Thursday, March 31, 2011

Why I Decided to Home-School

It’s official: I'm home-schooling.

I have decided it's pretty much the BEST way to do things as a parent.

You see, during my P.P.D. (Pre-Parent Days), I thought I had it all figured out.  I figured I would bring little Sally/Jonny into this crazy world and teach them EVERYTHING they would ever need to know.  I would be their main source of knowledge and truth, with God as my side-kick, of course.  Although that statement is a bit exaggerated, it definitely was the basic foundation of my P.P.D. theology.

Imagine my great surprise when I realized this truth: my children may teach me MORE then I ever teach them!  Thus, I have decided to grab my favorite Strawberry Shortcake pencil (old passions die hard), a wide-ruled notebook and put on my “listening ears and watching eyes” (as an old teacher of mine used to say) and be “home-schooled”!

That’s right: I’M going to be “home-schooled” by a group of teachers that hold an impressive variety of degrees from P-U College (the ones still in diapers), California Institute of Wreck-ology (Mr. Judah hails from here with honors) and John Hoppin’ (all-over-the-place) University.  

I’m discovering there is always more that can be learned in topics that I thought I had already aced in elementary school; such as reading, writing and arithmetic.  Reading took on a fresh meaning when I confirmed one really can read Dr. Seuss books until your eyes are ready to fall out of their sockets and the teachers will still NOT be satisfied, they will demand, “Read it ONE more time, please!!”.  Writing has definitely become a creative art when my teachers show me the variety of places one can use pencils, pens and (my personal fave) permanent markers.  I once again remembered that math has never been my favorite subject when we recently tried to solve this problem: 4 children + 1 mama + 5 errands=1 headache > anything Tylonol can solve.
Least you think it’s all work and no play for little Mommy, be assured, games abound at Cole University!  Recently, my sanity and I played Hide and Seek when I was trying to get everybody ready for church and I lost my mind.  It’s still missing.  The classic “Duck, Duck, Goose” took on a fresh meaning when fellow-pupil, Daddy, got a bit rambunctious during recess while spinning Ms. EvaLee in a circle.  Jude ducked, Gideon ducked and Mama got the goose-egg.

Yet the most invaluable lessons that have been taught at Cole University since it was founded in 2006 are the subjects I hadn’t previously realized I was so very lacking in; having important priorities, patience and a child-like heart.

I love to watch my tiny professors teaching these lessons in hands-on ways, such as the other day when Mr. Judah stooped down to comfort his little sister who was bawling her eyes out over her first real owie, a skinned knee.  

“Don’t worry, EvaLee.  Sometimes it’s blood, but sometimes it’s just ketchup.”  He stood by her side the whole time I was cleaning her knee, his pudgy hand gently holding her tiny one.  As I carefully stuck a Disney Princess band-aid on her knee, I wondered if I was as gentle as Judah with those who are suffering in my own life.  Do I take time to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice?  (Romans 12:15) That’s just one of the important priorities they have taught me.

Another priority they have taught me (reminder lessons are needed often!) is that the cleaning, errands and busyness of life can wait: these precious little people won’t always fill our homes with noise and laughter.  They won’t always poke their head into the kitchen and ask (for the fifth time), “Mommy, are you coming to read me “Monkeys Jumping on the Bed?”.  They may not always light up like a Christmas tree when you say, “Who wants to play a game with me?”.  But the dirty dishes will always be there (unless you hire a maid, we can dream!) and the “To Do” list will never end.

As for patience, I thought I was a VERY patient person until I had kids (just like I thought I was a pretty selfless person until I got married!).  One of the recent “Patient Tests” I have taken at Cole University involved having all the kids loaded in the van, one kid missing inside the house and discovering him (name not mentioned to protect the un-innocent) piling enough toilet paper into the potty to fill the Grand Canyon.  My ideal response would have been to calmly enter into a dissertation with this particular teacher about the pros and cons of waste-management.  As it were, I think our 90-year-old-neighbor called over to say that I hollered aforementioned boy’s name loud enough to be heard by her, which being heard by Ms. Helen regardless of the distance, is truly one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

I’m still hoping God was grading that test on a curve.  As the saying goes, I need patience and I need it NOW.

I don’t know how many degrees you earn in a school that you attend for 18 plus years and in all truth, I don’t really care, I’m just hoping to graduate someday!  Through these past few years, the most treasured lesson I have encountered is the child-like heart that I’m blessed to observe on a daily basis and, to my even greater joy, capture in my own life in the smallest of ways.

The faith to believe in everything from Santa Clause to the possibility that the snow will melt and spring will actually come to Wisconsin.

The innocence in the naivety of not knowing any evil or darkness in our world, with the exception of cartoon bad-guys that wear all black and have overly evil, deep-throated laughs and maybe a night spent with out a nightlight.

The joy in whom God made them to be and all the special things He created in this world; from the tiny ladybugs they love to observe for hours and then gleefully squish, to the funny way the squirrel outside our window eats an acorn.

The humility of spirit when you compliment something special they did or said only to have them offer up a shy grin and say, “Thanks. I don’t know why, I just can do that stuff and be good at it.”

It’s been another amazing day in my “home-school” class and I am just hoping my teachers will grade on a curve because I have a LOT more learning to do.


thesavingmomparents said...

Great post Tara. Every time I get asked what school completed I want to say, well, I graduated from this, but I am still (and probably always will be) in Mommy school. ~Jess

Tara Cole said...

Thanks, Jessica! So true, we will always be learning!