It's the most wonderful time of the yeeeeeeear!
I really do sing that about the start of a new school year. Every year my Facebook feed is filled with mothers posting variations of, "I cannot wait for school to start and get these kids out from under foot!" Some aspects of that I can understand. How much could I actually accomplish if my older three got on the bus at 7:30am and didn't return until 3:15pm?! My house could be clean, my meals more thoughtfully prepared, my gardens less neglected, the laundry done, and I might even actually have time to sew more than once a month, not to mention the quality one-on-one time I could have with my toddler. But the very thought of not having my babies with me for the greater part of their waking hours 5 days a week 10 months out of the year is heart-wrenching! I know there are plenty of mamas who do have to send their kids to school and still feel identically to me, so I know it's not just a homeschooler thing. It's just a thing. A thing that forces me to be much better at time management, or else much better at prioritizing.
So why is this the most wonderful time of the year? Well for starters, the smells of fresh books, right off the press, a brand new box of real wood pencils, and brand new chubby crayons are delicious.
Secondly, I don't have to spend time keeping my kids busy, or at the very least supervising the littler ones to make sure they're not endangering anyone or themselves in their creative play, or planning regular outings to keep people from getting stir-crazy. Instead, we have a very structured day for everyone through lunch time, then we have quiet time while the toddler naps, and after everyone's awake it's a free-for-all play time until dinner. The kids appreciate their play time so much more when they've had that structured, task-filled morning. I rarely hear the dreaded phrase, "I'm bored," during the school year. It's amazing.
Thirdly and most important of all to me is the time spent focused on each child individually and connecting with them instead of just supervising them while I try to get my to-do list done. Sure, we have one-on-one time during the summer as well, but there's just nothing like the time spent with each child, several minutes at a time during each subject, explaining, connecting, learning their language, that helps you understand them each as individual human beings. Watching them struggle with a concept is frustrating, to be sure, but growing relationship with each child and learning how to teach it in their unique language, then watching their eyes light up and their pride well up inside their chests is just unlike anything else. It chokes me up every time- every single time- and I've been doing this for six years now. Those little moments every day can never be underestimated. They MAKE my life as a homeschooling mom. When people say, "You homeschool? Oh wow, I don't know how you do it." All I can think is how lucky I am to be able to do it.
My sweet crew on Monday, the start of our 2015-2016 school year: