Friday, January 22, 2010

To Hover or Not To Hover

Ah, that is the question. To hover over Ella's shoulder and watch her work or to step away and let her do the work in her own way. Can you feel the pensive tide pulling us out to the deep end of the philosophical ocean? Don't worry I'm typing during Jack's nap time so it will be a short ride in the profound thoughts boat and then right back to shore.

During Ella's math lesson today she was completing her workbook pages and I caught myself standing over her shoulder stopping her every time she made a mistake. When she'd make a miscalculation, I'd immediately stop her and point out that contrary to what I think as a parent 1 (child) + 1 (child) does not equal 11 (even though it feels that way some days). Ok, her problems were more advanced than that, but you get my drift.

But after a few minutes of hover-mom, she started checking with me before she wrote down her answers. And that's not the way I want this to work. So I stepped away and let her finish the whole lesson before I checked her answers. And it got me thinking....where else have I been hovering in my kids' lives? Where else have I been so focused on them getting things right that I haven't left any room for them to make a mistake?

I know part of my job as their mom is to protect them and guide them and help them make the right choices, but eventually I have to let them actually make the choice. And...gulp...they may make the wrong one sometimes. I suddenly had a flash of insight that maybe, just maybe I have been trying too hard to make sure they always and only make the right choice or get the right answer. Because maybe, oh here it comes, maybe I am too worried about what their answers say about me.

Bam! That's a bright flash of light shining on an ugly truth. Here's the math on it: Ella's right answer = good mom = I'm a success. And conversely Ella's wrong answer = bad mom = I'm a failure. Is this making sense or is it just me?

So today I decided not to hover. I let Ella do the work. She got some of the answers right, she got some of them wrong. And the ones she got wrong, we sat down and fixed together.

You may now disembark the deep thoughts row boat and enjoy your weekend.


  1. Have the courage to be impurfect. There is only so much we can do for our kids, in the end they will be who they are going to be.

  2. *huge hug* Sis, I admire your courage and praise your anchored faith. And (only because I've been in this boat myself before) I want to nudge you with the reminder that if we were capable of being perfect on our own, we would have no need of a Redeemer. Whenever I remember that, it humbles me to think I am trying to take God's place by 'perfecting' myself.

    This version is not the one I remember exactly, but may be close enough if you're familiar with it:

  3. Love it. Many, oh so many, homeschoolers come to this very conclusion and it will not fade away. You will fight that because you will see the general population will judge whether you are a good homeschooling parent soley based on what your child can and cannot recite. Quite frankly it's annoying.

    But on the bright side, just think of the social, emotional, and judmental skills you are developing in your children just because you've learned you need to back off. My smile is HUGE.

    Fight the good fight my friend. You are doing so well!!