One of the most difficult things we do as parents is learn to trust our child. Each of our children is on their own unique path, their own timetable, their own growth chart. A lot of this growth is invisible to our eyes, which is the scary part. We have to trust that it’s there.
When it comes to homeschooling happily, learning to trust is essential. Children learn at different rates, and they learn different things. Not all children will be “good” at everything we wish to teach them. (Are adults?) Some children will struggle with things their peers find simple, and at the same time they’ll excel at things that cause their peers’ jaw to drop.
Sometimes we need to let a child do something we don’t think is “essential”, trusting that they need it. This is easier said than done. Looking back on my experience as a parent and homeschooler, I realize that I wasted so much mental energy worrying about my kids when they so obviously needed a little more time, or a little more space. I worried when my son, now 13 and excellent at math and building anything with his hands, wanted to spend hours a day working on LEGO. I worried when my daughters wanted to play dolls and make gymnastics videos before they got any schoolwork done.
Those fears turned out to be unfounded.
Trust begins at the very beginning of the parenting experience. Tiny babies grow in the depths of our bodies with no conscious help from us. We trust their hearts will beat, their limbs will grow. We pat our tummies and get nervous if baby doesn’t move when we pay attention.
Right now, the lesson of trust is ever more obvious to me. I’m currently 24 weeks, 5 days pregnant. My water broke over 3 weeks ago. At any moment, I will go into labor. Too early, yet the doctors won’t try to stop it as they might with another pregnancy, because the most likely cause of my preterm labor will be infection. My body will know before I do, before I get a fever or abdominal pain. Before the contractions make me wake up and pay attention. My body knows that staying pregnant once that happens would be more dangerous than delivering a tiny, vulnerable infant.
And I have no choice but to trust that.