starting with a vision

Italia is a memory, a fairly recent memory–a 16 GB filled photocard, an addition to my rock and sand collection, and a few additions to my bookmark collection–but now a memory…a European adventure of my mind.

Now is the season where adventures come primarily from books.

Still in the stupor of jetlag, we began a familiar routine of studies. I’d call it school for those more familiar with that term, because it may look familiarily like school in some ways (a predictable routine, prescribed spelling lists, math workbooks), and most definitely not school in other ways (not filling regional outcomes, no standardized testing, only 4 students). So I’ll call it studies, as we spend a good portion of the week studying.

Thanksgiving Monday was a holiday for most; for us it was the first day back to our routine, plus a visit to Target for supplies: pencils, erasers, drawing books, and smelly markers.

I bought each of my smarties a box of Smarties in honour of making them smarter this season.


As I begin a more focussed, scheduled season, I ask myself: are my aspirations doable, realistic, or untenable and unrelenting self-induced frustration?

There’s a rhythm and comfort in the daily routine. It is pleasant and predictable, not without its daily irritations, but pleasant nonetheless.

The kids are relatively organized and familiar with relational expectations, which take a lot of the crazy out of our day. They certainly need to hear it again and again, but they know that they aren’t to hit each other when frustrated, they’re not to call each other names and that to have computer time before studies they must have grooming and morning chores completed.

Still, my hopes and expectations are always high at the beginning of the scheduled study season, and historically, unrealistic. When I began scheduling my hourly routine into my iPod, I quickly discovered I was unable to hoe the garden, teach the children history and make a meal ALL at the same time.

How I hope to live out my daily routine, and how I actually live it out, in contentment or in frustration, quickly reveals itself by the Christmas season. I then ask myself, “Am I engaging my daily life in the manner I had hoped when I first ventured into this lifestyle?”

This might be the reason many books on homeschooling suggest newcomers decide on their vision, first. Before setting out on this grand adventure, I must consider what I want to accomplish and how I want to order my life. Why am I doing it all in the first place?

When discouragement, or disillusionment arises, cause it will, there is always a returning to the reasons I started this journey in the first place.

It brings back into focus what I want for my family, for my life. It helps me decide whether my present activities mesh with your intentions.

Do I want my days to be filled with certain activities? And how many activities? To whom do I want to surround my family? Are there personal activities that I would like to learn in my own time–writing, drawing, dance?

Do I value quiet time with my children each day? Play time? I can decide how my day will play out. I can organize my day with my priorities.

I really do have enough time; I simply have to delete the things that I really don’t want to do, or find ways to do them smarter (ie: housework, with the kids).

I must choose my activities wisely. They impact the tone of my everyday life, the experience of my life. And they need be included only if they fill the vision of my life.