I am never ready for school to begin in August. My husband, however, has been teaching since August 10th. Yes, you read that right. August 10th. Who thought up that calendar? He is happy to be back in the saddle, though, and I am happy to, um, not be back in the saddle quite yet, so it is a win-win for the Wheeler family.
Phase One of our homeschool year (Great Books Two) starts next Tuesday, and Phase Two (Everything Else) begins the following Tuesday. I happen to love the tradition of starting on the day after Labor Day.
I have to admit, though, it is time to be finishing up my school planning. Earlier this week, in the reckless spirit of procrastination, I read blogs about homeschooling instead of working on my own plans. There are other areas where I use this technique: reading cookbooks in lieu of cooking, buying beading magazines rather than making earrings, hording yarn long before knitting anything, to name a few. Though maturing means I do this less and less, this stalling methodology does reap benefits. I get inspired, feel camaraderie, and learn.
Recent treasures include:
The humorous, wise and ever-reasonable Ordo Amoris:
There is always a sickening feeling that first school morning...You suspect that you have either planned too much and this will cause you to lose all credibility with your children or you have planned too little which will leave your children free to pursue their own interests such as Facebook or staring into space or eating, none of which give you any confidence in the idea of unschooling. But you wake up to find someone making coffee and someone reading their Bible and someone at the computer watching a math video and you feel a small stirring of hope. Yes, we can. We can join together as a family in a symbiotic relationship of living, loving and learning.
I will think later on why "making coffee" caught my attention more fully than the "reading their Bible" part. I am sure it had to do with how little sleep I got the night before. I encourage you to read It Begins in its entirety.
Ann at A Holy Experience writes vulnerable words:
"Education is an atmosphere.” I once wrote Charlotte Mason’s words on a chalkboard, just so I’d remember.
I wanted to live in the air of that thought.
Education is the atmosphere we breathe, the envelope of wonder that surrounds us, held by the gravity of our daily habits.
I am scared to homeschool this year.
Sometimes an atmosphere can grow dangerously thin and lungs can gasp...When the books and the plans start to teeter, when I start to hyperventilate, I’ll need to remember the one Who I am supposed to live and breathe and have my being in.
I know well the hyperventilating, the need to remember what is true. My days are often punctuated with humility.
And this is where my procrastination strategy comes in. It helps to hear the voices of others, to drink from the well where they find courage. Being a teacher is serious business, and even with "only" two homeschooling students, I feel a healthy burden of responsibility. Classroom teachers feel it, homeschooling parents feel it. It's a big job. Not impossible, but big. And when the pressures of life start moving in, there has to be a way to block the door, turn off the phone, say no, ignore, or wait, in order to keep the atmosphere clear for learning. That is my challenge this year.
So it's back to putting the finishing touches on the plans, back to summoning the courage and determination necessary for a great year. More importantly, it is back to teaching two of my favorite people in the world!
Back to school.
But not quite yet.