Summer Has Almost Come to an End
How is it already the end of summer? My overwhelmed mamma brain races as I think of starting back to our “school” routine soon. I better make a list, organize, figure out how I am going to meet all those summer goals, meal plan, deep clean the kitchen, go to used book sales….the list goes on and on.
There are obvious thoughts that swim through our brain this time of year. Did I buy the right curriculum? Will our budget withstand new additions to our homeschool? Are we organized? Do we have a good routine set in place?
I want to do better this year. I think we always feel as though we are not enough. Not enough as a mom, a teacher, a wife, a general person…and let’s be honest, a maid and a short-order cook.
Most of all, I would like to have more grace with my children. As a mom with twin toddlers, I have days when I have a short temper. I try so hard to keep it together for my children, but some days I fall short. I want to be open to learning experiences that are unplanned and messy. I would like to go out more, even if it means that our visit may end with a loud screaming tantrum with our family surrounded by the eyes of people judging us. We know that less and less of our world welcomes loud, messy families, and I definitely feel that the more we go out in the world. God has blessed us with some growing family friendships this year that has made me feel less alone and more accepted, and that is priceless. That alone makes me feel optimistic that this year we may hit our stride.
I have to keep in mind one of the many benefits to homeschooling is flexibility. If we are not ready, we don’t have to start. If I need to take a week and organize our lives and get some structure put in place, I can absolutely do that and involve the kids in the process as part of their learning. After all, they need to understand how to build some structure so they can be productive in their own lives. Learning is life. “Starting” school for the year doesn’t have to be a big deal. If it suits your family to have a big start-up or a party, do it. But it is also ok to continue learning throughout the summer and ease in and out of more strenuous activities throughout the year.
I had grand goals of focusing on reading for my pre-reader and math for my eldest throughout the summer. We ended up doing plenty of activities and learning with friends, and even though that wasn’t what I planned, it ended up being so rich for all of us. Isn’t that the truth? So many times, the best things in life are the things we don’t plan. I should remind my anxious self of that more often when I make grandiose plans that get “disrupted” by well, you know, life.
We also did a lot of life learning this summer by practicing our word recognition and math skills at parks, restaurants, grocery stores, and friends’ houses. Learning doesn’t stop because you step outside your door or the classroom; in fact, that is where learning comes alive.
As we head into this new school year, whatever that looks like for our families, let’s have grace on ourselves and ask God to lead us and make the ultimate decisions. Take the weight off your shoulders, keep the pressure off, and let Him guide you in leading your children into the future.
Candice Parks is a mother of four and a wife of a wonderful husband. She is a former special education teacher who is passionate about discussing the benefits and the blessings of homeschooling your children. The Parks enjoy learning about life, playing games, baking, and reading together as a family. Check out her family’s journey and curriculum reviews on www.instagram.com/parkshomeclassroom.