Some moms are excited... those new Home School Mommas who can't wait to start. Some mothers are hesitant to start.... knowing the schedules that will be coming. Some of us are looking forward to the start of the year because we know that it is time....... but are still enjoying the last lazy days of summer.
There are those homeschoolers who are very strict about starting after labor day. Then there are some who have already begun their year in earnest. Then there are people like me... who are waiting...enjoying the quietness and wanting a few more days to just relax.
.............Planning...............I love to plan for school. Searching for the perfect book, laying out the most creative way to incorporate every aspect of that subject and trying to make sure that we cover it all... that is fun to me. What isn't so fun is when my perfect little plan doesn't fall together as joyfully as I had envisioned it. I mean.. why don't they think this as much fun as I do? :) smile...
..............Supplies..................I love to buy all the new books for school and get all the little folders, entice their creative side with pretty pencils and cool gadgets..... but they soon lose their luster and/or get lost. After 10 years of homeschooling I have finally gotten to the point of simplicity. Yes.. we do get a day to shop for school and it is fun but we don't need all the gadgets and we can get by w/o all the frills. At least my checkbook feels that way. What I have found is that it has been fun to teach them to be frugal and plan accordingly. To learn to organize their work and be efficient. This is not a gifting I have, I really have to work hard at it. But, I am hoping that it will be easier for them as they grow than it really was for me. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of girl but giving them some structure is always a good thing.
................Goals..............I love making and setting goals, but my goals have always been a little higher ( the perfectionist in me is showing) than adequately reasonable. Don't get me wrong, excellence is a good goal.. expecting myself and my children to complete my very detailed list is a little unrealistic even for the most organized and gifted individual. :) smile....( p.s....That pill took a long time for me to swallow.) But what I have learned is to go back to the basics. Setting goals is necessary because then you know what direction you need to go, setting lofty goals is not bad, setting unrealistic goals can be damaging.
.................Books............Getting the books! That is the most fun. I love to sift through the new books, eager to see what we'll learn this year. Yes, I wrote we... This is the best education I have ever received. I have learned more in my 10 years homeschooling my children than I did through all my years in school and college. And I was a straight A student...learning has always been fun for me. This is the legacy I want to leave my children.. a legacy of learning. A desire to seek God first in all things ( Matt 6:33) and to learn about His creation. He is the giver of wisdom. He instilled the desire to create within us as we are made in His image.(Gen 1:27)
........Organizers......Planners! whew! So many options. I have tried more than my share of them and found again, simplicity works for me. All the bells and whistles are pretty but..... :) I have found a planner I really like, I encourage you to find what fits for you that is inexpensive and accessible. I have found that when I create a journal for each child in those cheap spiral notebooks ( on sale now) it is by far the most consistent and complete planner I have ever used. when I make a general plan in my notebook at the beginning of the year and then leave the details to the journals, I don't become overwhelmed by all I didn't get accomplished. I have a general goal and then try my best to follow it. Last year I used a planner put out by Home Educating Family Magazine called " The Well-Planned Day". I love it and have one for this year along with a book for my oldest who will be entering her first year of High School. I will still use the spiral notebooks but the planner is a place keep track of grades, ect. and is a place to record it all. Tha is one way I have found keeps it all together, so far. Find what works for you...and do that. Don't fit in a mold that was not meant for you, you will come away discouraged and disheartened and that is not what God wants for you. ( me either) ;)
..............Pray.............So we start the new year with eager anticipation of what is to come, relishing the freedom of these last summer days and trying to be diligent to enjoy them. The work is worth the effort, and the Lord will bless those efforts as we give them to him. The most important aspect of preparing is prayer. We must, if we truly expect to have peace in the process, bring it all to the Lord. He is the author and finisher of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2) He is the one who will make it all work out for good. (Romans 8:28) He is ultimately more concerned with the future of our children than we can ever be and His plans for them are to prosper them. ( Jeremiah 29:11)
A few things to share about preparing for the school year as a homeschool mom.
