Monday, August 30, 2010

a farewell to summer

Homeschooling is not something that I write about nearly as often as I think about it. Over the years our choice to home school has changed from simply a venue of education for our children into a full-blown life-changing way of life.

To school one's children at home is a choice that is farther reaching than one can ever fathom at the time the decision is made. It is not easy at times. There is always that week during mid-winter where I just want to quit and start thinking about calling the principal of our local elementary school to see if what there policy is on admitting children three-quarters of the year through.I t encompasses everything that one's family does throughout the day and occupies the mother's mind, heart and hands most hours of the day and night.

I must admit that I am one to pride myself on being put-together and organized. Chaos is my worst fear and I crave a simple, beautiful atmosphere in order to do even the most mundane of tasks. My need for order and cleanliness is very high and is something that I struggle to keep in check daily so as not to make it an idol in my life.

Most days I fail at this miserably. I choose to sweep my floor instead of sit on the steps and watch my children swing carelessly and proudly from the limbs on our front lawn tree. I push myself to squeeze in a load of laundry during most waking moments of my day even if it means walking away from a four-year with whom I am sharing a morning snack. And it is with shame that I admit to more often than not cleaning my children's drips of oatmeal off the counter as-they-go instead of waiting until the end of the meal to do a proper one-time cleanup.

As I journey through this week- our last official week of summer- I am filled with mixed emotions as we draw closer to 'the first day of school' next week. Feelings of pride swell as I think about how we are beginning our fifth year of homeschooling and mix with glimmers of confidence and competency over how amazing my children are. I also feel an overwhelming sense of anxiety and doubt grow. There are so many question marks.
How will I manage a fourth grader, a second grader, a four-year old and a three month old all at once?Whose needs will I choose to meet when more than one will inevitably arise at once? How will I manage all of those wonderful readings if our baby wakes up from his nap earlier than expected?
There are so many more where these came from and I know I am not the first to ask them.
I know that these questions will begin to answer themselves as the hours, days and weeks of our school year unfold. I told myself that I would remain open to the possibilities and accept whatever this new phase of life-with-a-baby brought our way and I vow to stay true to that promise.

For now I am focusing on what matters in life. Choosing to value the life lessons that we will all learn along the way. After all, what is more important and vital to this homeschool experience? Is it quantity or quality? An organized, driven mother or a gentle, patient one? Is it getting to each and every lesson I have planned each day or is it learning to be flexible, prioritize in the moment and learn how to make a 'plan b'?

I am just so thrilled to have the opportunity to be with my children for yet another year. It is a mother-teacher role that I am assuming here and not the other way around. I am the anchor here and all eyes are on me to see how I am choosing what is best in each moment. Certainly big shoes to fill. And even though there are question marks about the details, the big fact remains that I love my children fiercely and will strive to choose what is best for them, for us each day during this journey.

{Stay tuned to hear more about our homeschooling journey, photos from our first day of school (a tradition around here!) and to hear about some of the books we will be reading}

1 comment:

Jackie said...

as always...well-said and thought-provoking. i am having a hard time being excited for this school year to start. i am ashamed to admit that i am dreading doing what i know is best for my family...*sigh*