i happened upon this refreshing post...and it brought comfort to my soul! I now know that I am not a failing type-A person, but rather very much a type-B person!! And this brings much freedom to my convictions of "failure" on all levels of life where I felt as though I could never measure up to those people who THRIVE of schedules and timetables!
I know that most of you who read this aren't homeschoolers, but I had to share it somewhere:)
This one is for all you Type-B homeschooling mamas out there – be encouraged – you CAN homeschool well! Article brought to you by the sewing, cheesecake eating, ninja of jewelry and accessory hipness, Ashlee Baker.My name is Ashlee and I am a work at home, homeschooling mama to 6 kiddos, ages 12, 10, 9, 7, 3, and 1, with another arriving in early July.
I run an online baby store as well as my home. And I am total type-b. Let me give you a glimpse at our school day and then I will explain. My husband heads off for work at about 8am and I try to be up by the time he leaves, but that doesn’t always happen. I make sure all my kids are up by 9 and we sit down for breakfast. It’s usually 10 or so by the time we clean up and do morning chores, and we dive in to our work. Everyone does their math and then we do some form of English. It could be a workbook, a creative story written after I give them a scenario, a synopsis of our weekend, their opinion of an upcoming holiday or event or anything else I come up with. The point is always to have them use proper English, punctuation, their best handwriting and make them think. After that we usually eat lunch and I lay the babies down. Our afternoon usually is spent watching a documentary, painting or doing a craft, listening to an audio book or just creative play.
To some people this does not look like a sufficient school day, and that’s okay. I was that person once. We started homeschooling six years ago when my oldest was entering first grade. I knew what a typical school day looked like so that is what I tried to duplicate; we did not have much fun. I am extremely laid back, but the only thing I knew about homeschooling was strict schedules, preplanned curriculum, and an 8-3 schedule. That was not working for me. I would spend hours writing up the perfect schedule, only to fail miserably the next few days, and beat myself up about the failure. Over the next few years I settled into a groove of teaching what is necessary, and teaching a lot of extras in things that were fun. This did work for me.
I am fortunate enough to have a type-a husband who keeps me in check. I have a tendency to be extremely type-b which can be tough when you are teaching four kids and raising six. He would love nothing more than for me to write out a schedule and stick to it. But he also sees that I work better with routines than schedules, so he helps me stay accountable to that. He also appreciates the crazy things we do in the name of education. Last week we watched several episodes of Mythbusters on Netflix all in the name of learning. A few weeks before that we watched the documentary, Babies, and discussed in detail, cultural nudity among other things. And that’s okay.
One of the things I try to do as a type-b mom is accept my weaknesses and ask God to make then strengths. I am a horrible procrastinator, so I try to make sure I am early everywhere I go and explain to my kids why its important. When we are late somewhere we are being disrespectful to the person waiting on us because we are not respecting their time. This helps me to be accountable to my kids. Another weakness is poor time management. I try to make this a strength by sticking to my routine in an acceptable time. This keeps the pressure of a schedule at bay, but makes sure I am getting the most done in the time allotted. I am teaching my kids through this as well by making sure they do their chores and school work in an acceptable amount of time, with diligence.
I am very thankful I am type-b because I think it allows me to be flexible and easy going. If something happens in the middle of our school day that causes us to get off track, no biggie, we will catch up tomorrow. If a kid becomes sick in the middle of the day, we just take that opportunity to exercise our compassion by taking care of whoever is sick through serving them, taking over their chores joyfully, praying over them and doing what we can to cheer them up.
My kids may never memorize all the Presidents, but they will know what they do and they will know to respect them at all times, even if they don’t agree with their viewpoints. They may never memorize pi, but they will know how to spot the best deal at the store, calculate percentages, and make change quickly and accurately. They may never recite Robert Frost’s poems from memory, but they will be able to quote scripture with the quickness, for any situation they come across in life. They may never draw out the countries in Africa in 60 seconds, but they sure will pretend they are missionaries in the African jungle bringing the Word of God to an unknown tribe. Then again, they may do all those amazing things if they want.
I heard a story last year that solidified this thinking in my heart. It was the story of Francis Collins, scientist who helped map human DNA and who also happened to be an evangelical Christian. He was interviewed about his success and was asked about his homeschooling experience. His father was an English PhD and professor and his mom was a playwright (and type-b, I bet). He said they were very into folk music and putting on elaborate medieval productions. But this environment was a place to thrive. They would explore a topic, like the origins of words, for a week or two, doing nothing else, then move on to another subject, like mathematics. As a result, Dr. Collins said, he grew up with an unquenchable curiosity and love of learning. You see, God’s plan for him was to help map human DNA. All his parents had to do was create in him a passion for learning and God took care of the rest.
I will never teach my children all there is to know, but I will teach them all they need to know. My job is to create a passion for learning and a passion for Christ and He will take care of the rest.
Lastly, I must accept that I will never be type-a. I will never run well off schedules and strict curriculum. But that is okay, God created me just the way He wanted. He will give me all the strength and ability I need to do what He has called me to. Also, I am not inferior to my type-a friends, just different and their detailed schedules are not better, just different. There is room for all of us in the realm of homeschoolers, and our goal is basically the same, to provide our children with the best we have to offer.
Ashlee is a disciple, wife, mom of many, and artist. She stumbles through Gods calling, trying to do her best to honor Him. She make lots of mistakes but never gives up the pursuit of her Savior. He guides her as a wife, strengthens her as a mom to almost 7, and inspires her as an artist. Head on over to her blog (or check out her shop) and say “hi!”