We all know the signs to watch for as our kids develop and grow. We measure their astronomical heights on the back of the mirror, switch out small jeans for larger ones and pack up tiny boots for the younger sibling. While we are so focused on their growth, I think most of us are unaware of our own growth as parents. What has happened to us while the kids are busy stretching to unworldly lengths?
Hopefully, we are growing up and maturing at a rate equal to or faster than our kids. No, ideally we aren’t outgrowing our jeans and sneakers anymore. Now, it seems, that we need to keep our heads in the game more than ever before. We can’t let the unpredictable moods of hangry kids get to us. It would be the pits if we became stagnant during our years of obtaining wisdom.
Sometimes it gets away from me, but I have tried to keep up with learning about human growth and development a few steps ahead of my kids’ real-time growth and development. However, there was one aspect of parenting that I found myself surprised by. As my kids began showing interests or strengths in particular areas of school, I failed to take those factors into consideration when planning academic goals or schedules. I had my ideas in mind.
Perhaps it was due to the over-saturation of internet memes and helpful parenting quips. Or maybe I was just so focused on how I felt they should be doing and succeeding in life and academics. But, it is likely that I had just gotten used to making all the academic choices for them as elementary schoolers, that I didn’t stop to see if these decisions suited them as individuals. Homeschooling allows us to offer individualized education. I had forgotten about that. This is one of my own markers of coming of age as a parent.
Yes, there are basic things all kids need to know and there are core subjects we need to study, but there is also a lot of flexibility with how and when those things happen during a child’s learning career. We can also use our imagination of what additional elements to add to our learning plan. We can set the speed at which our children digest the essential information and, with their help, hopefully, end up with a child ready to face the world upon graduation. They will still have to develop, maturing, learning and growing to do after they’re done with the homeschool at the dining room table, but all of this will be built on the foundations that were poured during their individualized education.
Lindsay Banton is a caffeinated mother to three great kids. She never expected to homeschool, but has found that it is a wonderful addition to their lifestyle and wouldn’t change it for the world. In addition to homeschooling, Lindsay works alongside her husband in campus ministry at a large university in Connecticut. She grew up in Virginia but has settled into life in New England, learning to love the long winters, cool springs, green summers and gorgeous autumns- and has built a boot collection to meet all the demands. She is currently blogging at www.lindsaybanton.com.