We are almost done with the school year, although 'done' is somewhat of a relative term. Some children have finished some subjects (Sophia has finished language arts and history but not science), some have finished none (Kathleen) and some have finished all (Edwin). But everyone has two weeks left and then we're off for a month before starting the whole rodeo again in the fall.
This year has been somewhat of a difficult one. I added another child, Edwin, to the mix and started Kathleen on the next stage, the logic stage, of her schooling. It took quite a while to figure out how to do all of the new curriculum with Kathleen, how to organize it, and how to grade it. Edwin had a difficult time starting out because he wasn't fully literate. He could read, but only slowly, and it took awhile for comprehension to kick in (sometimes it's still not all there for math problems). Then, right as things started getting into a good rhythm, we picked up and left for three months, having a baby for fun in the middle of things.
Homeschooling is always a balance between what the children need and what you are capable of giving them. When I started homeschooling I wanted to do all of the everything, and be the best homeschooling mother ever who only had brilliant children who knew all the things in the whole wide world. I think that's pretty standard for homeschooling parents.
Now I've become someone who wants to make sure her children are perfectly adequately schooled. Extra projects? Maybe if they want to do them in their free time, but I'd rather take a nap. Extracurriculars? Russian counts for that, right? And swimming occasionally at the embassy pool (when it's not broken) totally counts for PE.
I always make sure that they get the basics - math, language arts, science, and history are all covered - but it turns out that I just don't have enough time to get too crazy about the other stuff. The girls do study Latin and Russian, but not in any kind of serious way, and that's just fine for me. I had wonderful plans for starting Kathleen in some serious drawing study, but somehow those never quite panned out. It may have something to do with the five other children I have. Yes, I do feel mom guilt about not doing all of those things, but no, I don't let it interrupt my nap time. We all have the right to a little sanity.
I'm happy to be through with this year and am looking to next year, which is an off year. I have managed to have all my children (except William, who spoiled the pattern) two grade levels apart, so right when one is starting first grade (kindergarten has never been real school), the one just older than them is starting third grade. Third grade is when they do almost all schooling independently and mostly I am involved in checking and correcting work. So that means that the off year is when the youngest is in second grade, which is pretty much exactly like first grade except they can already read and work some things independently. It's the payoff for surviving first grade again. Seriously, I have all of those poems memorized down cold along with history up to the end of the middle ages, all the prepositions, and counting in whatever pattern you like. I'll probably be able to recite all of the lessons from memory by the time William gets to first grade. He'll be so impressed. But probably not.
But for now, I (and all of the children) am counting down the weeks until break time. Because it turns out that when you're the teacher you're even happier than children are about summer break.