I’m Not Prepared, But I’m Not Stressed EitherIt’s back to school time! Yay!! (That was a sarcastic “Yay.” Could you feel it?)

Mentally and physically, I'm not ready for school to start again. I'm composing this post mid-August, and I haven’t ordered one book. Plus my school room looks like a horror movie.

Every single thing from my school room closet is sitting in the middle of the school room floor because we put new shelving in the closet for better organization and I haven’t sorted or stored the contents yet. I’ve downloaded a few things for school, but I haven’t actually made a purchase for curriculum this coming year. I have some ideas in my head about what I want, but there’s not an actual plan in place.

These last few weeks have been insanely busy for me, so school planning hasn’t fit into the equation. 

But I’m not stressed about it.

The Alicia of five years ago would have been stressed. Oh my gosh, she would have been dramatically tearing pages from the Rainbow Resource catalog, buying everything she saw, throwing a label on anything that had a flat side, and turning everyone’s life upside down until every detail was organized to a perfect tee.

That was then, but I’m different now.

I’ve learned that there’s quite a bit that matters in this homeschooling journey and quite a bit that doesn’t. Having shiny books and labels on all the things on the first day of school (which is also the first day of public school because you don’t trust yourself to set your own start date) is not something the matters.

So why am I not freaking out, you ask? Here’s why.

A good 2-3 hours in the school room will have it looking better. Not perfect, but better, more organized, and with new shelves I’ll be able to find the things I need this year. Sometimes I look at projects, and they seem enormous. There’s no doubt it will take some time to get the school room ready for the first day of school, but often it’s the starting that’s the hardest part. I’m keeping the door shut until that point. I know that as soon as I start, I will feel more motivated to start school.

I have pretty much all the curriculum I need already. After homeschooling for nine years, topics start to repeat! This is great because I spend less money every year and I already know how the curriculum works! Yay for not having to figure out new curriculum! We have a home library full of good books that I can pull off the shelves for our unit studies and read alouds.

This is not to say I don’t need to purchase some things. Where would be the fun in that!? But I can hit the ground running with what I already have on my shelves and round out the rest in the coming months.

I need plans in place, but I don’t need weeks to make those plans. Here’s what I do need:

  • A list of the first quarter’s activities so I can visualize the way our weeks will look.

  • A good heart-to-heart chat with each of my kids to see how they’re feeling about the new school year and if there are things that I definitely need to do or not do.

  • A few hours to plan out the first months of history and science. When I figure out the topics, I can make a list of what I have already and what I need to purchase.

  • A sketched-out plan of our days—how I want them to look, but knowing full well to hold that plan loosely. 

All in all, this planning time will maybe take me a couple of afternoons. Sometimes when I look at everyone else’s neat and tidy shelves and plans, it makes me freak out. But when I piece out the tasks I actually have to do, I realize that we’ll be set to go after only a few hours of work!

Our start date is flexible like pretty much everything else in homeschooling. Let’s just say the busyness doesn’t let up like it’s supposed to next week. Let’s just say I don’t get my afternoons to plan or organize all our messiness. Let’s just say my start date gets moved back a couple of days or a week. In a year would it matter or would I even remember that we moved our start date? Eh, probably not. The amazing thing about this homeschooling gig is that it is forgiving to our shortcomings; things just seem to work themselves out. Also, it’s flexible. We make homeschool work for us. Not the other way around.

So, here’s to getting organized and not being stressed about it!

About the Author

AliciaAlicia Hutchinson is the homeschooling mom to four.  She and her children love reading and history and exploring outside. They are just settling into their new home in the Minneapolis area, where they just relocated from North Carolina.

You can read more about Alicia and their homeschooling adventures, current projects, and thoughts on motherhood at her blog Investing Love.

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