Dear 2007 Sara,
I’m taking a moment to write and thank you.
It’s been ten years since I was you, but I remember you very well. You’ve got three children ages 6 and under. These are the years when home and school are one big tangle.
You help one child sound out a word, but then your toddler whines to be picked up, and the other child needs to go potty. You conquer all those interruptions, find the student who wandered away, and sit her down to read the rest of the word list. She then melts down because the phonics rules don’t hold true every time. The middle child wants a snack. The toddler wants whatever you have. Time for math!
You’ve heard other moms talking about math curriculum, history projects, and science experiments. Some moms spend three or four hours a day with their elementary students. You’re worried, because even with all the interruptions, your kids don’t seem to need more than an hour. You cover history and science, but nothing very in-depth yet. Are you already crippling your children’s future? You think everyone else has figured out something you haven’t. You don’t realize that the other moms are just as worried as you.
Still, you keep on going. Instead of trying to find the perfect curriculum, you concentrate on your children and how to tailor their lessons to their needs. Also, you never once tried to sell your toddler to the circus—yay!
Now here I am ten years later. Same kids, plus a fourth one now. Two are in high school…can you believe it? I thought you’d like to know that the kids have a good foundation in reading and math, thanks to you. And I’ll let you in on a secret: I still don’t spend more than an hour in lessons with my elementary students.
All that time you took to learn who each child really is? It’s a huge help to me now that they’re older, when it’s even more important for me to understand them.
You didn’t feel like you were accomplishing a lot during those short, punctuated school sessions. I guess that’s true. Instead, you were accomplishing a little bit every day, consistently, faithfully.
So this is just a note to thank you. I really appreciate all that effort you put in, even when you couldn’t see how it would turn out ten years later.
P.S. Anytime 2027 Sara wants to weigh in and reassure me that my current efforts will pay off, that’d be okay with me.
Photo Credit: First image graphic design by Charity Klicka; all other images courtesy of Sara Jones.