If you are a homeschooling mum, this post may read familiar to you. It was one of those unexpected conversations with your homeschooler that will make you appreciate even more why you homeschooled your child, apart from the many other reasons. Here is a flashback of our short and sweet encounter few days ago.
Mommy (that’s me)
Jade (my 10-yr old homeschooler)
Daddy (specially mentioned)
Since we’ve started our Level 5 homeschooling materials near mid of this year, I have (strongly) encouraged my daughter to work on her papers independently, mostly without me sitting next to her. In short, with a very minimal supervision. Weeks came to pass and we’re still unable to put this into practice. More than a month ago, we had another discussion on this matter and finally convinced her on the advantages this will accomplish to both of us, and so we amicably agreed on this new setting. I’ve sensed her discomfort but went with it anyway. She started off well and had taken the challenge brilliantly, however the lessons which we used to finish in two days took her almost four days to complete; understandable as she covers the lesson practically on her own. I’m not being cruel or something but only sharpening her independence and comprehensiveness. Just like testing how far she can decipher her lessons with less of me being by her side. It’s not that she couldn’t managed but she had at least identified her areas of difficulties. Eventually, her ‘enforced independence’ has worn out, and silently shout a desperate SOS. Then one day, she spoke….
Jade: Mom, I need to tell you something. This is very important.
Me: OK, tell me what is it (Jade is normally a jovial kid but a deep thinker at times and this was one of those days)
Jade: (with a sad face) I know that we’ve agreed on this and that you wanted me to work on my lessons without asking you too many questions but I think I really need you to sit with me especially on Math, on Science (and few more subjects were added on the list :))
Me: Really? But you were doing a good job working things on your own.
Jade: But I’m too slow on my own, it would be faster if we work on my lessons together just like before.
(Our exchanging of reasons, encouragement and emphasizing on independence went on for a while.. then she said something that made me stopped on what I was trying to point out to her. For a moment, she looked like my once was two-year old daughter seeking for help and attention; she rarely looks this way after her third grade, so this was serious). She said it almost exactly like this:
Jade: You see mum, I am like a tree with many branches. I am strong with roots. I have green leaves and fruits. But when you left me to work on my lessons, on my own, it felt like all my leaves and fruit fell off and I became just a tree with branches without leaves. By the way, Dad is my roots, so he’s still there. But I’m just brown in color, no more green because my leaves all fell down. You were my leaves…
Me: Stunned, I couldn’t respond anything for a while…still in a state of processing her statement in my head.. I remembered even giggling a bit and sort of figuring out if we had read it from a book somewhere 🙂 .. I’m an adult (and a mom who supposedly has a ready answer to say), but I was speechless with such a description. She was so sincere and honest. So serious which was unusually her. And all I could do was gave her a tight hug and with teary-eyed all I could uttered was, “is that so”? I was in awe how this 10 yr old came up with a mental picture of how she looks like when I left her to study on her own. Wow. I felt so ‘green’ imagining me as her leaves! Call me self-centered but I felt a sense of importance in exchange of her grief, realizing how much she depends on her dad and me. I was elated and crushed at the same time.
That was classic, wasn’t it? So many metaphors of what she told me came across my mind. Every day has its own stories and revelations. All part of our homeschooling saga; the drama, the dialogues, endless reasoning, and discussions. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learned so much more about my daughter the moment she homeschooled. Her strengths and weaknesses, her highs and her lows.
One day, she’ll have to go back to school. By then her ‘tree’ will be fully grown and much stronger. For now, we don’t want her ‘tree to be leafless’, so we’ll stick around as long as she needs us to. We’ll all get there, one day at a time.
google for the image