Friday, June 13, 2014

Challenges for This Coming Homeschool Year!

Hello, dear friends! I'm so sorry I haven't been around more! The truth is that I am still feeling extremely pukey and exhausted, so I'm still spending a good bit of time sacked out on the couch.

However, I'm pleased to report - still no vomiting, no Zofran, no hyperemesis. That triad alone should have me leaping for joy! And this coming Sunday will be eighteen weeks!

I am very blessed.

We are now four weeks into our new homeschool year - two weeks away from our first break. (We do a Sabbath schedule of six weeks on, one week off.) All things considered, the school year is going well. We are still easing into adding all subjects and working around my nausea and fatigue. Hopefully I'll be feeling better by the time the second term starts!

As our first month draws to a close, I can draw several conclusions:

#1 - I absolutely adore our new math curriculum. Love-love-love it! I am so glad we switched from what we were using! I've gone from "Dear God, please don't put me through this torture again!" to "Math? I love math! Let's do more math!" Yum. If y'all are looking for an awesome math curriculum, I highly recommend Christian Light. I can't say enough good things about it.

And, moving on to the subject of this post...

#2 - To my surprise, I find that this year is going to be completely different from last year. Really, that shouldn't be a shock. The children are of different ages, we've changed curricula, our family dynamics are different, we have different areas that need focus, and we'll be adding a baby at the halfway point.

The truth, I suppose, is that every homeschool year is going to be completely different from those before and after! That's somewhat depressing, though also comforting. However, it's quite a challenge!

With that in mind, I thought I'd post a brief list of the challenges and changes that we will face during this coming homeschool year (May 2014 - March 2015).  Of course, there are dozens of challenges that are unknown (ack!), but these are the ones that I foresee:

(Some of these will be academic, some family-related, some from the parenting realm - but when one home educates, life is an integrated whole rather than separated into distinct boxes!)

(1) Relearning Life

This is always a challenge after morning sickness. For some reason, I always forget how to "do" life - all of the usual things that fall by the wayside during a long illness. Meal planning, field trips, chores, cleaning routines, getting to know the neighbors again, going to church. It's just normal life, but I find that I have to relearn all of it.

(2) Earlier Wake Times

Early pregnancy always involves getting extremely lax on wake-times. Right now our family is getting up and going between 7:00 and 8:00 a.m. - entirely too late for all of us, especially myself! I also need to be up before the family in order to have devotions, get breakfast, etc. - none of which is happening!

(3) Figuring Out Our Schedule

To my surprise, the beautiful schedule that I worked out last year is no longer a winner. (Blast!) The toddler wakes earlier and has far less patience for his play pen, the math curriculum we chose takes longer, etc. Different factors are necessitating a different schedule. And, as I add more and more of our regular routine back into daily life, I have to find out where and when to squeeze each piece in. I'll post our current schedule in a later entry!

(4) Reworking Room Arrangements!

Two months ago I finally got the toddler into his own bed for the entire night... until this past week, which has included major backsliding. Now to recapture what was lost! After that, we want to move the toddler into the boys' room to make room for baby, and we also need to redistribute the boys' quiet time spaces. Logistics!


My main project for this past summer break was figuring out the huge issue of CHORES. I was ready! I had the book, I had a meeting set up with a chore-mentor-mom, and I was set to go. Then... our new baby arrived on the scene, and we are now well into the new school year with absolutely zero progress made in this area. Hopefully I can catch up! This has been an area of major frustration and failure for several years, and I want to remedy it.

A major area in the domain of chores is teaching myself to CHECK chores. Know why? Because what they say is oh-so-true - "Don't expect what you don't inspect." If I don't inspect, it doesn't get done (or done well). My idea of "putting socks away" is very different from the 7yo's conception of "open door to room and toss socks vaguely in the direction of the dresser." But I find that I am extremely forgetful and slip-shod in this area, and it's always frustrating to come upon undone or badly done chores that I should have checked and didn't. I have to learn to hold myself accountable in this area.

(6) Preparing for BABY!

Despite still feeling quite YUCK, we are almost to the halfway point. Ack! There's so much to do before baby arrives! Hopefully I'll be feeling up to tackling the list in another couple of weeks!

Of course, "get the carpets cleaned" has been on my "before-baby to-do list" for the past three pregnancies, so maybe I should just accept that some things just won't get done.

(7) Keeping Up With Schoolwork!

