And now, it’s time for a status report on our move from homeschooling to partnering with a University Model School.
My daughter’s teachers ROCK! They genuinely love their students and have all been so welcoming to our entire family. They are encouraging and helpful, respond to my endless emailed questions in a timely manner, and have extended grace as we adjust to this change. My daughter is already participating in group work, which was one of the main draws for us. Our “only” child needed to learn how to work with other students toward a common goal. Our UMS is meeting this need as well as others: the chapel program has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I’ve sat in wonder as I watched my daughter decide to join her new classmates in a fourteen day fast so she, too, can spend the time getting closer to the Lord. My mouth dropped in shock when she opted to fast from candy.
Now, for some people this wouldn’t matter…but my child had developed a (not-so-healthy) habit of “needing” a bite of this particular chocolate to get through the long, grueling school assignments. Thanks to this fast, she’s forgoing the sugar high. I’m pleased that her spiritual life is growing at the same time as her social and academic lives.
Twelve hour at-home work days. Waking up early. Miscommunication with teachers. No friends yet. Being excluded from group work. These are all part of our learning curve. For the most part, my daughter isn’t experiencing any bad feelings at all about the switch (except perhaps for that first five or ten minutes when her alarm clock goes off in the wee hours of the morning and when student groups are chosen and she’s left out). Mamma Bear is the one who is experiencing some…turbulence….through this transition. I’m realizing just how high I have set the bar for my daughter. I expect her to learn, and I expect her to perform with excellence on all her assignments. These expectations place a huge load not just on her shoulders, but on my own. I thought that I would treasure these at-home days with my daughter. However, the reality is that my hair has gotten much grayer, my back muscles have gotten tighter, and my frown lines are getting deeper. Why is it that she does all the work, but I am the one who feels like the Mac truck rolled over, backed up, and spun its wheels over me?
Which leads me to…
I am a control freak when it comes to…well….pretty much everything, but ESPECIALLY when it comes to education. Because I am a teacher myself, it is excruciating to cede academic decisions over to someone else. In my daughter’s case, I have ceded control over to four Somebody’s. I know in my head that this is GOOD. My daughter needs to know how to work hard for other people besides me, her very own personal Seven of Nine.
Me: You missed one problem on your math quiz.
Daughter: I got one of the highest scores in the class.
Me: I am proud of your score, but I want to make sure you understand the concept. Let’s work the problem out to see where you made your mistake. Resistance is futile.
(Okay, so maybe I didn’t say “Resistance is futile.” But I did think it! Ha!)
The problem I am having with ceding control over to other teachers is that I know I will not always agree with their opinions. Yet, by enrolling my daughter at this school, I have effectively signed a blank check over to them in terms of educational content and standards. “Mother knows best” is no longer true. Although I am technically labeled a “co-teacher,” in the school linguistics, I’m really only about one fifth of a teacher…much less than the half teacher connotation given by the prefix “co.” That smarts. I do not have the final say any longer. Those of you who do not homeschool will understand why this just kills me. If one of my students correctly completed an element for an assignment by hand rather than using a worksheet, I would likely award EXTRA credit for effort rather than dock the student for using an incorrect format. To me, if the information submitted by the student is correct, the assignment is correct. But my standards are not applicable all over the world, since I am no longer Queen of her educational world.
Forgive my tirade. It’s been one of the hardest days of my mommy career. I have wept, thrown things, yelled, accidentally left a burner going on the stove for an entire hour and generally acted like a toddler while my daughter looked on in amazement at my curious and slightly scary behavior. Perhaps I am experiencing a bit of post hysterectomy rage, if there is such a thing, but I swear earlier today I felt like I could crawl out of my own skin.
Look up UGLY in the dictionary, and my picture would be right there, front and center.
Interestingly, I have not once mentioned the Lord in this post…but rest assured my entire day has been made up of mental prayers and pleas for help. I guess He was with me — even in the middle of my tantrum — because I’m still here, I haven’t gone crazy, the house didn’t burn down, and my daughter’s assignments are complete and ready for tomorrow. Phew!
For that, I must thank HIM. If it were up to me, we would have boarded a plane and flown to South Florida.