The homeschool year has begun for us in a very, stop-and-start-no-wait-let’s-do-it-this-way manner. I have managed a full week of math and reading, focusing primarily on Turbo’s work right now. Shaking the summertime play-all-day mentality has proven difficult, and has cemented my decision to school year-round from now on. Taking short breaks every few weeks (with the exception of this fall, when we need to go full-speed-ahead until Christmas, essentially).
*Random thought – I finally just clicked “Add to Dictionary” when WordPress put that zig-zaggy underline on the word “homeschool.” How is “homeschool” not yet in the dictionary?*
I am feeling overwhelmed, yet optimistic about this year. I questioned our decision to homeschool, and have had fantasies about children skipping off to the bus stop, fresh faces all aglow, backpacks and lunches in tow. (Hey, that rhymed.) However, after speaking with our principle, a.k.a. “My husband,” my commitment to homeschool this year has been renewed. There are lots of reasons we homeschool, not the least of which is this: If my children were in a full-day school all week, there would be three full days a week in which they wouldn’t see their daddy at all. This is not acceptable to any of us. Time with their father is more important than sitting in a classroom eight hours a day.
*Another random thought, only not by me: “I’ve never let my school interfere with my education.” ~Mark Twain~ Sometimes, I wonder if my schooling is getting in the way of my kids’ education; then I look at Durin devouring every book he can get his hands on, Lydia gaining confidence, Audrey’s eager eyes, and Dain’s enthusiasm – and I know differently.*
I have been carrying around a Ross gift card with $16 and change on it for quite some time. While I popped into Ross one day, looking for something entirely different, I came across this pillow for $15. Not a bargain, by any means, but it fits perfectly in this corner by the couch, and the kids love their own little reading nook – in spite of the A/C vent. I don’t really have another place to put it just now, but I’m hoping to figure it out soon.
I have also finally hammered out The Schedule (cue sinister music), which always seeks to daunt me at the beginning of each year. I’m trying something a little bit new this year, and have only been able to try it out for a day or two, so I’m not 100% sure it’s working yet. My hopes are up, though. Until I can shorten Durin’s time for math, however (due to above-mentioned summertime mentality we’re still battling), I won’t know for sure that it’s the right schedule.
I have one master schedule to work from, but I also split it up into individual schedules for the three oldest, and gave them each their own binder. Dain has one too, but I don’t actually schedule anything for him yet. He still just likes to “do school,” and I want him to feel included. Anyway, I put their schedule in the front sleeve, and have dividers matching the days of the week. At the beginning of the week, I go through their schedule, and put any worksheets/whatever they need to do behind the divider for that day. That way, all I have to do is check their binders and go from there. It works pretty well for us. At least, it has in the past.
I wish I could “just know” how do do all of this. I wish I were naturally good at this, without trying so hard. I cannot complain, though. I really do love sitting down with my kids and doing school. It’s always the best part of my day, even if it doesn’t go quite right. I’ve been blessed with four very bright kiddos, and I have a strong desire and motivation to get to know them as people.
I know a lot about my kids, but I’m a place where I realize that I don’t know them on their level. Not the way I want to, if I want to build a meaningful, deep relationship with each of them as individuals.
*Random note again: I’ve learned to say “the way I want to do it” instead of “the way I should do it.” Eliminates a lot of unnecessary mom guilt. Thank you, Ruthie, for that blessed tidbit!!!*
So, as I pray about and ponder what my priorities are going to be for this school year, the list is topped by this one thing – to get to know my kids through one-on-one time with each of them every week. I’ll probably start with a walk around the block with a different kid on each school day. I want to know their little hearts. Their dreams, thoughts, questions, and motivations. I want to cement the trust they have in me by earning it, and to see them grow from trusting me to trusting in their Creator God.
My school priorities are inextricably tied to my life priorities, too. I think it’s kind of nice to streamline things this way. Kill a few birds with one stone, so to speak. Even if they were in school all day, everyday, I think I would want to do it this way, too. After all, no matter where a kid learns their three R’s, they are all homeschooled.
I think that’s it.
I hope to write a post about Mom & Dad’s impromptu visit this week, but this was consuming my brain, and I had to get it put into words. Whether they made sense or not is another story.
How is your back-to-school season going? What do you love about this time of year? What do you struggle with?
Grace & Peace,