From the Teachable Moment August 1998:
"I experienced a true writer's block this month with this column. I just couldn't think of anything worthwhile to write about in regards to homeschooling. One reason may have been my involvement with planning a couple of major events. I definitely had other things on my mind! However, the major reason finally occurred to me! Summertime seems to be the only time I can relax and just let go of homeschooling.
Every summer, I set a goal to have the children work on some math and writing (since we have readaholics in the house, this is one I'm not concerned about) but the accomplishing of that goal gets more and more sporadic as we journey into summertime. This is the time when all the projects I've put on hold during the school year leap from behind corners in my mind, startling me and reminding me it's their time!
If I had a different personality, didn't have four kids and didn't work a part time job, maybe I could do the homeschooling differently. Maybe I could go more with the flow and spontaneous learning all the time. However, being the me that I am, I feel a constant urging inside to make sure the right environment and learning resources are available to the kids. I desire to give each child the time and attention needed to ensure maximum learning opportunities. Much of my time is spent pondering even as I go about the daily activities of life.
So I put many things on hold during the regular school year. Of course, I've tried just calling a halt to everything and getting a certain project accomplished, but that little voice just nags about the children's futures! To decrease frustration, I remind myself that I can focus on those things and projects during the summer. I've also tried the year round schooling schedule of 4 weeks on, 1 week off or 6 weeks on and 2 weeks off. The kids rebel - they want their summer vacation. Thsi approach also didn't work for me; I've decided it's because I always seem to need 3 or 4 weeks off as a recovery period.
That held true this year. Only after a month of basically being off from homeschooling, did the energy to actually accomplish projects kick in. What a morale booster it is when the motivation kicks in and those projects start getting accomplished! One is always the same - to reclaim the house! I go room to room; cleaning, organizing and dejunking. I declare war on paper and cart it to the recycling bin by the grocery bag full. I know - this is spring cleaning and I have my season wrong!
Then I get around to the gratitude gifts;the thank you's and shows of appreciation to scout leaders and others who have so blessed our children's lives. This should also be a spring activity. I always hope they will forgive our tardiness.
Getting our porch painted, starting Christmas shopping, dragging the kids in for annual checkups; the list continues - sorry to bore you with the details. As each item gets checked off, there are fewer monsters lurking behind corners ready to jump out. I feel myself growing stronger and feeling refreshed. I feel closer to being ready to start the homeschooling trip again.
Each homeschooling parent has to find a way to balance it all. I never really gave this much thought when we started our homeschooling journey. Now that I've discovered my system for balancing and coping, I feel much less frustrated. Best wishes on your homeschooling adventures and on your rest stops!"
2012 Update: Wow! This was written in the same month 14 years ago! And I have to share that as my kids grew older and then there were three, two, one...the balancing act changed again and again. So my conclusion, when it is all said and done, is that you do not allow yourself to lock in adamantly to any schedule, but remain flexible and do what works for you year to year. As my older two were gone, the summer schedule did work for my younger two as they grew older. We just adapted year to year based on each child. In addition, guess what....I did get more to the spontaneous flowing stage too. Somehow it all ended up working out! : ))