Sometimes being a planner is a good thing. I like lists. I like research. I like calendars and planners and excel spreadsheets. Of course, being a planner doesn't mean my life is all organized and tidy. I'm actually kind of messy. But when it comes to information, dates, routines - I like to plan.
But sometimes the best laid plans have to be thrown out the window.
Last spring I penned out a rough schedule for our school year. I thought it sounded like a super nifty idea to start school early, in August. It would give us a whole extra month of leeway, I thought. We could take a week off in the fall, for any reason. We could slow down at any time, take day off without guilt or worry. We could start slow, with just a couple of subjects, to get into the flow of things.
Plus, all the cool kids are doing it, the year round school thing. If I had a nickel for every lovely homeschool blog that talked about year round schooling, well, I'd have enough for a diet coke or something. But seriously, I was beginning to feel like "most" homeschoolers do some form of year round, or at least a partially year round schedule.
The year round idea does have appeal. I like the idea of the kids not forgetting all they learned and having to spend weeks catching up. I like the idea that we'd be integrating our learning more fully into our life, so the line between "school" and "life" gets a little more blurry. I like the idea of shedding the traditional school schedule and embracing a schedule that works for our family.
But oh, what was that last one? A schedule that works for our family. Right.
The first week of August rolled around and we did a few days of school. It was ok. But the weather was glorious outside and it just didn't FEEL right. Not that I kept them in, slaving over workbooks all day, while all the other kids got to play outside to their heart's content. We just did a little work in the morning. But even that wasn't working that well. Everything felt... off.
I remembered my well thought-out plans. After all, it had sounded good last spring for a reason; probably a bunch of reasons. But the gap between how it sounded back in May and how it felt to live it in August was pretty large.
I held out for another week, trying to integrate some school time into our days. But it just wasn't working. We had other things going on, or our best friends' kids were outside playing by 9 a.m. and it felt crazy to keep them in to "do school".
So I admitted to myself that this probably wasn't going to work the way I thought. Now feels like summer and September feels like the time for school. Maybe we won't always run by the traditional school calendar, maybe we will, I don't know. I'll worry about next year when it comes around, but for now, we're bagging "formal" school time and just getting dirty outside. After all, we do live in the Pacific Northwest, and we're in the absolute best time of year weather-wise. Another month and a half, and it's going to cloud up and rain for about 9 months. We may as well embrace this lifestyle we've chosen and create a schedule that works for our family. For now that means the shiny new school books and projects I have planned will wait just a little longer; and that's ok by me.