Tuesday, September 9, 2014

And We're Off ....Or Not.

It's September 9 and this school year is amazingly awful. I've doubted myself more in the past month, and especially in the past week, then I did all last year - and that was our first year at home! I'm so upset, overwhelmed and underwhelmed all at once that I've cried twice-today. My husband just sent me a text saying, "There's no crying in home school." Oh, but there is. Today there is.

Why all this doubt?

I changed curriculum this year. Last year we had what is called a curriculum in a box. It was planned and came with every.single.thing I needed to teach: books that matched what we were studying, a CD of the World Book where we found all our articles, end of unit activities, laminated maps and pretty lesson plans written out and well organized. All I did was open the binder, check the pages we needed and open the CD. Done and done. But it was dry and there wasn't any movement. When I asked the kids what one thing they'd change about the year, they each said the history/geography curriculum.

I was OK with that - I knew it was coming, and I wanted to branch out, be more creative. So we decided to use a unit study approach (it's called KONOS). I'm doing it with a friend, Rachael, who has used it since the beginning with her kids (six years) and she was home schooled with it. So I have great support and can see the success. The way it works is, we pick the unit we want - in our case this first unit is Kings and Queens/The Middle Ages.Then we pick the people/events we want to cover.  I searched the library catalog and have a trillion books on the floor related to all things Middle Ages and kings and queens. I found  pins and web sites for activities and projects. It's so incredibly interesting and my head is just swimming with all the information, dates, rulers, battles, laws, quirks and life of that time period. That's the problem.

WHAT do I teach? In what order? I started with Charlemagne, then realized I'd neglected The Hundred Years War (that's right, right? gah) WHO do I pick? The most famous of the time? Or a few obscure rulers who are interesting? How many dates should they memorize? Learn a little about many famous kings/queens, or really dig in and learn as much as we can about one or two?

And the organization needed. My little head is exploding. I need to learn about the middle ages and kings/queens, then decide what to teach, how and in what order. ::headexplosion:: My friend has the entire unit planned, logged into an app (which is amaze-balls), page marked and probably color coded.

I have four days of the unit study planned and logged into the app. Pages marked - but I forgot what for. I also forgot I needed to make copies of a map, so had to do that in the middle of a lesson just when we had built our momentum. Then I didn't have the time line figure cut out. I cut him out ... lost him. Found him. The kids argued over whether he should be placed when he was born or when he became king. In the end I slapped him up, wrote the date and yelled at the kids to knock.it.off.right.this.very.minute. (Can't you see Mommy needs wine?)

Yesterday we bailed on our day because a friend needed our help with a 'buggy' situation. And since there is a chance we created that situation....well. And also, she's a dear friend. Today I relented and took Violet to the doctor because her neck has been hurting since Sunday. She's got a 'deep' muscle spasm and our doctor said she had to recline, put a hot water bottle on it and relax. No tension/weight on her neck in hopes it will just release. So....no school for her.

There *may* have been some crying and freaking out on my part when I realized this. Last year at this time we had 15 days in. 15!

I've spent the day distracted. Sarah got her language arts and science homework done. John and I did his language arts and his handwriting (I really have to tell you guys about this handwriting curric!) so I'm trying to be OK with that. The beauty of homeschooling is that we can make these days up. We'll do school on Saturday if we need. We didn't do Christmas or Easter break last year, so we won't this year if need be. This is all wonderfully logical. But in my head? In the deep places in my brain and heart where my demons lay in wait for me? There, there I just know that we'll never make our days, never mind actually learning something. Suddenly I see us doing school six days a week, no breaks and well into July.

And yes. All because September has had a slow (albeit rough) start.

So, I'm going to continue lesson planning, hopefully remember to make copies and make sure I write notes on the pages I mark. And try, really try, to not compare our days, our schedule (or lack thereof) our goals, my lessons or my organizational skills to others. (However, I crave that organization that Rachael has going on. It's so ....*sigh*)