I find it increasingly fitting that as our school year unravels like a sweater with a loose thread, my children have become (much later than their peers) obsessed with the movie Frozen, and in particular, the anthem: Let It Go!
Because, oh, we’re gone.
I thought that this morning, as I sat in bed, still in pajamas at ten in the morning, editing pictures while Lila sat on the floor beside me doing her reading comprehension work and chomping through an overflowing bowl of Goldfish. The conversation that preceded this quiet scene was a lazy exchange as I poured my coffee and realized that only Alex had done any book work yet today.
Me: Lila, it’s time to do your reading workbook.
Lila: Can I have a snack while I do it?
Hence, the Goldfish.
Hardly teacher of the year material.
Hours later, I was late leaving co-op, but determined to get Asher to karate on time. As we drove home, past his dojo, Alex piped up from the backseat, uh, is Asher going to be late for karate?
I glanced at the clock, 5:07. No, we’ll be able to run into the house and grab his gi and get there before 5:45.
Alex raised his voice again from the back, a little more hesitant this time, probably knowing how I hate to be corrected, so, um, is Asher joining the other karate class that Lila and I go to?
Right. Asher’s class is at five. The older kids are at five forty-five.
This was just an hour or so after finishing a giant coffee, too.
My brain is gone, and there are still a few weeks to go until we do our tests and consider this first year of homeschool wrapped up and “in the books.”
If there is one thing I learned while attempting to teach myself how to teach them, it’s that I am ill equipped and unprepared and entirely over-committed to pretty much everything. I’m inconsistent, slightly scattered, completely disorganized and often in need of the internet to fill in the blanks from my rapidly deteriorating memory.
But, also, I’ve learned that I am capable, in spite of all of these things – and more importantly, my children are capable, in spite of all of my shortcomings.
This morning, Asher came up beside me while Lila ate her Goldfish. He asked if we could read together and I closed down my editing work and pulled the blankets back so he could snuggle close.
And he read to me, page after page, sounding out everything from who and little to decided and Daisylocks (a Disney version of Goldilocks.) His tone rose with the proper inflection when he came to question marks, and his gruff little voice jumped up an adorable octave every time he read the words “wee little” (as in, a wee little bowl of porridge.)
Not even in kindergarten yet. I marveled at him. This, this reading thing he’s doing, I can take very little credit for. In fact, though we homeschool, I have surprisingly no sense of accomplishment in his abilities, only pride. I’m proud of him, for wanting to learn, for sounding things out, over and over, until he knows that he’s right and until he understands what he has read. I’m proud of him, for being the best kind of teacher any kid could ask for – patient, resilient, willing to sit and listen and to try, try again.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Alex sat at the table, creating his own video game using an online computer coding course.
In the bedroom beside Asher and I, Lila finished her reading work and reached to begin her math exercises.
And I realized, maybe I’m the only one who needs to let it go. It being the sense that my children’s education hinges solely on my ability to teach them.
Because, as it turns out, we aren’t a house of a teacher and pupils. We are a house of people learning together, reaching for help when we need it, taking our time when we need it, eating our weight in Goldfish crackers and patting each other on the backs along the way.