I don't know about you, but September is so much more the beginning of the year than January in my books. And August is the time to be planning on New Year's Resolutions. Mind you it is only July, so let's just take a moment to sit in awe of my outstanding ability to set goals and plan ahead.
Now that I've wiped the tears out of my eyes and stopped laughing, let me continue.
Every school year in our home, as it approaches, is carefully considered and planned. I typically use June to plan for September, but this year was a little cluttered in May and June, so now we are planning for September in August. Which makes me feel a bit behind the eight ball. But it also means all my enthusiasm for planning (which I truly really love doing) will be immediately realized as I get to act on my grand intentions sooner than later.
And don't we homeschoolers all have grand intentions for the fall? I'm sure this is universal, but let me speak about what I know right now. Here's what I imagine my 2009-2010 school year to look like:
Each morning I will wake at 5am to exercise and have time for Bible reading and prayer. I will dress and do hair and makeup as if I were going out with friends so that I feel like a 'real teacher' with a 'real job' (and then hopefully act like it!). Our schedule will keep us running like a well-oiled machine, completing 7 subjects everyday, in addition to some outside play time, out-loud reading with mom, and some messy crafts.
Each night I will put a Crock Pot of soup on for lunch the next day, and I'll involve the kids in supper meal prep and menu selection.
And all of this will magically fit around regular housework, spontaneous visits with friends, children who may not be feeling well some days, toilet training, and errands to run.
Plus, I'll be constantly at peace and full of gracious speech and patient demeaner, because I started my day with prayer.
Wow. So seriously, how do we not feel like a colossal pile of failure when we set that kind of beautiful, appropriate, worthwhile, godly goal sheet ahead of us and find that we really can't do it, just like that, ev.er.y.day.?
Step 1: Go into September with High Goals and Big Plans (that have come out of some serious time of listening and praying). There is nothing wrong with shooting high and hoping for the Ultimate Best. God has big, beautiful plans for my family. I need to seek those out and as He shows me, have the faith to walk in them. He never calls us to more than we can handle, and He always give us enough time in the day to do what HE calls us to do (there will be a post specifically on that soon. Something I need to continually remind myself of).
Step 2: Stop Being a Lazy Pessimist (okay, talking to myself now). I have a fairly bad case of Eeyore Syndrome (or Puddleglum if you prefer Narnia to Winnie the Pooh). You know what I mean right? "Well, I guess we can try it. I'm sure it won't work and we'll probably look like fools trying, but we can use our abyssmal failure to teach us a lesson about keeping our heads out of the clouds. In fact, the fear of that kind of train wreck of a day makes me want to pour a tea and just sit with a baby on my lap all day. Let's do that instead." Ya. Barbara, stop doing that.
Step 3: Realize you probably can't do the new Goal totally perfectly (but that isn't lazy pessimism, that's just realism in a fallen world; and being ready to give myself the freedom to fail).
Step 4: Enjoy not only the Successful End Result, but also the Trying along the way, seeing that sometimes Plan A (as good as it was) needs to give way to Plan B (which is sometimes better anyway).
All in all I intend this coming school year to be fabulous. I love homeschooling my kids. I love planning and preparing and teaching. I love being here to watch them learn and grow. I love seeing them struggle with something until one day that light goes on and it is smooth sailing in that subject again. Love my job. And I do intend to be more committed to my schedule and routine. I plan on having a whole lot more done the night before so that tomorrow is smoother. This is all really good stuff.
I do also pray that the Lord would give me the grace for myself that He has given me for my kids. Do I expect they get long division the first time? What about spelling rules? Do I freak out and label them failures because they forget to double the consonants before the suffix? No, of course not. They have time and freedom to get it right and to work it out. Same with me. This year, mom gets to give herself a little space. Just because we have a few days of messed up scheduling doesn't mean I'm a total write-off in the homemaking department.
So my New Year's Resolution? Look to Jesus.
What? Where did that come from? Well, He is the One who has written my life story so He knows what is coming up this year. I should maybe ask Him to guide me through what is around the corner, don't you think? Plus, the Bible says that I can do all things through HIM who gives me strength. Not through the perfectly written schedule. Not through sheer determination and self-talk junk. Nope. Through Him, and His Spirit living in me. And when I make a mess of my day and have not enough grace for the kids or for myself, He is the one who makes restoration possible between any relationship that has been wounded. And finally, any successes I do have, if they aren't done to further His Kingdom, and to make me and others more like Him, then I have missed the point and it is all for naught.
So, I'm going to Look to Jesus. That's my plan for 2009-2010. How about you?