Monday, February 14, 2011


I'm always a little freaked out at the beginning of a new school year. When I look at all the material we need to cover, consider outside commitments, and try to schedule lessons for the year ahead, I usually feel a bit overwhelmed. "How on earth are we going to get everything done?!"

Invariably, we start with Day 1, move onto Day 2, Day 3, Day 4..... Almost without realizing it, we find we've fallen into a routine and a rhythm that has us clicking off assignments, piano lessons, and church activities with relative ease. Full days, yes. Focused concentration, yes. But, lo-and-behold, we reach Christmas holidays and discover we are half-way through the textbooks and have indeed completed a full semester of schoolwork!

So the beginning of spring semester shouldn't be stressful. I mean, I already have half a year of steady schooling behind me. Just keep chugging and before you know it, we'll be at the back cover of the math book and it will be time for summer vacation...right? Wrong. Isn't it funny (not!) how life throws us curve balls, surprises, "complications" that completely fumble our routine.

Last fall, we added keeping a baby two half-days a week to our school demands. Great opportunity for the teens to develop some useful life skills while helping me help out a friend. Worked out fine. This spring, baby's momma is student teaching - which means we now have baby three l-o-n-g days each week. And baby is no longer sleeping the long naps of a newborn. And she's getting mobile. And she's learning to "talk" - and she's LOUD!

Last fall, we had piano lessons on Thursday afternoons. This spring, T.W. has a class on campus Tuesdays and Thursdays - class time and commute knock about 3 hours out of our at-home school day each session. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we also have weekly doctor appointments. And piano lessons. And, if we're not too wiped out by 7:00 pm, a jam session at the Music Rodeo for the little fiddler. Wednesdays, church. Fridays, American Sign Language. Woodmen dinners, dentist appointments, knee surgery and followup, flu days, snow days, crash days...

All this to say, spring semester has NOT settled into that regular, focused, productive rhythm necessary for completing our schoolwork. Six weeks into the term, we've struggled to develop some kind of a manageable schedule while falling steadily further and further behind. I can't keep up with it all. Neither can I replicate or clone myself. I feel like I hit a trip wire at an all out run.

The calendar for tomorrow is black with ink. 8:00 - 3 kids to dentist. 11:00 - one kid to UT Martin. 1:40 - one kid to orthopedist. 2:00 - one kid to counselor. Dinner, chores, and - somewhere in all of that - a little school. Then, 7:00 - jamming with the old-timers. 10:00 - crash.

But tonight, I'm doing Lamaze breathing. And writing. And eating lots of chocolate.


David said...

What you need is a full-time JOB!

Suzanne said...

I can SOOOO relate. All through the hectic month of December, I kept telling myself, the chaos would pass and I would get to settle into a productive routine in January. Here it is mid-February, and I am simply overwhelmed. Oh, I'll run down I-24 and give David a kick in the shins for you, if you want.

Camille said...

Actually, a full-time job sounds like a least I can clock out, right?!

Suzanne said...

I remember having one of those jobs. Clock in. Work for PAY! Clock out. Rest, play, save for retirement vacations,...and wish I was not so lonely. Now I have my hands and heart full, no free time, no pay, no retirement plans. This is living! (And man, am I pooped!)