In the last few posts I have been updating on what I've been focusing on these last few months. A couple of weeks ago I was rereading Holly Pierlot's book A Mother's Rule of Life. She puts the different roles of a homeschooling mom in the form of 5Ps:
- Prayer -- relationship to God
- Person -- health -- physical, emotional, intellectual etc
- Partner -- relationship with husband
- Parent -- responsibilities of a mother
- Provider -- economic management -- either household tasks or outside the home work. I'm not sure if she mentioned this or not, but I'd add "providing" to the needy -- our obligation to our neighbors, ie everyone else in the world.
- (oh, and she didn't mention one thing that I think of often -- our role in the lives of our relatives, especially our aging parents, and in our neighborhood, church and community -- maybe she did put that under Provider, too, but it seems to need a separate heading -- can't think of a P one though -- Parishioner???)
So anyway, I'd strategized out how I was going to manage prayer, and my personal things. My routines were in place -- of course they could be built on over time, but they were there in basic form.
I sat down and wrote
- Relationship with Husband
- Mother's Role
since those were the ones that were left. I decided to work on the Husband one in bits and pieces because it seems to be the little details that can use tweaking right now -- basically, just a matter of me being more intentional and focused and communicative rather than just taking his help and personality for granted after 25 years of marriage!
Then I was up to "Mother's Role" and I had an epiphany! I suddenly realized I could separate my mother's role from my homeschooling role! That sounds funny -- either blindingly obvious, or very wrongheaded. After all, I sort of came to homeschooling through the idea that parents are their childrens' natural teachers. And I haven't changed my mind on that.
But I've also always felt there is a natural foundation -- the kind of thing good parents do with their kids. And then there's academics, which are traditionally somewhat separated from the home. Parents are still responsible for all aspects of their childrens' educations, but not always DIRECTLY responsible. Every time I hand my kids a book I am delegating somewhat. See, part of parental role is of course to usher the child into the wider world -- we gradually relinquish total responsibility as the child grows.
So that was sort of freeing to me because I have felt wrong about how I'd use my time planning lessons that are sort of, hmm, unnecessarily complicated, while in the meantime my kids weren't learning to tie their shoes unless they incidentally got taught by an older sibling. Which is fine, but I am talking about me mismanaging my priorities.
I hope this makes some sense. I will explain it more in the next post. But for now I just wanted to bring out that the mother's role overlaps with the teacher's role and the teaching SPRINGS from the parental role but they can be thought of separately. For instance, people have been able to get along fine without literacy in the past, though it's doubtful whether they could do so now. But no one can get along without some facsimile of mothering, adequate or not.
Oh! And I almost forgot! I was going to recommend this series: The Five Love Languages -- that can help with ways to build relationships with husband, children, friends etc. It gives you insight into your own way of thinking about love, too, which is helpful if you've wondered why X person in your life isn't responding the way you would with Y approach.
ETA: Cheryl at My Simple Spot is blogging about A Mother's Rule, too.