Finally, a few moments I can just sit and relax. It’s just me, my coffee, Adele, and the quiet. Yes, my house is peaceful for just a little while. The younger two are napping and the older ones are reading quietly. Today has been one of those rare days we finished our chores early, therefor allowing me to sit and blog for a while. My writing has taken a backseat in the last several weeks. Lately everything has felt extremely chaotic, at least in my brain it has felt that way. I know that part of it is this time of year. When the sun begins to warm the air outside and the cool breeze blows and I smell that clean crisp air I do not want to be inside dealing with tasky chores. I would rather be cleaning, organizing, gardening, and just getting my house in order from being inside for the past several months. I enjoy freshening up and clearing out any clutter that gets in my way on a daily basis.
Our school year just ended and I am very happy for the much-needed break! This homeschool momma was experiencing burnout from our daily grind. We start our school year mid-July so I can keep things flexible for travel, random fun days, or just days that things are off in our house and no one wants to sit and do schoolwork that day. I have found myself in the midst of curriculum mania and researching my favorite websites for curriculum choices for next year. I will be changing things up a bit. We absolutely loved our math program this year and I see great advancements in that area for both children. We will be keeping with the same program for next year and I am excited! Our Language Arts program for this year was a struggle. I did not like teaching it and the kids did not like doing it. Of course, my oldest is as studious as they come and more than willing to complete her Language Arts each day but voiced her dislike for it. My first grader was brought to tears at least twice a week when I pulled out that blue binder. He hated it and so did I. So I decided half way through the book that I was done and began pulling things off the internet and maximizing our reading time each day. I also increased their computer time on our online reading and phonics program. I feel this is nothing that will hurt them but teach them to be flexible. It’s like my husband tells me, “They won’t be thirty years old and not able to read. They will get it and are doing just fine. Relax.” Ok, he’s right. So I scrapped it and moved on. I felt free!
We joined a homeschool co-op this year for the first time. For those who are unfamiliar with what that is I will explain. A homeschool co-op is where multiple families gather together once or several times per week and learn things as a group. I knew last summer that this was something I wanted the kids to experience. Yes, my kids are socialized and a great bit I might add, but I thought they would benefit in multiple ways being in a classroom setting under the direction of someone other than me. As the year progressed I watched my kids blossom in so many areas. My oldest was slowly overcoming her fear to speak in front of an audience and my son was learning the importance of following the direction of a teacher besides his mom. I loved listening to them in the backseat talking about what they learned or singing those catchy tunes about the presidents or different types of rock formations. I really wanted this to work out for us but it just wasn’t. It was not working for me. If it is not something I enjoy teaching it most likely won’t be something they enjoy learning. I found myself unable to fit our co-op work into the rest of our week at home. One thing I have learned as a teacher is that I need a plan, lesson plans that is.
When my oldest was in Kindergarten and I was pregnant with baby number four I thought that homeschool was me sitting at the kitchen table with a few random math sheets and coloring pages from a book I bought at Costco. While in some instances this is ok since it is just Kindergarten and it should be more about fun learning I found that it was difficult for me because I felt unorganized and unprepared. I did not like feeling that way. I knew by the time the next year rolled around that I needed a curriculum with lesson plans all laid out to keep me in line and accountable. Not every homeschool mom likes this type of restriction and that is perfectly ok, but for someone like me it is a must. In saying all that, the co-op did not work for me since I was left to organize their learning on my own from the things we talked about on co-op day. So armed with this information I set out to find something to better suit our family. Of course my plan for next school year is on my mind daily. Next year, not only will our curriculum be changing, but so will our week. I have allowed myself to fall under too much pressure that was unnecessary. My goal is to take a more relaxed approach to things next year. I am going to give myself grace to not have to do it all. The last two months of our school year were absolutely crazy, once again, my fault for not sticking to my plan. I walk away from our school year knowing the changes I need to make for next year. I am sure each year I will do things differently. Thankfully, I have the freedom to change things when necessary.
So for now I will enjoy the luxury of simply having fun. I have given my children permission you might say to just be who they are, kids that is. We have spent the last couple of weeks since finishing school playing outside, meeting friends at the park, attending baseball games, riding bikes, enjoying water balloon fights, playing the Wii, blowing bubbles, flying our kite, camping, having mud fights,watching movies, and just simply relaxing. I have not blogged or done anything tasky because I want them to know they are my priority. They come before any chore I have laid before me. Sitting back and watching them play so well together and really listening to their little conversations really puts a smile on this momma’s face. Again, the Lord knows exactly what we need when we need it and this stressed out mom needed just to chill and listen to those sweet little voices.