Monday, June 7, 2010

Looking ahead...

    A home school mother’s work is never done.  As soon as one school year ends, I must plan for the next.  I finished up all our grades, filled out the children’s report cards and sent them off just last week.  I breathed a sigh of relief that we were done with formal lessons for another year and sat back to relax.  Then, almost immediately, I started planning for next year.  I wanted to just take a little while off, concentrate on summer school fun and enjoy the break but I find, I cannot help myself.  Next year is right around the corner and I seem to automatically shift to planning mode after wrapping up the final days of teaching. 
    I have never bought what I once heard called, “school in a box”.  This was, in fact, the first year I had bought prepared lesson plans, and even then I switched a few things out.  I actually found, despite the convenience of the ready-made lessons, I prefer building my own curriculum.  So, I have been spending time the last few days making lists.  Things I liked and know I want to continue using.   Things I want to check out and look into.  Things I need to ask my friends about.   I have narrowed down more than half our books for next year.  The rest I am busily researching.  I have poured over websites, considered many recommendations, borrowed and peeked at books from friends.   This is undoubtedly one of my favorite parts of home schooling.  I love lists.  I love planning our school year.  I love when the boxes of new books arrive and they have that new book smell and they are fresh and shiny and have never been opened.  I always feel so optimistic about our school year as I plan it ahead of time.
    Even this year, as burnt out as I was feeling just a few weeks ago, I am having fun trying to decide what books to use and how I’ll put it all together.  At the same time, I am worrying about the logistics of teaching all four of my older children and chasing after an active toddler (baby will surely be walking by the time we start up again).   So, this year, as part of my planning, I am praying.  I am going to try to focus much more on enjoying the time with my children again.  I got away from that in the last year or so and thought of our school time as just school time.  I want to remember that it is family time, as well.  It is my time to put my children first, before the housework, before phone calls, before playing on the computer.   I want to delight in watching them learn and in sharing the time with them.  I want to get excited to learn with them again, like we did the first few years.   I am keeping an open mind and reminding myself that it won’t be all rosy and perfect and pretty each day, of course.  Still it is my hope that, God willing, next year will be one of our best, a time of learning, discovering and growing together not necessarily because I pick out the very best books, or create the most amazing lesson plans but because I remember each day to be grateful for the gift of my children and my family and for the opportunity to spend this time together.

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