How did it get to this point?

Last week, I broke down crying over a Valentine exchange.  Alright, perhaps there was a little more to it than just roses are red, violets are blue, but still. It was the tipping tipping point for me.  It was the moment when I said, “enough is enough.”

Let me back up just a wee bit.

Living in South Korea was awesome, but other than missing family back home, the main detraction was that there was little to no homeschool community over there.  We were on our own for most of the day, every single day.  Not only did we miss our friends back home, we also missed all the fun learning opportunities that quirky Southern California offers to homeschoolers.  And during the freezing months of winter?  Forget about it.

Upon returning in 2013, we signed on with a charter school that gives a fairly generous allotment of funds to be used towards approved classes and curriculum.  All of the sudden a whole new world of electives opened up to us.  Classes that I didn’t want to teach, or didn’t have time for?  There’s a vendor for that.

And it was glorious.  The kids and I all appreciated getting out of the house and learning in different environments and with different teachers.  Fast forward to this year.  I knew I was going to have to slow down after the baby came, so I really packed on the classes early in the year.  Sewing, drawing, Spanish (2 different classes!), choir, guitar, soccer, ceramics!  And that doesn’t even include our co-op and clubs and park days, or any of the family maintenance stuff like doctors and dentists and grocery shopping.

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I kept telling myself that we would relax after the baby came.  That things would lighten up at Christmas.  That I would end some of the classes at the semester.  But then there I was, crying over a bunch of unmade Valentines, and it hit me.

Overbooked.  Overscheduled. Overwhelmed.  I just… snapped.  Not like lost my mind, really, but: there was a sewing class (during which I raced to the grocery store with the three littles), followed by some hurried lessons (math!  spelling!  hurry up, we gotta go!), followed by a dentist appointment.  When the girls reminded me about their writing club and about the Valentine’s exchange at park day, following by a Skype guitar lesson that evening, well.  I’m not gonna lie. I wept.

It’s too much.  I keep wondering, how did I even get here?  Somehow I went from homebound in Korea, to out of the house all the time.  I told a dear friend (during our Spanish class, oy) that I love so many things about homeschooling, but the only one I’m really able to enjoy anymore is the ability to learn from multiple people in different situations.  All the coziness of a day at home with the kids, all the joy of watching my kids create something awesome (and messy) in the yard, all the one-on-one learning has been replaced with car time and out-of-the-house lessons.

So on Tuesday, after my tears, I took Blythe’s advice.  I’m in charge, I realized, and I’m the one doing this to us!  My kids could hardly care less about all these lessons.  (On the other hand, if I try to cut out park days and clubs, there will be a mutiny.)  It’s time to change my schedule, and my life.  It’s time to change the way this family runs.  It’s time to homeschool in a more intentional way.  In my usual all-or-nothing way, I considered just dropping everything right now.  (I’m not gonna lie, it’s still appealing.)  At least for this moment, right now, the goal is to reclaim our mornings.  I’m working on pushing everything to the afternoons and protecting the early hours of the day.  And while I’m figuring that out, I’m praying really hard about what should ultimately stay and what should go.

So that was it.  My February meltdown.  The funny and odd thing is that even though nothing has changed yet, knowing that I have the power to change it all is liberating.  I’m not at the mercy of the schedule!  As we used to say as kids, it’s not the boss of me.  I am the boss and I am reclaiming my homeschool.

Comments

  1. Best wishes on your new scheduling 🙂 February always makes us crazy, one way or the other.
    Annery recently posted…The Weight of GriefMy Profile

  2. Good for you! It’s funny, I’ve been thinking about you ever since I spent a little extra time with a dear daughter of yours a week and a half ago. I asked if she was participating in a certain “bee” that was happening, and she kind of sighed, said, “Yes. We do ALL the bees,” and then went on to kind of spill that she was finding hard to try and do everything…

    I also remember that feeling of having so much money to spend with a charter school, and wanting to spend it all on these great classes and lessons, but it the end, it was all too much for us. Once we dropped out, it was kind of a relief to not be able to afford to do everything.

    Homeschooling with little children is so much more relaxed and enjoyable, if you’re actually home. It gets easier (kind of) to run around to classes and activities when you have a teen or two that can stay with littles, or just be dropped off for activities.

    I will continue to keep your sweet family in my prayers, that you find comfort and contentment while searching for God’s perfect will for all of you!

