Yesterday, when I was talking about being overwhelmed in January, I mentioned tweaking your schedule to relieve some of the pressure. If you’re like me, that is almost as scary a prospect as following it to the letter. I put so much meticulous time into planning our homeschool year, and I Freak The Hell Out if we get off schedule. (But I’ve told you that before.)
The problem is, I want to teach my Littles Everything Under the Sun and Everything Over It. I want them to Know. Because I want to Know. I don’t want them graduating my house without having every bit of knowledge I can impart.
Are you like that, too?
It got me into trouble with this geography unit study thing we’re doing. I almost chucked the plan. In fact, I would have, but since I already had China and Japan ready, we started the school year out with them. And the Littles Loved It. Every single day they told me how fun school was. Who am I to take that from them? So I’m working out these unit studies country by country as we move through the year, and it has put me behind schedule.
My original plan was to do all of Asia the first semester and Africa this semester. Problem? We aren’t even halfway through Asia. Why? Well, come on, guys, these countries are Fascinating, and there is So Much to learn about each one.
Can I admit something to you? I can’t remember ever learning the geographical location of Siam in school. I had heard of Siam–from The King and I and Siamese cats and Siamese twins (remember when that was a term?)–but no one had ever told me where it was. So when we started studying Thailand, it was relief to learn that it used to be Siam. I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, well-read, and I was a good student. So why didn’t I already know that?
That’s the kind of thing I want my boys to know. I don’t want them to hear a current event about a certain country and be unable to remember where that country is. Or to hear about a place that has changed names and not know what it’s called today.
Anyway, the unit study thing is kinda doing me in. Sometimes I wish I would just break down and buy curriculum that someone else has already written, but I know me. I will feel it is not in-depth enough. No matter how good it is, I will find fault. WHAT is wrong with me?!
So I plan everything myself, and write unit studies and novel studies and make up worksheets and look around sometimes and think, “When, exactly, will I get a break?”
When they graduate.
Is that on me? Yeah, I own it. And I always, without fail, over-plan. I mean, seriously, folks, I would have to teach them for the rest of their lives to fit all this in. And they might think it’s weird to still be homeschooling when they’re 40. Talk about weird, unsocialized homeschoolers! We would be the poster children… er, adults.
Also, (don’t fall over from shock), I tend to be a rather disorganized person. I like to organize. It’s fun. Most of the jobs I’ve had over the years have demanded organization. I have learned that I have to have a schedule and a plan or things will end up in disarray. And the last element this homeschool needs is chaos. Sticking to the plan is what keeps me in line. I’m also hoping it will teach the Littles to be more organized creatures than I am. So I make up a school calendar every year so I know from the get-go what days we’re in school and what days we can take off. For the last two years I have even scheduled in catch-up days in case we get behind. I’m not kidding. A sick day can really throw me for a loop. I have to know we’re going to stay on-schedule because I have to know my kids are Really Learning everything I planned for the year.
Now, I have loosened up a little bit this year. And it has made me feel like I’m not teaching them anything.
Do you do that?
Some of my friends tell me I’m too hard on myself. Maybe I am. But this is the most important job I’ve ever had, and everything hinges on it.
So I suppose that having to constantly tweak the schedule is a thing I’m just going to have to live with. Feeling behind is a place I’ll have to reside joyfully. Because I’m not giving up on teaching them Everything. They’ll appreciate it when they grow up and know where Siam once was.