We made it through
We got through the first six-week unit of homeschool!
I gotta say, it was not easy…
Didn’t think I was gonna make it unscathed.
Two homeschools in one house
For several weeks, I felt like I had two homeschools going on in my home. I had a fourth-grade homeschool and a first-grade homeschool. I was teaching two very different children with two curricula that didn’t match up…or so I thought.
I absolutely love the curriculum that I’ve chosen for both my girls. It is developed by the same cmpany and builds on the level from the year before. It is a literature-based curriculum so I get to introduce my kids to so many wonderful new books.
(I am considering keeping the fourth-grade unit literature for my first grader, but I am not sure if the materials list will have significant updates in the next three years.)
Add to that the commute to co-op, ballet, jiu-jitsu, blogging/emailing/social media, my new teaching schedule, my new green events schedule, my attempts at professional enrichment, and my (>) month-long sabbatical from coffee…
This doesn’t include the have to’s, like cooking, quasi-cleaning, maintaining digital portfolios and spending time with the kids.
My eyes were constantly watery, itchy, and puffy. My kitchen looked like an understaffed Waffle House on Independence Day (of course, issues with a broken water main exacerbated that problem). The patio and porch were not very cozy or welcoming. Everybody was sleeping in my bedroom at one point because I did not have the energy to tidy the other bedroom.
Then, I had an epiphany. And decided to see how the two curricula could possibly overlap. At what point could I focus on one child while the other completed an assignment? Were there books that they could read independently? Could portions of one child’s curriculum include the other child (for example a game requiring two or more persons)? That way, they could play while I prepared a snack, or cleaned the kitchen from breakfast or lunch.
That tweak helped shorten some of their instructional time.
What did I do with that extra time?
Not leaving myself any buffer time
Being a naturally antsy person, I immediately looked for ways to fill that newly found down-time.
And many ways were easily found.
Business builiding courses, seminars, podcasts, etc.
A lot of them would have been quite beneficial.
Except I didn’t stick with anything to gain one bit of mastery.
As I write this, I recall a conversation I had with my oldest daughter. She was feeling a little guilty for not joining her dad for an early morning beach outing to watch the turtle migration. To her point, he called at 6:50 a.m. to invite her to an outing when he was leaving now.
Like now, now.
She was still asleep and unable to say no. She froze. So, I had to step in and let him know that she was still asleep and wasn’t ready to go with the family to the beach.
Learning (and re-learning) about making choices
The conversation we had afterward was about choices. I explained to her something I had learned (or so I thought) from a Steve Jobs quote.
“Focus…means saying no to the 100 other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully.”
While going to the beach might have been a good idea. Proper rest is also a good idea, and she chose that.
I had to, once again, practice saying No.
And not to other people.
I had to say no to my own fascination to the idea of learning…of self-improvement. Although I love taking time to improve personally and professionally, I have to set up parameters for my own health. Add it to my schedule and shuffle, or eliminate other items.
To my guilty need to make sure I have more money than month. I am by no means a workaholic, but I don’t like the feeling of not having enough to take care of the essentials.
Saying no to that person who wants to beat herself up for not sacrificing all for the sake of the kids. I have to remember to take care of myself if I want to have the strength to care for my children.
That’s what I determined to do during the weeklong unit break.
…While I cleaned my house and did property inspections…
As it turns out, I did not complete the property inspections. I did not do the monthly cleaning during the break.
I didn’t even make the commute to ballet or jiu-jitsu. I stayed home. Rested. And enjoyed my time with my kids.
Rest and renewed excitement
And I was excited to get to Unit 2 work and unit literature for the next six weeks.
I am still teaching a first-grade homeschool and a fourth-grade homeschool, but I take more time to for preparations so that instruction time goes as smoothly as possible.
I downloaded a new meditation app on my phone with short, mini-meditations when I need a quick reset.
I have adjusted my work schedule so that I can accommodate my daughter’s schedule and still earn money without exhausting myself.
I am embracing my crockpots more and more.
Although I have an outline of the entire 6-week unit, I don’t finalize the next week’s schedule until the Friday before. I schedule weekly Teatime and monthly Family Meetings around the academic workload. Teatime is helpful to schedule on the day after a full day.
Don’t be fooled, though. I am already planning for my restful week (sleeping until 6:00 A.M.) during the unit break in October.