Lisa here. Boy, it feels like it has been forever since I have posted anything here--that's what happens during summer I guess! And now here it is OCTOBER and I don't know if any of the rest of you are trying to keep from hyperventilating, but I am. This summer was the fastest summer EVER, and so we just were not ready for school to begin when Ocean Grove officially began mid August. Our summer felt like it was just getting good! So I pushed back the start of our own little family school--The Redwood Academy--for another couple of weeks, and also decided to build in some grace to the start of our year by dedicating the entire month of Sept. to planning, sorting, organizing, and slowly implementing. Although our classes and activities began when the official school year did, I gave myself permission to not have my act all together like I normally would, and that amount of psychological buffer really helped me not start the school year in despair. : ) It also helped me start the year being the mom I want to be--so much more patient and unstressed than I would have been otherwise.
Let's just say, I spent last month feeling like every day was "bare bones" school, and it's been painful how sloooooowly we are grinding gears to get ourselves into a good rhythm of schooling again. This would be exactly why we don't normally take long sections of summer off--once we lose momentum, and our minds and bodies get used to loosey-goosey, it is just too hard to get up and running smoothly again. But believe it or not, I have not been frustrated by the slow start this Fall, because I started with realistic expectations for myself and the kids and made GRACE my plan--instead of frantically making an idealistic plan and then being miserable trying to force everyone to meet it.
I'm not calling that slacking, or complacency, ladies--I'm calling that wisdom! ; )
Compounding this unusual re-entry into schooling this Fall is that we have been crazy busy. No, I mean CRAZY. Like one week in Sept we had NINE special events/meetings in one week--on top of the usual classes, schooling, etc. The next week we had seven! And this is me saying "No" to a lot of things--these are just the things that I could not or really, really did not want to say "No" to! Now it has slowed to an average of 3-4 special events a week--which is still too much! But at least now I'm home enough to keep the dishes washed. ; )
This busy life would also be why we usually try not to do too much--we can't HOME school when we are not even at home! (Yes, of course we car-school daily--have to make the most of those drives to and from classes!--but that cannot take the place of the learning that happens when we are settled down and focused for long stretches of time at home.)
Moms who are starting out new to homeschooling, please heed my words. Do not feel like you are being a boring mom if you keep your kids home most days. Do not feel like you are being a negligent homeschool teacher if you don't have your kids enrolled in classes every day of the week. Busy is not better--you need plenty of time to focus on your kids without the stress of watching the clock. And they need plenty of time to engage with activities without being interrupted. And I highly encourage all of you new-to-homeschool moms to build in some breathing room for yourself into the day too. Any of you who have been around me for more than one day know I am a big proponent of quiet times!
So, I would love to hear from any of you who care to leave a comment how YOU are doing here at the start of the school year! I would esp. enjoy hearing any new routines or things you have implemented this year that you think are going well.
It is a little scary to realize that we've been homeschooling now for. . . 7 years. This is our eighth. I can't believe it! But just this Fall, I am starting to realize that over the years I really have acquired some wisdom! So this Fall I would like to do some more writing here and share with you all some of the things I think I have finally figured out that work well for us, or that make me happy--just in case they work well for you or make you happy too!
And all of you, please consider sharing your stories here too! I keep learning new things, and some of you come up with the best strategies for more effective and fruitful teaching and living.
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Now, with all that said, I want to let you know that we are ready to announce our Vintage Homeschool events for the Fall! So, keeping your family's "busyness" needs in mind, please put them on your calendar, and consider joining us. We have some fun things planned! I should have the first post up tonight. : )
Happy Fall Semester 2013!