Life lessons

What the Heck is Momschooling, Anyway?

It’s officially summer here at The Burin Academy and every single one of us is thrilled! Wait, let me clarify. Every single one of us is BEYOND thrilled. As in, the most appreciative of school being finished than any of us has ever been before. 2ED36819-6969-44AD-9636-04A288CB31C2Why is this year’s introduction to summer celebrated above all others, you ask? I’ll answer with one word…Momschool.

Due to the pandemic raging through our state, schools here were closed back in March. Most of them were sent scrambling, trying to figure out how to finish out the year. Our boys were in two different schools-Jack, an 8th grader, and Elijah, a senior. Jack’s school began online schooling with multiple Zoom calls and schoolwork assigned each day. 10311638-0A40-4766-89BB-41CDFBD4FB74Elijah’s school went to work being optional and you know what that means. There was no way he was going to do anything that he didn’t have to. But despite the fact that Elijah was a senior, and his school deemed additional work optional, I felt it was important to keep both boys actively learning, instead of just torturing one of them. How fair would that be, anyway? So, we spent the next 45 days (not that I was counting, or anything) Momschooling. Both boys had a daily schedule that started at 9 and ended at 7. They had academic responsibilities. If there were no school assignments, they watched documentaries or researched topics. They read. They had chores. They helped make shopping lists and prepare dinner. They had a list of projects to do. For example, make a movie together, or write someone a real letter and mail it. Their days were full, that’s for sure, and they quickly found out there is no teacher that expects more from them than me.

As I’m sure you can guess, Momschooling wasn’t easy. It was quite a rollercoaster, to say the least. Some days went smoothly, while others were a battle from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed. Boundaries were tested, new standards were set, and I learned to dig deep down in order to find the patience needed to keep going. But it was incredibly satisfying to watch as the boys became more independent in the kitchen, or as they began to master real-life skills, and bond over shared projects. Although I had to keep a constant watchful eye on them, they learned important skills like: how to properly make a bed, or clean a bathroom, whereas before I would most likely let their halfhearted attempts at such tasks go, since we were too busy to stop and make sure all the little things were done right.

We all learned to work together and I know (although they won’t admit it), they developed a new appreciation for what it takes to run a household. In many ways, I am thankful for the experience and I hope, perhaps someday, they will be too.39A9F3D2-0267-4D80-8BFC-77DDDFF5E4CA

But perhaps the greatest thing I learned through all of this is that, although it was hard, it was nothing compared to true homeschooling. I take my hat off to all the parents out there who have made the commitment year after year to homeschool. I chose to call what I did Momschool because it was different than true homeschooling. I jumped in 3/4 of the way through the school year. For the most part, I had a curriculum already in place to follow. I had teachers who oversaw the work done and with whom I could come alongside and gain support. At no time was I on my own in this endeavor. True homeschooling would have required me to do all of this on my own. In addition, the boy’s academic comprehension and success would have fallen solely upon my shoulders. Creating a schedule and creating a curriculum are two vastly different tasks. Not to mention, there is no possible way I could help the boys with their math. I think I lost that ability at about the 5th grade level. I mean honestly, what the heck is a polynomial, anyway?

45 days as a “teacher” sure taught me a lot. I’m in awe of people who do it day after day, whether in a physical school, or at home. My hat goes off to those of you who choose this path in life. You give so much to others. Your patience is something to be admired. And your willingness to guide children into becoming the future of the world is something truly commendable. This pandemic has opened my eyes to see how much you selflessly give, and I will never again take that lightly. You all have become my heroes and although it may not be much, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do.

So although I didn’t truly homeschool, I did Momschool the heck out of my boys as best I could. 

We got through it. 

We survived. 

I learned that patience and perseverance pay off in the long run.

The boys learned there is no tougher teacher than their mom.

And I’m sure we will all agree, we can’t wait for “real” school to start again in the fall.

Life lessons

A Tough Mom Day

Today was a tough mom day. Well, let me clarify that a bit. Today for the most part, was actually a pretty good day. I worked out, had lunch with a friend, and ran some errands. Yes, today was a good day-until dinner time when my good day came to a screeching halt.

During our delicious meal of beloved tacos (classy, I know), our conversation turned to relationships. It was during this time that my 17-year-old (soon to be an adult, out in the world on his own) told me that he thinks, and I quote, “respect is overrated”. The sad thing is, he is drop dead serious in this opinion. He thinks I’m living old-school when I say women (and people in general) should be respected. When I told him my opinion on respecting women he responded with, “well I think I should be respected”. I sat there dumbfounded at where he came up with this nonsense. Silly me, I know exactly where he got it-from media and popular social opinion. His dad and I certainly never taught him any of that nonsense, that’s for sure! After 26 years, my husband still opens the car door for me and that’s the way it should be, for Pete’s sake! If that makes us old-school then I certainly never want to be new-school.

So that was bad, but he’s been known to spout off his ridiculously progressive teenage opinions from time to time, so I was able to shake my head and blow it off. Well, blow it off as best I could. I am a mom after all, and of course tend to blame myself for every wayward idea or action my children have.

But then came the ride to youth group with my 13-year-old who proceeded to remind me how, “dad is the fun one”, and how, “dad works harder than I do for our family because he has a JOB”. Oooh, I think the smoke was literally coming out of my ears on that comment. I quickly reminded him that his dad and I both work very hard for the family but just in different ways. He disagreed completely of course, and we spent the rest of the car ride in silence.

So that was it. Just like that, day ruined. 

Ok I know, these may seem like small issues in the big grand scheme of life. I get it. But they are really big to me. Like I said before, this is my job and I take it very personally. After all, God entrusted these kids to me to shape and mold in preparation to send them out into the world, and love the world as He loved us. When my kids say things like they did today, I feel like I have completely failed at the one job I’ve been given. I know it isn’t really as dire as that, but some days I just worry about the people I’ve brought up, who will soon be independent, active members of society. 

We mothers have one of the most thankless jobs in the world. That is, if it’s even really considered a job (I’m being sarcastic, of course). Every day we tirelessly give ourselves fully-physically and emotionally to our family’s wellbeing. We may not get a paycheck. Heck, we usually don’t even get a thank you. And although we may get thrown up on, yelled at, and disrespected, we are always there and show up ready for each new day. 

But believe it or not, despite it all I still consider being a mom one of the best jobs in the world. Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment, I don’t know. I do miss the days when the kids were young and would hold my hand. The days when they would look up at me with their big, bright eyes beaming with so much love that would just fill up my heart. I suppose when I’m having a bad mom day, or even just a bad mom evening, I need to remember those precious times. I need to take a step back and remind myself that it will all be ok. That, while God has entrusted these little ones to me, He also has a plan for them. He gave each of them to me knowing that I would be perfect for them, even when I fear I am not. God is allowing me to plant the seeds and He will produce the fruit. 

So, here’s to all you weary moms out there (myself included). Your job is not one that is paid because no one could put a price tag on what you do. You are valuable. You are important. And although it may not seem like it at times, you are loved. 

That’s all. 

Tomorrow’s a new day.

So give yourself a big pat on the back, and carry on. 

You’ve got this, and so do I…I think. 😉