Clearing Space

My daughter and her Daddy are out learning about magnets or some such thing, so I’m taking advantage of the quiet moment by going on a cleaning binge. Everywhere except my daughter’s room.

I’m having a hard time there. You know that moment when your baby outgrows her littlest newborn outfits and you have to pack them away? I’m feeling that way with homeschooling.

I’ve been building up her library of educational materials since before she was born, and I’ve always known no matter what I picked out, she could use it SOMEday if not right then.

Not anymore. The latest “assessment” exercise we did proves my suspicions: all that shape/color/number/letter preschool-y stuff? She’s moved WAY past that. And it’s time to clear some space for her next level of challenges.

I mourn all the little games we never got around to playing. The activities that never sparked her interest, though I kept them around just in case some day she’d be in the mood. The day never came; she never needed them; it’s time to pass them along.

I hate releasing the stuff she DID use. I take pictures for memory’s sake. I wonder if anyone else will value them as much as I have.

I reflect on the preschool adventure and wonder if I did things right. I’m not worried about gaps; at least, not yet – though I wish I had done a better job teaching sign language. But did my actions encourage her love of learning, challenge her to strive for more, or squelch desire? She says her favorite subject is recess. She doesn’t read (though her assessments show she can), because to her, that means the end of recess. What is “recess?” Did I miss that somehow, as much as I wanted to make learning fun for her?

Did I emphasize character enough? Is her self-esteem solid – or inflated? She’s got the smarts – but does she have the discipline necessary to succeed in life? Did I overemphasize the fun at the expense of the discipline?

Is her five-point pencil grip going to handicap her for the rest of her life?

Will I ever feel adequate in my role as a teacher, a parent, a mother?

A song drifts through my mind:

God causes all things to grow
Through every season we know
He will guard the life
That He’s planted in our souls
And when we feel the cold winds blow
We’ll hold to what we know
God causes all things to grow
~Lyrics from Steve Green

As much as I hate letting go of the past, the opportunities gone forever, I very much love the little lady who is being revealed more and more each day. I love her zest for life. Her indomitable cheer. Her unique clothing preferences. Her compassion for others. Her amazing math skills. Her constant reflection – almost obsession – on all things spiritual, on right and wrong, good and evil, the very nature of God Himself.

There is no holding her back, no confining her. All I can do is apply a little pressure from time to time – keeping her headed straight as she shoots for the heavens.

Now I’ve just gotta go clear the space for her to grow. Both figuratively and literally. Sniff…

Jane Maritz

When she’s not battling too-sticky play dough and untangling herself from the hot-glue webs surrounding her too-cute felt ladybugs, Jane contemplates how to instill in her four-year-old daughter a heart to change the world for Jesus. Her family has circled the globe and landed in rural Oregon where the grass is green and the sky is blue, though not usually at the same time. Their eclectic homeschool adventures are chronicled at Mozi Esmé.

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