Today marks the last day of April, and I can’t believe tomorrow is May 1st. My “school year” with Laynie will be over the Friday before Memorial Day (which is when I choose to end our homeschool every year). I am so tired and worn out. I’m ready for our Summer break. Some days homeschooling is a drag, and it seems this year is the hardest yet… Some days it’s like pulling teeth to get her schoolwork finished and stay on track.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy homeschooling my child (and next year Lily too!). I don’t mean to complain or be another whining mom blogger. I’m just being honest. And I know I’m not alone. I never want to give the impression here or anywhere that I have my act together, cause I don’t. However, homeschooling takes stamina and determination, and requires a belief that you’re doing the right thing. which thankfully I’ve got or else I would have quit before I ever started five years ago with Laynie’s “preschool at home.”
Here in North Carolina, we are required to test our children if they’re 7 or older, and so this is our first official year as an official homeschool. Laynie is 7 this year, and we have to have her tested using a nationally standardized test.
I think I’m experiencing something that most homeschool moms go through their first “official” year. I’m nervous to have Laynie tested.
This whole yearly testing thing brings up a lot of anxiety in me. When I was a public school teacher, my students were tested every spring, showing whether they had learned anything during the school year and how my students compared to other classes in the school and to other students in the state and country. When a child didn’t perform well, I took it very personally, although I know that I shouldn’t have. I had done my job, and done it well. Still, some of my students didn’t pass. And it broke my heart. It hurt me because I felt like there may have been more that I could have done. Perhaps I didn’t do my job well enough. Maybe I forgot something. Maybe I just wasn’t a good teacher after all.
I really don’t have any reason to think that Laynie wouldn’t perform well on her test this year. I have taught her all she needs to know for second grade. She is reading on grade level. She is doing 3rd grade Math. We have covered more than we needed to in Science and Social Studies. She struggles in Spelling and fluency, but not so much that I am concerned at this point.
But, what if she fails? What if this test shows something other than what I am prepared for? What if the score shows that she’s other than “grade level” or above? It’s going to be hard to take that. It will be like someone saying I failed. After all, I am her teacher. I can’t blame it on anyone else if she doesn’t “perform” well on the standardized test, right?
But, thankfully, I have confidence in myself, and my calling as a mother, as a homeschool teacher, and as a follower of Christ. No one (of importance anyway) would blame me but myself, and God gives me the ability to set my self-centered nature aside and just focus on what matters: having my children home, guiding them in truth and teaching them above all to honor God. It’s not about me, it’s always about God and His glory. And to teach my children that, I have to live that. I honor God by walking in grace, even when it comes to the yearly test. No matter what this one test shows, I know that I am doing the right thing for her. And thank goodness it’s just one test per year. How many tests the poor public school kids have to sit through every year! Thankfully, Laynie doesn’t have to experience the anxieties that come with a year-round focus on the next upcoming test. She won’t even know her results this year (even though she will probably perform just fine and would have something to brag about if she did).
Thank God we can homeschool. What a privilege and a blessing.
So what about you? Will you be testing your children this year? Do you have anxieties such as I do? Please share and encourage!