Panic and the new school year

I opened a couple of Corbett’s 8th grade textbooks and panicked.

“Formal proof of validity” – huh? what?

Letters and symbols used in ways that definitely were not spelling words. – Panic.

Immediately, the routine pre-school fears came sweeping over me. I was doomed not just to fail my 8th grader, but the other 4 were without hope as well. Basically, we shouldn’t even start because I was destined to failure. All those symbols and letters jumbled together, not to mention diagramming sentences in Latin, were all the proof I needed that this year would be a disaster. There is no way I could do this. Not five of them and one of me. Not Logic and Algebra and Latin while also teaching first grade reading and still reminding certain ones about basic hygiene.

Yep, definitely not happening.

And then I came out of it.

This is my 6th year to homeschool. So much for the plan to do it one year!

The initial feelings of a new school year are always the same – panic, fear, and wondering not only IF I can do it, but HOW I am going to do it.

The difference between my first year of homeschooling and my sixth year is the panic doesn’t last as long. I know we will make it through this year because we’ve made it through the previous five. I now know that all that stress and worry and micro-planning don’t help much and really we just need to start moving forward and we’ll find our groove.

This week we are finding our way back into our routine – the one that uniquely works for us. Cutting out vocabulary cards, organizing books and making supply lists. Dreaming up what we want the year to look like. Setting goals because I can’t brush my teeth without creating some kind of goal to go with it!
This guy got out his old notebook and the pages were wrinkled. I might drill my kids on not wasting things – he worked hard using every surface to try to ‘iron’ out his paper again. He makes me smile.
Right now I am not sure how I will achieve everything I want to with each kid, but I know I don’t have to have all that figured out. We will start, plans will change, the schedule will modify, but come late spring we’ll have all learned a ton and laughed alongside each other even more.

I wish I could tell every new-to-homeschooling mom and dad to take a deep breath. Remember your goals and remember you don’t have to have it all figured out before you even start. Homeschooling tends to be pretty organic and is as unique as the families that do it. What works for that friend you admire, the dad down the road or the inspiring mom you follow online – well, it probably won’t work the same for you. You are uniquely created with gifts and talents that you get to pour out into your kids in the context of their education. If you are feeling the tinge of panic – wondering not only IF you can do this but HOW are you going to do it – set aside the planner and the lists of all the reasons it may not work and just take a deep breath. You’ve got this…and you have plenty of time to find the unique groove that allows you and your students not just to survive this school year, but to truly thrive.

I’m a homeschool mom, but I have plenty of friends in the private and public school sectors and I know you guys feel a lot of the same emotions in different and similar ways. You’ve got this too. I’m cheering for you and hope your school year overflows with goodness and growth.

Lastly, teachers – thank you for all you are already pouring into your students across this nation (and globe). You alter the future each time you engage, teach and pour into your students. If there is any profession that deserves the title of ‘world changers’ – I’d say it is you. I know most of what you do the rest of us will never see or even comprehend. Thank you. I hope your year is full of unexpected joy and a whole lot of fun.


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