  3. I appreciate this so much. There are so many options available now which is so awesome but there is a truth that it can take the home out of homeschooling. While we haven’t experienced this yet with homeschooling, in the past year Brian and I have had a busier social and commitment schedule than ever before. Most weeks we only have one or two relaxing nights at home. It’s been wonderful in some ways because we were both craving that fellowship and community but I do feel like we need to be very careful about not going overboard and don’t sacrifice our family life for it. I think living in a frigid winter place makes for a natural deterrent to not bundling up all four kids to spend too much time out. Once a week is more than enough for me. So much work and so cold to go out with all of them…but I’m sure I’d be the same way if I was out in CA! Good luck with your resolution. It’s a good one.
    Mary @ Better Than Eden recently posted…A Peek Inside Our HomeschoolMy Profile

  4. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. We actually do not participate in any co-ops. There is a big co-op in our town and I do often feel a little guilty that we dont join in – for instance my kids have never been to a Valentine exchange. But, I just don’t want to give up one morning a week! And then having the added pressure of having to complete assignments for the co-op. I agree with Mary that our weather helps. I live in the South so it’s not frigid but there is a definite slow down in the winter. I hope you figure everything out soon!

  5. Life always seems to go in seasons, doesn’t it? We finally are in a good area iwth out actual schooling and getting stuff done and being on top of things and not being rushed However, we don’t have many friends, don’t do many activities or classes (mostly due to lack of funds…and living outsdie town so everything is a drive) and are home way too much for my liking. (we do some things, but not as many as i would like) Especially in recent weeks because bad weather had cancelled many of our activities. It’s such a balancing act isn’t it? In ther past we’ve had lots of outside activities and classes, but schooling at home was rushed and stressful.

    At this point I would gladly trade the long days at home and unrushed schooling for a busy schedule with lots of activities. But I know that would stress me out too. So it’s just so hard to find that balance.
    Amelia @ One Catholic Mama recently posted…Two Rules for LentMy Profile

  6. Wowee. We don’t do NEARLY as much as you do–like maybe 1/10 and we feel overwhelmed with stuff. One thing/day is about as much as I can handle at the moment. I’m actually working on being able to do more. If it’s possible, I feel overwhelmed with my INactivity. Maybe we can even the score–you work on doing less and I’ll work on doing more… just as soon as the baby gets bigger and we move…

  7. We cycle from the too much going on to the am-I-doing-enough. It was my teens making plans and not telling me until last minute that they need me to drop them off somewhere that brought me to tears. That is the problem with homeschooling here…too many cool choices of things to do. 🙂

  8. This is a constant struggle for us too! I do love the freeing feeling when I admit to myself that it’s totally okay to quit activities. I have such a hard time sometimes acknowledging that I took on too much. Hooray for you, and I’m sure you’ll be able to discern what’s right for this season.
    Catherine recently posted…Lenten Spiritual Growth for KidsMy Profile

  9. Hallelujah! I know just what you mean, and I’m glad that you’re taking back control. It’s crazy to say that I need to carve out time to spend with my kids, when I’m home all day with them, but that’s how I feel too. So for Lent, I’m making time to read and cuddle, even if it means the floors don’t get swept and the laundry never makes it into the dryer. I know we can do it! Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Ah, this makes me thankful that I’ve been listening to my inner voice and NOT signing us up for *all the things* – I keep seeing opportunities that would be so fun and great but then… Bundling everybody up and actually all being dressed to get out the door in a timely manner? I’m lucky I can make it happen once a week! I’m glad to know I’m not just being lazy, but that you veteran homeschool moms feel the same way!
    Rosie recently posted…Living Lent with the 5-and-Under Crowd: Our Take(s)My Profile

  11. Lovely post that most moms of many can relate to wether they homeschooling or not. We so badly want to give them all sorts of opportunity but having a sane mother will teach them more for life than will one more “lesson”. My struggle is knowing what to cut once we get to this point. Usually we power through the commitment and then do a schedule detox. How do you handle the next step? Especially with a conference coming up?

    • Yes, that’s kind of what we are doing. Finishing out some of our commitments and letting go of others. And then I’m making time to connect with my kids each day, usually through reading aloud and cuddling. That makes a huge difference. And conference planning hurts done only after bedtime. 🙂

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