Tag Archives: overscheduled homeschoolers

Opportunities

BalletBoy backstage with ABT at the Kennedy Center. Photo by a fellow cast member. If you think this doesn't look quite like BalletBoy, it's because he's wearing a wig!
BalletBoy backstage with ABT at the Kennedy Center. Photo by a fellow cast member. If you think this doesn’t look quite like BalletBoy, it’s because he’s wearing a wig!

There’s always opportunities in life. Our most recent one was a biggie. BalletBoy auditioned and was accepted as an alternate in two dances for American Ballet Theater’s Sleeping Beauty. If you’re a ballet dork, you probably understand how big that is. If you’re not, I’ll just tell you, it was definitely an honor.

So, of course, he really wanted to do it. And, of course, I was super proud of him. He worked incredibly hard. I had the pleasure of seeing him dance on the big stage in front of the packed audience and I could see why it took so many rehearsals. One of the dances was incredibly intricate. He was so happy.

The price for this opportunity was a week of missed school for the performances, several months of extra ballet in the form of rehearsals, a lot of late nights, a missed performance at the Kennedy Center (I know, the irony that we had tickets to see something else!) and, worst of all, having to dig out of the snow early and miss the prime sledding days.

I don’t know about the rest of you out there, but I struggle with opportunities. And I get sick of all the people who imply or even outright say that you can have it all. You just can’t. You have to make choices. Maybe this is a little bit of a piggyback on my lunch post from a month ago, but I’ve learned that there’s only so much you can do, whether it’s cooking or big, exciting opportunities or even little opportunities.

There are just so many opportunities. Every sunny, warm day is an opportunity to go outside for a hike or a trip to a nice nature spot. Every snowy day is an opportunity to go sledding and build a snowman. There are chances for different field trips and new classes posted on our homeschool board every day. The minute this ballet ended, we got a chance to attend another audition. And then there are the project and curriculum and book opportunities. Sometimes I see things that would be magical and fun and I want to bring them into our homeschool. But there are so many of them. That’s another sort of opportunity.

I am trying to learn to pass up the opportunities and say no to them as often as I can stand it. It really takes strength, but we have to have a balance between the routine and the opportunities, no matter what kind they are. The routine is important too. It makes the opportunities seem all the more magical and special when they arise. So here’s to the roads not taken.

The February Blahs

I have the worst case of the February blahs I can ever remember having.  For the first time in years, I am just downright out of sorts without any particular cause and not just for a day or a week, but for weeks and weeks.  I just feel beaten down by February, by the kids being whingers, by the various commitments which are usually enriching but currently feel oppressive.  Yesterday, we managed to get outside and the world looked a bit brighter for a little while, so I am hopeful that my generalized funk will end when the sun comes out on a more permanent basis.

Regardless of our vitamin D levels though, some things clearly have to change.  I have been teaching a once a month class that is ending and I’m glad to see it go.  Destination Imagination is ending and while I have really enjoyed some things about coaching this year, I’ve already decided there’s no way I’m coaching again next year.  Shakespeare is coming up and I’m extremely excited about our group, but I also have decided to let it go for next year.  Looking to next year, I want to keep us to soccer, ballet, piano, and co-op and drop absolutely everything else by the wayside that isn’t a workshop or short term commitment.

This year has been so overwhelming.  I used to see homeschool parents saying they avoided outside commitments and I really couldn’t get it.  Now, I totally do.  It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what it is that has gotten to me since I don’t think we’re that much more overscheduled than before.  I think the last four years of overdoing it have finally caught up with the introvert in me.  I just want to retreat.

Also, in the past, I have often traveled in February.  Paris, Rome, Africa…  even smaller jaunts across North America.  Come February next year, I vow to leave town. I will not be stuck in DC all of February again.  Travel is cheapest in the bleakest month, after all.

I know I’m not alone in my February blahs.  Everyone else probably has them too.  Bring on March.  The sooner, the better.

Why I Love Wednesday

We’re just massively overscheduled this fall and the proof is that Wednesday, the day without anything, has become my favorite day of the week.  It’s the day when we have time for things like extra math games, longer read alouds on the sofa, and cooking a hot lunch then watching a documentary or an episode of Mythbusters while eating it.  On Wednesday, I can send the kids to the park in the middle of lessons when they’re getting giggly and rambunctious and have a set of Bananagrams tiles ready with a puzzle for them when they get back.

Basically, on Wednesday, we have time for the fun school stuff.  Some things on my fun school shelf that we’ve gotten to recently on Wednesdays includes…

On Wednesday, we have time to get bored and end up finding our way into projects like this where we build with the Lego power functions and play around with making the gears work.  There were many shouts of triumph when we made this thing go last week (and more gleeful shouts, I’m sure, when they finished another model, complete with lights and reverse with the Husband yesterday).

Some of our activities end soon.  Piano takes a break.  Soccer ends.  Come December, our two drama class commitments end as well.  I like all the things we do and I don’t want to stop doing them, but I am relieved that our schedule will lighten up soon.  Someone remind me not to do this to myself next fall, mmkay?