Y’all, I have a confession to make.
One, I’m gonna flood the blog with school pictures because I actually had clean, semi-behaving kids and getting these was a miracle.
I just about threw in the towel on homeschooling this summer. I was burnt.out. on so many levels. We went so far as to evaluate all the options- and the option we chose fell thru just three weeks ago. I had to re-consider everything. I suddenly had to finesse plans that had fallen to the wayside in June.
I’m not saying that I’m still quite ready for this year, by any stretch of the imagination. I’m still feeling a bit overwhelmed and ready-to-throw-in-the-towel-ish. But the thing is- and I think Elizabeth nailed it solidly last week– the bottom line of any school year is relationship. And I feel as if I’ve lost sight of this the most. I’ve gotten so overwhelmed with the academic needs (and my pitiful shortcomings) that I’ve forgotten to lean back into my relationship with God; my relationship with my husband and their daddy; my relationship with them, the discipling, the daily walking alongside with them…the academics will take care of themselves as long as there is room for grace, room for the Holy Spirit to breathe on our little room of scholars, room to take deep breaths and love each other and love the Lord.
I feel like, even though I’m a second generation homeschooler- I still cling to industrial schooling rubrics way too much. I missed seeing a lot of progress in all my kids last year because I was too freaked by other things. Every year that passes by we drop more and more workbooks and pick up more and more living books, and follow adventures and thoughts and questions to conclusions. More delight, less drudgery. More moving outside and less sitting stock still at a table.
Partly due to finances, and partly due to adventuresome spirit, our plan for this year is entirely literature based. We’ve moved completely away from boxed curriculum. The planning kicked my tail for a solid week, but it was worth it. I already feel more on top of and in control of this upcoming school year because the plans are tailored to our needs from the beginning.
I spent a lot of time-investment this summer learning from early childhood blogs, with particular focus on Montessori and Waldorf education. Early childhood is something that I’ve never understood well- particularly the 2-5 year range (ironic, isn’t it?)-so one of my goals this summer was to get a grasp on developmental, emotional, mental, and physical needs of this age group and how to teach them at this age. That in and of itself has gone a very long way towards reducing my overwhelmedness and frustration, as a lot of the…errrr…interruptions last year were from my younger set and I had no idea how to involve them in constructive ways. The great thing about many of these blogs is showing how to incorporate Montessori and Waldorf education with what you already have in your home- for pennies- and that was a boon to me!
Perhaps the most notable change for us is that I really, really went deep into making sure that we have seasonal and liturgical focus to our school year, for the first time ever- and that has gone a long way towards making me feel more grounded. It helped the framework of our year tremendously, forming the structure that all our subjects hang upon- particularly our read alouds. Our main focus this year is on the Middle Ages to Reformation. (We’ve spent nearly three years in the ancient world!)
If I have one goal this year, it is that we learn together how to live in joy.