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Day 12 – Giving up Control


Today started rough. Thankfully, I haven’t yet had to deal with two uncooperative children at once…they have been kind enough to take turns! Last time it was Sera, but today it was Amelie. She just couldn’t get motivated. We had Bible time and then moved on to working on child-led projects but she just didn’t want to do anything. I suggested that she write character descriptions from Little Women but she just sat there…in the above pose…for a long, long time. I began to rethink all of my choices about homeschooling. I felt defeated again. Then I did something that is very hard for me moms to do.

I gave up control.

I have realized that when I give up control, things really do work out. The girls want to learn. They thrive. If I let them. But it is so, so hard.

This morning I had an idea of what school was “supposed” to look like. I wanted Amelie to make a lot of progress on her Little Women project, but it felt like she was deliberately doing everything at the speed of a slug just to turn me crazy. It worked.

By some supernatural grace, I gave up the fight with Amelie, rallied the troops, and headed out to Shelby Nature Play where the girls climbed, dug, built, and had a lot of unstructured play time. We were only gone for an hour or so, but when we got home she was in a better head space to work on her project.

While she was working, I realized how much she needs both freedom and structure. Even though the project had been her idea, I was trying to force it when she just wasn’t in the right headspace. At the same time, saying  ”Work on your Little Women project” is a little too broad for her. She needed some guidelines. She was overwhelmed with where to start. Josh suggested I help her set up really specific goals and time limits. For example, she should try to paint portraits of all of the main characters by the end of the day. She cheered up immediately, and painting in the fresh air helped motivate her to write character descriptions later.

painting during homeschool

I believe my children have different gifts. Sera is more intrinsically motivated. Amelie is more externally motivated. She needs clear goals. She was the one who was disappointed when I told her “there wouldn’t be grades in homeschool.” Even though that is not my picture of homeschool, it is what she needs.

So, we readjust. I change my expectations, she changes her attitude. And It works really well.

While painting, Amelie and Sera spotted these two little birds: one goldfinch and one downy woodpecker. If we hadn’t have been outside, we wouldn’t have noticed. I’m so glad when the girls help change my perspective!

goldfinch and downy woodpecker

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