The summer whizzed past us, compressed like never before by travel to distant continents, house hunting, and, er, fewer weeks. [The previous winter’s shenanigans made for lots of snow days for Daddy, who’s a teacher. If Daddy has snow days, so do we. But snow days, as cozy as they are for three seconds, make for lots of make-up days in the spring. This, in turn, means a shorter summer break for Daddy. We take summer break when Daddy does. Hence, our teeny summer.]
I knew we’d be starting school before I was ready for it. I told the kids that we were going to start up our activities a week after Daddy did because I needed to practice incrementalism in our homeschool this time around or I would surely die. They were down with it.
Daddy went to school on a Monday. We went to jujitsu and the library. We read some and did chores. The kids bickered with one another. We went to Sonic. So far, so good.
Tuesday offered more of the same but with loud thudding noises where the boys slammed one another into walls and hit each other with pillows. I felt a low grade fever coming on, but, no I didn’t. That was actually a touch of rage.
Wednesday came and I heard a ginormous crash from upstairs. Then I heard yelling and a smidge of crying. I called the kids downstairs and discussed with them the many ways they could practice conflict resolution if they would only try. We laughed and cried together.
We started school. I rage-started school.
Now, I’m no fool. I’ve been homeschooling for going on nine years. We’ve had our share of joys and sorrows, successes and let’s-not-talk-about-that’s. I knew better than to think that springing math on the kids instead of taking away the X-Box was going to launch the year the way I’d hoped. I didn’t exactly think it would be like this.
I didn’t mean to start our academic year as a direct result of sibling fighting. (“Officer, I don’t know what happened. There was all this noise and when I opened my eyes, the kids were doing math.”)
But the Lord is gracious and compassionate.
So while the kids were dull-eyed when I first announced that our summer was stone-dead, the day unfolded much better than I expected. So did the next day. And the next.
I’m telling you this so that you can take heart if you A). homeschool, or B). ever mess up your own plans, and/or C). have ever turned math into a punishment when you told yourself you would never, ever do that because you have math issues yourself and wouldn’t dream of causing your kids to have them, too, because preventing those issues is one of the big reasons you chose to homeschool in the first place.
Life is messy and people are crazy (and by people I mean kids and dogs). But God is good. He cares about the little things. You can trust him with your best laid plans–and their possible demise.
So if your summer ended not with a bang but a whimper, I just wanted to say: Me too. It’s still OK. It’s going to be a great year anyway.