Thursday was one of those really good days. We sat on the back porch while it rained, content to be together, laughing as we worked, and thankful for the day.
The day before? Well that was a different picture.
My daughter cried over math. Then she cried over writing. My son has grown out of tears, so his frustration looks more like sassiness.
In the early days of our homeschool, these were the days that made me doubt.
“Why is she crying?”
“Why can’t he just sit here and do this?”
“She never cried when she went to school. Why is she crying with me?”
“Is this a character issue that I need to handle with discipline or mercy?”
But here is what I have realized (through the encouragement of great friends!) – I am my children’s safe space. So when they are feeling the frustration of a new idea, or the aggravation of working through a long process, it’s safe to express All. The. Feelings.
And I can tell you for certain that even my high school students had these feelings in the classroom from time to time. But they certainly weren’t going to cry in front of me or their peers. So, instead, they released those feelings later with a sharp comment to mom, or by picking a fight with a friend. For our littlest ones, they save their temper tantrum for after school, when the snack isn’t prepared just right.
So, now, when my daughter cries a few tears over that new writing assignment, I don’t feel that sense of anxiety that I’m “doing it wrong.” Instead, I know I get to see what she is actually struggling with instead of having to play a losing guessing game later.
And, so, we take a break. She cries her tears. I load the dishwasher. And then we try again. And it works this time.
Nicole Paitsel is the creator and co-founder of Learning with Friends. She is a a former classroom teacher and current homeschooling mom of two. If you can’t find her, look in the local used book store where she is probably hunting for treasures.