The education of these, my children, has taken a different path this year than in previous ones.
I struggled with all the things that must be done in all of the many areas of life that needed doing this summer without any additional learning requirements... so I have spent many moments wondering how it would all flow when homeschooling had to begin for the year- or if I would even survive. Home educating the way that I have has required many long hours every day- how would I add those hours to an already full day of canning, cheese making, laundry and garden chores? As overwhelmed as I already felt, I didn't want to be the frazzled woman who tried in vain to get everything done mediocrely, all the while becoming stressed and short-tempered and unlovely to the ones around me. I know, as any honest woman knows, that one can't do it all. But I also knew 'it all' was important.
My thoughts would turn to this throughout the day, churning around in my mind how to accomplish everything that needed to be accomplished- and to do so WELL. In a lovely way. In a gracious way. In a joyous way. I realized two things.
1) I don't want to just survive, I want to thrive. I want the things that I do (and how I do them) to show exude joy and not chaos...peace and not stress.
2) I realized that one of the most important lessons to teach my children about education is that home education is a pleasure. If I raise scholars who became so despite their own educational experience and refuse to homeschool, then I have failed. If I raise godly men and women who remember a frazzled and overwhelmed mother who struggled to meet their educational needs and so choose not to homeschool themselves, then it was I who convinced them that home education is too much of a pain, a challenge, and not worth the effort. If I-as an unlovely and stressed out, stretched-too-thin mother-raise children who hated their own experiences homeschooling, then I have failed at home education.
I knew that something must change. I can't do it all. But the important things I want to do- and I want to do them well.
In previous years I would gather supplies in advance...plan a fun little 'first day of school' treat and then dive right into the school year.
This year, for my childrens' sanity and my own, I made the decision that while the garden still grows, the warm winds beckon and the tasks loom greatly ahead of me, we will gently ease into the school year. We have been doing school for several weeks now...but the rule is we are done by 12:30 and not a minute more. This leaves the afternoons for me to accomplish the tasks that seem always before me. When frost finally arrives (and I have reached the point of hoping for it to come!) and the garden can be tucked in for a long winters' nap, well, then we can dive right into education and fill our days with learning and be more vigorous in our studies.
For now, though, the mornings hold little bits- of reading, science, history, math and spelling. A toe-dipping into the school year, if you will.
A gentle easing in- and it has been quite lovely.