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on being “ambitious”

My Gracie, at age 2….no, I’m not such a goober that I made her wear a helmet and pads on her tricycle. Those were her brother’s, and she put them on herself. She is 14 now and rides real bikes.

I am glad I started homeschooling a very long time ago, when there were so few curriculum choices. These days, with so many official looking companies/authors/teachers Out to Make a Buck, and to make a regular mom feel completely inadequate while doing so, it can be difficult to sort through it all. The pressure must be immense for moms just starting out. I know this, because I subscribe to several homeschool email lists and I see notes like this come through from time to time:

Hi, I am _________. I have 3 children, aged 5 and 3/4 years, 3 years, and 6 months. For math, we are using Singapore Math and Saxon and are supplementing with the “Key To” books. For our history curriculum, we are finishing up our study of the Ancients and are heading into our second year of a 4-year chronological history cycle. For Language arts, we are studying Latin and Greek with A Beka grammar thrown in for ‘fun.’ We use the Kingfisher/Usborne/DK books for science, along with our regular science curriculum, with which we practice our notetaking and outlining skills.”

I only wish I were kidding.

To these ambitious homeschooling mommies, I want to say:

Relax. Take a breath. Life is too short.

These “play-doh years” will pass much more quickly than you ever thought possible.

All the curriculum that you are agonizing over now–well, I hate to break it to you, but when your kids are 12, 14, and 16, they will not remember it. When you question, “What do you mean, you don’t remember the Ptolemies? We studied those in 1st grade, for goodness’ sake!”… you will most likely get blank stares in return. It’s just over their heads at this age.

What they need at this stage of their lives is you. Time with you, fun playing games, living life as a family. Fingerpainting, running around outside, and breathing in lots of fresh air.

So what would I recommend as an alternative for new homeschooling moms?

Take walks— rain or shine. Go slowly, and let them set the pace, as they discover the world around them. A caterpillar, worm, or flower is so very fascinating at this age. And it’s such fun to watch little ones explore their world.

Read together. A lot. Read picture books and classics, fun books, and silly books (my kids were fond of joke books at this age!).

Cook together, sing together, do errands together. Let them help you in the kitchen or as you go about your daily chores. The point is…together.

Play silly games.

Laugh. Enjoy those kids.

If it makes you feel better, go ahead and throw in a few math and phonics worksheets for the 5- or 6-year-old. Better yet, help them write a letter to Grandma, telling how much fun they are having in ‘school.’

Slow down–enjoy. I promise you won’t regret it.


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3 Responses

  1. Oh this is good! Bravo! I think we should read this and moms should take in a deep breath! A sigh of relief! Read to your children, explore with them, love them, teach them as you come and go, make games out of counting things and talking about things and sounds! Read, read, read to them! So good, Jen!

  2. Thanks Chris! It's easier said than done, especially when you think other parents are doing 'more'. But childhood goes by so quickly!

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Hi, I'm Jen!

As a military spouse of three decades and now the mom of an active duty son, my hope is to support you in your own military life. You’ll find help for your military marriage, deployments, PCS moves, and more!

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