I really can't believe it is August already! Not even the first day of August either -- we are already a week in!!! Where, oh where, did the summer go????
Technically it is still summer. However, with school starting earlier every year, it seems that summer is getting shorter and shorter. Tiffany had her first Teacher Work Day on Friday, and students start back on Wednesday! She lamented that teachers always remark that there are three good reasons to be a teacher -- June, July and August! However, nowadays, there are only two good reasons to be a teacher (and pay is not one of them)!
My three boys in college all start back to class on the 20th, and the talk these days is centering around class schedules, tuition bills, and plans for the fall. So, that back-to-school feeling is definitely in the air.
Although homeschoolers don't have to adhere to any specific school calendar, I still feel pressure to get started chipping away at our required 180 days. I know from experience that unexpected things always come up during the school year, and once May gets here, we will be so tired of school and eager to spend our days enjoying the sand and the surf!
So, like everyone else, I have turned my attention to the school year ahead. I have ordered curriculum, cleaned off bookshelves and organized the teacher cabinet, listed unneeded textbooks on Ebay, started thinking about schedules and goals, stocked up on school supplies, and I'm trying to figure out once again how to toss the "homeschool ball" into the air and successfully incorporate it into the balls I'm currently juggling.
As my mind spins with plans and expectations for the school year looming ahead, I was reminded of a blog post I wrote a couple years ago about this very thing. I reread it this morning, and thought I'd share it with you here today. I hope it encourages you to be "optimistically realistic" as you plan and prepare for the school year ahead.
Today is the turning point. The time when we turn our backs on summer and begin to watch the new school year come up over the horizon. A new year -- full of new hopes, new dreams, new schedules, new routines. A year where we will be more organized, more diligent, more productive, and even have time for the books and subjects that we never had time for before . . .
Ha! I no longer fall for that trick! I have been at this long enough to not have unrealistic expectations for this new school year! I know that it will have the same old interruptions, crises, and unexpected twists and turns as any other year, and unfortunately, I will be the same imperfect teacher with the same imperfect children! My only hope is that I have learned to navigate the curves in the road with more patience and wisdom, and that, perhaps, both teacher and students will be somewhat more mature and demonstrate just a bit more godly character than last year!
But, there is just something about the sight and the smell and the feel of crisp, new books; fresh, unused notebooks; stacks of clean, white paper; nifty new planners; and long, freshly-sharpened pencils with the erasers still unused, that inspires hope and anticipation and expectations about the new school year. I can't help but hope that we will be a bit more disciplined, diligent and focused this year. Even the children have expressed hope that they will write more neatly, and pay better attention, and do ALL of their homework this year. It is just part of human nature to hope to do better than you did before. Isn't that what keeps athletes competing and chess players scheming and little children climbing back up on a bicycle that they just fell off of?
"Where there is no vision, the people perish . . . " --- Proverbs 29:18.
So, we do have hopes and dreams for this approaching school year. We hope to do a little better on the things that really matter. The three R's are important, of course, but my real desire is that I will write indelibly on the tablets of my children's hearts a love for God and His ways, a zest for learning, and an appreciation for home and family that will carry them through life. In that regard, I hope that this is our best school year ever!