By Jaimie Bauer
“Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deuteronomy 11:19).
I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I’m lucky to be able to homeschool my kids. This is usually followed by, “I could never do that!” These kinds of statements are always a little amusing because it’s like someone saying that I have been blessed with perfect children who make homeschooling a breeze and that they were not lucky enough to be given perfect children themselves. Ha! I think any homeschool mom would beg to differ. I’m thankful for my commitment to homeschooling because without it, I may have been tempted to give up.
My commitment has been tested frequently because of my very needy and clingy toddler. If you are like me and struggling with homeschooling while trying to entertain and train a toddler, my hope is that this will encourage you to carry on and not give up! Even when my little guy was a baby, I knew that he was high maintenance and strong willed. He was not a very happy baby and there were rare moments when I could put him down without him crying. As he has grown, homeschooling has increasingly become more difficult. He doesn’t know how to leave his big brother alone. He has to be right there next to him at all times! It would be wonderful if he would sit and color, but he can’t sit still and he absolutely will not be quiet. I’ve had a lot of days with him when he wouldn’t stop whining, fussing, and pulling on me. It’s exhausting, but it has made me feel even worse when I can’t stop it so that my oldest can concentrate on his schoolwork. What is a mother to do?
I’ve really tried everything: getting out new toys that my toddler hasn’t seen in a while, having him sit on my lap and helping him draw or color, assigning my oldest some work to do alone and having my youngest “help” me with work in the kitchen … nothing really worked. I began to pray that my toddler and I would have peace together and that he would learn to be content. Nothing changed overnight, but I began to notice something. Maybe God was allowing me to see things that I couldn’t see before through my haze of frustration. My toddler was easier to handle when big brother wasn’t around. He was even learning to play independently! I had a lightbulb moment.
I decided to put a desk and chair in the boys’ bedroom. After five to ten minutes of instruction at the kitchen counter, my second grader takes his workbook to his room and shuts the door. He can skip things that he may have questions about and save them for later, but on the whole I’ve been very impressed with how he can work without distraction. Things that he struggled with before are a little easier now! His younger brother will often try to get in the bedroom, but he is learning to leave brother alone. He’s beginning to realize that it’s fun to play with toys on his own because he doesn’t have to share! I also think he enjoys having mommy all to himself. In the afternoon, my oldest and I take advantage of little brother’s nap time. This is the time of day when we can sit down and have one-on-one time together, studying subjects like the Bible, science, and social studies.
I’m committed to homeschooling my children and a lot of times it’s not easy. None of us has perfect children, but we do our best and learn as we go. I’m grateful for my commitment because quitting is not an option. Most of all I’m grateful for God’s grace to see me through and give me the tools to help my children learn and be successful.
“… by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
Jaimie is a homesteading and homeschooling mom of two boys. She enjoys cooking, organizing, and reading stories to her family by lantern light. She and her husband write articles for their website http://anamericanhomestead.com/ and make videos for their YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/user/AnAmericanHomestead, sharing their adventures in homesteading and off-grid living.