Ever since my daughter was a young baby, probably no more than 3 months olds, I began thinking about her education. As most parents do, I began reading to her regularly, teaching her animal sounds and showing her flashcards of common items. I glowed when she said “mama” and was equally glowing the day she said “woof woof” in response to our dogs barking. At 18months, I frantically began researching schooling for her, toured a couple private schools as well as the public school. I felt the need to get a head start on this very important and possibly life-changing decision for which her father and I were responsible.
Now, at age 4, I still do not feel like I have a solid answer on this education question. At this stage, we are leaning toward homeschooling because as with everything for your child, nothing, as yet, has proven to be good enough.
Each day I try to have a specific educational goal in mind whether letters, numbers, geography or some type of general life lesson such as cooking, for example. Sometimes I capture her attention and we have a magical time together, others I drop the ball so hard that I feel the whole house shutter with her lack of enthusiasm. I want learning to be fun but realize sometimes our best lessons are the hard ones that teach us the most.
For my daughter, from my point of view, I think the introduction of her baby brother has been a very tough yet very powerful lesson for her. It has been an adjustment for everyone and she has had her moments, lingering into weeks, of struggle with learning to cope with the changes. Yet, coming out on the other side, I am seeing a very gracious, loving, compassionate person emerge and I could not be prouder. These lessons far exceed the lesson on” telling time” that completely bombed one January morning.
As much as I have stressed, wondered and agonized over my children’s educations, whether they are learning proper lessons appropriate to their ages, whether my daughter is ahead or behind on letters, whether my son is being read to enough at his infant age, I wonder who is really getting the biggest lesson here, my children or me.
Looking back over the past few years at who I am and who I am evolving into, I realize that there are two people to thank for my hardest and best lessons…my children. In many ways, my daughter has been my first teacher; she taught me how to be a mother. My son is teaching me how to refine this skill. I’ve learned patience, though I am still learning that lesson the hard way. I’ve learned tolerance, forgiveness, acceptance, and love.
My little Zen masters are continually showing me how to stop the nonsense mental chatter and just to enjoy the moment of building some blocks , fully immersing in a story or getting lost in some imaginative princess world. It can be so hard to do this with ongoing lists running like a ticker in our heads. I wish so much I could live like my children for one full day and just “be” as they do taking every moment as it comes.
Of course we have moments of “being”, usually when the kids are tucked soundly in bed asleep, but that is just not enough. Tomorrow as I plan our “lesson” of collecting objects around the house to then count, trace, play memory with, etc. I may make my lesson to stop and try to absorb the lessons my children are teaching me.