Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Balance part 2

Balance in Homeschool

One of the best things about homeschooling is that you can tailor each child's education to that particular child. One of the worst things about homeschooling is that you have to know or at least take a pretty good guess about what individual child needs. The shocking thing is that I don't always get it right the first time. This thought haunts me at night and keeps me searching message boards, reading yet another book and buying even more curricula looking for just the right one. I will admit that a good 70% of my time is either spent actually homeschooling, reading about homeschooling, talking about homeschooling or thinking about homeschooling. This might qualify as an obsession.

The first several months of the school year is spent just trying everything out, the next in evaluating how everything is working, by January I have changed several things and then it is time to start thinking about the next year.

I always start the year overly ambitious and add on too many things, by mid September I am taking things off the kids schedule. As I spoke about in Balance part 1, I have been trying to add in some balance to my life and I have had to take a seriously look at some of our academic choices so that both the kids and I can achieve a little more balance. The first thing I had to do was take a long hard look at where Caileigh and Collin are. They are only 10 and in the current pattern they would graduate very early. I had to take a serious look at how much I would have to push in the next couple of years to be able to have them ready for high school and after a struggle with my pride I talked to Scott about giving them an extra year in middle school. Scott sees things so much more calmly. I thought I was sharing some earth shattering news and he just said, "that seems like a good idea, that way they can off to college at 18. They would finish the history cycle like you want before high school wouldn't they?". I replied, "yes", and the conversation was over with a "Good thinking, honey". I stopped pushing the twins quite so hard and school has gone smoother and I am at a lot more peace with that decision.

I have had to think about Connor's schooling as well. I have had to think about where we want him academically and what we actually need to do to accomplish that. I have had to balance the academic workload to the extra-curricular activities that we deem important: piano, karate, and Bible Bowl. I also need to give the poor boy time to read a fun book, to play with his brother and sister and to hang out with his friends. Life cannot be academics alone. ( I know, those of you who know me well are asking yourselves if I am feeling okay..)

For me, balance requires me to stop pushing so hard but for others balance might be pushing a little harder. When I worked at a Focus on the Family, Dr Dobson always said, "Be a student of your spouse and your children.". I find this to be so true, when I become a student of my kids I become more cognizant of what they need, not what I want. I learn to balance academics with outside life and give all of us a little down time. I schedule a fun activity at least once a day and I make sure I play with them.

I am working hard at being what God wants me to be and to be the wife, mom, teacher and friend that He desires me to be. Apparently, that means that I have to be more balanced and not as driven. It is hard for me but I do have to admit that home has been a more peaceful, fun place to be.


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