Homeschool · lessons in love

Big Plans, Big Mess

Good morning!

We have been on such a sickness roller coaster this month! It is almost as if we catch a cold every time we leave the house now, unfortunately. This winter’s weather has been so goofy, with temps up and down (it was just 50 degrees on Saturday!…in January!!), and I know that has confused our immune systems. Two of us had strep two weeks ago. There has been this constant post-nasal drip for several of us. Morning phlegm. Constant coughs. Ugh, it has all just been mostly annoying. Nothing serious, medically; just an annoyance that makes us grouchy a lot of days. It seems every time I make big plans for school work, one of us is so grumpy that is ruins the plans and the day. I know it is preventable…I’ve just been so tired lately that I have been lazy with correcting and getting us back on track.

Yesterday, I again awoke with a sore throat. No redness, no swollen and painful glands (thankfully!!), but it was just so irritating. My nose is stuffy, so I assume my throat is irritated by snot. We went to church, and I drank a lot of warm drinks throughout the day. This morning it is feeling better, but I am sipping broth that just finished cooking a few minutes ago (LOVE the overnight crockpot bone broth….simple and delicious) to keep my throat happy.

As far as school, I have been very casual with our work. We spent several days dedicated to our cooking unit study; the girls and I really enjoyed it, and we learned a lot! After we finished that, we did not do much in the way of science. We have been doing math and group reading consistently, as well as copywork, verse memorization and spelling tests. History and science have been rather quiet, but I am not too worried. Our spurts of those two subjects tend to be pretty intense, so it works as far as information retention. And the kids learn just as much in a week of intense work as they would spreading it out over the month in small times of daily work.

I did make some changes for 2016 that I am hesitant to share, in case I totally fail and then change my mind. 😉 But, I suppose sharing will hold me accountable! After several months of reading and researching and praying, I have decided to try schooling through the Summer. That’s right, year-round schooling. I know some cities’ public schools have moved to this type of schooling, but that is not why we are ‘trying’ it. My reason to switch was because we are home A LOT. We do not travel often, and when we do it is on Dad’s days off…which are days we are not intensely doing any school work anyhow. So, we will try it. The plan is to have school about 6 weeks, then take a full week off; this will help me with preparing and gathering materials for the following six weeks. The six weeks works great for library books, since the rental period is 3 weeks, and I can renew for an additional 3 weeks! We will take off almost all of June, then we will take a three-week break in December. Since I am starting this a little late in the year, we will be working for just four weeks, starting today, then take our first week off, the first week of March. We aren’t having a “Spring Break”, but our next week off after March will be April 18. I don’t have an Easter time off planned or any of the typical school holidays (Presidents’ Day, for example). We do not usually go anywhere special on those days, so we may as well just have school and be off when it works for us! Our new schedule still covers the number of days we need as required by the state (and a few more, even, for a nice cushion….since we seem to be ill a lot this year. Ha!).

Another big change for me is in records and physical scheduling. I abandoned my paper lesson plans a few months ago; they aggravated me, and I actually felt so pressured to cram a bunch of stuff in, even if no one was retaining anything. I have an issue with NEEDING to check off all my boxes by the end of the day, regardless of the quality of learning that occurred. So, I did some more reading and looked for ways to still get great learning in and ease myself out of the checklist issue. I came across a blog from a mom that uses the year-round schooling; while reading her thoughts and tips for schooling all year, I saw her mention something about Evernote. I had used it before for personal things – cleaning, appointments, etc. BUT, she went on to explain that she uses it for ALL of her homeschool planning, record keeping, scheduling, EVERYTHING.

If you know me, you know I am NOT tech savvy. In fact, I may be one of the least tech savvy people my age. I probably only use about 2% of my iPhone’s capabilities because I have no idea what things mean and do not feel the need to figure it out. 🙂 And I am okay with all that!

I clicked on the link to her post about homeschooling with Evernote and FELL IN LOVE. Seriously. I surprised myself, to be honest. It looked like so much to learn, but it was SO organized and neatly laid out and…..she even had CHECKLISTS! She incorporated her loop scheduling, as well, which was awesome because I had started doing that with science and history and a few other little things. Being able to move all of my daily ideas and plans into a simple app was amazing.

So, over the last four days (dad was off Thursday and Friday, so we did minimal school work, and I did not have the girls do anything over the weekend) I planned and organized and added everything into my Evernote app, which conveniently syncs my computer version with my phone version on its own (!!), and I was all set to start our day using my cool new method.

And then this morning happened. I am still stuffy. One special daughter of mine apparently woke up too early. My precious three-year old starting pushing all the wrong buttons with her, and BAM! Morning ruined. She was screaming, I was screaming. She was crying, I sent her to bed. I disciplined the three-year old. And I was SO not in the mood to start our Bible reading together right then…even though it was actually 8:00 and that was the time I planned for us to start.

TOTAL FAIL.

I had even continued with my habit of getting up before the kids to read my Bible and pray and get my mind and heart right for the day. And I just let that all go with the first kid explosion.

So, it’s 9:20 now, and we still haven’t started. I haven’t showered. The kids haven’t done any independent work yet; in fact, the girls are huddled around the iPad playing Minecraft. The boys are watching Finding Nemo. And I am okay with it. We needed some time away from each other. I needed to just get on here and type this all out. And I needed to remember a verse I read early this morning, that I even posted on Facebook…

“The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Exodus 14:14

All I have to do is shut my mouth, right? All I have to do is let God. Let Him fight, let Him lead, let Him have our day. And I didn’t do that. I read my Bible, I prayed for a good day, and I completed my mental checklist of early morning activities. BUT, I never surrendered today’s fight to the Lord. Instead, I took on the battle myself and OPENED MY MOUTH. It was not pretty. Screaming at 8 AM is definitely NOT a good idea, in case you were wondering.

I didn’t let the Lord fight for me. And I don’t think I would’ve realized it had we not all stepped away from each other. I think if I would have pushed the school work and forced us all together to read our Bible, while still angry about what had just happened, it would have continued to ruin the day.

So, we took a 90 minute break. 😉 And now I am ready to start again. We’ll do our morning time, and then we’re going to the library…..because that is our happy place. The library seriously makes all of us happy. (Plus, I need a bunch of books for this week.)

Big plans CAN mean big mess. Especially if you follow my sad example. BUT big plans can ALSO mean big victories…..as I read in Exodus 14 immediately after that verse. God parted the waters, the Israelites crossed and the battle was over. All they had to do was let God fight for them. All I have to do today is let God fight. Give Him my plans, let Him lead us, leaving our bad attitudes and stubbornness behind. He’ll drown those out and help us win.

Ok, so my example there is stretching the text a bit, but you get the idea. LET THE LORD FIGHT FOR YOU.

Happy Monday!

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