One. We started school this week. I hate to start this early – although I realize many public schools do begin soon – I would ideally like to start around Labor Day. BUT we are moving at the end of the year, and I know we will lose school time during that process. So we got a jump on the beginning of the year to give ourselves some grace in December. And by “us” of course I mean “me.” The kids will not feel guilty for missing days.
Anyway, we officially have a 7th grader, 5th grader, and 2nd grader.
Two. I think the first week went well. Buying full core packages meant that I didn’t have to stay up nights creating lesson plans and reading lists, so I spent much of July looking through the teacher’s manuals, photocopying things, and making schedules. Basically, I thought through things to such an extent that I was prepared for the first day. And when Mama’s prepared, things go much, much better. Shocking how that works, isn’t it?
Three. Another thing that helped: I made a conscious decision to put away the phone during school. I actually turned the ringer off and put the phone out of reach. Yeah, it’s boring when I’m waiting for someone to finish writing something and I have to just sit there and watch them…but it saves time in the long run, since when they finish they don’t have to sit and wait for me to just make this one comment, answer this one text, finish this one article… Focus. When Mama’s focused, everyone else is more focused, too.
Four. Speaking of devices, we finally got a charging station set up for the children’s devices. They’ve always charged them overnight in their rooms, which I wasn’t completely comfortable with. I don’t think they get on them in the night, but both girls have admitted that they have friends who text them in the wee hours and I don’t want them to be woken up by the sound and tempted to answer. OR to wake up – even at a normal time – and grab their device first thing. The charging station is in the kitchen, and now all the iPods and phones go there at night. I love it.
Four. As the new school year begins, I’ve established some new goals for myself. Or rather, I’ve pared down my goals. I think I’m going to have to write about this more in a separate post, but the short version is that I read too much and it’s keeping me from doing harder things. I’m actually going to try to read less so I can accomplish some other goals – namely, learning Latin and memorizing Philippians.
Five. Another part of the paring down process has been unsubscribing from a bunch of blogs and podcasts. I can’t do it all. Just because it’s a good thing doesn’t mean I have to do it, read it, listen to it, let it take my time and energy. No one can do everything. I’ve been living like that truth doesn’t apply to me, with less than stellar results. Multum, non multa. Not many, but much. Less is more.
Six. Despite my best intentions to use my time better, with laser focus on my re-established priorities, I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of time this week looking at houses in Maryland. We’re moving to Maryland in December, and the temptation to “just see what houses in our price range are like” or to “just check out a few areas” has been too strong. I have found the perfect house – more than once – despite the near certainty that it will be rented/bought by the time we can seriously look. Each time I pull myself away from the internet and realize I’ve lost a couple of hours that I’ll never get back, I resolve that I won’t look again until the time is right. And then I think of “just one more thing to check out…really quick…”
Seven. One thing that worked well for us this week is Bible at breakfast, something I learned about from Allison. I bought the devotional for the girls, and the easy reader Bible for Ben. I put the Bibles and their checklists on the table before breakfast, and they read while they eat. They seem to like it. Once Ben asked if he could read more than one story. Yes, honey, you may read more of the Bible. 😉