For the past few years I have said that the current school year was the hardest ever. I am saying that again about this year! I think I see a recurring theme--homeschooling is difficult. And I think that the more older children you have the harder it is. I know I used to think that homeschooling with a newborn and a two year old was hard, but I actually think my last few years have been even more challenging. The physical workload has lessened, but the mental/organization/coordination of events workload has definitely increased. I can only offer these few words of wisdom for fellow mothers deep in the trenches of homeschooling multiple children, some of which include high-schoolers:
- Seek the Lord and His wisdom for you and your family--daily. Reading and studying God's Word and praying must be your top daily priority.
- Get your homeschooling materials as organized as you possibly can before you begin your school year.
- Create a workable schedule or at least a routine of your days--and stick to it.
- Be realistic with your personal goals in all areas--housework, meal preparation, projects, laundry, errands, marathon training, etc.
- In addition to beginning each day with Bible reading and prayer (and get up however early you need to in order for this to happen), make a list of what you need to do/places to go/food to prepare/copies to make/phone calls to make/etc. each and every morning.
- Meet with your children together each morning for a time for general announcements and telling them the plan for the day. I'm pretty sure I have shared this before, but I think it is important for children to know what is expected of them each day--especially things that deviate from their normal routine. We have this discussion each day as we begin our daily Bible time sitting aroudn our kitchen table.
- Smile at your children and your husband, tell them you love them, and enjoy your life--warts and all!
- Be thankful. Remember, there is always, always, always something to be thankful for!
About this week--I am almost through with Week 2 of my current marathon training. Leanna and I ran 15 miles this morning, and I was home by 8:20 to begin school. I have felt pretty much wiped out all day, but except for one 5 mile run (that I plan to do Saturday), I am done with this week's running. Sadly, Lynn is running the St. Jude Half Marathon instead of the full, so I am missing training with her. We hope that she will join us for her long runs which will be the same distance as our medium runs some weeks. Running, either with friends or alone, is excellent therapy.
I am due a new pair of running shoes (I have about 400 miles on these), and I am so happy that the shoe I wear, Brooks Glycerin, comes in pink this year! I am wishing for a new pair of pink running shoes for my upcoming birthday.
I miss Olivia. I am so happy for her and she is adjusting so well, but I miss her. She is spending a great deal of time studying each day, but we are talking and/or texting her each and every day. I am also sending her mail of some sort 3-5 times a week. We mailed her some homemade granola bars (lovingly made by Julie) today.
Leah and Sam are really enjoying our Apologia science book about the ocean animals (I can't think of the official title right now). They spent over an hour yesterday painting a box (one each) inside and out with two shades of blue paint. It is an "ocean". Each week they will make sea creatures out of paper, clay, pipe cleaners, etc., to place in their ocean box. I can't wait to see the finished product at the end of our school year. We have been studying whales for the last two weeks, and as usual, I am learning so much myself! We visited Winter (from the movie Dolphin Tale) this summer, and that has made learning about whales--and dolphins--so much more fun!
Clay is participating in a biology co op this year. None of my children have done anything like this before, but I really like it. They are doing experiments, writing lab reports, and hearing a teacher (homeschool mother) lecture about and explain the contents of each module. The science class meets weekly for 1.5 hours on Thursdays. And then we run a few errands and head to cross country practice. Julie, Leah, Sam, and I go to the library while Clay is at his science class. I do school with them while we are there, but they also have some free time to browse the library. And of course they are bringing books home to read and for me to read to them--as if we don't have enough books (especially for me to read aloud) in our Sonlight cores! But who can deny a child books?
That's pretty much what's been going on around here. Oh, and Monday night Leah and I attended our monthly Keepers at Home meeting. Lynn, Leanna, and I are teaching the class for the months of September, October, and November. Our skill--macrame'! By the end of the 3rd meeting, we hope that all of the girls will complete their plant hanger and earn the macrame' pin.