Well, it's THAT time of year again. I'm itching to fire up the pencil sharpener and stretch out on the King-sized bed with the kids to read a good book. Sure, they have been reading on their own during the time off we took (our summer started early out of necessity - maternity leave). Because friends don't let friends homeschool on hormone overload. We're starting school back up next week after about 3 months off (minus a few weeks of school that were strung out haphazardly from April through June). That's what I call a 'fizzled out' year. Hopefully THIS year will start and end with a BANG. Being more specific, in case God has a lightning storm in mind, what I mean by BANG is FUN and SUCCESS... because I'd rather keep my 8 years-worth of photos backed up on an external hard-drive. Bang could mean a lot of things that are very educational and yet completely contrary to our desires as homeschool parents, ya-know?
You laugh at me for being specific, but there was that one year I prayed to get out of debt and get rid of our car note... and God sent. a. flood. That's one way to get out of a car note, for sure! I wouldn't recommend it to the faint of heart. God is more creative than you give Him credit for. I was instantly cured of obscure and generic prayers. For good, people.
To get ready for school, there are projects that needed to be done FIRST:
School closet organized (check)
Bookcases straightened (check)
Book lists and reading goals made (check)
Portfolios finished (we have only one year's worth of school left to binderize)
Last year's paperwork finalized
Read through 'The Organized Homeschooler' again (started...)
Report cards printed
School boxes cleaned out (check)
Schedule written out (check)
Generic monthly menu plan created - to keep us out of the drive-thru lanes! (check)
Planning for the year (In progress...)
Evaluations and goals/heart-to-heart discussion (check)
Notebooks, workboxes and supplies in order
Curriculum list made out to show what we want to cover
Annual back to school breakfast (check)
We've been working away at our list up there and are hoping to come to a close and get started on school this coming Monday. It will be interesting to see how God works things out with a baby in the mix. You notice that I said "GOD works things out" (heavy on the capital G) - because I know that with Him, 'all things are possible'. With me, I assume at some point there will be a meltdown and I'll be crying in the closet like a sniveling ninny. So I'm planning to wear my knees out this school year (like I should have been doing last year). Hello?! You'd think a girl would learn.
Have I ever mentioned that I'm HARD-HEADED? I give great advice, and yet can't follow it. Story of my life.
Truthfully, last year was our worst school year ever. E.V.E.R. If it weren't for reading Clay and Sally Clarkson's "Educating the WholeHearted Child" and starting Robin Sampson's "Heart of Wisdom Teaching Approach", I might not have a homeschooling blog to speak about any more. I'm sure that there were prayers from friends and family that were answered as well. My mom helped me out some when I was in nervous-breakdown mode, also. She's a keeper. We had a few of those "I'm going to set you on the curb for the school-bus" talks. Or rather, yells. It wasn't pretty. And with pregnancy hormones and the desperate need for naps... mom was a walking time-bomb. Sadly, I was pregnant the entire school year. What a learning experience for the kids, eh? They now have "How Not To Homeschool 101" covered.
The past few months have been detox. Lots of fun with friends, free reading and drawing, time to play and learn on the computer... and - as the kids would tell you - unfortunately, CHORES. We've been working on finding a household groove - a routine - that fits baby in to our life without allowing him to take up our entire day with leaking poopy daipers and nursing sessions. The kid has to learn that there are other priorities around here. Up until now he's been calling all of the shots.
It wasn't until very recently (he'll be 4 months old on the 17th) that he started to show some sign of a nap and sleep schedule. PRAISE GOD. I'm weeping for joy.
So now the fun begins... a new year... a new schedule... a new baby... even MOM is getting a homeschooled edu-ma-cation!
I feel like God has been giving me little gifts along the way as I struggled to keep my heart in the whole homeschooling movement. I know that He is in the driver's seat. There have been sweet comments made about my kids, homeschool book fair conference pep-sessions I needed to hear, friends that have shared with me about public school issues they have had - kids that are behind grade level and forced to be on meds, and much support from family (especially my husband and mom). The day I decided to start school planning again and start the school year early - I won the TOS Schoolhouse Planner on a blog contest! Now I have a stack of shiny new planner forms, recipes, charts and goodies on my desk to make my planning easier. A few of my friends have offered to do some co-oping with me on certain units this year. Seems like all green lights and rights.
Just like a kid with a stack of brand new supplies - sharpened pencils and un-opened books - I'm thrilling at the prospect of 2009-10 unfolding before us. That's the sign of God restoring my homeschool passion... which is a very, very good thing. I've survived the first half of my children's home-education! Survived a nervous breakdown and the birth of a 9.4 lb. baby coming out with his arm beside his head (sorry for the visual). And it wasn't all that bad after all. OK, maybe the labor and delivery were.
Bring on the 6th and 7th Grades, baby! Hopefully by Monday, we'll be ready!
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