Thursday, September 15, 2016

How ARE We Doing?

Me Too showing off his new suit coat (hand-me-down from friends) 
and the sitting wall he helped build.

I haven't been writing much about the start of our school year. I have collected a lot of moments I can hopefully share with you all.  I am trying to figure out when to find time to do it.  We have been very overwhelmed lately.  I'm sure many of you feel the same.  I have definitely reached a breaking point these past few weeks.  But, even though I really don't have time to blog today two blog posts I happened to read today made me feel like today must be the day to add my voice to theirs.   My post will not be anywhere near as eloquent as the others.  Nor will my photographs be as beautiful.  So I highly recommend you read Abbie's post today  and Arianne's post today.  God obviously knows that I needed to hear what they had to say at this time.

Pictures like this are helpful to remind me how much these boys love each other.

Some of the things that are putting pressure on us I do not want to give up and won't (violin and everything that goes with that:  practicing, lessons, youth symphony).  Some things are eating up way too much precious time but are responsibilities that can not easily be put aside (cubmaster).  We are trying to focus on the blessings that come from our time in these places (the wonderful people we work with, the children's best friends, the husband's friends...) and at the same time make an exit strategy for some of leadership roles we have taken on there.  It is time to pass the torch for a while.  Other things just have to go.  We've put a moratorium on group sports starting at the end of soccer season.  Maybe a stronger person would just stop soccer now.

This little guy really looks up to his big brother.

This has been a really easy school year to begin.  I had no materials to make.  I knew where we were starting in every thread.  I understand the lessons and scope and sequence.  At the same time, this is the most pressure I've ever felt.  Their work plans seem reasonable but we just can't even come close to getting to every thing on the list each day.  We are barely getting to a third of the things on the list.  But at the same time we are "schooling" for the most hours we ever have.  For years we have been a four-days-a-week (fifth day for field trips), three-hours-a-day family in the school room.  This year it has been four hours a day.  

I don't like feeling pressure and I don't like going places and this year it seems like I have been spending 75% of my time feeling pressured and going places.  The only part of the day I feel good are the times I spend just reading to the kids (poetry, literature, Life of Fred, Story of the World), playing games with them, or spending an hour just on one line on the work plan and then not getting to most of the rest of it.  Perhaps not surprisingly, that's when the kids seem happiest too.  I'm feeling that at heart I'm the type of homeschooler who would just read to them all day if I could.  Maybe afterward they would spend a couple hours building electrical circuits or domino courses (what they do in their free time these days when they should be working on All About Spelling with me).  But, wouldn't that play right into keeping their weaknesses their weaknesses? They don't like to write things down and Kal-El's spelling and Me Too's handwriting are proof of it.

Looking at this pictures it's hard to remember that they devolve into fighting 
the instant I leave the room on every occasion.

They like homeschooling.  I like homeschooling.  I just don't know how to reconcile our collective desire to devour all the books and dismantle and rebuild anything that can be dismantled and rebuilt with my classical side that wants them to "Know all the Things," "Spell all the Words,"  and "Write all Letter 'O's' Counterclockwise Someday."

All I know is that something isn't right this year and I'm not exactly sure how to fix it.


  1. wow i could have written this and signed it myself . You described exactly what is happening in our homeschool and the pressure I am feeling daily . Thank you so much for sharing . I like you am hoping to find a fix which will allow me to relax and enjoy our days more without the guilt feeling of not doing enough . Like you the best time of the day and the most productive are the first 2 hours but then the hours fly . kids are happy they have been busy but lots of thing on their to do list were not checked . Please continue sharing and praying we both can find a fix . Blessings xxx

