babyhood / FAITH / family / HOMESCHOOLING / LIVING WELL / MOTHERHOOD

the new calm

09.11.11

Last Tuesday marked the Offical First Day of homeschool for us.

DSC_0119

I love the start of a new school year in the same way I love January first. The fresh start. Time to make new plans, new resolutions. Time to get organized and simplify. (An excuse to buy a new calendar, moleskine and favorite pens .)

But last Monday, as the "first day of school" loomed ever closer, I was a crazed madwoman. I felt this pressure to have everything in place before the Big First Day. I needed every detail worked out and decided. I needed to have every paper copied, every hole punched, every note read. 

On top of that, I needed my house to be perfect. Clutter gone. Floors mopped. Floorboards wiped. Closets cleaned out. Every speck of laundry washed, folded and put away. (that never happens.) One would think I was preparing for a real estate open house, or perhaps, to have the queen for tea. A tea in which she also happened to open every closet door and inspect under my bed. 

No, silly, it's just the first day of school. 

E. M. e. B.

I don't know where it was coming from, but there it was–a suffocating feeling that this was my last chance to get everything together. That if it wasn't done by bedtime Monday, it was doomed to never be accomplished. Ever. Apparently my life, as well as my ability to accomplish any mothering task outside of the classroom was somehow going to cease the moment I slipped back into my teacher-mama clothes. 

But then, hallelujah, in a moment, sitting on the edge of the tub watching a chubby baby splash carelessly in the bubbles, it struck me. That this craziness was nonsense. Big time. That I needed to move forward at my own pace. That I needed to find MY rhythm. Our rhythm. 

I've often heard it said (okay, really only once, but I remember it often) that when a person starts their own business they must prepare themselves for the fact that it takes a good five years before they really have their feet under them. 

And I've always found myself applying the same logic to homeschooling. 

Last year, I wholeheartedly jumped in to a curriculum that was going to give me the structure and discpline that I felt our days so desperately needed. I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do. I wanted a plan and a vision. I wanted to get on a path and systematically walk my way down it.

This year because of budget and because of the way that path seemed to go up a really steep hill at the end, and we got really tired and burned out, I decided to bag it. 

Instead, I consulted a good friend who knew me and my children and my needs pretty well. And who also happened to be educated and gifted in curriculum design. 

And late one night I sat in her little school room, at a tiny little kid-desk, and together we hammered out my year and figured out what seemed to fit just right. 

But what fits even more, is the sentiment behind everything we're doing. It's the new calm. 

DSC_0053

That first day, we just jumped in. Instead of feeling the tug of the clock, we tackled bedrooms and laundry before we opened any books. It felt good to work to the hum of the washing machine running upstairs. And the sloshing of the dishwasher from the pantry. Instead of feeling the push to tackle lessons in every subject, I just let it be. We did Math, until Math was done. We read, until we didn't want to read anymore. When we got hungry, we ate. When it seemed like a good time to go check the pony, she did.  When there was an itch to practice piano, we scratched.

It's funny, how much we got accomplished. How nice the day felt. How good it is let go. How comfortable it is to seek out our rhythm versus some contrived and conceived pressure from who knows where. 

If only I would learn this lesson I apparently need to learn multiple times in this parenting journey. That so much of this happens naturally. We don't have to work so hard at it. Yes, it's work. But we're doing it. Naturally. There's goodness and learning and priceless, indespensable moments and experiences happening in every single day. Homeschool mom. Public school mom. Private school mom. It doesn't matter. It's happening for all of us. 

It's the trusting enough to let go. It's the freedom to find your own rhythm. It's the new calm. It blows through every day, if we'll only take a moment to feel it brush against our cheek. 

Last Tuesday marked the Offical First Day of homeschool for us.

DSC_0119

I love the start of a new school year in the same way I love January first. The fresh start. Time to make new plans, new resolutions. Time to get organized and simplify. (An excuse to buy a new calendar, moleskine and favorite pens .)

But last Monday, as the "first day of school" loomed ever closer, I was a crazed madwoman. I felt this pressure to have everything in place before the Big First Day. I needed every detail worked out and decided. I needed to have every paper copied, every hole punched, every note read. 

On top of that, I needed my house to be perfect. Clutter gone. Floors mopped. Floorboards wiped. Closets cleaned out. Every speck of laundry washed, folded and put away. (that never happens.) One would think I was preparing for a real estate open house, or perhaps, to have the queen for tea. A tea in which she also happened to open every closet door and inspect under my bed. 

No, silly, it's just the first day of school. 

E. M. e. B.

I don't know where it was coming from, but there it was–a suffocating feeling that this was my last chance to get everything together. That if it wasn't done by bedtime Monday, it was doomed to never be accomplished. Ever. Apparently my life, as well as my ability to accomplish any mothering task outside of the classroom was somehow going to cease the moment I slipped back into my teacher-mama clothes. 

But then, hallelujah, in a moment, sitting on the edge of the tub watching a chubby baby splash carelessly in the bubbles, it struck me. That this craziness was nonsense. Big time. That I needed to move forward at my own pace. That I needed to find MY rhythm. Our rhythm. 

I've often heard it said (okay, really only once, but I remember it often) that when a person starts their own business they must prepare themselves for the fact that it takes a good five years before they really have their feet under them. 

And I've always found myself applying the same logic to homeschooling. 

Last year, I wholeheartedly jumped in to a curriculum that was going to give me the structure and discpline that I felt our days so desperately needed. I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do. I wanted a plan and a vision. I wanted to get on a path and systematically walk my way down it.

