I know, I know--I said I was going to slow down on blogging. But in truth I have. You'll notice the last few days worth of posts are of the fast-track non-thinking variety--journaling, photos, excerpts, and links. I do have some more reflective drafts on the back burner, but they will have to wait a bit longer to come to a boil.
We started school on Wednesday. But we started in first gear--limiting ourselves to just a few subjects--and pretty much stayed there all three days. Next week we'll ease into second, third, and God willing, even fourth gear. We need to have a good month because on September 30 we are leaving for two-and-a-half weeks in Grenada, and the books are not going with us (at least, not many of them).
I am optimistic about the coming year. Several of the things that made last year so difficult are behind us. And I think I have come up with a very workable schedule, one that includes time for exercise for the whole family (something we sorely need). I am always interested in seeing how other homeschoolers structure their days, so I thought I would offer a little peek into my daily plan for the coming year:
6:00-7:30 Wake up, pray, read Bible, do morning chores (My new school year's resolution is to not get sucked into the computer first thing, but to save that for later in the day so that I can get off to a more reflective beginning each morning.)
7:30-8:30 French, history or grammar, depending on the day (We do subjects requiring direct instruction early, before the youngest of us has awakened.)
8:30-9:30 Exercise (My husband and I will be alternating taking our two older children to the community recreation center during this time while the other stays home with the 4-year-old; maybe on occasion we'll leave the older kids behind so we can exercise together!)
9:30-10:00 Devotion and catechism (Dad leads M/T/Th/F, with me covering Wednesday due to his needing to be at day school chapel.)
10:00-12:00 Shower, do more household chores/laundry and supervise school, helping as needed but not directly instructing
12:30 Take Caitlin and Evan to day school, Evan for preschool and Caitlin for art and music
1:00-3:15 This is my golden time. Mondays through Thursdays I will be home alone with Trevor, who is self-directed and independent, so this is my opportunity to do things that require concentration and an absence of interruptions: piano practicing, lesson planning and grading, reading, writing, emailing, phone calling, blogging, and yes, napping. :-)
3:15-4:00 Pick up Caitlin and Evan at school.
4:00-6:00 Piano teaching or children's choir accompanying, depending on the day
6:00-7:00 Supper (except on Tuesday, when it will have to be earlier to accommodate Confirmation at 6:30-8:00)
7:00-9:00 Adult church choir on Thursday--otherwise, I hope this time of day will involve some relaxation, but since housework is never done (to paraphrase a friend), I expect many evenings will have their share of tasks to complete.
9:00-10:00 Put Evan to bed. Seems like a long time block, but while I care for him all day long, I don't typically play with him much during the day. So in addition to the usual--putting on pajamas, brushing teeth, etc.--we spend time reading, playing together on his bedroom floor, and saying prayers.
10:00-11:00 Get ready for bed, spend time with husband, read, and unwind before sleeping.
Tuesdays and Fridays vary a little from this schedule, as I don't do any piano teaching or accompanying on those days. Friday is literature class in the morning, so exercising moves to the afternoon. And Tuesday is my husband's day off, so that is the day we are most likely to throw this schedule out the window and do something totally different.
As I look this plan over my reaction is that I can do this. Last year I routinely woke up at 5:00 or 5:30; this year I'm planning on sleeping until 6:00! And overall, the schedule seems quite reasonable and manageable. So why in the past, as the year has progressed, have I sometimes felt so completely overwhelmed? Well, in addition to the obvious culprits (hormones and aging), there are all the other things that come up from day to day, demanding my attention, that are not accounted for here. Things like shopping and doctor appointments and caring for my mother and driving to chess tournaments and playing for choir concerts and Solo & Ensemble competitions and editing for Liturgy Solutions and Brothers of John the Steadfast and then of course, there's tax season and Christmas . . . .
I'm not complaining. I am immensely blessed to be able to stay home and teach my children and to have a husband that supports me in doing so. And I am thankful for a life that is so full that I am kept busy tending to it. But I'm hoping and praying that this year will indeed be a little easier than last and that come February the optimistic, energetic can-do spirit before you will not have given way to a panicked, teary, and exhausted shell of a human being that is simply struggling to make it through the day.