Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Fat Cat, Fat Rat
A little less than two weeks ago, without any fanfare, without advance notice, and a little bit on a whim, we began "official" homeschooling with Emma. It's not that I didn't know we would homeschool her; it's just that I was getting all worked up about the "perfect" start. Which date would be ideal? What would we begin with, exactly? How would it play out? My anxiety level over this self-imposed kick-off was through the roof. What if it didn't go well? What if the baby and the 2-year-old don't cooperate? What if I started with the wrong thing, went in the wrong order, did too much, didn't do enough, didn't convey things well enough for her to grasp....
And then there was the big, overarching fear: "What if this new step leads us into a place I don't really like as much as the current place, and I'm faced with the reality that it's going to be my life for the next, oh, say 25 years, like it or not?" I know, I know. How's that for setting myself up for a fall?
Which is why I decided I was being completely ridiculous. First of all, I'd been working with Emma all along, teaching her all sorts of lessons every day, both academic and otherwise. So what was the big deal about "officially" starting? It was admitting to myself that what has always been an idea in our heads was now going to become a reality. She couldn't just stay small forever. Someone has to teach her, and that someone is me. And whether I start now or a year from now, there are things she needs to learn. The life we've talked about since before becoming pregnant for the first time is upon us!
Understandably, this scared the bejeebies out of me. I was making it into a mountain because in my head, with my background, it was a mountain. I was not homeschooled. My husband wasn't either. For both of us, starting school for the first time was a huge deal. I'm not sure if that's the case with all 2nd generation homeschooling families (or even 1st generation), but for us, it's a major milestone.
Which is why I think God allowed us to just jump in with no warning. Soon after I'd given up on trying to figure out how and when to start, He allowed a perfect opportunity. On a Friday afternoon, no less. (How's that for unorthodox?) The little ones were napping, Emma was not, and the box-o-phonics-stuff was staring me in the face. So right then and there, we sat down and did a lesson. Done. Pressure off. Just like that.
Since then, I can say that I've made more of an effort to be intentional about what I'm teaching her each day, as circumstances allow. We don't always do our lessons at the same time every day, or even in the same room each time. But the self-inflicted pressure and fear are off my shoulders, and now I see that we're all going to grow with this process.
And as for "Fat Cat, Fat Rat"? That's the story she read today, all by herself! I can't tell you how rewarding that was for both of us. God is certainly faithful, especially when we're obedient to His call, even when we haven't a clue what we're doing.