To have both a babymoon break and a good summer break, we've got to keep up with our schoolwork this year. I'm trying to make sure that we keep up especially with math so that we don't have to continue into summer to finish (as we did this past year). Can we be successful? Only time will tell!

(8) Changing Family Dynamics

If all goes as hoped for, we will finish the last third of this year... with a newborn! And not just a newborn, but a newborn AND a toddler! That will be a first for me, and it will most likely be quite a challenge. Yikes!

(9) Sibling Relationships

Growing up as an only child, I never had to deal with siblings. And sibling relations haven't been a problem in our home either.... until this past year. And now I realize that I have an entirely new parenting skill to learn - teaching good relationships between siblings. And it is NOT EASY. When you add the (non-existent) logic of a 7yo to the me-me-me attitude of a 2yo, the result is... fireworks. Constantly. I have a lot of learning to do.

(10) Parenting Through the Terrible Twos!

Yes, I'm not being politically correct here. I ought to say the "precious, adorable moments of toddlerhood." But the reality is that toddlerhood (the 2-3-4 range) is extremely challenging. Our third-born is a much, much easier child than our firstborn, but there are still many challenges, and I fall far short of where I desire to be as the parent of a two-year-old. Thankfully our life is replete with examples of awesome parents whose example we can (attempt to) follow, but there's still no doubt that this is a challenge.

(11) Computer Time - Repenting and Reforming

Yes, I have again become entirely too dependent on the computer during the first trimester yuck-time. Remember how I quit Facebook? HA! I now have to wean myself back down to healthy screen-time limits, and that will probably take a while.

(12) Finances

This year is going to be a year of major financial challenges, being that our financial state is still in the "abysmal" category and we are also going to have many major expenses.

I recently re-read "Gone With the Wind" and laughed as I identified with Scarlett's desperation for money during hard times. Unfortunately, neither of her two solutions (killing a Yankee soldier and taking his money, or marrying a sister's rich beau) is available to me, so we'll just have to muddle through this.

And there you have it!

What challenges do you and your family anticipate for this coming year?


  1. I think my advice for you is to not try to tackle all of these at once. Perhaps this isn't a good year for you to tackle early morning routines and chores. Perhaps it is a good year for you to cut down on screen time and work on budgeting and family relationships. I don't know, though. You and God know best together. :) Just be sure to make time to find out what He wants you to do, and you can put that worrisome list away and rest in His peace.

    You're right that every homeschool year is different. I've been doing this for 12 years, and not one year has been the same. We're making some family additions of our own to the school year ahead--I'm 7 1/2 weeks pregnant (but I suddenly lost my morning sickness yesterday, so I might not be pregnant much longer) and we have a meeting with an adoption homestudy specialist on Tuesday. It's going to be a year of many adventures!

  2. So excited that you're nearing the midway point! Does the nausea usually let up for you at some point? It sounds like a full plate of changes and challenges this year. I try not to look ahead too far if I'm pregnant because I get overwhelmed too easily when all I can do is be a slug on the couch trying not to throw up. ;)

    Things coming up for us... surgery 13 for Mason followed by 6 weeks of casts. Probably another surgery or two in the next year, we'll see.
    - children growing up (oldest turned 13 this past week and the baby turns 1 next month). And I still have 5 kids age 6 and under, all boys, who are sweet and crazy by turns.
    - homeschooling five official grades (8th, 4th,3rd,1st, K) plus a 3, 2, and 1 year old.
    okay, so I'm not going to keep thinking about it, that list is enough .... one day at a time!

  3. Aflyonmyhomeschoolwall - Thanks for stopping by! How are you doing today? I have been praying for you and the wee one. I very much hope to hear that both of you are doing well.

    Thanks for the good advice! I agree, I need to take things slowly. I seem to remember that this happens every time we go through morning sickness - when I'm slowly coming out of it, I freak out about everything that's gotten out of place and been neglected. Hopefully some of my list items will fall back into place naturally without too much work.

    Have a wonderful Sunday!

  4. Tristan - Thanks for visiting! :)

    My nausea has been improving since week 12, for which I am devoutly grateful - it's just a matter of it being sooooo slow! I had hoped that since we avoided HG, by God's mercy, that the nausea would also leave sooner. But it seems that it's going to be the long haul, as usual! Oh, well, at least no meds or serious nausea!!

    I'm super-impressed with all that you are managing to do - that's why you're such an inspiring blogger!! I look forward to following your family's adventures this year! :)


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