I have heard from many of you, my lovely readers, wondering if I can post our plans. Our schedule. Our list of books. I can do that, I promise I will, but today I have to chat with you about something first. It is so easy to read a blog and think “oh they have it ALL together” or “they know what they’re doing, I’ll follow their plans too!” It’s easy to forget that the person authoring that blog post is a person, a homeschool mom in the trenches of this thing. A homeschool mama probably exhausted to the bone, crying at the end of the day because she doesn’t know if she’s screwing this whole thing up. A mom who’s probably at some point that day, locked herself in the bathroom with a big spoon and a tub of Nutella. None of us has it all together, all of us are fighting the same fight.
So I’ve been drafting, deleting, and redrafting this post for a while now. I’ve been trying to find the perfectly witty, perfectly crafted, perfectly perfect way to write the “how is our year going so far” post. But here’s the thing: perfectly perfect isn’t a thing, and I have decided to just sit and write some truth here for you guys.
Tell The Freakin’ Truth
I am overwhelmed, I am out of my league, and I have no idea what the HECK I am doing. Yep. I came strutting into the start of this school year with big plans, and great ideas. [Read more about what we’re doing this year HERE] I am lucky beyond belief to have two kids who were so engaged and so excited about all the things we decided to do this year. I was feeling good, we started off with a slow-entry back into the school year after taking a nice long summer break.
Math is going well, we’re doing daily work with our Brave Writer, and slowly adding things in as we go. My oldest is enjoying leading our composer study (we’re studying Clint Mansell who has worked on some video game scores). We’re dipping into geography, and astronomy at the request of the kids. The kids have been game for anything, and every day they look at me eagerly and say “What’s next, Mom?”
And I stammer, and stutter, and look at my shelves like… “Well hey what about this? Or maybe that?” I am a hot mess of disorganization. So while I still love the resources we’ve chosen, the lack of a plan is making our days more hectic, and often I feel so frazzled that I just say “well let’s just call it a day”.
Look. I have RAILED against the notion that we need to be slaves to a curriculum, slaves to a philosophy, and slaves to a plan. So I felt like “I can do this, I don’t need anyone tellin’ me what to do! I am my OWN person!” But there comes a time for many of us when we have to balance out our deep need to craft our own homeschool paths with… A little structure. A guiding plan to work from.
What is NOT working
Well. The long and the short of it is, I am not a good planner. I am AWESOME at coming up with great ideas and big goals, but when it comes to turning those wild ideas into actionable plans? Well, I suck at it. So my answer in the past has been to either A) toss it all out the window and just do nothing and call it “relaxed homeschooling”, or B) throw the “homemade hand grenade” in to the homeschool and change all the things!
Neither of these is a good, long-term solution. So this year – because of my new sense of who I am and what I am capable of (and not capable of) – I have decided to just slow myself down, think about what IS working and what I want to fix.
After some time of thinking and reflecting and rambling away to friends trying to work out what is really going on – I have realized the problem is not what we want to do this year, but simply… I just don’t know how to plan it, or make it happen in the day-to-day.
I have this shelf full of books, and stacks of more books, and yet more in other random areas of the house, and need to figure out how to put them into play. I really truly do not know HOW to do that. I have been a HUGE proponent for not following someone ELSE’s plans, or curriculum, but then what does one do when one cannot create an actual plan?
Planning Our Charlotte Mason Year – Take Two.
You all know that the Charlotte Mason method is dear to my heart, and we are committed to continuing that path because it works – for ME as a teacher and it works so well for both of my kids. But we’re also planning to kind of go a bit rogue with our CM plans, and are a secular family. So sometimes pulling this all together feels SO overwhelming.
I dunno what everyone else does, but THIS mama called in some reinforcements. I’ve been listening to podcasts, Periscope broadcasts, and reading blogs and chatting with friends on Facebook. I’ve even had a consult with the ladies from A Delectable Education, to get some help figuring out how to plan and schedule our days.
I have gone through some really hard moments – being overwhelmed, definitely overthinking and overanalyzing. I have allowed myself to get caught up in what everyone else thinks we SHOULD do or we HAVE to do. I’ve let myself feel bad for not being “CM enough” or using the right books. I have damn near driven myself CRAZY trying to do it all perfectly. And it was through encouraging and supportive discussions with some fellow secular Charlotte Mason mamas that I came to remember – I’m doing this MY way, I’m using the CM method but I am NOT a slave to anyone else’s ideas or interpretations of this method.
I will be sitting down with my homeschool bullet journal over the next little bit to lay out our plans. I think I have a pretty good sense of where we’re going this year, and have regained my sanity and am remembering who I am, what my family’s values are, and most importantly I have remembered what we were so excited and energized about as we were coming into this school year. I’ve gotten some great advice and have a guide to work from, and I feel good again about planning out the rest of this year.
[Stay tuned for a post with what I’ve come up with for our year!]
I am taking it one small step at a time, and working towards fixing the few small things that need fixing. I will not blow up this homeschool year that is going so well so far. I will not self-destruct. I will LEAD my children, admit my weaknesses, and ROCK my strengths.
What are your wins so far in your homeschools this year? Any struggles you’d like to share – we’re all in it together mamas. And I’m happy to sit beside you and talk with you (And I’ll even provide an extra spoon for the Nutella!).