Jump In

We began the 2016/2017 school year last month, and it has been progressing surprisingly well. I took a couple of days that turned into weeks to plan and prepare. Eventually, I decided to jump in regardless of how ready I felt. This happens to me often; I start feeling as though I must deal with every shortcoming before getting started. It certainly would help, and there are plenty of wonderful blogging moms who can teach you about making schedules and lesson plans and keeping your house clean. I can't do that right now. And that's fine.

I took a couple of days that turned into weeks to plan and prepare. Eventually, I decided to jump in regardless of how ready I felt.

Last year I purchased a file box on a whim at Walmart to hold all of our current work. The idea was to be able to easily take our schoolroom with us to the library or the botanical gardens. We don't use it much for that at this point, though we did get some mobile use out of it a handful of times, but it has been the best solution for keeping us on track. In it I store about two weeks worth of worksheets and the couple of books we use -- mostly for English. I use bookmarks to keep track of our place.

The blue bin as we call it has kept me from having to plan out each day ahead of time. We simply do the next thing.

I have an idea of what we'll likely get done when, but I don't have a preconceived lesson plan. Generally, we get to certain subjects, such as math, each day, and there are other subjects we do as I think of them. I fit in Geography, Art History, Art, Spelling, and review this way.

So, even though our Language Arts curriculum has five lessons per chapter, we are not always on lesson 2 on Tuesdays or 5 on Fridays. Sometimes, we spend a week on a Math-U-See lesson, and it fits neatly, starting a new thing with the start of a new week. Other times, we finish midweek and then start a new lesson on a Saturday. Part of this is deliberate so that we never feel behind (or ahead).

I have an idea of what we'll likely get done when, but I don't have a preconceived lesson plan.

As we progress, I am concerned less and less with grade levels and the kids being on par with their peers. They always are, of course, but still, I don't think much about it. So, there's nothing we must complete by the end of the school year. Usually, our school year never really ends; instead, in each subject when one level is completed, we go ahead on to the next one without a break.

I have to continually remind myself of this each summer as homeschool advertising revs up for homeschool back-to-school in the fall. The conventions, used-curriculum sales, and catalogues will have you thinking you need new materials right away when you really won't need new books for several more months.

Essentially, I've learned and am learning to start where I am, wherever I am, and the Lord has blessed us in it.