Homeschool Conference!!!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Look at all those beautiful little feet two people can create!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Oh, It is SO time for a deep breath!

Most people think of their year starting in January...NOT ME...

My year starts in September and usually ends somewhere toward the end of June.

July and August find me busily preparing for a new year...
September hits
and I am deeply immersed, entirely consumed, fully-driven...
the end of September arrives and I find myself just emerging for a much-needed breath. 
As I inhale that wonderfully refreshing deep breath,
it is then that I take a moment to analyze this "beginning" of my new year.
Is it what I dreamed it would be? 
Does it even resemble my thoughts, plans, desires? 
Or does it feel all sorts of jumbled about, upside down and inside out? 
This is the time that I re-evaluate;
Is there need to simplify?
what must go...
what must be added in...
what is working perfectly...
what might be a little less than perfect?

I love that right at the end of this wonderful month, I am blessed with several "new things"...

A New Season...
I am loving the shorter days,
the cooler evenings,
I look forward to the leaves changing from luscious greens to beautiful hues of reds, oranges and yellows,
I love harvest time...
this year has brought us many opportunities for canning and preserving...
although I have felt rushed and unprepared for such work, I am grateful to have had it and to have exposed our children and shared in this experience with them. 
This new season brings with it
the feeling of family time,
slowing down, re-grouping...
it can bring just the opposite feelings if we allow those to sneak in...
I choose not to! 
The darker evenings feel like moments to snuggle up and enjoy one another,
to be together as a family instead of scattered to and fro,
although I don't really welcome cold weather ~
I find that I also look forward to what this weather brings with it ~
comfy warm blankets,
soft sweaters and fuzzy slippers...
and we cannot forget warm cups of cocoa and bonfires
Yeah, those are all such awesome moments that fit perfectly with the cooler me reason to enjoy the cold.

Another blessing that brings itself each year at the close of September is General Conference...
I feel ever so grateful to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I feel blessed to be raising my family in such a loving, encouraging environment.  I feel privileged to hear the words of a Living Prophet and to feel strengthened by the inspiring messages that are shared by he and his counselors.  I cannot recall the number of times that I have been desperately searching for answers or for peace and have found them in the words of our prophets.  One of my favorite places to visit is I can always find "something" to lift me when I am down, to strengthen me when I feel weak.   

I also feel that when this "new" month of October comes, I have a chance to begin anew. 
Each month holds a "new-ness" for our family. 
On Monday, we will have our monthly party
to introduce what our topics of study will be,
what our devotional theme is for the month,
what our focus and value of the month cover. 
We'll have a short review and "report card" type of moment from our whole family...
this part is really important to me...
I want to know how they feel about what we've done. 
I feel so strongly that if we will listen to our kids (REALLY listen) we will learn so much. 
I've failed to give them the credit they deserve in the past and now do my best to allow them to show and tell me what they feel they need. 
Interestingly enough, they are harder on themselves than I would tend to be.

My evaluation of our month:

Hmmm...I would have to give it a thumbs-up! 
Not in every aspect, but we are working out the kinks.  I thought I had EVERYTHING figured out for the whole gang, only to find that we needed to make a couple of major changes and a few minor ones. 

I think one of the biggest lessons I've learned by being a homeschooling mother is that
you must be flexible...allow change...
don't be so regimented that you drive yourself and your kiddos crazy! 
That may be the single biggest reason I love changing things up every month, I think I crave mixing things up, I need flexibility in my life because things NEVER go as I have planned (okay, once in while they do, but not on any sorta regular basis!!!)
Just to clarify ~ EVERYTHING doesn't change...
we still have to do the basics all the time...
BUT I get to have fun with all the extras and I LOVE THAT!

Every month I change up what we study for pretty much every subject,
we throw in a few new fun math games, some new stories,
we study a new country
and then have a big old whoppin' fun party toward the end of the month focusing on the customs, cultures and foods of that country!
(Pictures will be coming soon of our party in Japan! 
The kids were all dressed up, the classroom decorated, the foods prepared, the music playing and stories being read.  This was a party done with our co-op...what a blast!!!  We all Loved it so much!)

I'm thinking I have a serious case of ADD --
don't have real clear evidence, but it's looking like it's a high probability! --
without all the juggling things about, I become bored and complacent...
I need some excitement and some creativity goin' on all the time! 
If that is an ADD "sign", I've got it bad!

One thing I have come to realize possibly more this year than ever before is just how much I love to teach
I love preparing, I love learning, I LOVE TEACHING! 
I love to see that little sparkle in a child's eyes when you touch something deep within them. 
I love the moments we share things together. 
I love the laughter that we experience together each day as we come across funny little facts about people we are studying or the thoughts and comments my kids will make when something comes to their mind. 
I love that I can intertwine gospel truths in moments of teaching in every subject and in any situation that I might feel inspired to do so. 

I've come to the conclusion that homeschooling is just as much for me as it is for my children.  I grow and learn new things about myself each year.  I become more confident and more knowledgeable through my time in study and preparation. 
I don't find that I have much time for myself,
I don't read novels or books that are "just for me"
(at times I find myself having a little pity-party over such things)
 until I look at what GOOD things I am spending my time reading and doing. 

I really have no valid reason for having a pity-party...I've got it made! 
I am doing exactly what I wish to be doing with my life! 
I'm a little selfish...
I ADORE my kids and cannot think of anyone I'd rather spend my days with...
I know that I only have them for a very short time and then they will be off making lives for themselves. 
I pray that I am giving them the very best...
will   just   have   to   do
(fingers and toes crossed)...

As you read what I write, do you find me odd? 
If you do, you are not the only one...but I really am okay with that.
I came to the conclusion a rather long time ago, that I am unlike most other people, I guess that would qualify me as "odd". 
In hubby and I switch off nights for saying our prayers together...
we'd always "forget" whose turn it was,
so we decided to do the whole even/odd thing...
He said I'm the "odd" one, so I say the prayers on all the odd days...
(he is actually the odd one around here, but I like to make him happy, so I just smiled and went with it)
Why did I share that with you??? 
I haven't the foggiest idea...
well, actually just because it came to my mind and my fingers do as my mind commands them...

I am a bit of a rambler...
I go on and on...  (are you surprised by this statement?)
Doubtful if you've spent much time here in my little blog...

I write to clear my mind,
to find myself,
to find my answers,
to find peace and joy. 
As I write my thoughts down, I am actually doing myself quite a favor...HOW? 
Well on those really "hard days" I can look back and recall moments of realization...
these are the times that strengthen me and give me the resolve to keep on keepin' on.

During those moments, I can recall the WHY's of all the things I do and I can just love my time with my kiddos and save myself the hassle of having some silly old pity-party.

If I'm going to have a party, it might as well be one worth having!
Every day can be a party if you make it one!

Happy October to you!!!