This year because of budget and because of the way that path seemed to go up a really steep hill at the end, and we got really tired and burned out, I decided to bag it. 

Instead, I consulted a good friend who knew me and my children and my needs pretty well. And who also happened to be educated and gifted in curriculum design. 

And late one night I sat in her little school room, at a tiny little kid-desk, and together we hammered out my year and figured out what seemed to fit just right. 

But what fits even more, is the sentiment behind everything we're doing. It's the new calm. 

DSC_0053

That first day, we just jumped in. Instead of feeling the tug of the clock, we tackled bedrooms and laundry before we opened any books. It felt good to work to the hum of the washing machine running upstairs. And the sloshing of the dishwasher from the pantry. Instead of feeling the push to tackle lessons in every subject, I just let it be. We did Math, until Math was done. We read, until we didn't want to read anymore. When we got hungry, we ate. When it seemed like a good time to go check the pony, she did.  When there was an itch to practice piano, we scratched.

It's funny, how much we got accomplished. How nice the day felt. How good it is let go. How comfortable it is to seek out our rhythm versus some contrived and conceived pressure from who knows where. 

If only I would learn this lesson I apparently need to learn multiple times in this parenting journey. That so much of this happens naturally. We don't have to work so hard at it. Yes, it's work. But we're doing it. Naturally. There's goodness and learning and priceless, indespensable moments and experiences happening in every single day. Homeschool mom. Public school mom. Private school mom. It doesn't matter. It's happening for all of us. 

It's the trusting enough to let go. It's the freedom to find your own rhythm. It's the new calm. It blows through every day, if we'll only take a moment to feel it brush against our cheek. 

19 comments on “the new calm”

  1. I’m the same way… I always feel like the whole house needs to be rearranged, decluttered and cleaned before we can start homeschooling again for the year. I’m having a hard time getting it together this year. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. i am so happy to read this post. we just pulled our kids out of public school and started home-schooling and i have to daily remind myself to go at our pace…although inside i want to know how many hours should i teach, how many subjects a day, how many pages of math is enough, how much of this and that and so on.thank you.

  3. I am seeking calm for this years school also. My oldest is in 10th grade! This brings a stress of its own…the pace is much faster-demanding.Thank you for this bit of encouragement to relax and let go.

  4. oh my WORD! that’s ME. I could have written your words. i’ve been feeling utterly overwhelmed with anxiety about starting our schooling back up again. the same wanting everything to be perfect first…..and feeling helpless to get us to that state of perceived perfection. (which, yes, is never possible.)i read your words with tears just now.you BLESSED! a breath of fresh air to my weary body.thank you!

  5. Good post. I like. 🙂 I’ve been feeling like I’ll never be “ready” either. Better to just jump in…keep living as we go, we’ll never be 100% prepared for anything, I guess. 🙂

  6. Thanks, Molly. I’m trying to find my “new calm” as well, with both boys now in school. Trying to figure out what’s next. Makes me think of my favorite saying (that sits in a frame in my kitchen window above my sink as a daily reminder) “Life is a balance between holding on and letting go.” 🙂 Hope your school year is a wonderful one!

  7. I really needed to read this today! I am a new homeschooling mom! My daughter is 4 1/2 and homeschooling is something that has been on our hearts for quite sometime. So we decided why not give it a try this year instead of sending her to preschool! Well, I got soo very excited and jumped in with both feet. I took the advice of others and ordered a highly recommended curriculum, designated an area of our home as the “school room”, and got everything for the first four weeks of school printed out, cut out, laminated, and ready to go! Well…after only our first week, we are bored! Sure, we love it, but I am seeing already that I should have waited and got a feel for what my daughter was really going to be interested in and how she was going to be interested in learning it! So…even though we woke up, ate, got dressed, and did a few chores, we still proceeded with my “perfect plan” for the morning and were pretty much bored!I am a worrier and am worried that she is not going to leartn enough or what she is supposed to, which is why I chose a curriculm to follow. I am now seeing that I may not have needed to do that! Praying to have everything figured out within the year to help make a decision about Kindergarten next year! But…I LOVED the part where you said about a business taking 5 years to get your feet under! That is such an encouragement to use with homeschooling ss well! I am glad to have found this to have received the encouragement to just relax and let the learning happen naturally! And I am not going to give up. We are going to continue on and learn together along the way! That is one of the greatest things about homeschool anyway, isn’t it?

    Thank you so very much for writing this post!

  8. oh but I do love an event to propel me into A Big Clean! It’s a little game I play with myself, actually. But yes, sometimes I get too into it and trample over my family in my desire for a perfect house JUST ONCE. ha.

  9. I want to know how many hours should i teach, how many subjects a day.., I am now seeing that I may not have needed to do that! Praying to have everything figured out within the year to help make a decision about Kindergarten next year! But.thanks for the wonder full post..keep sending like this good blog..its helps us lot..

  10. But last Monday, as the “first day of school” loomed ever closer, I was a crazed madwoman. I felt this pressure to have everything in place before the Big First Day. I needed every detail worked out and decided. I needed to have every paper copied, every hole punched, every note read.

  11. Love this. This was me. And then life hit — the first day of school came — wasn’t ready. Did two days. Then my family got ill and my little one came down with pneumonia. I had to let it go, this grand idea of what the first day should be like and wrap my heart around the beauty in the now. In rocking the babe, and reading books, and living a bit more intentional.

    Perfect post. I’m working on my calm as well.

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