Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

Just DO it.

If you’re unfamiliar with our schedule this year, we have school for four weeks, then take a week-long break, all year long (with a couple extra weeks in December, between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next, which is on Jan 1).

This week, thank all that is sacred in that which was, is and ever shall be, is our off week. We had kind of a wonky schedule over the summer, with a lighter workload and more days off than I’d originally planned. As is wont to happen, I started feeling like things were sliding, so in a fabulous (but misguided) flurry of organization and determination, I announced that we would henceforth be putting our noses to the grindstone and get back on track. Somehow, in my blaze of glory, I decided that the best way to accomplish this was to skip the last break, which put us at 6 weeks straight of school.

Oh, silly young Padawan… there is still much to learn.

The funny thing is, I already knew that this was a mistake. Our schedule last year was 6 weeks on, one off. We only had school 4 days a week, but I realized towards the end of the year that 6 weeks was too long. We all get burned out, and consistently, by the end of week 6, I was seriously struggling to get schoolwork organized and the kids were lollygagging about, doing any and everything but schoolwork. After 5 weeks, max, we all needed a break! This just goes to remind me that, even as a somewhat more experienced homeschooling mom (now that I’m almost through our 2nd year), that lingering ‘school’ mentality still exists.

So, in an effort to maybe have these things sink in (AGAIN), I give you my list of reminders why homeschooling is awesome:

  • City ISD school year calendar and State Education Association list of skills by grade: these are not the schedules you’re looking for.
  • There WILL BE gaps in their education. No matter where they go to school, or in what style they’re educated, or how many days and weeks they spend learning, there is always MORE to know. No two ideals of what is ‘core knowledge’ will match up, so stop trying to please everyone else! Teach them how to learn, and to love learning that they will be FINE AMAZING.
  • For the love of Pete, stop trying to ‘catch up’. Education is a marathon, not a race. They’re going to be ahead in some things and behind in others. That’s okay… they’ll get there when they need to.
  • Remember the fun stuff! Education is not just about book learnin’. There are arts and crafts and gluing macaroni and cotton balls to construction paper. It’s creating seed mosaics and painting with food dyes, exploring the world, doing it themselves, and learning at the knee of a seasoned professional with knowledge to share. Revel in the fact that you have freedom from the established norm – the amazing opportunity – to collect these types of learning experiences for your children. Be willing to go out and MAKE them happen for them!
  • Breaks are essential to balance. Being parent and teacher is an extremely stressful job. It’s easy – too easy sometimes – to get caught up in the constant pressure and demand for educational excellence that homeschooling parents deal with. It comes from within and from outside – but it cannot rule your relationship with your kids. Take breaks often and enjoy them fully. Laze about and relax!
Now, I’m off to work on costumes for Halloween and the upcoming Renaissance Faire with my clever little trolls. We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled program next week with updates on our workbox modifications and NVC progress.

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