Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane.
So this was the day math took three hours and twenty-three minutes. This was the day I thought to myself, “Today is NOT the day to write a homeschooling post.” This was the day I wondered, “Why exactly am I homeschooling? Why am I so enthusiastic about this education option?”
But then, turns out it was the day to write a post, and it reminded me all over again why we’re doing this thing called homeschooling and why, yes, I remain enthusiastic in spite of it all.
Because of that best finishing feeling.
I’ve shared a bit in the past about my challenges with my precious son, who’s eight. He’s special. *smile* He’s brilliant. And difficult. Some days we’re firing on all cylinders, and we breeze through the books. Then there are other days.
Oh, those other days.
This was one of those.
But here is why it was different: We didn’t quit. Now, I understand that there are days where everyone is tired, or struggling, or weepy, and it’s wise to close the workbooks and just snuggle up on the couch. I love Jamie’s wisdom here on exactly this. We want their hearts more than their finished sums.
But then, there’s also something glorious about finishing.
And this day, something nagged me, that inner voice we mamas must learn to trust, and it said, “Make him finish.”
So I did. He knew the work; he had everything he needed to succeed.
So I made soup and swept the floor and ignored his protests and whines and stayed (mostly) near, except that moment where mounting frustration almost made me shake him by the shoulders (I didn’t: I took a ten minute Mommy-time-out instead).
An hour passed.
Two hours passed.
Three hours passed.
I made dinner. Jeff came home from work. Little by little my son trudged through the math problems. Little by little I saw him making minuscule, barely-detectable progress.
But as he sat there figuring the final problem, he looked up at me and smiled, then wrote the last answer and said it:
Mommy, sometimes math is hard. But I like that finishing feeling. And today is the best finishing feeling I’ve ever had.”
Oh I know that feeling, Son.
That “best finishing feeling” is like none other. (Clearly we didn’t have time to work on grammar that day!)
During this day of struggle he figured out something far greater than multiplication facts: He figured out that he can push through struggle and succeed.
There’s no greater lesson than that.
And, quite frankly, right now is the time of year that I’m ready just to quit. The sun is shining, and I don’t want to finish that last unit of math, thank you very much. But I know that when we choose to carry on, we’ll figure out faithfulness, which really is the best success of all.
And we’ll have the joy of that “best finishing feeling” at the end.
How do you encourage your children (and yourself!) to persevere and finish well? Thanks for reading!