I’ve decided to begin this story chronologically. I don’t know if that is how I will continue, but for now let’s go back to April 2014. You know what? T.S. Eliot was right. April is the cruelest homeschooling month. Because in April, all I can see is everything we have not done. All those detailed plans and intricate projects over which I labored all spring and summer? So very few of them were completed. And no matter what we had actually accomplished, I couldn’t see any of it in April. Which left the month of May to make up for all of it. Poor May. Poor us.
In doing my Big Paper Planning, I had slated Medieval History for May. Why in the world did I think a major history block *and* a related research paper sounded like a good idea for the last month of school? Ay yi yi. It was not a good idea at all. I will spare you most of the gory details, except to say there came a day where I was certain Vincent would likely wind up in analysis because of an unexplainable fear when anything related to the Middle Ages was mentioned. I called it quits after about two weeks of being at constant loggerheads. Our “Waldorf-inspired homeschooling” consisted of two audio books and two documentaries. We listened to Good Masters, Sweet Ladies by Laura Amy Schlitz (incredible, by the way) and the audio version of The Story of the World: Middle Ages by Susan Wise Bauer (mediocre, at best). We also watched (yes, watched) two (fabulous) PBS adaptations of David Macaulay’s books: Castle and Cathedral.
Thanks to these drastic measures, we survived last May more or less intact. I filed everything that happened under “cutting my losses” and started planning with a vengeance for next year. And what a year I was planning! Ummm . . . what is that they say about the best laid plans? Oh boy, was I going to find out.
Just for kicks, I went back to see what I had posted in this space last May. Read this. I wrote that at the very beginning of the month and once again, the prescience renders me silent. A bit later in the month – I’m pretty sure it was after I scrapped formal main lessons – I posted this. The slightly frenetic tone is a small indicator of the sense of urgency and overdrive I was starting to feel.
If I could go back with a year’s worth of hindsight and a bucketful of kindness, I would tell myself a few things. Breathe. Go Slowly. Be gentle with yourself. I know you won’t believe me, but everything is going to be all right. Even better than all right. Come next May, you will have a rock-solid certainty at your core and a joy-filled lightness at the edges of your fingertips. It won’t be easy, but you will get there. For now, just trust me. I’ve got your back.
** Read the next part of this story here.