School hath started. (Yes, it would sound better to say “begun”. But this is not a week that things sound better. So “started” is more accurate.)
Starting this school year was pretty intimidating to me, I’ll be honest. There is a lot going on around here, and I wasn’t sure I could keep all of my plates spinning and add in a giant spinning platter (school).
I spent some weeks freaking out. When I was done freaking out, I spent a few weeks thinking and praying about how we could make things work. Two things have helped this time around.
First, I got off the internet. I think I gained about a gazillion hours in my week. (I’ve never been great at math. If this sounds mathematically off to you, just disregard this statement. The non math people will get my drift.)
Second, I’ve been attempting some habit training on myself. I am nearly certain that this is not interesting, but for better or worse, this is making a huge difference in my school days: I make sure that my shower begins and ENDS between 6:30 and 7 am every single school day. I am really quite rebellious, I don’t like giving myself a habit like that, but it’s going so well, why rebel against something that’s working, right? After all, I just read Charlotte saying something like:
“It is pleasant to know that, even in mature life, it is possible by a little persistent effort to acquire a desirable habit…”
Okay, I guess there was a third thing…I am getting everyone up a little earlier than I would like. It’s so peaceful in the morning, and they are all so sound asleep when I go get them. Who in their right mind would wake so many happily sleeping gremlins…I mean children.
Me. I’m the idiot going around destroying my peace and quiet.
Because getting them up just a teensy bit earlier is giving the non-morning people time to cope with reality, giving the morning people time to come charging into the kitchen proclaiming loudly how much they love school and they can’t wait to get started. Yes, seriously. At that point, I really need more coffee.
But that seems to be working too. We are actually accomplishing our work in the time we are supposed to be doing it, leaving plenty of time for playing, thinking, working, dreaming and exploring.
It sounds so easy.
Most mornings by 10:30 I’m amazed to still be alive. It feels like the day has been going for several lifetimes.
Especially with no social media breaks to distract me from real life.
But it is truly a joyful feeling to get to 11:30 when school is usually wrapping up for most of us, to realize that we have again accomplished SO MUCH WORK in that amount of time.
“Integrity [in our work] makes for gaiety, because the person who is honest about his work has time to play, and is not secretly vexed by the remembrance of things left undone or ill done.”
-Charlotte Mason, Ourselves
So, has it all been roses and new habits?
The first few days of the school year were spent putting our bathroom back together (it had to be gutted due to the dry rot we discovered a few weeks ago), and trying to have a little family “summer” vacation before school started. Except…school had already started. Oh well. What else is new.
Each year there are a few major points that I find I’ve forgotten and have to quickly relearn:
These are people I am teaching. They are living, breathing, changing people. They are accountable to and learning to love and obey God just as I am. We are all in this home together, bumping into each other, sharing life together, but also needing to adjust to each other so we can live together peaceably.
Again this year, just like every year, I am amazed at the books. These books are precious gifts. They change our thinking, they bring new ideas into our home (so how important to choose those books wisely!), they bless, teach, and encourage. Sometimes they make us laugh. Sometimes they make us groan. But after just a few weeks of proofreading my older children’s books and reading aloud for a few hours of each school day, I realize how those books affect me. My brain is being challenged in a way it just wasn’t all summer. And I missed it.
This summer I have missed the moments of having a child connect something we are reading in Plutarch to what they just read in Ourselves, or raving about the artist’s work in our new art study. Or asking to be able to do some extra nature study. These things are precious to me, and they encourage me for this long journey.
You know what I don’t like about starting school back up?
The fact that I’ve let some of our most important habits slip. Of course it becomes painfully obvious as we begin again on our days of routine and self-discipline.
I’ve been doing some intense study on habit training, so I thought I’d share a little of what I’ve been thinking as we’ve muddled through some pretty rough days getting back on track this month. I think that a part two of this post is in order. You can read it here…