I just want our homeschool schedule to be normal!
Is that too much to ask?!
When we first started our elementary online curriculum so many years ago (almost 8 years!) I worried that I might miss teaching something vital. I had all kinds of anxiety about being responsible for my daughter’s education. Somehow, over the years, my daughter has managed to get a pretty good education, in part because she is a voracious learner, and in part because we have used great curriculum. I don’t take a lot of credit for her knowing what she knows…
And somewhere along the way, I felt more confident as a homeschooling parent. I felt qualified by our success to talk to others about homeschooling, give advice, suggest options, share our success, and the things we learned along the way…
I knew that looming in the distance was high school, and that we would homeschool high school, but it seemed like a long time in the future. Until all of a sudden (where did the time go?!) it is upon us. Of course, I planned, and was completely relieved when the curriculum we had been using, Time4Learning, added high school to their line-up.
I had begun to feel some of those anxieties and insecurities I felt when I first started homeschooling. What if I forgot to teach her something vital, something that would not just slow down her learning, but keep her out of college, or worse, deny her a chance to follow her dreams and aspirations in life?
Still, I planned and planned, and had my daughter’s high school course tentatively planned out, and this school year, her 9th grade year, planned completely out! And I began to feel confident in my homeschooling and organizational abilities again, maybe too confident…
What happened, you might ask?
All through the summer my daughter rode a beautiful horse on the local show circuit. They did pretty good, and qualified for the state horse show. So August saw us increasing her number of riding days, and horse shows in preparation for the state show. At the end of August we travelled about 3 hours from our home to the state show, and my daughter and the horse did pretty well. The owner of the horse then did an amazing thing; she offered to sell the horse to my daughter at a considerable discount. To say that my daughter is horse crazy would be an understatement, she started her “horse fund” when she was four years old and diligently put all money from allowances, birthdays, and even from the dryer and sofa cushions into that fund in hopes of one day buying a horse. This opportunity was a dream come true!
The month of September was basically tied up in getting vet visits, farrier visits, all the necessary supplies, tack, etc., as well as installing a pasture fence, getting the horse moved, and building a barn. And what kind of parent would I be if I hadn’t allowed bonding time for the girl and her horse. Trust me when I tell you that my daughter spent a HUGE amount of time in the pasture talking to the horse, grooming the horse, feeding the horse, riding the horse, petting the horse—being with the horse! School was sort of put on, not hold exactly, but we were not making large strides.
It was ok, because I thought that surely things would settle down to some normalcy and we would get back on track for school.
Then my daughter got a serious respiratory infection and has spent the last three weeks basically coughing her lungs up and confined to the sofa. The antibiotics upset her stomach, the prednisone makes her feel funky, she has been short of breath, and frustrated that her time with the horse has been severely limited. She is also stressed out because of news reports of Ebola and entero-virus (neither of which she has BTW!) She is not getting any school done, understandably, nor any fun stuff done because she has been pretty darn sick.
All of this leaves us almost 3 months behind our projected 9th grade schedule.
And so I take a deep breath, and remind myself, (and other homeschooling parents who care to listen) that these are part of the reasons why we homeschool.
…because letting our children experience events that are meaningful will teach them about real life.
…because life is about living and learning.
…because life happens, and you should be flexible enough to allow life to unfold as it does, not on your schedule, but on some schedule bigger than we are.
…because being sick for 3 weeks shouldn’t mean your school year is totally derailed.
…because fulfilling a life-long dream (ok, so she is only 14, but still, it has been her dream to own a horse for as long as she can remember) is worth taking days off of school.
…because life is sometimes about more than reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic, it is about memories, experiences, and events that will shape us as individuals, and as adults.
So, life happened on our way to homeschooling this year. I’m trying really hard to be flexible and roll with it, even if it means we aren’t getting my boxes checked off of my homeschool plan, and I have to get up by 7:30am to feed the hungry horse until my daughter can return to horse parent duties.
How is your homeschool year going so far?