In April of 2012, I carefully mapped out what our school year would look like come fall. It wasn't so much the curriculum choices that needed my attention, as we were basically sticking with the same things, but I was evaluating what activities to commit ourselves to.
By the end of June, I had our 2012-2013 school year all wrapped up and ready to be opened by the kids the following month. In July, we kicked off our school year and had been rolling along for about nine weeks when the first wrench was thrown in the works.
The class schedule for the girls' ballet school changed and conflicted with our music class. Joshua and I had agreed that we wanted music to be a part of our kids intentional education, not an extracurricular, so we dropped ballet. The girls were very sad.
While the girls had chosen ballet, Thomas had opted for karate. He enjoyed the class immensely, but we soon discovered the class wasn't a good fit for our family. His class times were a little inconvenient, but the real challenge was that the school wanted the parents to stay on hand while the student was in class. This presented a huge issue for our family because the place was not designed to hold more than one watcher per child (one adult watcher, no less), and we had an adult and four other children. Twice a week. It wasn't pretty, and we soon opted to simply drop Thomas off for his class. This worked against us because we realized we were missing information that the instructor shared with the children and the parents were meant to overhear. We weren't overhearing it because we weren't there. It was cycle that was maddening.
Ultimately, we opted out of karate, too.
We had arrangements to be a part of a once a month meeting with other families for a character study and topical craft type thing that wound up falling through, as well.
Is short, all my plans failed.
Thankfully, my mother raised a ridiculously over-confident gal who's not particularly afraid of failure.
I soon realized that this slower paced, quieter life was exactly what our family needed. We've been able to really settle in and find a routine that works for us. Instead of being out of the house three days a week (what was I thinking?!), we are only out one day. Two days, tops. I've been able to really sit back and see the academic weaknesses and strengths of our schooling children and, more importantly, character issues that need to be worked on.
We are more serene. We are more focused. We are more content. As a person who loves to be busy and thrives off a full calendar, these kinds of quieter days were not something I thought I would ever be able to appreciate. It's an answer to prayer, I tell you. I struggled when I became a stay at home mom with how to handle my 'all me free time' and feeling like an unproductive partner in my marriage. I prayed about my restlessness and tried to fill my days with 'stuff'. Now I know that I need to revel in these slower days because, all too soon, they fill up with their own 'stuff'.
As I start looking toward planning for next year, I'm keeping things pretty loose. We'll continue with piano and our general music classes. We'll stay home more and focus on being at peace with what we have and cultivating the most important of our relationships. Everything will still be there when and if we decide to jump back into it.
But for now, rest and a calmer pace are having their way in our home.