What do we owe our homeschooled children?
As I approach the end of my oldest son's junior year and we begin to examine all that lays before him, what do I owe him (and all the children for that matter) is a central thought in my mind.
I know with my whole heart that he has been given many gifts throughout his childhood. I know I have done better by him than plenty of others have done by their children. But that matters very little to me. I have always wanted to give my children the very best. I don't mean the best clothes, or spoiling them. I mean the truly good things. Responsibility, trust, honesty, and above all else the very, very best of me. That is what I strive for daily, and fail too often.
But now, the needs of this young adult, or about to be young adult, are very different and I find myself examining every aspect of what I have offered him to this point.
Have I made enough opportunities for him? Have I enabled him to pursue his passions and interests? Have I helped him discover them? Have I limited him with my own small thinking? Have I been truly accountable for his education? Will he be prepared? If he isn't prepared, the lion's share of that belongs to me alone. Maybe he didn't take responsibility, or maybe he was lazy but ultimately I shaped his habits. It has been MY duty to recognize his shortcomings and find a way to reach him. A child cannot know what he doesn't know. But I do. It's not necessary that he see the need or the good in my efforts, or that he be self motivated. If I have done my job well he will be most of those things on a good day though.
Is he prepared? If he isn't who else could I possibly consider pointing the finger toward? The child? um, no.
Now having said that, the kids have a role in this too. When they are young the burden is fully ours. As they grow the percentage shifts a bit. I believe it continually shifts as more and more responsibility becomes theirs. I still feel the preponderance is ours.
So what we owe them is enormous.
Then what if we find ourselves coming up short? This is what I see most homeschooling moms truly struggle the most often. Many moms think they just aren't good enough. Is that true? I don't know, I guess by the law of averages some people might not cut the mustard. That's the easy question though, the harder one is why don't they cut the mustard? This is much more complex.
Some homeschooling moms are natural teachers, others...not so much. Some are crafty, creative, and love being with their kids every moment of the day, others...again, not so much. These aren't the factors that determine if we can pull of this gig and give our children what we owe them. The only factor is how hard will we try.