Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Asking for Help

I have been knee deep in homeschooling catalogs trying to figure out what curriculum to choose for kindergarten.  I love Sonlight and want to stick with their program but they have suddenly given me choices.  Can you believe their nerve?  They offer three different math programs, art and music electives, and two different science options.  And I am really freaked out about picking the wrong thing.  I wanted to go to the homeschooling convention to see everything first hand but, after seven potential babysitters were not available, I gave up on that route.  I was spilling out my worries to my husband and, ever the practical man, he brought me back to calm.

He picked up his iPad and went to Sonlight's website.  "Oh look, Sonlight lets you return anything that doesn't work.  And you can just schedule a call with an advisor.  They could help you, too," he said with total logic in his voice.  Of course, if you are a woman you understand that I wasn't thinking about all that.  I was worried about failing my son's very first year of real schooling.  I was worried about doing it wrong.  But I did take my husband's advice and called Sonlight.  I was connected with a woman that was handpicked for me, I am sure.

I shared with her that I wanted a math program that wasn't workbook heavy.  "He can't sit still for more than 10 minutes.  I need something that I can use to teach him math while he's active.  Or should I make him sit?" I asked her hearing the insecurity in my own voice.  She answered gently by telling me a story about her daughter.  "She couldn't stay still.  Ever.  Some days we would only do one math problem.  At the end of the day I would think, 'There goes Harvard.  I've failed her for sure!" she shared.  "I'm a box checker.  I wanted to finish what we started.  I wanted it to be DONE."  Yeah, I definitely can relate to that.  She went on to tell me how, after some good advice from a friend, she had to learn to stop while her daughter still wanted to do more.  That strategy helped her daughter remember that it was fun doing the work.  She wouldn't have that same feeling of dread that comes from pushing a child too far.  "Teaching them to sit and focus is important but remember, it is an adult skill.  It takes time to learn your own limits.  It's our job to recognize that they are nearing their limit just like we do when they are hungry or tired.  Be patient with the process."  She reassured me that her daughter did make it into college and beyond.    

I was able to choose a math and science curriculum but I hung up the phone with so much more.  I was reassured that I am on the right path when it comes to following my son's lead.  It reminded me to stop worrying so much about getting everything done and start realizing that he will learn in his own time.  I have to start seeing the signs of burnout before they hit and let him know that it's okay to tell me when he needs a break.  Honestly, that feels so liberating to think about.  It is exactly on target with why I am homeschooling in the first place.

Moral of the story?  Let someone know when you are freaking out.  We don't always know what we are doing in this parenting journey.  So much of it is by the seat of our pants.  But there's always someone who has been there.  There's always someone who can get you off your emotional roller coaster and back on the straight and narrow.  Let's make a pact to always ask for help when we need it.  Deal?

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