The sweet young mom who laminated my school schedules for me at Staples handed them to me with a shy smile.
“This looks intimidating to me,” she admitted. “I am a homeschooler too, but I find it so hard.”
“Really?” I asked, “How old are your kids?”
“Three and one.”
Three and one.
What I wanted to say was, “Oh don’t do that! Don’t even try to do that! I did that and it was a disaster! Bake brownies and read stories and count buttons, and play with play-doh, but don’t do that!”
But it would have been silly for me to say that. She wouldn’t listen to me. Not any more than I would have listened to someone like me 10 years ago. She needs to learn and grow and stretch and change in her own time and on her own schedule.
So what I did say was, “I have a 4-year-old and he’s not on these schedules. He plays with rocks in the sandbox and makes up imaginary games with Playmobil. We read to him and I think he might be able to count some, but that’s only from playing hide and seek. School will still be there when he’s ready. Next year probably.”
And then I smiled and I left, breathing a silent prayer for that mom and for earnest mothers everywhere at the daunting start of a new school year. Myself included.