  2. I haven't checked in here for a long long time! I stop bloging at Discovery Moments a couple years ago and I haven't really talked to a lot of people since. What it sounds like you're describing is a good old-fashioned case of burnout. It happens to us all! This happen to me when bunny was about 2nd grade. It was then I started to shift from Montessori work to a more traditional curriculum. Oh I felt so guilty! But it just was not working anymore. She was stressed out I was stressed out none of us wanted to do any of it. The shift in curriculum was perfect for her. And me letting go of a lot of the things that I held so important help make my sanity come back! Lol. Maybe you just need to take a month and really sit down and think about what you're doing and what you're not doing and assess what's the most important. Give yourself permission to sit and read with the kids. It's one of the reasons we homeschool right! We have the flexibility to do that. Your boys have always been so incredibly smart and so incredibly dedicated. Even if you take a longer break than you anticipated I'm pretty sure they're going to be fine academically. My mom home schooled me and it's been homeschooling my brothers and sisters for the last 20 some years the one thing she always tells me is that don't worry they cover it all again in high school. Really can't mess grade school up LOL. Sending prayers and lots of love to you! I know you guys are going to find the perfect path for your family

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Teaching from Rest!!!!! I seriously would send you my copy but I just lended it to someone else. I met Sarah at a conference last year and hearing her talk....ooh. I wish we could have coffee and I'd share her wisdom with you. So much from her talks that was just incredible. She really gave me permission to make my curriculum work for me. Much love my friend!

  5. This is my 19th year of homeschooling. I would encourage you to find a way to complete school within 3 hours and allow the kids to have their outside activities. Remember, the most important things they need are the tools of learning. Reading well, writing well, and math. Try to combine the first two by doing project based learning, which is well thought of in a Montessori classroom and then work on math separately unless your project contains math. :) Have them keep project notebooks where they write down what they are learning. They can do reading right before bed, there have been studies showing that kids retain more when they sleep on new information, and then work on the project during your school hours. If there is something that they need extra work on, pick one thing at a time, and then work on it 5-10 minutes each day. Remember that those minutes add up! That ends up being 25-50 minutes a week! So, 1.5 hours for the project and 1.5 hours for math and you have a complete day. The project should require: a question to research, reading about the subject, and then writing about it. They can also make a video, do a science experiment, or any number of things. I hope this helps, some. :) I've got 5 kids in school this year and the above is how I'm managing the older ones.

  6. T says that he could tell them apart by their buttons. And then one was shorter than the other. They are finally not a one word name anymore!! Yeay, two separate boys.

    They do look super dapper.

  7. Perhaps allowing their weaknesses to remain their weaknesses for a time, allows their strengths to grow? Sometimes a slight shift in perspective can help get us through the hard times.

    Wishing you rest.

  8. I just wanted to respond for the first time to one of your posts...
    I was blessed enough to attend a
    Montessori school when I was little (loved it), but now that my son is school aged have discovered he is not eligible because we do not vaccinate. So after a year of research and a bit of experimenting and all the while knowing I really wanted a Montessori basis for him we are readying ourselves to embark on a Montessori inspired homeschool also. And a large piece of the puzzle was finding your blog last year! Couple years before I had tried to figure out how to do Montessori at home with little success. So when I found your blog and discovered that it was an 'Album' that I really needed for my road map I was so relieved. And now thanks to all of the amazing information you've shared along with all of the inspiration you've lovingly compiled on your blog I feel able to take on this adventure. I got Keys of the Universe and have been working on getting organized, but with a 4 month old now my progress has been slow.
    I'm staying relaxed and just now getting ready to order my supplies. We are working on an English homeschool program already so not totally stalled, but my son is 6 1/2 and behind at this point. I'm a little bummed about that, but I know he can catch up because he is interested, truly interested to learn because we have fostered that.
    So I guess I really just wanted to say thanks and offer some encouragement as you are struggling with your pace and rhythm. You give so much and your boys are doing great! You have given them a great gift of exploration and fostered a desire to discover and learn. Even if you don't get through all you had hoped you have done a great work. After all it is the goal to allow the child to teach himself and the flexibility for focus on passions as well as the overall flexibility of homeschooling that has led me to my current path, and I would say that you are success in all of these areas and a role model to me as we embark on this adventure. Wishing you the best as you work through this new season and many blessings on your family as you edit and pare down your lives.