Monday, October 21, 2013

First Day of Kindergarten

I have been so nervous about starting my oldest's Kindergarten curriculum.  Every few weeks I get out my teacher's guide, rework my plan and try to envision how we will manage our time.  I have schedules done in pencil so that I can erase at will and plenty or worries about what is fair to expect out of a four and a half year old.  I keep hearing at my Bible study to stop worrying and give it to God, so I did.  I tried to let it go.

I really did try.  But the tug of control kept tempting me.  Just pick up that notebook, it said.  If you just plan more, you'll have it all under control.  I argued plenty with myself and fought the urge to erase and rework our schedule.  I came clean with my husband about my worries and we prayed about it together.  And then the most amazing thing started to happen.  

I started to remember all the reasons I wanted to homeschool in the first place.  I remembered that I wanted to move at my children's pace instead of one dictated by a large group of children with diverse needs.  I wanted them to love learning and still have plenty of time to explore the world we live in.  I wanted quality time with them filled with memories that no one can ever take away.  My brain shifted from "How can I squeeze all this into a day?" to "How can we learn together at a reasonable pace and still leave plenty of room for their freedom and creativity?"  Still, I had my doubts.  What if I wouldn't be doing enough?

I invited a new friend over for lunch that is homeschooling her 12 year old son.  She just started in September and we were trading stories about our experiences.  I showed her my teacher's manual, eager for her feedback.  She said in a very no nonsense way, "I have a friend who is a homeschool evaluator and I have a feeling that if you showed her this, she would tell you to chill out.  You could probably use this for kindergarten and first grade."  It was the last bit of confirmation I needed to follow my instincts, trust the direction I am headed and let this year unfold without being too controlling.

We started on our curriculum today and we had plenty of time for a bike ride and even a little break for a show with some popcorn.  We built a train track and I played play-doh and did puzzles with my little one without feeling overwhelmed.  We are taking one off so that he can spend the day with his Granny and I'm not going to sweat it.  That work will be waiting and so will the opportunities to teach him.  

How do you handle new challenges that cause you anxiety?  Do you ever try to give it all to God?  He's always ready and willing to help if we are willing to give up control.  Easier said than done but definitely worth the effort.

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