It is so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life, isn’t it? I know it can’t be just me. I find this feeling especially elevated at this time of year.
As I am planning our coming homeschool year I find myself easily swept away with the amazing curriculum, classes, and activities available to us. I find myself focusing on all of the ‘extra’ things I want my children to learn – a second language, a musical instrument, woodworking and the list goes on. Certain things I heard a friend mention and thought were such a great things we should be doing them too.
It is very, very easy for me to get swept away filling our days with marvellous experiences and activities. AND then I start thinking about the areas we are lacking. My 8 year old struggles with writing. And my 6 year old will be learning to read this year, so that needs to be a big focus. Both boys are very strong in math, so I need to really offer some new challenges and build this strength.
Pretty soon our days are so full that I know exactly what is in store for us a month down the road.
Burn out. All of those marvellous activities will begin to feel like a burden of things we have to do. My days will begin to feel unsuccessful, as we inevitably have things left undone on our much to long to-do list. We will begin to turn down play-dates, and experiences we would all really love, simply because I feel we are too behind on our work.
So this year, I am going to do things differently. I am choosing to focus on what really matters.
What really matters for me is that my children grow into kind and capable adults. I want my children to know how smart they are and to believe they can do anything if they put their minds to it.
Now, I need to ensure our daily plan reflects these goals. Does turning down play-dates and activities with loved ones show kindness? Does focusing on my child’s weaknesses and pressing them to learn more and faster in that area show them how smart and capable they are? Not so much.
I need to adjust our daily plan so it is better aligned with my goals.
I am going to respect the fact that we all struggle with things and as long as we are progressing in those areas, it is absolutely okay to go at our own pace. I am not going to worry (I am going to try really, really hard anyways) if my child is working below grade level in an area. I am going to celebrate his progress and growth and give him the gracious gift of time. I will not make him feel as though he needs to catch up to some arbitrary line.
I am going to encourage their love of learning and discovery by focusing a lot of energy on topics we all love. Math challenges and art explorations are fun for all of us. We will centre the academic piece to our day around the joy of doing these activities. We will spend more time doing what we love, and less time trying to catch up with subjects that are not as loved.
I am going to ensure my children help others. If a family has just had a new baby, we will make a dinner together and deliver it with love and care. If a Mama is unwell, we will care for her children. I will lead by example and ensure my children grow to be helpful, giving, and kind.
And when I focus on these things, the marvellous activities and extras feel less and less important. I am going to aim to do these as experiences. We will have experience with a musical instrument. We will have experience with a second language. If my children really take to these experiences, we will plan them for next year.
I intend on also giving myself the gracious gift of time. I do not need to provide everything for my little ones at once. In fact, by planning less and focusing in on the heart of what matters I am providing them with the very best gift I can.
And that makes my heart feel truly marvellous.
If you can related to these feelings, I encourage you to take a moment to write down in one sentence exactly what you want for your child. Let that be your focus. Then have a look at your activities, experiences, and plans and ensure all that you are doing in a day is either concretely necessary, or directly pointed to your focus. If it is not, consider letting it go for awhile.
It is amazing how freeing it can be to let things go. Even marvellous things.
Thank you so much for reading friends. I hope you are having a wonderful week.