If you are not currently homeschooling adopted, teen and tween, multi-ethnic, multiples, I have to wonder if you love a challenge.
Let them be strong, healthy and beautiful (not my words, I get stopped in the streets) and brilliant….
Then you know I spend a little time on my knees each day wondering why God would entrust me with such a task. I don’t know what I’m doing. The Word says he gives each according to his or her ability. He never makes a mistake.
It also says each day has enough trouble of its own.
I had the opportunity to talk to some young adult friends, and they were great to help me bridge the generation gap.
What I figured out…
We’re doing this without a model. No template. Same task. Opposite beliefs. Same human default to wrong or weird, “because it’s what we know”.
And most of the people around me are in the same boat. When we were going through this hideous teen stuff, most of us were away from our parents 10 hours a day. Teachers, coaches, friends and employers dealt with us, and we weren’t going to let them see our real selves.
Not so, the homeschooled teen. Unafraid to show mom the very “bare behind of the soul” –struggle, victory, ego, shame, spiritual doubts, desire to be loved, to belong– all exposed in the early morning contempt and the afternoon sloth.
No wonder we are afraid.
No template. No safety net.
It was a bad summer in terms of suddenly finding out about people. Like living in a small town and, at some point, someone decides you belong now and begins telling you the history. From their own point of view. And you happen to be in relationship with a handful of people who all have opposing views except where they agree.
Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
With no template, I can’t forget that I’m creating one for my kids, should they choose to parent. The thing should be imminently usable, no matter how you choose to educate. No matter how you choose to bring them into your family. Without regard to race, creed, or ability.
It means going by the individual. One requires a firmer hand than another. One needs more follow up to get things done. Another needs a delicate touch. A fragile instrument that needs the finest possible calibration.
I am by no means finished with this job.
But I need to recognize that as a home schooling mom, it’s easy to fall into the trap of continuing to do things for them that they should be doing for themselves, long after they should have taken them over.
It’s also easy to try to protect them from ever having a heart break, when all I am doing is postponing the inevitable, and creating a person who thinks the world is safe for people who know the right answer.
I’ve hand raised them. I need to be careful not to decide that one day they are adults now, and abandon them untrained into a world waiting to swallow them whole. The process should be more like the way we harden off young plants in the spring. They can be outside during the warmer day, but inside at night until they are ready to be planted in their own bed.
I took the message to heart when it came.
I was too close. I needed space. They need to have some opportunity to make mistakes while we are nearby to help them learn to face disappointment.
It’s irritating, to be sure. Sitting by, letting them get out there and screw up.
By irritating, I mean, it sucks.
I’ve been doing it. Letting them range a little further.
It seems to have made them appreciate me more, while at the same time becoming more like adults you hang out with. Sometimes fun; sometimes annoying heifers.
Always too valuable to force into someone else’s pattern.
Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.