Sunday, November 21, 2010

Winter is here... and Christmas is coming!

Winter came very suddenly here. One day, we're enjoying a high of around 8-10C; a week later, it was -20C upon getting up. Brrr.

With the snow's arrival, however, it has reminded us all that Christmas is fast approaching. This leaves a panicky feeling in me, I have to admit.

The 16yo is very, very behind in his work. For some of it, we will skimp and that'll be that. For other parts, it's important that he learn it, but can he really learn it well in the time we have left? Maybe. I've worked out a breakdown of his work for social studies, science and math and he knows he will be working his butt off for the next 4 weeks.

Of course, allowing him to get this far behind means we have to cut out some fun things I was hoping to be able to do, unless he somehow manages to really get on top and beyond everything. An activity with one homeschooling group this Friday--we'll have to pass on that. We are getting together with a friend and her daughter the week after that, but that has been planned for a month now. We will have our Christmas party the last week of school. But I think we'll have to say no to the usual yearly Christmas festival, which doesn't actually bother me because it's gotten worse and worse each year. Dd just wants to go for the cookie decorating section. ;) And then there was the desire to attend a park day sometime... Hm...

With 4 weeks left before Christmas, it also has me thinking about my kids, what they've accomplished and how I feel about that. I have really unschooled them for the most part this year, and I have to say I'm not comfortable with that.  And yet, I have to admit that I fall back on it not only because I let myself get disorganized or overworked in other areas, but because I don't want to deal with their negative reactions to my changing things. I had had plans to get going more this week--and they ended up being sick all week. They're still not better, but I think "better enough" to get to work this week.

Where I struggle is: What do I have them do? Do I focus on the content? Do I focus on them filling their time with activities? Do I focus on figuring out lessons to give them? I can't spend all of my time giving them lessons, esp. since the 16yo needs so much help. Although, there's another area I've allowed to get bad--he is capable of doing more on his own than I have him do. I focus on the time factor and trying to get more done, so I take over some parts of it. This has to change for all of our sakes!

Then, of course, there's my little niece. She's gone through a lot of changes this fall: her big sister is now in school during the day, so her constant companion and activity director is gone; we have the new little guy now, which has created a lot of jealousy and just general perturbation; she's switched out of Pull Ups, just recently, and is now in underwear... Big changes.

I guess I'm struggling again with how to fit everything together. I have not been journalling, which I know helps me tremendously. I have not been reading educational things that would guide and inspire me. I don't even have a sense anymore of where I am trying to guide my kids, specifically. I'll work on writing out that vision later on today.

I am realizing that part of my struggle is that the early Montessori work I did with dd was all very clear and laid out. As she's gotten older, there has been less clarity. I don't want to equip my home with the many materials in an elementary classroom. Then there's the aspect of group lessons and group work--they are each in their own age grouping. This does make things tough.

With Christmas coming, that means Advent is about to start. This actually can possibly help me with my kids' work in terms of things to show them or have them do. I've never really done much for Advent, but would love to start!

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