When last I posted, about 2 weeks ago, I was not in a very good place with our homeschooling. I was tired and frustrated and pretty burnt out. Last week, however, (and you know this if you've been keeping up with my Facebook page) I discovered a little gem from the lovely folks at Peace Hill Press: an audio lecture from Susan Wise Bauer entitled "Burning Out: Why it Happens and What to do About it" and it might be the best $4.99 I've spent in quite a long while! And I encourage every homeschool mom to buy it, even if you're a newbie, and even if you're a veteran who doesn't show the first sign of experiencing burnout (by the way, I don't like you LOL).
So I listened to the lecture and took to heart what she said and have tried to implement some of the recommendations. I also decided that I am not going to sign up for any major races between now and when Austin graduates in the spring. I will, of course, continue to exercise (swim/bike/run) because I love it so much - but I will not be "in training" for any event. Graduation is only 7 months away, and in that time we have 3 major ballet productions, 3 major drama events, weekly dance and drama classes, a week-long trip to Disney World, the ACT, the SAT, and a dance recital that happens to fall on the same weekend as the last major ballet production. Oh, and I have to get transcripts pulled together for both of the big kids (one for graduation and one who wants to apply for Dual Enrollment provided she can improve her SAT scores enough). Plus the regular homeschooling, plus Christmas and Thanksgiving and 13th birthday and 16th birthday. I mean, it's simply insane! And as much as I love racing and competing, that is the one thing that I can put on the back burner for a brief moment in time. I have been "in training" almost non-stop for the last 6 years. I want to exercise for the stress relief and enjoyment of it. I don't need anything else on my plate in this particular season of my life.
The second major thing I am doing is to re-focus on my purpose for homeschooling in the first place and reflecting on why we continue each year. God has us on this path for a reason, and even though I may not enjoy it sometimes, I am being obedient to His calling. And if I'm very honest with myself I know that the biggest reason I'm not enjoying it has nothing to do with the kids and everything to do with my own perceptions of success and failure. With Riley starting high school last year, I think it was just amplified. I want to be successful and so often I equate that with high academic achievement. Susan Wise Bauer addresses this problem in her audio lecture and it really opened my eyes to reality. When I start comparing myself and my children to everyone else (and really just how I perceive everyone else since I'm not actually in their homes while they are having lessons), then I get overwhelmed and feel like a failure. Add to that the fact that very soon colleges will be looking at our homeschool and judging whether or not they will allow my daughter the privilege of gracing their campus, and it can become quite scary. Georgia colleges are not at all friendly to homeschoolers. We have many extra hoops to jump through. And we have not homeschooled in a very traditional way with our classical/Charlotte Mason emphasis.
So I had to take a step back and breathe.
And I had to remember why I'm doing things the way I'm doing them. And I have to remember that my kids/teens are just kids/teens and each of them has to make their own future for themselves. My job is to lay out the feast of education in front of them! That's all I can do! What they do with it is up to them. It's their lives they are living and not my own. I got to make my decisions and my mistakes! This is their chance! And that's how I want it! I want them to grow and learn and be independent - not just for high school but for their entire lives. Having an unpleasantly stressed out mom as a teacher is probably not going to foster a love for learning. ;)
This week went much better - even though Austin worked 40 hours because they were short one guy who was on vacation and Riley missed a day of lessons due to taking the PSAT (just for practice since she's only in 10th grade). Reece started Pre-Algebra and seems to enjoy it, though she doesn't enjoy having to copy out problems into a notebook!
As I start planning Term 2 (already??), I am aiming to refocus these last 2 terms on the CM principles and plan to really enjoy wrapping up our modern history study! Only 25 more weeks of homeschooling my son. It doesn't even seem possible!