This is NOT just a homeschool parent's worry, this is the basic worry of any parent in any given minute of any given day.
We worry we will fail them by not giving them enough, not taking them enough places, not equipping them with enough, not spending enough time with them, not preparing them enough....and the list goes on and on.
We lie awake in bed at night and think about the things we didn't do in the day and make mental lists so we can try and remember the tasks point by point when we rise the next morning.
From before we even began our first day of homeschooling, I worried about failing my kids.
How would I know if they were learning enough? What if I didn't know enough to teach them? What if they couldn't find friends or jobs? What if they fought too much? What if I wasn't patient enough? What if I needed time out?
And then we'd meet people and tell them we were homeschooling and we'd hear THEIR worries too through the many questions they'd ask us like were we qualified to teach our own kids? How would we get the housework done as well as homeschool the children? Weren't we worried they'd be sheltered? What if they became too weird?
Well, over the years and over many, many days of meltdowns and tears, frustrations and fears, relating, communicating, playing, fighting and struggling, laughing, learning and loving, we carved out a life together.
We learned that we WERE qualified (by our love and commitment to meet their needs) to facilitate learning for our kiddos.
We observed and saw that they were learning LOTS and we began to value quality of learning and retention and passion and engagement over quantity of material covered.
We discovered that if we could teach them HOW to learn, they could learn just about anything,
We practiced team playing and all pitched in with housework (sometimes needing chore charts or visuals as we went). And yes they still fought (because siblings) but also they did learn to get on together too and become best friends.
We focussed on character building and gave them the opportunity to practice things like compassion and service, kindness and leadership.
We encouraged them to take initiative and persevere with projects.
We worked out how to best offer time out for each of us and placed value on self-preservation.
We learned out to fill our own cups and the cups of each other.
We all decided that 'weird' was our tribe and embraced it.
They were far from sheltered, participating in many aspects of community life and enjoyed building strong friendships from people of a variety of backgrounds, ages and walks of life.
And although they didn't have the social interactions that they would have had if they'd been at school, they had other forms of amazing social interactions that they wouldn't have had had they been in school!
And lest you think our life was perfect and rosy, let me assure you that it has been far from that.
We've had massive things to deal with relationally, within our family. Medications, therapies, psychology, chronic medical and mental health conditions, redundancy or bouts of unemployment, a house that fell apart, personal struggles (some that are just not even suitable for this blog to be honest) have peppered our lives and yet in the midst of it all there is a still small voice of One who calls us to Himself. He calls to me through the brokenness and mess, through the fractures, the shattered and torn, the weak and weariness and somehow manages to not only give me hope for today and tomorrow but redeem the troubles of yesterday too. He gives beauty for ashes and picks me up when I feel like I am so, so done. He reminds me that He is my safe place and I pour out my heart to Him. He's not only able to handle it (as ugly and sweary as I get at times) He's also able to help me face the things that I find rough and sand away at my edges to refine me gently. "Cast all your cares upon Him because He cares for you" (1 Peter 5:7). This was the first verse from the Bible that I intentionally learned. It was the first time I took the chance to do it too. I still have to remind myself that these words are not just words. They are a truth. I can't handle it all on my own.
Do I still worry about my kids? Yep. I'm no more immune to human traits like worry than the next person but I do hope that I can remind myself that I don't have to hold that worry alone all balled up inside of me.
I know I have made mistakes as we have lived and grown together. I have regretted losing my temper or not modelling the best things to them at times but I also know I have tried my best. I am far from perfect and wish I could have done some things differently but I do know that I have walked this path with commitment and the ability to acknowledge when I've failed.
I have loved my kids fiercely. I know I've wanted the best for them and to be close to them. I've wanted them to know that they are loved unconditionally and that home is a safe place for them. I have tried to nurture them through life's seasons and have hoped that all the storms have weathered us together well.
I still worry at times that I'll fail my kids but I do hope I've also modelled to them that no one is perfect and that all things can be redeemed if we honestly lay it down into the hands of our Maker.
Love to you if you are reading this and are worried or hurting.
Hugs for your journey, Lusi x