Holidays are over and it is back to school time. Normally around this time each year I start to panic. I look at how much time is left in the official school year and before testing and what not, and I think to myself – well, we are utterly failing. We are not getting enough done, there is so much more I want my child to learn, blah blah blah, never mind that it gets done, every year, and we are more than prepared for testing. It doesn’t matter. I am officially in panic mode and sure that this is the year we fail. Now, normally I have two children that I am freaking out over, but with one in school this year – well, I kind of feel like that one is pretty well set. However, this means I have one child to freak out over instead. This poor child, the focus of my last year homeschooling and yes – the amount of things that I wanted to accomplish is fairly massive. But interestingly enough, I am not freaking out as much as I normally do and it is a strange feeling.
I have always been one of those moms that can’t step away from a chosen curriculum without much wringing of the hands. I feel like I have failed on some level if we are not done it all. Well, I looked at her science over break and it just wasn’t cutting it. She had said she wanted to do Marine Biology this year as it was something she had always loved. I was like, yeah! How much fun will that be?! Well, it turns out it was no fun at all. We spent the last four months dragging through it – she just hates it. Over Christmas I suggested we toss it and do Anatomy and Physiology instead. Guess who was all over it? Yup. So now we are already doing it and she loves it. Go figure.
Well, I was so proud of myself for making that leap; I started looking at other things I could chop as well. I had a diagramming sentences thing that I was doing with her. The workbook was also torture, but she didn’t mind doing them on her own without the book. Axed! We had a French program that we were tinkering with. Axed and moved on to something else! Once I made the decision to start letting go of things that were not necessarily something that had to happen, it felt like the world started opening up. It was as though a weight was lifted, I think off of both our shoulders, and we allowed ourselves to start looking at the ways we could make it all more enjoyable. There are things that she has to do – like math. So she had started this pre-algebra program and it was really boring. So I looked for a different one that incorporates games that involve every skill learned. She loves it! Now I know that next year she is going to be back in school and she is going to have to learn to tolerate whatever science, math, whatever that she has to learn – but that is next year.
She has a lifetime of learning ahead of her. If I can make this year special, this year entertaining and enjoyable, then perhaps future learning might not be so horrible. I know she won’t play games in Algebra I, but I don’t need her to. I need her to have a good time this year and learn while she is at it. I want her to enjoy her last year with me without not blowing it off for one more field trip (because God knows we do way too many of those already).
The fact of the matter is that I enjoy my girl, I enjoy our time together, and I love watching her learn. Next year, all that changes and it makes me sad. But it also excites me for her to move on to the next part of her life and her world and I think she is going to be ok. She won’t have weekly field trips or games with her studies, but she will find her own fun instead and make lots of new friends doing it. So my advice to you other homeschool moms – if you are anything like me you simply need to relax and know that your children are learning. They may not always learn the way we originally set out for them to; they may not learn everything that we had planned for this year. But over time they will do just fine, and so will you.