Each August we are ready to dive into the new school year. We have new books, new pencils, new co-op classes, and exciting field trips planned. Our fall school session is productive. We school from mid-August until Thanksgiving with no real hiccups. We accomplish everything in my plans.
I feel great!
Then Christmas season arrives.
We hit a slump. We have shopping, gift-making, preparations for all the baking I plan to do, and costume orders for the dance recital. Then in January we have a musical production.
As I check that our books are all where they should be, update the online planner, and gather our supplies to start again I kick myself for letting us take six – yes, SIX – weeks off! What was I thinking? We will never get back in the swing of things.
Then I remind myself: one reason we homeschool is to match school to our family’s needs. We cannot do all of our school work during show week. We are at the theater until midnight many nights. Then the kids need to sleep. But no matter how I feel, we cannot really get behind in any subject – because I set the schedule. Finally, I look at what we actually did in those six weeks and realize – we never truly took time off. The kids learned; they moved forward without direct instruction and workbooks!
My biggest challenge, my biggest struggle as a homeschool mom is reliance on curricula to teach my kids. Yes, I need a Latin program because I don’t know Latin. Yes, I need a history book to help me keep the timeline straight. What I don’t need is to let my curriculum choices drive my homeschool. Learning can happen in different ways.
In those six weeks of no “school,” we accomplished the following:
- Lilly read a book daily! For my struggling reader, this is big!
- Aidan finished a few books of his choosing and started one of my choosing.
- Lilly worked on Reading Eggs and Mathseeds.
- Aidan did some math pages. When I went to mark off what he had finished – it was a full unit!
- Lilly did art everyday. She painted, sculpted, and drew some amazing pieces!
- Aidan did a couple of president report pages, worked on his writing assignments, and did some Latin when he was bored.
- Both kids participated in a musical production. Lilly helped me sew costumes, and Aidan helped his dad build sets and set up sound equipment.
While we did not check boxes on my list, learning happened as life happened.
Tomorrow we go back to our normal schedule, but I am in control of our school. I don’t want to let the curricula take over again.
We will use All About Reading, but if Lilly wants to read me a book instead, we will. If Aidan wants to get out his math puzzle books instead of reading graphs and charts – fine. They will learn just as much, if not more, when they are doing what they enjoy.
Rabbit trails make the planner in me crazy, but we will follow where they lead. Not every day, but I will make an effort to let the kids go when they find something worth exploring more.
Cheryl–Cheryl is a singing, dancing, baking, homeschooling mom of three. She has danced her whole life and taught ballet and theatre for most of her adult life. Her favorite pastime has always been cooking and baking, and as a Pampered Chef Independent Consultant she gets to share that love with others. Home educating her three children has been and continues to be one of her greatest learning experiences! It is an adventure she is ready to continue.