Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Goals and realistic expectations

Wow. Summer is almost over.  It’s crazy how fast time flies by.  This summer I finished the writing and editing process of my first fiction book, Wrecked and Yours.  I love the story about overcoming strife is one that resonates with me. This book is about three homeless kids and how they navigate life. As adults they reconnect, and it’s messy, like life often is. It’s their season to make a choice: look at life honestly and deal with it, or continue to run away.  I absolutely loved writing it.

Here’s the book’s page if you’d like to check it out.

As summer winds down I’m thinking about the new school year. It’s caught me off guard this year, so I feel like I’m scrambling a bit. 
Our family is a homeschooling family. Before I share anything else, I just want to say that homeschooling isn’t for everyone.  We all do the best we can and make the best decisions we can for our kids. I support whatever schooling choices parents make for their family.
But, like I said, we felt led to homeschool.  As I add up the years, I realized I’ve homeschooled for 20 years. That’s a long time.  I’m feeling it, let me tell you. 
I remember how each year started. Summer was for scraping out the deals and plotting that years curriculum. We’d start at the first week of September. Everything was bright, shiny. We were on a role!
Hello, first roadblock. It didn’t matter what it was. It could be trying to wrangle soccer practice into the schedule, or  a child forgetting the entire “eight” section in the multiplication table, or another child forgetting what “sit down and read” meant. 
Or it could be something more disruptive. But, inevitable, something was thrown into our day that messed up the entire timetable. And once that was messed up, it was a struggle to get everything back on track again.
And then the guilt came.
So here I am, faced with a new year, and I know the pattern ahead of me. I’d like to do this year without the guilt. I’d like to do it in faith that this will work out, God has a plan. He’s gotten me this far and helped me when I was at my wits end. He’s not going to leave me to flounder now. Because I’ve also seen the pattern of the finished school year: my kids completed the courses set before them (not without a few hair raising days, for sure), and the ones that have graduated have gone on to have successful happy lives. 
And they all learned their “eight” multiplication table.
I wonder what it would have been like if I had been a bit kinder to myself through the years, and given myself more grace.  Structure was something I needed for my teaching style, but I wish I could have hung on a bit tighter to the ultimate goal when life shook my schedule more than I liked. 

So, as September approaches, I just want to encourage anyone reading this to remember to be kind to yourself as you set your own goals for the new season. And that doesn't pertain specifically to homeschooling, but to anything you are planning. Sometimes there’s a few kinks that twist up our expectations. Just hang in there, because one way or another, it does work out. 
*hug to anyone who needs one today*