I have so much to learn when it comes to teaching my kids. It seems that there are so many different approaches to teaching, and a multitude of topics to be covered. I am learning how to make choices in these areas and where to put our time, energies, and focus. I am also learning basic things, including how to teach my kids to write their letters and how to put letters together to make words. I can tell the learning is never going to end. In fact, just when I start getting a little confident in what I am doing, God usually humbles me in various ways.
One humbling experience for me happened at our local public library. I decided to take the kids to preschool story time one day after lunch for W-man. I used to be so faithful about taking K lady, but it has gotten trickier with more kids and a fuller schedule. I think I got overly proud of myself for taking W-man to story time and was about to be equally impressed with how I had taught him to write his own name. As the story time teacher was making W-man a nametag, and she asked him how to spell his name. I could feel myself smiling as he said, "W...................I................um.... um.....a stick and a stick." The teacher looked at me in a puzzled way and said she wasn't sure what he said. I told her that he was trying to say, "L and L", but described them as sticks. I instantly felt slightly embarrased that I had never really worked with him to the point that he knew that the "sticks" were L's. I know he is young and it is not a big a deal, but I was still a little embarrassed. I think I learned that I need to make sure I am teaching him correctly from the beginning. It was kind of cute, though, and I got some good laughs out of it the rest of the day. I think that it was partly a pride issue for me. I knew the teacher was aware that we homeschooled because she had just had a conversation with Kate about school. I wanted to prove to her that my kids were just as smart and "able" as kids who attend school outside of their homes. I think the Lord keeps teaching me that I don't need to prove anything or get caught up in the outside appearance of things. I need to just daily ask myself, "What is my heart like in all of this, why am I teaching my kids, and am I finding favor with the Lord?"
Another lesson in humility came this week. I have been studying Proverbs 31, and have been struck with some of the attitudes of this woman. I know that the passage mentions many tasks, which are worthy to be studied and applied, but I have really been honing in on her attitudes. The attitude that really impacted was about kindness, specifically kind teaching. In verse 26 of Proverbs 31, it says, "She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue." I started thinking through our daily school routines and then yesterday morning I tried to evaluate if I was teaching with an attitude of kindness. As we were halfway through a somewhat frustrating math lesson, I realized that I was not being very kind with my teaching. In fact, I was being rather pushy, demanding, and unsmiling. I decided to stop math for the moment and I looked at my daughter in her tears and realized that my attitude was, in part, causing her some frustration and sadness. I don't like to admit this here on the blog, but if I can help someone else, then I want to be transparent. I apologized to her and admitted that Mommy wasn't being very kind. I gave her a little break (and myself a little time to pray) and then we got back at school. Even though I didn't feel like it yesterday, I tried to put a smile on my face. What a difference even a smile makes!! It isn't that hard, but sometimes in our own homes, we can forget what even our own face looks like. As I was smiling at her, encouraging her and teaching her with kindness, she blossomed right before my eyes. She was enthusiastic, particpating, and eager to learn. She was receptive to my instruction. I really need the Lord to help me in this area. I desire to be full of His kindness as I teach my children. I know this is possible through His Spirit.
Oftentimes, I feel like I am the one doing the learning at home, rather than my children.This week, I have learned that I need to smile often, teach with grace and kindness, and not be ashamed of my 3 year old referring to the letter L, as a stick. What lessons have you learned at home lately?