I promised myself I wouldn’t think about school until after Labor Day. (Back when we were in private school, we all liked the rhythm of school starting after Labor Day. That was my excuse.)
So we enjoyed our end-of-summer hurrah last Monday, and Tuesday morning we had a little pow-wow at the dining room table to talk about our school year: my ten-year-old, my eight-year-old, and me.
We made a list–together–of the subjects we’re studying. We talked about when the kids would prefer to tackle math (early, when they’re fresh) and extended reading time (during rest time, when they’re not).
Wednesday is my day off, so we started school on Thursday.
We began the day with a special breakfast, and then we plunged into a light version of a regular school day: half a math lesson, a short writing lesson, reading with my six-year-old. No Latin, no spelling. I wanted my kids to get a feel for the rhythm of the school day, and honestly, I needed to get a feel for things, too.
Despite the relaxed load, I was hiding in my room with a book by 11:00 a.m.
The day really went fine. (I did manage to put down the book.) The kids did great. Objectively, it was a good day. But I felt really uneasy about the whole thing and couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
That night, when my husband asked me how it went, I surprised myself by getting weepy–not the emotion I was expecting to come bubbling to the surface.
We had our first day of school, and it went fine. But I realized I was melting at the possibility of spending 7 hours a day, four days a week–just like that–for the rest of the school year. I like homeschooling, and I think it’s a good choice for my family right now, but I don’t want it to be the only thing I do all day. Maybe I could survive it, but it wouldn’t be thriving.
Luckily, that weekend I was interviewing candidates for a new mother’s helper, to replace the ones who just left for college. We found someone fabulous, she started this week, and glory hallelujah, what a difference it makes.
This week I realized anew–between my own experience and counseling some friends suffering from Fall Overwhelm–that the family life we’ve carefully constructed relies on a little bit of help to make it work, and definitely doesn’t account for learning curves.
This week we’re a bit more adjusted, and we had help. With help (and only six hours of it, though that will be less than normal) our homeschool days went great (thanks, in no small part, to my improved attitude and reduced stress level). Plus, the laundry was done, the kitchen was clean, and I got my work done.
I think it’s gonna work.
There are definitely still some wrinkles to iron out. I keep losing our schedule. We desperately need a chore chart, and some kind of token system for screen. I’m still figuring out how to teach Latin.
But I think we’re gonna get there.
Tomorrow, I’ll share a more detailed version of our homeschool schedule and the curriculum we’re using this year. (And for those of you who really don’t care, we’ll be back to regular programming with some geeky goodness on Sunday, then it’s Twitterature on Monday. Get your posts ready!)
Am I the only one with fall scheduling angst? (Also, hit me up with workable systems for managing kids’ screen time and chores?)