Once upon a time, when our family first made the decision to forego the traditional schooling options, I dreamed of being a fabulous teacher to my kids. We would come together every morning, still dressed in our pajamas, sipping cocoa or nibbling on the morning breakfast I lovingly made while their sleepy bodies were still in bed, and we would read stories together, work equations, draw, or do science projects. I would have amazing lessons devised and they’d gleefully thumb through the pages of their ‘work packets’. On our best days they’d ask for more. I considered how our space should be arranged, I made a list of materials we needed, and I even spent time on those school supply websites making wish lists: kidney bean shaped tables, small chairs, bulletin board paper and decorative charts. I might as well have had a cape on because I was going to be a superhero homeschool mom and my children would be brilliant.
Enter my first born. A contemplative, articulate soul who learned with his hands, asked questions day and night, and had a fantastic memory. He loved building Legos, making forts, and exploring outside. When he became “school age” I found myself using words that had a bite to them. Words that belonged to two emotions I did not envision myself succumbing to: fear and frustration. Why didn’t he like what I had planned? Why won’t he just do the things I request? Doesn’t he know I helped organize a curriculum for a school? Doesn’t he know I have a masters degree?
Newsflash: Five year olds do not care about your credentials. They care only about how you are making them feel.
I am thankful our relationship had been built on trust and attachment because I heard him loud and clear. Early on in our homeschooling journey he became MY teacher and quickly showed me an uncomfortable truth: I was allowing my EGO to control my decisions and opinions about what learning looked like and that was in no way helpful to either of us. “Relationship First” became our homeschooling motto and almost 10 years later, with a second child in the picture, I do have those brilliant children. They are brilliant in that they shine with an authenticity and wholeness, a confidence and kindness of two people who have been respected, trusted, and adored as the unique individuals they are. And that superhero cape? Too flashy. I prefer comfortable shoes, cute pants, and lip balm.
Could you have fallen into the ego-schooling trap? It’s possible if many of these apply.