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Monday, July 25, 2016

Countdown: 4 Weeks Until Our Homeschool is Back in Session

I was adding events to our family calendar the other day and it hit me…only 4 more weeks until our 2016-2017 homeschool year starts.  Eek!  Where did the summer go?

4 weeks-001I haven’t put away LAST year’s materials. My resources for this coming year are still in unsightly piles.

And as late as a week ago, it dawned on me that some of what I had planned just wasn’t going to work with the kids I’ve got (or the mom that I am).  I had to scrap the custom planning sheets I had designed for myself and do a major rethink on some core stuff.

The rethink is still happening, but it is finally taking some shape in my mind and with it I’m starting to get a clearer picture of what our days will (hopefully) look like in the coming months.  I’ve got some direction and feel a little less blind.  It’s time to sit down and put all this stuff together.  I know from personal experience that things are really (really) bumpy if we start the year without a firm plan in place, so I need to make this happen.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all. 

That’s why I wanted to check in and let you know that if you are getting ready start in a few weeks (or even next week) and don’t have it quite all together…it’s ok!  We’ll get there together.  Even if it is one little step at a time.

I’ll be posting our plans for the year soon, but this week I am focusing on organizing my home (we are doing a bit of rearranging to simplify things), our homeschool materials, and my brain. 

Reorganizing our home---we are decommissioning our homeschool room.

A couple of years ago I wrote about how I had resisted (for years) having a room to do school in, but how dedicating one room for educational purposes had been so freeing.  And well…

schoolroom 1

…It was true at the time.  But as time wore on, I found that we were using the “schoolroom” less and less for our seatwork and were migrating more and more back into the kitchen.  For lots of reasons.

Better natural lighting.  Food.  Closer to the backyard.  Because it wasn’t the “school” room. 

This created more problems, though, because my school stuff was in the schoolroom and it started migrating into the kitchen where it didn’t really have a home.  Because there was a schoolroom.

It’s not as though we didn’t use the schoolroom at all, we just didn’t really use it for our formal studies unless I needed to work with a child individually (except then I was more likely to curl up on the sofa in the living room or on the stairs or anywhere else).

So I started thinking about it and the more I thought about it, the more it didn’t make sense to have a “school” room for our family.  It made more sense to have a “play” room.  Or call it a creativity room or a learning room or an exploration room or even a game room.  But not a school room. 

Life is too short for me to take up a whole room in my house for school books-notebooks-paper-pencils-printers, etc.  I’d rather use that room to live and learn in. 

I said it wasn’t being used for “formal studies,” but there was plenty of learning going on there.  Board games were invented.  Comic books were created.  Stories were written.  Tunes were puzzled out on the piano. 

And so we moved the school books off the shelves, moved in all the family board games, cleared all the notebooks and school papers out…anyway, at the moment it is still a colossal mess because I have all of this coming year’s homeschool materials on the floor in there and there’s a huge vintage dollhouse that a friend gave to my daughter that is being temporarily housed in there and some of the contents of the same daughter’s bedroom are in there as she cleans out and rearranges her room to make room for that dollhouse.


Yep.  It’s a proper mess.  We’ll get it sorted out. 

So as I worked on reclaiming this room for my family’s life, I realized that I needed to reorganize our homeschool and my approach to education.

I’ll be talking more about this later on as I lay out our plans for the year, but what it boils down to is this:  the plan isn’t everything.  In fact, maybe it isn’t even the most important thing.

When we imagine that our children’s education is contained within what we plan for them, we limit them, we suppress their potential, and we drive ourselves batty.  Our children are not limited by our imagination.

When we believe that the bulk of learning only happens between certain hours or when we are following our curriculum, we are shutting ourselves into a box

I know, that sounds all vague and not at all helpful.  I promise you that I’ll get into the nitty-gritty here in the coming days. 

Are you getting ready to start a new year?

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