The first morning didn't start off the way I wanted it to: I overslept. And then I did something I swore I wouldn't do: I let the kids have donuts for their first day. I told myself I would just inject a little more coffee into my veins in order to handle the sugar-crazed maniacs into which they were certain to morph, but as I reached into the K-Cups box, I found it empty.
For two hours they asked if it was time to start. Vesper just couldn't wait! And when 9 a.m. finally came around, I took a deep breath, and rang the bell to signal the beginning of our very first school day. They ran in giggling and screeching. It was awesome. And the rest of the week has been awesome too!
I know it won't always be like this, but I'm grateful for an easy first week. I'll post again this week answering some questions we've gotten about our methods and routines and madness regarding homeschool.
In the meantime, thank you for the encouragement and the prayers and the well-wishes. I've gotten text messages, phone calls, Facebook messages, wall posts, and Instagram comments all encouraging us in our first week, and I have to tell you it has meant so SO much to us. It truly means so much to know that we have a tribe behind us cheering us on. I hope you and your littles had a great start to the year too!
I’m a planner that likes to have even a vague idea of how things are going to transpire. I actually enjoy this process of laying everything out in front of my face and seeing all the pieces come together to form one big picture. But our first day of homeschool is tomorrow and despite my best efforts, I’m already seeing those pieces fall apart.
We had planned to begin a very loose, eclectic preschool curriculum with our three (and-a-half) year-old that included a short, focused time of “school” each day, more intentional discussions during “field trips,” and the addition of a few more workbook pages. I created a loosely-structured outline for our year using Unit Themes and got really excited about arts and crafts. But through my planning I started to realize that my daughter already knew most of the things in the curriculum. We’ve had shapes, colors, numbers, letters, and letter sounds down for nearly two years now.
What we needed was more Kindergarten curriculum mixed in. Cue scramble. Cue me staying up late at night re-working spread sheets to include more challenging activities. Cue the doubts and fears creeping in…
All around me, parents were sending their children off to school, and I was using every last second of my final week of summer with the kids to ensure our new routine would be a success- that I wouldn’t be a complete failure as a homeschool mom on our very first day.
And here’s what I’ve realized:
Dear Future Self,
Hey there, tired lady. You’re looking good! But I bet you’re not feeling so great, are you? Tired? Feeling a little tattered and unappreciated and worn thin? Wondering if it’ll ever click for the kids? Afraid that you’re doing more harm than good?
As I write this, there’s a sleeping little girl upstairs that wants to read and write so badly. My guess is that someday very soon, she’ll be able to do just that. And that sleepy boy? He’ll learn his alphabet and shapes and colors.
Now, I don’t know what you’re facing right now, but I do know this: you chose this lifestyle for very good reasons. You know your kids better than anyone in the world. You know how they learn, you know what sets them up for failure, and you know just how to pick them up again when they fall, and set them back on the right path. No one is more equipped to do this than you.
I also want to remind you that even now, at this young age, your kids have caring, free-spirited, loving hearts. They are curious about the world around them and they’ve never met a stranger. They love learning and they love people. It’s a winning combination that requires strong character and integrity. And where do you think they might have learned something so delicately taught?
They’re going to be fine…
And you’re going to be fine…
Just keep going…
Around this time every summer, I watch the days start to get shorter and shorter. It's happening already. I can feel summer drawing to a close. My sticky skin feels he faintest hint of relief as shadows get longer each day.
But the ending of this particular summer feels significant somehow. It's the last time we'll mark the end of the warm season by beginning a school routine. For the first time ever, I'm cutting my own summer short by beginning to plan curriculum and set up a school room. It feels like the end of an era... from here on out, things are only bound to get busier and busier by the season. Activities will take precedence over impromptu date nights and our days of early bedtimes for the kids are numbered.
If I think about it too much, my head starts to spin. I get overwhelmed not at all the things left to do, but at my complete lack of control in it all. Then I have to remind myself: it's not about losing control; it's about finding a new normal. Soon, we will fall into a new routine, and yet no day will be like the one before.
My heart is excited for this new season! But for now, I'm hanging onto these last rays of summer...
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My name is Chelsea. Redeemed. Wife. Mommy. Photographer. Light Chaser. I hope you find light here too.