Tuesday, April 15, 2014

On Falling Behind, Letting Go, and Origami Yoda

The Boy and his origami Star Wars family

It happens every year. Always a different reason, but every year: I am behind. Incredible mountains of snow that needed shoveling. Chickens and bees had to be dug out. Frozen waterers exchanged two and three times a day. Ill parents to care for. Orthodontist and doctor appointments. So many outside commitments to attend. It doesn't matter; I am behind.

I get overwhelmed thinking about all I need to do: how many blocks I'm behind in school, the seeds I haven't started, the eggs I haven't hatched. I haven't even purchased some of the supplies I need to teach some of our scheduled subjects, or ordered seeds for this year's garden. Or bought chick feed for chicks that I will eventually hatch. Or scheduled our state required portfolio review. Or finished my portfolio! (Because we haven't covered all of our subjects!)

Then i take a breath and ask myself what it means to be "behind." Behind what? And, does it actually matter?

And to that question, I say yes, and no. 

I've read lots of homeschooling advice regarding the pressure we put on ourselves. "Relax; don't get so uptight; let it go." Which, in some cases is great... Sometimes you do have to let it slide. Who wants to sit over a math book when your nose is running all over your face? Or run chemistry equations with an overflowing basement? Not me, nope. When there are emergencies, let it go. Forgive yourself. Have a cup of tea, read a good story aloud, go for a nature walk. After wiping your nose and bailing the basement.

But, y'know, if you let it slide all of the time... gotta take the dog to the vet, need to buy groceries, let's have a play date....well, maybe it's time to rethink priorities. I am in charge of my child's education. I have to hold myself accountable. And having two adult children who constantly remind me of this, I can't always just let it go. We have to do school.*

Yep, I said it. Throwing of cabbages may commence.

But really, sometimes we need to pressure ourselves. Or maybe I just need to pressure my self because those are the things that throw me off track. Dentist appointment in the morning? Forget ever getting back to school work afterwards.

Some days I just need to tell myself: fetch that second (or third) cup of coffee, light the darn candle, and get the day started. Even if it is noon. No one made a rule that lessons have to begin at 8 am. (Made myself laugh at that one, 8 am? Who am I kidding?)

But back to whether it matters or not:

On days I get thrown off track, we will find ourselves immersed in some type of learning. The Boy has great interest in origami right now (especially Star Wars origami). So he folds about a million Yodas (and all the other major players) a day, experimenting with different folds, creating his own versions. He has been writing creative pieces like mad. I couldn't get him to write a paragraph last year and now he's writing all kinds of short stories. He reads any book I pick up for him, so I throw him piles of historical fiction. Fill that in with a library trip, gym class, piano lesson, theater practice, and Latin classes and we still had a full week even if I didn't break out the Algebra book.

This year has been especially tough on our rhythm, but I've learned to throw in one or two "learning activities" on the days I get thrown off track. I give him a book I had tucked away, or we go on a walk and talk about some historical event. And I plan for the next day, and make an attempt to get everything I wanted to accomplish done by week's end.

Let it go?  Sometimes. But sometimes I just need to kick myself in the rear and get going. Never by 8 am, but usually by that third cup of coffee.
Origami Yoda, based off the books by Tom Angleberger

* Doing school is a loosely based term in our house. We do not "school at home," which is obvious from any of my previous posts.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for the comments!