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.
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.