Look to the only One who is ever able to supply all your needs in complete sufficiency. (2 Cor.4:9)
2. Get a vision for your school, make a plan, set some goals, and write it down.
Remember that Proverbs 29:18 tells us that w/o a vision people perish, and Habakkuk 2:2 tells us to write down that vision plainly on tables so that those who read it may run. I love how God shows us so clearly how to make our path smooth.
3. Get the right tools to work at your task.
Be prepared for what you need to do. So many times I found myself ill-prepared and if I would have taken the time to look ahead we would have really enjoyed the learning process. Hindsight is 20/20... however, so learn from my example here and do as I say...not as I have done. :)
4. Get support
It is often so much easier to follow this road when you have a hand to guide you. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us that two are better than one, for when one falls the other can lift them up. This means sometimes we have to be real and willing to admit we need help and can't do it all by ourselves. Praise God when we can do that.. we will bless ourselves and everyone else. Get rid of the assumption your children have to be perfect and everyone else's children are. :) ( btw.. I am speaking to the choir here, but God's grace is always so abundant that he lets us often learn the hard way.. in sweet love and mercy! )
5. Pray some more!
Bring it to the cross every day. Seek His hand, His heart, His face and His light in all of your homeschooling efforts. 1 Cor. 10:31 tells us that whatever we do, in thought word or deed... to do it all for His glory. What else could be more profitable. To educate for His glory.. to be His light and emissary on this earth. Remember your children are your mission field and there is no better investment for you, them and for Jesus.
6. Take a breath and jump in and smile
Don't forget to smile ( and if necessary surround yourself with someone who knows how to make you laugh)
Recently during a quiet moment in my day, when I wasn't actually thinking about anything.. The Lord spoke to my heart and He reminded me that He never called me to walk by what I see. Well..I knew that.. I mean, I did. But He gently reminded me that in all I have brought to him, I must believe in faith that He is working it out. I must walk by faith and not by sight. In the natural, I can't see a definite finish line. I can't see where any of this will work. When will they get it ( my kids...me...me, again) .. .when will I have the patience and resilience of Job, the faith of Abraham, the heart of David, the ability to love like my Savior. Will I be able to educate them to the fullest, no... that won't happen. But, they have a heavenly teacher, the One promised by our Lord.. The precious Holy Spirit and that is good enough.
Walk this out by faith, sowing seeds of righteousness, humility and honor along the way, learning to love and live your life in the true light of His grace.... realizing that you are a part of a most spectacular plan. Not to mention that you are being cheered on by a great cloud of witnesses. (Hebrews 12:1)
Praying for God's grace and mercy and favor over you, and for the best school year you have ever had. May His light shine through and illuminate every door He alone has created and may your life be filled to the fullness with a joy that radiates contentment and peace as you continue on this journey.
Blessings to you!
Some of my favorite planning websites:
Used books: Amazon.com by far has the best prices on used books that I have found with great shipping. I have rarely been disappointed. Though I am a researcher by nature I hate to dig forever on websites for the "best" deal. I know I could save money but it is a time thing and that is a whole different discussion. :)
www.commmonsensepress.com (Learning Language Arts Through Literature is one of my favorites)
Great books to have for resources:
I Love to keep curriculum catalogs on hand to get ideas on books to read with our studies.
Truth Quest History Guides are WONDERFUL for resource information. If you can find one at a used sale, it is worth the cost of having it on hand.
Hand the Rocks the Cradle and Lives in Print by the Bluedorn Family.
Honey for a Child's Heart
Beautiful Feet Guides
Knowledge Quest Map guides. These are invaluable tools for notebooking, etc.
Books on Tape are Awesome for your kids who don't LOVE reading. It gives them time to sit and be quiet while working on something with their hands. It is so worth it. Plus... you can listen to them while eating lunch. Helps make sure you get it all in.
We love to utilize audio options on lots of things. Spelling, vocabulary, foreign language, geography, history.. you name it. It is amazing what they get out of it. (* me too)
Buy lots of spiral notebooks and binders when they are on sale to keep everything in it's place.
Remember to Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path! Proverbs 3:5-6