If you follow along on our facebook, you know that we are a homeschooling family and have been for the past 21 years.
However, this past summer we graduated our final three students/children! That means, this is my very first beginning of the school year, without any school!
At first when I realized we wouldn’t have any school starting this September for the first time in 22 years, I became slightly overwhelmed with all the opportunities of what I could do with that free time! For the past 21 years, every morning of every week day has been spent focusing on teaching the kids. Even on days we didn’t do school for one reason or another, my mind would still always be on what we needed to be doing, and all that still needed to be done. Homeschooling your children is a lot like getting caught up with the laundry… it never truly happens. Just the ‘appearance’ of being caught up for a whole 5 minutes or so, and then you’re back to feeling behind again. lol
When contemplating what to do with this new found freedom of time, my first thoughts immediately went to going back to school myself! I began looking up courses that I would like to take, and got carried away in that train of thought for a few months.
Then one day I had to ask myself, why would I want to jump from doing school at home with the kids, to doing school at home for myself, without any type of a break in between?
We decided that the girls would take a full year off from school, or deciding on any career outside the home, to work on themselves first. To figure out exactly what it is that brings them the most joy, and what would they really like to do with the rest of their lives? Not that we feel they need to even figure all that out this next year, but at least have a year to breathe easy without school deadlines, or a full time job filling up their days and distracting them from all the other things they may like to do with their time. The twins are only 16, they’ve got lots of time to figure this out since they graduated early.
Julia would love more time to spend with the horses, riding them and training them. With school every morning, homework and business work every afternoon/evening, life often got too busy these past years to spend as much time doing all the things she loves. She’d like to learn more music, maybe even take dance. She enjoys teaching, but in what capacity? She hasn’t figured that out yet. She will still be working with the business almost daily, but there will be more time to focus on things besides work.
Shaylah would love to have the time to just ponder what she’d like to do. She has already decided she’d like to work from home, but in what capacity? She’s a great help wherever needed in the business, but isn’t real keen on sewing or working with fabrics, although she does love to dye them. She’s great at art, needle felting, loves raising birds (chickens, pigeons, heritage breeds of all sorts, ducks etc.), enjoys being outside, really enjoys public speaking/writing, and even enjoys learning about essential oils. But what does she truly want to do, and how can she turn it into a career or business? Should she take business courses? Should Julia? These are the questions they ponder.
And then there’s Elsa. She will continue with some schooling this year, because of some learning issues she’s a little behind her sisters in areas. Along with those learning issues, she has aspergers, but that doesn’t change her needs as a person, or her final future decisions, it simply changes how she gets to her own conclusions of all these things. She has talents in crafting, creating, photography, clay creations, and computer skills, but how can/will/should she use those in life? She enjoys working for the business, so, her and I would like to figure out if that’s something she might decide to do on a bigger scale as part of her future career. This year will be about figuring out if she can take on more responsibility. She’ll also continue with raising her pigs. She may even add a mini-pig this next year.
But then there’s me.
What do “I” want to do from here?
I’ve been “teacher” for so long that the possibilities just seem overwhelming.
So, I’ve decided to change nothing, and change everything!
This next year will be about adding nothing new to my daily life, but expanding and growing in every single area that is important in my life now.
What does that mean?
It means instead of spending my mornings doing school, and then rushing off to work to hurry up and get things done in the limited time I have, I will be able to begin work mid morning, instead of mid afternoon. No more rushing. Less stress, better business. 🙂
Instead of trying to fit in just a few minutes here and there to read and learn more about essential oils, and mixing them, and sharing them with others etc., I’ll set aside time each week to make it a priority.
Rather than rushing through my morning devotions/prayer/journalling time, I’ll be able to take things slow. Enjoy my coffee, gaze out the window, have a morning walk before I get to work for the day. 🙂
One of the biggest things I’m excited about, and that will seem silly to some, I’ll have more time to cook dinner.
The girls each take turns making meals, and that won’t stop, but on my days I’ll have more time to cook ‘fancier’ meals with more thought put into them. These last 12 years of working from home AND homeschooling 5 kids have felt a lot like one who works full time outside of the home and has to rush to get dinner on the table. More often than I’d like to admit, I had to throw together quick meals without a whole lot of thought. Meals were decided based on how quick and easy I could make them, rather than their nutrition value and the enjoyment of cooking the foods. This has always been sad to me, because I enjoy cooking for my family, and I enjoy growing our own food to make those meals better. To rush the process, rather than enjoy it, felt like something was missing these past ‘busy’ years.
The year will also be spent focusing on bettering myself.
The exact scripture that the Lord has been impressing upon me lately has been:
Ephesians 4:2 Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another in love.
So simple, yet actually quite unlike me. I am not always a very gentle person, not truly humble, I’m often not at all patient (Lord, I want patience, and please give it to me RIGHT NOW! know what I mean??), and I don’t bear very well with others when they perturb me, and certainly not always in a very loving way.
I’ll be working to change that.
I would prefer that my last three kids leave home remembering their mom as a gentle, humble, patient and loving person.
Thankfully my first two kids don’t hold my impatience, un-gentleness, prideful, and sometimes harsh ways against me… too much. lol
So that’s the plan for the next year!
As well as… decluttering!
Our family moved 3 times in a very short time when we first arrived to the prairies. Before that, we had been trying to sell our previous little hobby farm for far too many years. I believe after all those years of living in a ‘show home’, when we finally landed ‘home’ we became kind of like one who ate too much at the Thanksgiving dinner. We unbuttoned our pants and let it all hang out! We stopped decluttering, started collecting things, because you know, there’s lots you can always use on a homestead. We had no desire to think about paint colours or decorating, let alone think about doing the work! We’ve been SO busy doing all the work outside on our homestead in any spare minute we have, that our home has been kind of tossed to the side to fend for itself.
I’m serious about this decluttering.
I’ve personally challenged myself to get rid of 2/3rds of ALL my STUFF. TWO THIRDS!
Our home is not small, but it’s not big either. If I had designed this home, I would have designed it very differently. It’s basically just a rectangle box, with more than enough space, but divided up so poorly that it feels very very VERY small. Our queen size bed and one dresser barely fit in our bedroom. Our main bathroom is so tiny you have to close the door to have room to move sideways. The door barely has enough room to swing into the bathroom! lol There’s four of us girls living here, used to be five girls. It’s the only bathroom that we can use to curl our hair…you can imagine Sunday mornings.
But honestly, the size doesn’t bother me so much because in reality our home is not small. So many around the world have MUCH MUCH smaller homes. It just FEELS small. I can’t change the size of the house, nor do I even want to since these kids are all growing up and leaving one by one anyways. BUT, I do want it to ‘feel’ bigger, so that’s where decluttering comes in. I figure this year we’ll concentrate on decluttering. Maybe by next year we’ll be ready to tackle some painting and a few indoor renovations once more of the outside/homestead work is complete. 🙂
So there you have it. My big long ToDo list now that we’ve finished school.
How about you? Do you have any new plans this year? Are you going to be decluttering or organizing your life? Or perhaps you’ve been wanting to, and need a little push to just do it, or help on how to start? Here’s a handy list I saw on facebook the other day! Maybe it’ll help some of you too!