I was blessed with two daughters who are dynamically opposite. Fundamentally opposite. One likes to construct. The other deconstruct. One walks while the other runs. One sees while the other hears. One wakes while the other sleeps. One wonders while the other debates. Such extreme differences.
If they were in school not all their needs would be met. They would succeed because they are both very smart children who can adapt to the norms of the classroom. But one’s need to move would be stifled. The other’s need to wonder would be discouraged, or at least confined to the one hour a week that is penciled in for art/music/library/etc. One daughter would fidget her feet, her pencil, her head to meet her need and the other daughter would get lost in her daydreams and miss what was happening in front of her. How many children can relate to the Calvin and Hobbs cartoons? How many children exclaim to their parents that the best part of their day was recess?
At home, I try my very best, but I am not sure I can meet every single one of their needs as well. I can offer them the best programs I can find. I can sit one on one with them offering them my tutelage patiently waiting for their light bulb moment when the concept they were struggling with suddenly makes sense. I can look at the contained energy bubbling over and say, go ride.
The time has come in our homeschooling journey to honor their differences separately. Perhaps we may not do so many things where the girls participate together. We may need to re-examine our choices and do less, intentionally choosing programs that fit each girls as individuals. For example, Lilah has the opportunity to join a Destination Imagination Team. We have been asked to join a team before, twice in fact, and we politely declined, despite Grace’s strong desire to join, because the practices were on times that conflicted with family time and church obligations. This is a different team, that meets on a day that is perfect for us, but it is not for both girls. It is an invitation that is open to Lilah. It would meet her need to wonder, to create, and best of all, give her the chance to do these things separately from her sister and her mother. It would be something just for her. Grace has her piano, her meteorology, and her alter serving. She loves them and they are hers. It is time for my girls to spread their wings and fly a bit away from each other, always coming home to nest.
My hope is that by giving them opportunities to explore their interests individually, they will get a bit of a break from the intense cohabitation that comes with homeschooling. They are no longer 7 and 9, or 8 and 10. They are 9 and 11, which is young, really young in so many ways. But in other ways they are on the cusp of becoming young women, and no longer little girls. It is time to let them explore the people they are becoming with a bit of space, a bit of room to stretch and feel their way. They are amazing people with amazing talents and interests.
One of the best parts of being home with them is realizing this every day. One of the worst parts is having to figure out these things all on my own. But I am not really on my own. When I sit around with my friends talking about these things, those are my “faculty meetings”. When I get recommendations for the best products, books and classes, those are my “curriculum reviews” and when I see the smiles on my girls’ faces return, those are my “progress reports”.