Our summer was officially over and we had just returned from Alaska. I had a rare morning alone with my youngest girls, so we decided on some Mommy/girl time at the local IHOP. During breakfast, a friend of mine joined us and, making small talk with the girls, she asked if they had started school yet. Samara lit up as she excitedly volunteered, “Oh we’re starting on Tuesday. I love school and I love my teacher.” Before I could beam and declare that I am her teacher, before a “Bless her heart” could escape my lips, I was put in my mommy place when Avielle quickly added with a glint in her eight-year-old-eye, “Well, I hate school and my teacher’s okay.” With a little less enthusiasm, and a lot more humility, I did admit that we home school and that I am their teacher.
Since Avielle is a textbook baby of the family who finds humor in almost everything, her comment caused me no worry about her academic career or her opinion of her “teacher”. I’m happy to say she actually enjoys school a great deal (except math) and that most days–definitely not all–she thinks her teacher is a little more than “okay”.
Yes, I am a home school mama and I love it! Sometimes, I’m even good at it. Sometimes not so much. Homeschooling or not, life as a mom is tough, and it’s often hard to know how we’re doing in the eyes of our children. In an attempt to find out, years ago I decided I’d let mine fill out a Mommy Report Card. Lack of sleep makes you think these kinds of things are good ideas. At any rate, I thought it’d be interesting to have them grade me on how well I was showing them love, being kind and gentle, controlling my temper, and other areas of motherhood.
It was definitely interesting. I gave them permission to be completely honest without fear of repercussions, and were they ever! Over time, I found that sometimes I got stellar marks (ice cream helps), and sometimes I flat out failed. At those times, I was tempted to wag my finger and accuse them of being ungrateful, but since I had two of them giving me similar grades, I knew I had to at least give it some thought. Usually, when I took an honest look at myself, I realized they were right and unless I took steps to change, I’d risk sacrificing our relationship on the altar of my pride.
So, if you have the heart for it, why not become the student and give your children the opportunity to grade you in the most important classroom of your life–your home? We are not only our children’s most important teacher, but they are also ours. We learn so much when we take the time and make the effort to listen to their hearts.
Let me add though that the point is to create an atmosphere of honesty and openness, so have fun with it. Don’t be tempted to take it too seriously or be offended. People are fickle and children are no different. Just as a single report card from school doesn’t determine your child’s life success or failure, neither should your children’s opinions during one moment in time reflect your lifetime achievement as a parent. Instead, use it as a glimpse into some areas that may need some work as well as some strengths to grow in.
So, it’s back to school time for all of us. We have so much to learn, but it’s easier when we study together.