Five years into full-time homeschooling and I'm now understanding and accepting that Spring is zany.
Out of routine.
Fun . . . but discombobulating.
I find that the Christmas season is full of much liturgical focus, then January and February are cold, wet, and a good time to hunker down in a solid school routine.
Then the sun begins to shine and a number of previously planned and forgotten field trips pop up on the calendar. Various days get taken off of school for those fun outings. I always feel guilty, but then I remind myself that children enrolled in school-school also take off days from regular study to go on field trips.
Don't forget the bevy of spring concerts, recitals, and recitations . . . plus our family happens to schedule our annual standardized testing in March/April. During certain weeks in the spring, we're lightening the school load because the music practice time gets intense in preparation for the many competitions.
We participate in CCE, which ends in April, so we'll spend these final weeks reducing some regular school load to memorize as best we can the various 24 weeks worth of memory work. On the penultimate week, the students test out in various subjects, trying to earn certificates for knowing all 24 memory facts in one, multiple, or all seven subjects.
Our family faces several weeks in a row of a colorful, whirlwind of a calendar.
This particular week, I set aside to cut out almost all our regular schooling to give the children the time to write fiction stories to enter in writing contests. We've participated in the PBS Kids Writers contest for the past two years (and been winners! see here and here), so this year Margaret gets to enter that for the first time. Mary is in her last year of eligibility, and I had to find another contest for John to enter. Well, the one I found for John has a much higher word-count limit, so, of course, Mary wants to enter that one, so she's going to try to enter both contests. It's all very rewarding to see them writing and illustrating wonderful stories, but can I just say it's taking up all my time this week?
On top of that this week, we're preparing for the oldest two to audition for Esther, the Musical this Saturday and Sunday. This means hours spent memorizing and practicing a song and monologue.
Next week is, well, simply insane. In one week, we have Chris' knee surgery (so he can't help me all week), Margaret's birthday, piano lessons, violin lesson, music theory lesson, PE at the YMCA, my 19-week anatomy scan, a pediatrician appointment, Scottish dance class, CCE (and it's a week we have to prepare three presentations), and extra music practice all week for Saturday's music competition. Just writing that out makes me want to crawl under the covers right now.
Then we get through our annual standardized testing before heading to the beach for a few days . . . then it's the heavy liturgical activities of Holy Week . . . followed by the time off of Easter octave.
It will be the last week of April before I have any normalcy at home! That makes me want to cry because I really thrive on order and a routine of the day. I really like having the kids do their three spelling sentences daily and finishing one lesson per week, and magnify that little-bit-daily times all of their dozen subjects. Chug, chug, chug, finish a bit every day and wonderful progress is made over time.
Zany. Wiggy. Out of routine. Fun . . . but discombobulating.
This is when I have to remind myself that this flexibility is one of the freedoms and joys of homeschooling. We have had a very good school year with much solid routine and progress. Now is a season of excitement and change, and that is very good too.
I have to be on my game to continue to find new, makeshift ways to give the kids structure, despite all the changes, so that they know what to expect and can behave well. I find when they don't know what is coming, their behavior devolves fast.
Then the oppressive heat of summer will come and we'll get in a couple more months of solid, routenized school days before the baby makes his or her appearance . . . and it all gets topsy turvy again!
Three cheers for the flexibility of the homeschooling life!