Well, this is our last Friday of no school at our house. In all reality, we’ve been doing school part time during the summer so that we all stayed sane, but we’re going to start full time school next Tuesday, after Labor Day.
I wish I could say I was really excited.
In all truthfulness, I’m not geared up at all for this upcoming year and that sort of worries me. If I’m feeling sluggish now, what hope to I have for February? I do have lesson plans worked out for the first month. I’ve learned that for myself, it’s not good to have them written out much further than that because I move stuff around way too much. I add a field trip here, or stay on a section that the kids need extra work on there. A month is about right.
Here’s some things that are on my mind.
We aren’t organized. Normally I have the bookshelf all lined up with books for the year, in the order we intend to go through them. That way I don’t waste school time hunting down the book we need. You mother’s know, that it only takes about a half a second of looking for something for all the students to mysteriously disappear and then you have to hunt them down.
The only reason we are not organized is because I have no place to put our curriculum for this year. It’s just stacked up in a pile for the year. Knut has been working all Summer on some new built in bookshelves in our den, and as of this evening…he should be done. He finished the last layer of varnish last night, and this morning he spent a bit of time installing, and after he runs some errands in town this afternoon while the little ones are napping, he’ll finish the installation. I’m so relieved. A place of organization will be a huge burden lifted off my shoulders.
He does plan on having the bottom portion of the bookshelves to be cabinets for me to sort school supplies, but he let me know the doors for those won’t be worked on until this winter. I’m fine with that, as long as I have a place for the books. I can always organize the supplies in shoe boxes and stick them on a high shelf (since I’ll have so many!) until the lower locked cabinets will be done.
If a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, the way to a homeschooling mom’s heart is through new bookshelves.
The other major thing on my mind is the transition to 2 full time students this year. Silje will be working on 3rd grade, and David will be 1st grade. You know that feeling you get before you give birth to your 2nd child, and you wonder how in the world you will handle it? That’s what this feels like. How am I going to teach them both, when they will have such different needs? I know that just like when the 2nd child is born, and you just muddle through and find a new normal, we will do that as well too. I just don’t know if the ideas in my head to work it out will actually work out yet. I suppose we won’t know until we try.
Here’s the last thing I’m nervous about, or that at least I can think of at this time. As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been very emotional lately. My patience is thin. I know that starting school will be an adjustment for the kids. I know there will be some whining. I know they will miss the amount of free time to which they have become accustomed. It’s one thing to get a huge switch of routine with a huge switch of location like a lot of kids who go to school. Their location will be the same, and we’ll have to transition anyway. I know I’ll have to deal with attitudes. I’m not confident I will handle that well. I’m not confident I will have the patience. I don’t sympathize with them well with their cushy life is disrupted. I know that using some empathy will really help them transition, and I’m not sure that’s in me.
I keep reminding myself that it may not be in me, but it’s in Christ, and Christ is in me. I will have to draw from His patience, from His empathy, from His wisdom in handling situations. It’s just that this will be our 3rd year homeschooling, and although I have learned so much, I feel like I should be better by now. I feel like I should have unending patience, and every answer to every question and confidence in knowing how to handle each day well, and I should be organized. By now I should like the jean jumpers, and be sweetness and cheerfulness itself.
I’m not, and somehow that surprises me. Homeschooling has not made me perfect, although I do think it is something God is really using in our family to help all of us. The one thing I DON’T worry about is whether or not God still wants us to be doing this. Believe me…I’ve asked him, and questioned him strongly on this. More then ever, I feel like we are on the right path. I’m just surprised that we, or at least I, am not there yet. I haven’t got it down. My kids have not been magically made perfect in the last 2 years. They still have attitudes, still disobey, and still have subjects they like and don’t like. I will say that they’ve grown and matured in astounding ways in the last 2 years, but this year I go into it knowing fully that there will be hard days.
It’s sort of like going into childbirth having gone through it before. You know what’s ahead, and you know you’ll just have to deal with it.
What I am so excited about is starting up our Fall activities. I know, I’m the homebody who hates running around. Even after this crazy busy Summer, I’m beyond excited about meeting up with our homeschool group again. I’m so excited to see my mom-friends. I’m so excited for our monthly “Mom’s Night Out” of homeschooling moms. That group of women is so encouraging, so funny, and probably the smartest people I know. I’ve missed them this Summer. Likewise, I know the kids are so excited to see their friends at homeschool group again. They’re excited for choir and piano to start up again. They’re excited for gym and picnics.
I’m so excited to have a daily routine back. That is for sure. I love routines, and that’s probably why this Summer felt so crazy. I’m not sure, looking back, if doing school part time this last Summer was a good idea, or a bad one. On one hand, it grounded us on days when the kids were bored. I’d pull out a math worksheet, or have them work on a Chinese lesson on the computer. I’d have Silje play around on the piano for 30 minutes, and I’d have David continue his reading. I like that they haven’t lost a lot of information during the summer with our reviewing like that. I wonder if we got enough of a break, though. If I had allowed them to be terribly bored and lose some memory, would we have more excitement about school starting? Would we be craving it more? I’m not sure. Either way, there’s nothing I can do about it now.
I’ll keep you updated, as always. I’ll try to remain honest. I will also try for, my own sake, to see the bright side of every week. I need to remind myself how much fun some days are. I need to remember sights like this one, where my kids just love reading together, and often sneak off to do so when I realize that it’s too quiet. I love the love for literature that my kids are growing. I love their curiosity and their creativity. I love the time they get to spend doing things worthwhile each day. I love the friendship between them. There are so many things I love about our school days, and although some times I’m having a hard time gearing up, I need to remember: 1) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, 2) I only need to handle one day at a time, not the whole year, and 3) My days are full of amazing moments if I can just take the time to notice.