exist, what matters most is what we find
embedded in the little hearts bobbing next
to us as we cook, read stories, check math
problems, and weed the garden.
How It Is Different the Second
These little heart stealers are not your children. Therein lie the rub and the key. Used
to doing things your own way, you must
remember: It’s not your way that counts.
The responsibility of the children’s education and the inherent decision-making
belong in the hands of the parents.
Respect their family’s rules. Yes, I
know. One of these parents grew up in
your home. Some of it took, some didn’t,
Their rules may not be your rules. Case
in point: My husband and I are usually
pooped by lunch time and find ourselves
leaning on the table . . . but Table Manners 101 is a very important course in our
children’s family, so we are constantly being caught and reminded to keep our elbows off the table! From nap times to electronic usage, respect their family’s rules.
Like your grandchildren’s public school
counterparts, you neither have them nor
and a curse. What you teach will go forward
more slowly without that reinforcement.
Some things fall will through the cracks.
Your impact is limited. Your focus becomes
that of making the most of the time you
have and then enjoying the respite.
Nana and Grandpa find it incumbent
upon themselves to devise ingenious
ways to enforce the family’s rules. Spanking is a parental responsibility. You may
be given that responsibility, as we have,
but we prefer not to exercise the option.
Because the grandchildren sometimes go
home before a situation is resolved, and
because a grandparent may be restricted
in types of limit-setting, ingenuity is required. Rewards work well. Threatening to tattle to Daddy also works. What
works best, however, is finding a little
trail into the heart, softening the heart,
changing the heart. When that happens,
the lesson is learned and everyone wears
a smile. It takes more time. It requires patience. It is worth it.
Your number-one job is to remember
that you are not the mom; you are the
surrogate, but keep mom in the loop.
A daily note is appreciated. A phone
call works. Seatwork sent home is nice.
When your grandchild needs pencils,
markers, a dictionary, evening reinforce-
ment, practice in spelling, extra time on
municating, you first of all deprive Mom
of the chance to take responsibility. Sec-
ondly, you shoulder a burden you were
never meant to bear.
both the children and
the lucky grandparents
who are allowed to
enjoy their kiddos.
Choose curriculum together. Brenda and
I like to wind our way through a hall full of
vendors and look at things. Being a mom
who is careful with her money, I felt truly
appreciated when she automatically bought
everything I said I liked, never once looking at the price. She looked at the books
too, and we conferred, pointing out the
things we liked, dreaming of lessons yet to
be. Sharing that with her allowed her more
control of her child’s outcomes, and in an
unspoken way, held a promise of the day
when she will find herself able to remain at
home and teach her children herself. More
than anything else, I’m preparing her for an
easy transition from a working mom to a
mom who knows where her child is at and
can step in without batting an eyelash. I’m
preparing my own obsolescence. That’s a
Transferring records is another key element in communicating with the mom
and dad. I have enough stuff at my house;
I do not need their children’s logs, plan
books, and worksheets. However, their
mom and dad do need them, to satisfy
state law. By giving the parents the records, I am not only showing them not
what their children have done throughout the year but also how it was done.
Putting It All Together
Right now I find myself wondering who
might be the most put out: the first-gen-
eration grandmothers who dread be-
ing asked to help out or the moms who
think their mothers/mothers-in-law are
too intrusive to begin with . . . but within
homeschooling circles, I trust that a
higher plane of family respect abides.
Let me offer a word or two about bound-
ary setting. If you are a parent and you
find that the grandparents are being a
bit too helpful, simply smile and thank
them. My sons’ wives are ever respectful,
but they draw the line with a smile and
silence, not asking for help. As a loving
nana, I make myself available in veiled
offers, leaving space for the parents to
think and then ask for my assistance as
desired. When I find too little of my-
self to go around, I regretfully decline
the opportunity. By being frank, giving
space, and exercising lovingkindness
and a good dose of forbearance, it comes
together. I am thrilled and amazed to
proclaim, “I am a homeschool nana!”
Saralee Rhoads is a homeschool mother
of three grown and married sons; she now
homeschools two of her grandchildren.
Many in the state of Missouri will remember her from The Heart of America Report.
You can read more of her adventures on
her blog: www.homeschoolnana.com.