I don’t want to plan homeschool for next year. This will be my 11th year of homeschooling (well, 12th or 13th if you include the precocious early years with my oldest). Every other year, do you know where I’d be by now? By the beginning of May I would already have curriculum chosen for each child in each subject. I would have created a book list, and begun searching my local homeschool bookstore for used copies. I would be well on my way to creating our big-picture homeschool plan for the next school year.
Not this year.
Part of it is maybe a bit of burnout. This was a challenging year for me even before the current stay-at-home situation began. Now, we’ve exchanged our days driving from one child’s thing to another for mass coordinating of Zoom calls in various rooms.
It was also my first year officially homeschooling (in some capacity) 5 children from preschool to precalculus. Jumping from letter recognition to polar equations and back has made my brain tired.
I also don’t feel like homeschool planning right now because planning just feels so futile in our current circumstances. After all, look where planning got me this past year. In person classes I had chosen specifically because they were NOT online options have turned into online options after all. Facing all the unknowns of next year definitely is draining me of any desire to start planning.
If there’s one thing the past few months have clearly demonstrated to us it is that our plans are a bit of an illusion.
If our security is in how wonderful, well-thought-out, and organized our homeschool plan is? If our identity has been found in our own ability to craft an ideal homeschool course of study for our students?
Well, those idols have been revealed to be absolutely helpless to save us.
Of course, they were always helpless, even when we had color-coordinate charts and well-rounded lists and carefully-thought-out lesson plans. Nothing has changed, really, except our own point of view.
But where does that leave me when it comes to planning for next year? August will get here whether I feel like it or not. I’ll have a kindergartner, 3rd grader, 5th grader, 8th grader, and 10th grader. I don’t have the luxury of just avoiding this whole thing indefinitely.
But you know what? I do have time.
Just because I’ve always had it all figured out by now in the past doesn’t mean I have to have it all figured out now.
I’m not behind. I’m not doing anything wrong.
Neither are you.
Whether you’ve already laid out next year’s course of study or whether you just can’t even start thinking about it yet, it’s ok.
We have time.
We can take a few moments to give our brain and emotions some space.
We can brain dump and get the crazy out of our head and onto paper (or a screen).
We can acknowledge that it’s hard and weird.
We can even take a few days to watch dumb tv and emote over Voxer to our friends and go on long walks in the spring sunshine.
And in a few days (or weeks. or months) we can come back to the charts and the calendars.
We can take simple steps to set up next school year for success, even knowing that it may all look very different than we think it will.
If you’re feeling burned out, or discouraged, or overwhelmed, or unmotivated: you are not alone!
There are many of us right there in the trenches of this homeschool thing with you.
More than that, there is One who never leaves or forsakes us whether we’re having a great time or are in the depths of despair.
Psalm 139 keeps coming to my mind this spring:
Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the morning,
And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there Your hand shall lead me,
And Your right hand shall hold me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
Even the night shall be light about me;
Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
But the night shines as the day;
The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
Let’s rest in that unshakable hope!