Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Planning ahead

Our school year is nearing the beginning.  Books are in place, pencils are sharpened, and my brain is beginning to focus in once again on the routine of our soon-to-arrive homeschool mornings.  The chaos of summer is getting tiresome.  Kids just need structure, especially when there are five of them and their creative juices have nowhere productive to flow!

We have had two months of late bedtimes and later mornings, friends coming and going and sleepovers and too much TV.  Swimming and fishing and biking and eating whenever.  Laxity and maybe even a bit of slothfulness.

It was a welcome break that has run its course.

This will be our third year of homeschooling and I am amazed at how much I look forward to it.  I will admit, I am a little nervous as the two five year olds will officially be completely in the mix.  I thought I would be able to teach them together, but it has become apparent that doing so would be a disaster.
Because they are totally different in how they learn.

Mari is reading short words already.  She can't wait to learn more.  She will be fluent in no time.  Math?  Well, it frustrates her.  She will need a lot of help understanding the vocabulary of math, mostly due to her only speaking English for a year and a half.  Her fine motor skills have come so far, though, and her handwriting is going to be freakishly neat...just like DJ's.  She will happily spend an hour copying and tracing words on a worksheet.
Drew already loves math.  He "gets" sorting, matching, adding, etc. but struggles with sounding out words. He hasn't made that developmental leap from sounding out letters to connecting them smoothly into a word. He is obviously a tactile learner.  He needs to touch and feel it in order to make sense of it.  He has the scrawly handwriting you would expect in a boy whose gross motor skills are beyond his years.

The hardest part is the competition between them.  Mari still struggles with manipulative and attention-seeking behaviors.  She and Drew generally get along beautifully and play together for hours with barely a cross word between them.  But her negative behaviors manifest when I am teaching them.  How?  It means she stands over Drew's shoulder (or comments from across the room) and rejoices in his struggles.  It is an attempt to feel big and grown-up, but it hurts him.  So I have to teach them separately.  I know why she does this and I understand it and she is healing more each day, but I have to limit the opportunities she has to exercise power over her brother.  So....

I am back to the fact that it is God who called us to homeschool.  He knew what was best for the hearts of my children and He also uses times like this to remind me that I dare not attempt to teach  my children in my own power.

I will fail.

But with Him, I can do all things.

I will be breaking out the planners tonight and making those lists...books to read, lessons to complete, stories to write, when and how and where to do all these things.  I will attempt to bring sweet order out of the happy summer chaos without sucking the joy out of these beautiful days that God has given us.

Because homeschooling, for us, is about teaching them in the Lord.

It is about being there for all the moments. learning and living together in the sweet community of family.

It is about discovering everything we possibly can about God and His creation and the works created by His creation...together.

He is the source.  He is the Creator of everything and everything is created for Him.  If we "do school" for our own sakes or to compete with other educational methods then we miss the point.  But if we do it for Him and for His glory, then He will be sure we complete all that He deems necessary and bless us with sweet memories and priceless moments.

So it is with great humility and prayerful caution that I begin planning for this year...

Lord, bless us with love and patience, unity and flexibility.
Help my children to learn well and love the process and, most of all, help us to love each other fiercely and selflessly.
Give me eyes to see their hearts and the needs of their young spirits.
May I teach them diligently and not waver from the calling you have placed upon us.
And may we laugh...a lot.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's keep the conversation going...