Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Summer Homeschool Mom vs. Reality

First posted: July 17, 2013

Summer Homeschool Mom attends conventions and pores over the Rainbow Resource Catalog. She compares prices at eBay, Amazon, CBD, and whatever other online classified sites she knows.

Summer Homeschool Mom cracks open The Well Trained Mind again. She reads blogs and pins ideas and downloads free unit studies and coloring sheets and planner pages.

Summer Homeschool Mom loves planners. She has at least three or four types printed and neatly plotted.

Summer Homeschool Mom thinks getting an early start sounds like a good idea. She imagines days where she wakes, showers, prays, eats, reads, and prepares for the day long before her children are up...

Every Summer I face the same struggle: finishing out an old school year and planning the new one. My idealism and my realism clash in a major battle of wills.

This year we're not facing a move or a new baby. We're planning what will be one of our first "normal" school years in a long time. (Whatever normal means, of course.) We'll have three school age children (roughly corresponding to 8th Grade, 5th Grade, & 2nd Grade levels) and two below school age (a soon to be 4 year old who wants to be involved in our school day and a 1 year old who wants to be into everything).

I find my idealistic self really rising up this year. I've considered multiple co-ops, support groups, and online classes. I've bought my curriculum and started my plans, even though it's still June and we haven't finished everything I had planned for last year.

I'm thinking about what doesn't work, and what might work and what I wish, in an ideal world, would work, even though it hasn't yet. We finally have a place for keeping most of our supplies accessible, a luxury we've almost never had in our homeschool.

I've described our style as "Relaxed Classical" in the past. In the "just getting by" months of last year (2 big moves, a new baby, etc.) we slimmed our school day down to the minimum (Phonics, Reading, Writing, Math, History) but now I'd like to add in those things that we didn't have time or energy to complete (Shakespeare, Latin, more time with Science, etc.)

Summer Homeschool Mom has many admirable qualities, and this year I'm trying to work with her strengths, while not letting her idealism run away with me. It's a time for really focusing on what is a priority in our family (loving learning, strong reading skills, systematic math) and what isn't (many electives are great ideas in theory but less practical when I consider how many children we have and other obligations).

So, I'm trying to keep the exhortation from the Great Homeschool Convention Classical Panel, about not making it too hard. And I want to make sure I'm not just ignoring the needs of our soon to be 4 year old, who loves learning and creating right along with us.

Tell me, fellow homeschool moms, how do you deal with your inner planner / idealistic self?

Linking up with:
Living and Learning at Home


Jennifer Dow said...

Thanks for the post. I have this struggle at times as well. Andrew Kern's talk on "You are what you Behold" help to tame those feeling in me. Also, I try to remember that we will always feel a tension between the real and the ideal. It is just part of living on this side of eternity. In addition I recently read an amazing post at afterthoughts.net blog about scheduling that was a breath of fresh air. http://www.afterthoughtsblog.net/2014/06/secrets-from-charlotte-mason-on.html It might give some rest and insight to us all in the tension of real and ideal.

Karen said...

I have really enjoyed all the posts about "Teaching from a state of rest" and such that I've seen lately. I'm glad more people are sharing their thoughts about this.

Thanks for stopping by! I started following your blog - looks like a great resource.

Amy Maze said...

I definitely struggle with this as well. I love to plan. I love to schedule. I love the ideal, but I am learning that that is never reality =) So, lately, I still make my plan, but use it more as a guide. I am completely inspired by the idea of teaching from rest, and am trying to make that is part of reality! Thanks for the great post!

Spice of Life Mom said...

Well, if I don't plan, I end up in a puddle on the floor, wondering what I should be doing with my time. That's why I have to plan, plan, plan, list, list, list. Now, I don't get it all done ever, but at least I'm not just aimless. I've definitely been spending time with my Rainbow Resource catalog this last week, making my wish list and then paring it down.

What I do less now than when I started out is get upset when it just doesn't go the way I want it to. I try to see the value of whatever it was that distracted me--garden work, nursing a baby, watching the children in the sprinkler--those are all important, too.

Karen said...

I agree. I love making plans and lists, I just don't want to be controlled by them or feel like I'm failing if I can't do everything.

Thanks for stopping by!

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