children and students

Parenting isn’t for the faint-hearted and neither is supporting them in their educational journey.

I remember that wave of indescribable love washing over me as I was holding my firstborn in my arms. Each time a new addition to our family arrived, I was gazing in awe into another set of beautiful eyes, in amazement that there was that endless supply of love. That surprise that I could love so deeply. I remember it helping me to also understand our heavenly Father’s love for us.

Dirty nappies, accidents over our bed, the carpet, wall – yes – and the health nurse were just the beginning

As my children grew up, new challenges arose.  It’s okay … We’ve got this… On and on and on …

Sprints are short but tough.

Marathons are long and equally challenging.

Parenting is a mixture of sprints and marathons.

I’ve been working in the education system for almost 40 years and for 20 of those, I’ve homeschooled my own children.  Like parenthood, education is a mixture of sprints and marathons. There are times that our adrenaline pumps through our veins and we just know this needs all of our attention. Other times, we progress at a slower pace, we run – or walk – or crawl, knowing that there is no stopping.  We just have to keep going, one foot in front of the other.

What motivates us is our love for our children and the knowledge that the buck stops with us.

So, what can we do and how can we do it well?

Our relationships are the foundation.  Are we holding our children’s hearts? Sometimes we do, at other times we don’t. At times we feel like the best Mum’s – everything is okay, and our little cherubs are just that – little or big people to show off to the world.  Other times, it’s not going so well. Because, after all, they have their own will. They are stubborn like us. Passionate and fierce to grow up. Determined of letting go more and more of our hand and expecting us not only to understand, but to support and celebrate with them.

Guiding them through their educational journey is different for everyone.

If our children go to school, their education seems to be in the teacher’s hand. But is it?  After all, it’s teamwork and only we know our children intimately. We work together with our child’s teacher who, like us, wants our child to succeed. In finding the best solutions, we need to understand the requirements of the school and the needs of our children. When working as a teacher, I always tried to understand the whole child and support the parent. Was I always successful? Certainly not. Only when I became a mum myself did I understand the other side.

If our children are educated at home, we are both parent and teacher. This can be a challenging path to negotiate at times. The feeling of responsibility and the sheer number of curriculums out there can be overwhelming. Do we just ‘do school’ at home? Like myself, many start out that way but realise that there is more to it. Being part of a community of like-minded people, learning from those who have been in this much longer than us, and catching that spark from those who are full of enthusiasm, motivates us. We are not islands, and it is important to provide our children with that extra input. We don’t have to do it all. On top of this, we learn (hopefully) to be kind to us and our children – and live, realising that real learning happens anywhere and everywhere.

The saying, it takes a village to raise a child, is true. And that includes family, friends, church, school or homeschool community. However, as we are very aware, the buck still stops with us.

Covid, the constant lockdowns and uncertainties have brought many challenges.

If you or your child are struggling – please remember:

To reach out – asking for input is a sign of strength.

There is always a solution.

Nothing is lost – after all this is a marathon, and over the next hill is a new sunrise and a new landscape.

Susanne McQuie