11. They have taught me how to make friends. I follow their lead. I wade into the waters of new friendships like they wade into creeks. I sit around fires and have conversations like they do.
12. They have taught me the power of team work. When we work as a team to get ourselves ready for an excursion or an outdoor adventure, we leave the house on time. When we want to make a meal from scratch, working together reduces the prep time. When one of us is feeling off, it takes a team to bring them back to themselves.
13. They have taught me to see the best in people.
14. They have taught me that it doesn’t take much to give them what they need. A smile. A 2-minute cuddle in their bed to warm it up. A story. A memory shared. A kiss on the head. A touch on the arm. A random hug. A genuine interest in what they are doing. Staying up a few minutes later than their siblings – just this once. An “I’m proud of you” whispered in their ear as I walk past them sitting at the table.
15. They have taught me forgiveness. For all the times that I come up short, the times I yell, the times I lose my patience, the times I rush them, the times I roll my eyes and sigh, the times I beg for a reprieve, the times I lock myself in my room, the times I give up, the times I hold on too tight, the times I need to lie in bed a little longer, the times I say the most critical thing, the times I make them feel guilty or sad or simply less because I am all those things, the times I give a harsh look, they forgive me over and over and over again. I apologize. They immediately absolve me for my sins and let me back in.
16. They have taught me that fun and spontaneity can go hand in hand. We can drop everything and go somewhere like the time we decided to go to the zoo one day right after a long hike or the time we surprised the kids and went to a beach 4 hours away and stayed and watched the sunset. I worried that we didn’t pack snacks or extra clothes or planned an itinerary. They grabbed bathing suits and towels and jumped in the car.
17. They have taught me how time moves faster as they grow up. Watching them now, I see such a difference in our life from a few years ago. They remind me of how they have grown. They are always proud of their accomplishments and their goals for the year ahead.
18. They have taught me that in spite of the fights and disagreements, family comes first.
19. They have taught me to sing. To sing out loud and off-key. To sing sweetly and just above a whisper. To sing the day happy. To sing the clouds away. To sing until I lose my voice. To sing long enough for my soul to sing along too.
To my fabulous 5 children: Thank you for trusting me on this journey and teaching me things I didn’t know I needed to learn. Love you all.
What do your kids teach you? I’d love to hear about it!
Thank you for joining me this week. I hope I shed some light on homeschooling through discussing our own family’s experience with it.
Now back to regular scheduled programming – random thoughts, writing, and the everyday…