Rolling with the punches. Working to establish a new normal. It all happens around week 6 of the school year. I have a near total breakdown about our family's calling to home school, how efficient and/or effective I am as a mother, and all sorts of other conundrums my brain comes up with. The mind is a powerful tool. For me, sometimes it's hard to decipher what is emotion driven and what is legit. I've learned to pray it through and not make any decisions when I'm tired (which is usually a top factor of unsatisfaction).
I earmarked a blog a year ago, but only recently spent time reading through its contents. Erica, over at Confessions of a Homeschooler, has developed a superb blog. Her schedule is realistic (not getting up at 4:30am to fit in a workout!), her schoolroom is my dream, she creates curriculum for PreK and geography, and wrote an excellent post on why her family home school's. While Erica has great ideas and shares some of her best practices, she keeps it real. Her writing has given me some keen insight into simple changes that I can implement without having a school room. It's also imperative to remember (frequently) why we home school because there will be a day (days) that it seems like a losing battle.
I have always been a morning person. Until 2013. I don't know what has drastically changed this year. Maybe years of mothering has curbed the get-up-and-conquer-the-world-by-7am. However, I feel convicted about it. Our mornings are different when I have rested well and wake up before voices begin chanting "Milk! Milk!" The other game-changer is no TV in the morning. Even nice cartoons or the Today Show - any TV in the morning smothers our energy and excitement for getting things done. This can be a hard line to toe because I like 30 minutes of "alone" time while I get the first cup of coffee down. And, to be honest, most TV (of any kind) is not created around honoring the Lord thus creating all kinds of internal struggle (attitude, how we interact with others, entitlement, etc.).
We are changing our school lay out too. During Kindergarten we realized that it was best to do school during Caleb's nap time. It just works for us. But, this can be a challenge also because sometimes we all need rest/quiet time. Or, we get sidetracked by something and it takes us longer to finish our school work. And, if Caleb wakes up while we have more to do...well...it gets complicated fast. I have realized that some school work does not require much one-on-one time. We are implementing those during our morning routine. We read our devotion, Bible, and missionary story during breakfast. Afterwards we work on Scripture memory and sometimes read through our Social Studies. After a short play time we do morning chores. Abi empties the silverware and Eli empties the rest of the dishwasher. They pick up blankets and toys, and do a quick pick up of their rooms. I start/change laundry, clean up the kitchen. Since we're not relying on TV, we're working in group activities (coloring, games, outdoor play). After lunch, Caleb goes down for a nap. Depending on Abi's emotional stability (can I get an Amen?) she will nap, have quiet play time in her room, or join us for some PreK worksheets. Eli and I then spend time on reading, writing, science, and math. He gets to choose the order we do them in. He likes having "control" over this. If his work and effort has been exceptional over a few days he is rewarded with either a special snack or iPad time. (Plus a good public report to his Dad!) This all frees our afternoons up for play time! I'm using evenings more productive too. Taking a few minutes to plan the next day's activities. And, to read. I love reading and there are so many benefits to reading for pleasure. Currently I'm reading In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day. Not light reading, but I like to read with purpose.
Don't get me wrong. We do not have it all figured out. Yesterday was a rough day. Tears. Loud voices. Exasperation. But, praise Jesus! I know that the morning brings new mercies! The pilgrimage is not an easy journey, but we know our destination. It was no accident our Bible reading yesterday was Psalms 84. This Psalms has very significant meaning in my life. Today our devotion was on God's faithfulness to keep his promises. The scripture we read has been a pillar of faith in my adult life. Around the table, Eli (6), Abi (4), Caleb (2), and I prayed for the Akebu people who do not have the Bible in their language, the Marsh Arabs who live on house boats, and for the missionaries who serve them. He is Jehovah Roi - The God Who Sees into the four walls of the Osmon home.
This is really a reminder to me of how home schooling is a journey - some days are easier than others. Adjustments have to be made. Results are left up to the Master Teacher.
13 hours ago