December Kicked My Ass

Dear readers, I’m sorry for my lack of posting. Now that the month – and the year – are winding to a close, let me just come out and admit it. December nearly did me in.

Really, it started just before Thanksgiving, when Mushroom had his first big stage musical. Five shows. Brutal call times. No sleep. Then there was Thanksgiving. Then BalletBoy’s first Nutcracker geared up and took over. Sixteen shows for that. More brutal call times. And all while trying to maintain school and the myriad of other activities we’ve got going on. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what was so hard, but I know we had trouble fitting in all of our usual holiday activities (a few things fell by the wayside) and we have barely gotten any December school done at all.

I think I may need to wave the flag of defeat.

There are a lot of questions that float around because of the brutality of the last month or so on our lives. What is the right amount of activities? How do we cut back and simplify? When should we press on and when should we let things go? How can we raise children who know how to both take care of themselves and relax yet also have the stamina to work hard when it’s time? Do homeschoolers struggle more to find that balance? Do homeschoolers struggle more to raise kids with more stamina for hard work and will that hurt them as they head out into the world full of kids who are accustomed to being “on” in school and activities from sunup to bedtime?

I don’t know the answers to this stuff, folks. But I can tell you that I don’t really buy that we can do it all. There have to be choices. Maybe there are magical, gifted children who can relax and handle a big rigorous workload and do half a dozen activities, but I think those kids are pretty rare. Like, blooming of the titan arum, total solar eclipse, winning the lottery rare. So since I’m stuck with excellently average kids, I think I need to find a way to get us a little more balanced.

So I’m working on it.

We did manage to hit the Botanic Gardens at least.


5 thoughts on “December Kicked My Ass

  1. One year we were attending regular classes (dance, swimming, art, horse riding, squash and GirlGuides) 5 afternoons a week and

    1. riding on Saturdays. After one semester I was just about burned out and the petrol bill was taking a battering as we live rurally so it’s about half an hour on the motorway to any of their classes. The kids were also getting very tired and were quite glad and receptive to cutting back. It has started to get bad again, with Miss 12 dancing 3x a week so we are shifting closer to a big city and she will be able to start getting a bus etc. to get to some of these places.

  2. Everything you said is true! Just saw the movie “Divergent” and went back to the reading section of your blog because I remembered you posted something funny. 🙂 Dystopia is so over!!! (Although that is the name of one of my favorite bands) We went great guns with our activities and daily plans in September. Then tapped out in early November! I let my daughter design her own costume and the perfectionism of both of us combined was purely overwhelming. I think back in the day, it was all about freedom of choice or increasing accessibility… What do we do now when every dang thing is possible with a mere tap or click? I think the stamina question is a good one, and I think we’ll get different answers as our kids grow. All I know is that when I was in school, it appeared as if I had my stuff together. I met the mayor of Los Angeles in the 2nd grade when I won a writing contest sponsored by Kelloggs and again in high school when my mock trial team went on to the state competition (he had a very long run as mayor). Between these high points, there were bouts of depression, anorexia, alcohol and drug use, relationship issues, etc. Once I got to UC Berkeley, I ended up withdrawing during my second year because I had what you could call a nervous breakdown. After some counseling and meds, I continued my studies. I graduated with high honors because, looking back, I was addicted to accomplishing stuff. Now, as a homeschooling mom, I think it is good that we can help our kids find ways to get calm, and pace themselves. Brick and mortar kids have less of an opportunity to do that, I think. How do you get your boys to let you take pics? My 8 year-old is very persnickety about picture taking. Your guys are so cute! Blessings and well wishes to you and yours!

  3. I can sympathize! It seems really difficult in many ways to find that balance. Even taking December off from schooling, we still didn’t manage all our usual Christmas-time activities.I definitely try to limit overall the number of activities we are involved in. One reason we left our homeschool 4H club is that we weren’t getting any homeschooling done! My kids aren’t those magical get-everything-done-and-then-some kids either.

  4. It really is hard to find a balance, and I hate to say it, but it only gets harder as they get older. Teenagers seem to have so many activities, and then they have all the social activities that are non-negotiable at that age. What works best for us is getting creative with our time. School on the weekends? Yes. School late at night? Often. Books on tape while driving all over the place. Absolutely. The one positive to them getting older is that they take over some of the responsibility of figuring out how to do everything. It is nice not having all that on my shoulders.

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