Monday, August 25, 2014

Starting School

New routines... New books...

The End of Summer.

I am actually thankful for this summer to end.  We frequent the community pool and I have so many different conversations over the course of the summer with many moms.  I've often heard as the summer comes to a close that the moms are ready for their kids to go back to school.  I never thought I'd say this, but I am saying it this summer...

This summer, I've heard it from myself and a few other homeschool moms.  We've shared with each other about how too much free time leads to bickering and less enjoyed play time for their kids.  The structure of the homeschool day can be a good thing.  There is a satisfaction for adults and children alike of having gotten something done.

But, is that all?  Not in my case.

Why am I glad?  Honestly, I had a horrible summer.  It was a very difficult one emotionally.  Grappling with my mom's illness and its impact on her, my family, and me became the catalyst for a very difficult time.  She's still adjusting and so are we.

I painted 4 closets (3 large, 1 small), 2 bedrooms (1 large, 1 medium), and my kitchen ceiling.  I injured my right arm which drew out the painting process.  I still have 1 coat left to do on my kitchen ceiling and the girls' room ceiling.

I started off the summer with several play dates on the calendar, but lost steam as the summer wore on.

And then...the bickering.  I watched as my kids bickered more than they do during the school year because they had more idle time.  The words "There's nothing to do and There's nothing I want to do." entered our home in a way they had never before.  It is my goal to banish these words from our family's vocabulary this school year!

What I learned in the process...

1.  When you enter a conversation with anyone that portends to be a difficult one, think ahead about (if possible) what your goal is.  Realize that the other person may or may not come to see your point of view.  Be ready for the best and worst case scenarios.  Be willing to walk away if the conversation is not a wise one to have.

2.  Realize that when stressful events are going on, SIMPLIFY!  Don't complicate.  I was sharing with my friend's mother on Saturday that when military families are getting ready for a deployment, stress is high in families.  They know to expect this.  So, many wives and husbands try to simplify those days and make sure to make phone calls to extended family several days before rather than the night before.  One friend shared with me how upsetting to me the phone calls her husband was required to make to his family the night prior to one of his deployments were.  She had no time with him.  

I have found that a similar sensitivity is needed with medical procedures.  It is wise to allow extra time and not squeeze things in the days and hours before unless they are needed.

3.  Do not expect people to be understanding of the stress in your life.  Do not expect grace.  It is a wonderful thing to receive, but often people are unable to give it because they are focused on their own perspective and unable to see what you are going through or how what they have done affects you.

4.  Keeping my kids busy is a good, GOOD thing!  I have given them many more chores this summer than I have in the past.  I have worked, but so have they!  Summer is a good time for me to teach them things like changing batteries and more cooking.  I have more time and patience than I often do during the school year.

5.  Be realistic with myself.  Next summer, I'm going to plan on piano lessons every other week.  To aim for every week is simply unrealistic.  We don't get enough practice in weekly to justify weekly lessons during the summer.

6.  Get outside whenever possible.

7.  Make adjustments.  Look to others and consider what their needs may be.  The phyical changes for my mom have required big adjustments for her.  My girls are now rotating every other week cleaning her apartment because it is difficult for her.  It is good for them to help and it is good for my mom because it helps her.

Well, it is 7:30 am and that means it is time to get all my children up and going!

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