JULY/AUGUST--School planning. The clean slate. There are only so many hours in a day, already neatly spaced and pre-arranged for you. Consider them. Admire them ... and imagine the endless ways you can fill them with curricula and resource and amazing activities that will enrich the lives of your children.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER-- It feels so good to have those few things that made it past the planning stages in place. You've culled the best of the best from a field crowded with resources that clamored for your attention. You've been careful. You've only chosen the things that will work best with your family and fit your unique needs. You've left growing room--space between subjects and time to enjoy the good things that don't make it onto standardized tests. And, oh, man ... does it feel good to see those little squares of time filling up with such good stuff.
NOVEMBER/DECEMBER--Things are taking off now. You've gotten the feel of the year, and so have your kids. There have been a handful of flops pulled out already (who picked that awful science text, anyway?!) but by and large, success is the name of the game. You enthusiastically learn along with your kids and relish the fun. Homeschooling is fantastic! It's amazing! Could it be that you only get such a limited number of years to teach your own?
JANUARY/FEBRUARY--It's kind of boring, this whole homeschooling thing. Same thing day in and day out, actually. A little too routine.You wonder what's on the other side of the fence some days. Maybe if you had selected some more exciting curriculum? You've always wanted to try unit studies. Maybe you should have taken the plunge. Or maybe you should just put your kids in public school. That might just solve it.
MARCH/APRIL--You just have to put your nose to the grindstone and work through it sometimes, you know? You reaffirm your commitment to the hard work you've undertaken. Discipline is re-established. The children are back in the swing of things and enjoying the day-to-day. You can see the sun starting to push through the gloom of winter. And wait a minute--is that a blossom of knowledge just just starting to open?
MAY/JUNE--How in the world did things get so out of control all at once? The school year has exploded in a fit of tangled, overlapping books and activities competing for your time. The extra-curriculars are suddenly waaaay too much. When will they be over, anyway? And how did you not notice all of those little extras that still need to be checked off of your list? Where has that neat, tidy little homeschool ideal gone? You need space. Margin. Let's just write this year off and get started planning for the next one. And yet ...
Deep in the brambles of your homeschool year.
In places you are so familiar with that you barely even examine closely anymore.
Not fully developed. Not ready to be clipped from the vine. But being nurtured, day by day, under your care.
As you set about your planning for this fall, remember that the garden we so selectively plant is still very much under the control of God. Perhaps 2009-2010 will turn out exactly as you hope. Perhaps it will be neat and orderly. Objectives will be met. Lessons will be learned. Test scores will skyrocket.
Or perhaps God has something different for you. A new baby. A child who needs more character rooting that novel reading. A marriage that could stand a deep watering. A teen who suddenly feels his life's call pressing in and asks to set aside your carefully selected books for some real education.
Be open to His plan above your own. Withstand the heat, the cold, the occasional discontent. Rejoice in the days and see His love for you in every story read and every head you can kiss as it bobs over the table (try that in a classroom).
And be ready for fruit. Lots of it.