Archive for January, 2010

Trying again after a long absence

Friday, January 8th, 2010

I’m feeling inspired to blog again, after more than a year away.  I must certainly be the most negligent blogger in the blogosphere, but despite my absence, folks still seem to be checking in, and there is evidence that what I have written so far may actually be helpful to some.  That inspires me to continue on in my efforts to record our daily homeschooling activities, as sporatic as the entries may be.  Last year (Starling’s second grade year) was an incredible learning experience for all of us.  The momentum of our First Grade experience continued through the Fall of 2008, and into the early winter months , but after a main lesson block on the Golden Legend in January, I felt my energy waning and my momentum slowing.  Most of my planning was happening the night before a lesson, and it wasn’t long before I was exhausted, and feeling defeated.  For several months I sputtered along, trying to throw ideas into some semblance of a learning experience for my girls.  It was a difficult time, and I found myself really questioning my ability to educate my children at home.  The remarkable thing is, and this was a crucial discovery for me, Starling and Chickadee continued to thrive, despite my unfinished lessons and growing lack of direction.  A lot of Starling’s success in the second half of her second grade year was that she had the freedom to read for long hours in the day.  In my desperation, I just kept feeding her good books to read and she burned through them.  We also read together, every day for at least an hour.  By the end of the year, Starling’s reading habits were well established — she was reading everywhere, anywhere and as often as possible.  New rules had to be written.  No reading at the table, in the tub, or while going for a walk.  Safety first, even when it comes to good literature!  As for Chickadee, she grew increasingly frustrated at her sister’s interest in reading, complaining that her playmate had turned into a boring imitation of her former self.

Thankfully, spring came and the summer months provided a much-needed reprieve from the pressures of feeling the need to “homeschool”.  The girls swam, and hiked, and got to spend vacation time at the beach.  I enjoyed kicking back, and cleaning the cobwebs from my brain.  I resolved to be better prepared for the upcoming school year and seriously considered how I was going to find the time to plan, free from the daily interruptions of housecleaning, mothering and summer distractions.  I asked my mother to come and watch the girls for a week.  It was an awfully bold thing for me to do.  A week is a long time for someone who retired her apron strings long ago, but my sweet mother generously agreed to travel ten hours and tend to my children.  I locked myself in the back room, and worked my tail off from morning to night.  I put my guilt aside and let my mother and husband cook for me, and pick up the house, and all I did was plan.  I’m sure it will come as little surprise to any busy mother — I was in heaven!  The inspiration arrived, the creative juices flowed, and I poured through what seemed like tomes of curriculum and library resources.  I planned the whole year in one blissful, undisturbed week.  It has made all the difference in the world this year.  More on this to come . . .