I had a vision…
By the age of 18 all my children were going to be perfectly brought up and perfectly educated. I wanted them to fly off into the world without a problem. I was going to sit back and sigh with satisfaction and happiness. Pat myself on the back: A job well done.
In order to make my goal come true, I spent a lot of time looking for the perfect way of homeschooling, and stressing out over every little detail. I chopped and changed, both methods and resources, always on the lookout for that one perfect thing. I badgered my children and prodded them along: You’ll thank me one day! And what did I discover?
My vision was just an impossible dream.
None of my children have reached the age of 18 and been declared perfect. I used to wonder if I could have done anything differently. Did I do something wrong? No. It’s just the way life is. It’s just the way people are. Who can learn everything by this young age? We spend a lifetime growing and learning, both in virtue and knowledge. I know I’m still growing. So why did I expect things to be any different with my children?
I guess all parents want to give as much as they can to their children. We’d like to help them avoid as many problems in life as possible, especially the ones we have faced ourselves. We want to equip them with knowledge and skills… anything they might possibly need, in order to be successful. Our dreams aren’t bad. We can give our children a good start in life, perhaps better than the ones we had. But perfection? That’s just not possible.
These days I’m much more realistic about my goals. And relaxed – I now have time to enjoy my children. I concentrate on two smaller goals…
Firstly, I want to bring my children up in such a way that they know without a doubt that they are unconditionally loved, both by me and by God. I am sure that such love nurtures children into being the people they are meant to be. Have you ever noticed the power of love?
I also want my children to love learning. There is no way I can help my children learn everything they will ever need to know in a few short years of homeschooling. I can’t cover all possibilities. I can’t see into the future and know what kind of world they will be living in, and what particular skills they will need. I remember John Holt’s words:
Since we can’t know what knowledge will be most needed in the future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.
Yes, I want my children to love learning and to be independent learners.
My vision for my children’s future? It’s got everything to do with love, not perfection. I want my children to love… family, learning, life… most of all God.
I have four young adults none of them perfect but all perfectly loved and accepted. They are great people. They will do great things. All my children will – God has a plan for each of them. They have their whole lives to continue growing and learning, discovering and developing and using their talents. They will make mistakes. They will inevitably struggle. They will suffer. But they will learn and they will love and they will become the people God intended them to be.
I’m imperfect but perfectly loved too. I also continue to grow and to learn.That’s the wonderful thing about unschooling. It never ends.
I don’t have to be perfect. I don’t have to homeschool perfectly. My children don’t have to turn out perfectly. All I have to do is love and trust.
I sigh with relief.