When I began homeschooling, I had a lofty goal of shielding my children from experiencing difficulties. I remember as a child being quite shy and being teased in school for numerous things like being in the lowest reading group, because I had freckles, and because I was little. These were hard for a little shy girl to handle therefore, I did not want my children to go through these challenges. Homeschooling did to an extent protect them from some things, but one thing I did not expect was that at times they thought they were stupid. Being in the lowest reading group in school was very humiliating for me, and I wanted my children to never feel that pain. When certain skills did not come easily to my children, they felt stupid and let us all know it through their tears and screams. I also noticed that my children with a more sensitive personality seemed to have a harder time with these types of ordeals. My more laid back children tended to act a bit frustrated displaying some moans or complaints but were able to quickly get past the laboriousness of the task at hand. Next time around, the easy going children seemed to forget the previous happening and the then current one did not conjure up memories of the last episode. But watch out for those reactive children! Out come the words I dreaded I'm stupid. I can't do this! As the years wore on, and I had more children begin to school at home, I finally woke up and smelt the coffee! This was a personality trait, and I couldn't do much about how they viewed certain situations and how they dealt with them. They had to learn to wade the waters of frustration in their own way so they could begin to navigate those events which happen to everyone.
When I began considering sending my children to a brick and mortar school, those old feelings crept in like a sneaky brother playing a trick on you. It took a lot for me to remind myself that each person is different and will not handle things in the same way. I knew my experience might not be my child's thus I couldn't project feelings and situations they may go through. My wise sister also spoke words that still echo in my ears and ones I have known all along--that struggles make you stronger. Did I want to try to protect my children from getting stronger? Isn't that what we want for our children, to be able to handle whatever may come without crumbling to the floor? So, now that my children are in school and dealing with things they never have had at home, I am there to walk them through it mostly by listening and hugging. I have learned to be a sounding board for them although a few try to use me like an emotional punching bag, and I do have to draw a line sometimes when they get too worked up. But my children know they can always come home to mom's awaiting arms for a reassuring hug and for words of affirmation in their abilities.
Since the children have been in school now for three weeks, these issues have sneaked up on us. My dyslexic child is having to learn the routines of being in a classroom as well as the academics. She is beginning to experience frustrations, and she is one of my tender children as well as being shy. Tears have flowed freely some nights, and it has taken all of my mama bear strength not to march up to that school and pull her out. It is so hard to see our children flounder, but I am somehow holding back that intense urge and loving her through it and being her cheerleader. Already this approach is helping. She will have an episode one night, and then come home the next day beaming with a good grade she received on something she had been struggling to do days before. I have another child who is dramatic and sensitive but not shy. She is learning to put a muffle on when she encounters tough situations instead of unleashing her fury at school. Instead, she is so kind to save it for me (hence the feeling of being a punching bag), but therein comes another teachable moment; you can't take your feelings out on others. This will take time for my hormonal drama queen daughter, but I am sure she can do it.
So all of you sensitive mama bears out there remember to let your children do some mental, academic, and emotional weight lifting in life to become strong people.
About Rest for the Weary
I hope you will find this little spot a place of rest and refreshment for your soul. My intention is to build up women in the trenches of homeschooling. This includes veterans who are burned out and former homeschooling moms who have decided for one reason or another to put some or all of their children in school. Thanks for stopping by. Take a deep breath of refreshment for your weary soul.