Starting the School Year Whether I Like It or Not

I have a confession to make.  I’m not excited about starting homeschool this year.  I like to homeschool my children.  I’ve always enjoyed the planning and preparation, but this year has been more of a chore.  Does that make me a bad mom?  Or a bad homeschooler?  I don’t think so.  I think it makes me human.  I don’t feel like doing lots of stuff, but I continue to accept and handle the responsibilities that  I have as a Christian wife and mother.  One of those responsibilities is to educate my children.  So, whether I jump for joy or not, I wade into the muck of our life as it is right now and start shoveling.

I didn’t make any major changes in our curriculum.  Knowing how all the subjects will flow lessons my stress level.  If I’m in the “just do the next thing” mode, I do not have the brain power to plan and implement anything new or complicated.  In the end, my children will likely know all the same stuff whether it’s from this curriculum company or that one.  2+2 still equals 4.

I only planned our first nine-week semester.  Getting too far ahead of today began to overwhelm me.  I’m a severe taskmaster when faced with a longterm plan.  I drive us all into the ground to stay on track, so I’m keeping the bites a little more chewable this year.  We will finish the first quarter, take a break, and then regroup to move on.

I have stepped out of several previous commitments.  That hasn’t won me any popularity contests, but I am more aware than anyone else that I’m doing no one any favors by running on empty.  Our family is going through a huge transition, and I need to stay focused on us.  For my new readers, I’ll just say that we sold our 1,700 square foot house in February, moved into a 1,300 square foot apartment, and have less than six months to decide what our next move is.

Someone learned how to color outside the lines. Thankfully, it was with washable markers.

I’m trying to keep our days a little looser.  Even though my two toddlers are no where near ready for formal schooling, I don’t want to push them away all day while I concentrate on the big girls.  So, I’ve instituted two 45-minute, no interruption times while I get the older girls started.  During the first session, I work with my 8th grader and 2nd grader.  The 8th grader starts her independent work with me close by to get her started on the right track.  I made the mistake last year of giving her a little too much rope and she about hung herself.  What I mean is, she didn’t get enough direction and oversight from me and ended up doing poorly in some subjects and taking too long to finish.  This was as much my fault as hers, so I’ve committed to working with her more closely.  The 2nd grader is very intelligent, if lacking in initiative.  She will work fast if you lead her along, and I can usually have her finished in that first hour.

Then, I have the toddlers come in and “do school”.  We read, color, count, play a game, hug and kiss and laugh.  Once they have had their time, they are ready to go play and give me the second 45-minute period with my 5th grader.  She is also very intelligent but has problems processing instructions.  So, she takes some one-on-one time to walk through the how and why, but then she can finish up most things on her own.

Every school year doesn’t have to look or feel the same.  Even when we’re less than excited about doing something, in my case homeschool, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue plugging along.

Please share how you keep going when the going isn’t fun.

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P.S. Don’t forget to enter the Hallmark Encouraging Kids giveaway.  Leave a comment!

 

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