To My Awesome Kids,
All four of you are in different stages of your education. Since I (Mom) feel a little panicky as I watch you grow up so quickly, I want to press pause for a moment to write you this letter.
Naturally, as a homeschooling family, parent and teacher roles have been been blurred for you. This was a good thing at home. I never wanted you feel like I had a dual personality (leave snide comments aside for now, teenagers), so “School-in-Session Mom” wasn’t too different from “Weekend Mom”.
This worked well for us. However, clearly defining the roles of parent and teacher might be beneficial now that you are getting older and entering into traditional schools. Even when my role as your school teacher ends, I’d like to make it clear that Dad and I are not resigning as your lead teachers in the following areas:
1. Bible/World Views Class. We vow to guide you in your faith. With God’s help, we promise to be an example of how to respond to brokenness and help you form your world view.
We want to be the ones who pray with you and for you the most, the ones who model a love for scripture, the ones who teach you about forgiving and being forgiven, and the ones who point you to your Savior.
2. Study Skills Class. We promise to continue to train you to be responsible with your belongings, your time, your work, your words, and your relationships. This is a long lesson that requires endurance, but we will be diligent.
We still won’t make a habit of rescuing you, speaking for you, nagging you, or cleaning up after you. This strains our relationship at times, but it is good.
3. Character Development/Values Program. We promise to stay by your side as you engage in our culture. By doing so, we can keep teaching you about character. Together, we observe and discuss good and bad examples every day. Also, we will still not overlook manners here at home.
When you go to school, we expect you to say “please” and “thank you”, even if your friends don’t. We will hold you accountable for looking others in the eye and speaking audibly.
We will continue our lessons in sitting still, paying attention, respecting authority, choosing appropriate conversation topics, and more. Now, don’t panic! We’ll still have our fun and lots of it, but you’ll learn the whens and wheres of mature behavior. Progress, not perfection.
4. Health Class. We will remain as your lead Health teachers by instructing you about proper personal hygiene, healthy eating habits, emotional health, proper exercise, puberty, and sex. Many of these lessons are awkward for both of us, but must not be slighted. It’s not proper for you to first hear about these things in a classroom.
That’s our job, and we will do our best. You don’t have to pretend to be interested or even look like your listening, but we’ll keep it up…we remember what it’s like. Sort of, anyway.
5. Cafeteria Lady and Disciplinarian. It probably seems strange to you, but there are kids who don’t have bedtimes or get meals at home. They don’t have chores, curfews, or limits on screen-time. We promise to never let that happen to you.
6. Counselor. We will always be here to listen to you and cry with you. We will offer solutions, but won’t be shocked if you refuse our advice. We offer hugs on demand… extra tight ones for those who fail.
As we look over this list, we feel tired. This is a huge and demanding job. But we aren’t even close to turning from it, because you are so worth it. We love you more than anyone at your school possibly could and feel privileged to be able to fill these roles in your life. When it’s difficult, our love and commitment does not lessen, it multiplies. You’ll understand more when you become a parent.
We also admit that we’ve fallen short of this list over the years. Way short, on a few occasions, and in all of the areas, at times. There will be more shortcomings from us, for sure. But you will stumble in your roles, too. We both desperately need Jesus’ help to do our jobs. You kids have seen us try to make it in our own strength… and it wasn’t pretty. Let’s both commit to leaning on Him for help and to responding to our failures with the Grace of Christ.
Now, just to warn you, there are systems in place that give the illusion that teachers are responsible for this list. Don’t be confused. No matter how much tuition or tax dollars we pay, we, as parents, can’t expect your teachers to do our job. They can reinforce, but they have enough to do in making sure you learn algebra, so I prefer that they focus their own list.
Furthermore, they certainly don’t get paid enough to be your teacher AND your parent. Besides, you really need help with algebra.
When you come home from school and toss aside your books, your brain may be fried, your heart may be broken, and your soul may need watering. We will offer a drink, a hug, and a listening ear…but the learning will continue. You have our promise.
Your Parents as Teachers,
Mom and Dad