During those early years, I read and reread different homeschooling "experts", I struggled with who I believed, what style of homeschooling fit my kids as students and me as a teacher. I wrestled between feeling encouraged by all my blog surfing research one moment, and devestatingly discouraged the next by the picture perfect homeschool days that I'd read hoping for inspiration.
Somewhere along the line, through trial and error, blood, sweat and tears, piles of curriculum and many moments of hand wringing, I figured out who I was and am as a homeschooler, as a mom. One thing that has changed since the early years, is that I have figured out that the lightbulb moments happen for each child at their own time regardless of whether I push them to tears or wait patiently, even when well meaning folks start whispering "shouldn't he" or making the occasional "you would think" comments. What I've also discovered is that pushing a child who isn't ready brings tears and frustration to both mom and child. Yet, providing a rich learning environment, giving kids room to soak up, enjoy and explore while awaiting the "lightbulb" moment, results in a quiet cheerfulness even if it does mean we sometimes end up waiting for break-throughs longer than "normal".
Today was one of those days, seemingly normal by all accounts, we spent the day catching up on school work, doing chores, playing outside. In the evening, Micah was showing Elliott how he had learned to tie his shoes when Grandma Joyce had visited this weekend. Caleb looked on, having never been interested in tying his own shoes before. Now, he was suddenly motivated. Something I've offered to teach for years without any interest was learned in less than three minutes with smiles and giggles.
I'm not always perfect at this relaxed approach, I get frustrated at not being able to explain a topic sufficiently, or I become impatient in the waiting. I struggle to tell the difference between a lack of understanding or a handful of laziness. But then a moment like this happens, and I'm reminded to keep persevering, keep hoping for understanding, keep praying for my children.