I have always expected to homeschool my daughter, in part because I'm really not happy with the way public education is conducted, in part because I have completed almost all the coursework for a Masters degree in secondary education and I really love education, and in part because I think it really is the best choice for her. However, I didn't expect to be doing it quite so soon. You see, in Virginia, a September birthday (which my daughter has) allows parents the option to enroll their child in kindergarten when they are 4 or wait until the following year. After exhaustively polling lots of people who had a choice about when to enter their children into the school system (including my own mother), I determined that everyone who had entered their child "early" regretted it and anyone who had "held back" their child was happy with the decision. So my husband and I had decided to wait to enroll Gemma in kindergarten until she was 5, almost 6, which would be next year.
Gemma, as is typical, had her own ideas, and began pestering me about starting school over the summer. I tried to explain that even if she was going to the school down the street, school wasn't in session anyway, but she was having none of it. School must start NOW! For those of you who do not have much experience with toddlers, toddlers usually have an attitude of "Things must be done how I want, when I want, and as frequently as I want or I will be forever devastated and I will make your life miserable with my horrifying temper tantrums." They are also persistent little things and brilliant negotiators.
Given that homeschooling is not for the faint-hearted, I decided that doing some "pre-school" type homeschooling might not be the worst idea. I figured that I could experiment with curricula, schedules, and documenting to come up with a system that would be doable once the state started paying attention to what I was doing. (In Virginia, parents who homeschool must show evidence of their child's progress each year and my understanding is that many parents hire independent evaluators to essentially score their child's work to report to the school system.)
So the month of July was dedicated to researching curricula (thankfully, I had already done quite a bit of work in this area and knew what I was looking for) and then reading said curricula, revising it to better fit what I wanted to do, looking at other resources, and structuring learning objectives and lesson plans.
|Being a teacher requires a lot of planning!|
|I used traditional and not so traditional sources for lesson inspiration:)|
|A new way to learn letters!|
|I really love playing this instrument!|
|Four-year-olds can paint too!|
I spent about three months basically feeling like I was gasping for air internally. It wasn't so much that I was unhappy or thought that my life sucked. It was just that there was so much to do...and my child's future was at stake. I mean, if she didn't learn to read or write, it would be my fault for being so insistent that I could homeschool and wear clean clothes simultaneously. And apparently I still needed to work part-time, and my job is just stressful by nature, so that didn't help.
I had to let some things go and one of the things was my blog. I also didn't do much scrapbooking, watch much TV, or read any books. I mostly stayed off of Facebook and made Instagram my social media of choice because it was significantly less time consuming and honestly, much less negative. (You can follow me at @scrappychick11 if you are so inclined.) I still kept trying to clean the house sometimes, but my husband did a lot of the cooking. I did keep riding, but it was tough a lot of the time. I persevered, though, because that's what modern women do. I did feel increasingly isolated because I didn't have much time to see or talk to friends and when I rode, I felt guilty about all the time I was taking from other things. But when I did the other things, I was bitter about missing riding time.
October was crazy busy with me trying to fit in a birthday party, Halloween stuff, riding competitions and conditioning work (plus a bunch of other stuff I'm sure I don't remember) and then all of a sudden it was November and I still felt like my schedule was too much. So I started stripping my schedule. But it was a case of too little too late. On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, my body decided it had had enough, and insisted I was done for awhile. I managed to get a cold and a migraine and muscle spasms at the same time, which left me feeling pretty miserable. Over-the-counter medication was ineffective and so I spent three days basically in bed, getting up only to take care of Nimo for a few minutes each night. As I started feeling better, I would try to go back to what I thought was an "easy" schedule, and each time, I would relapse and need to spend another day recovering. Finally, almost two weeks later, I am able to work my usual schedule, ride my horse, feed myself and my child, and attempt to overcome the avalanche of laundry that has been building up (my husband has been helping, but he works full time, so there is only so much he can do).
I tell you all of this not so that you can feel bad for me or remind me that I need to take care of myself or offer time management solutions. It's more just an explanation of the place I've been in since I last posted. And I really don't regret any of it. I was looking through my planner for the year and printing out some pictures and I realized how much I've done this year and how many wonderful experiences I've had. Yes, I lost some sleep. And yes, I got really sick because I overdid things. But I lived my life. I had to balance a bunch of different things just like everyone else does, and I had to prioritize a bunch of things that are all important to me.
For the next month, though, as is my custom, this blog is a priority. I love documenting memories in December in a scrapbook for my daughter, and if you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know I carry that tradition over to my blog. I plan to do that again this year because I have so many experiences to write about, and I don't want to forget them with the passage of time. Despite my busy schedule over the past few months, Nimo and I have managed to do a whole lot of stuff together and my plan is to do some catch-up posts this month to let you know what we've been up to:)
And so, let December Daily begin...