My girls and now my younger son attend a very unique school. They go to school two days a week, home school two days a week and go to extra curricular activities like art, PE, drama and speech one day a week. It's called cooperative teaching but I just call it half-homeschool. There are some really great things about this--I do not plan lessons, I don't pick out the curriculums, I don't give the tests (usually), I can take a very active role in their education, I can spend more time on problem areas, I can spend more time with them and I can get breaks. And there are some really crappy sides to it, like we are on schedule--most home schoolers can go off on bunny trails or take time off for family events, like the birth of a child. We can't. The assigned work/review has to be done. And then of course there are times when I just don't feel like teach and I have to anyway.
But by far the crappiest side is orientation week--this week. I get to find sitters for the kids (the bright side) and then get bombarded with papers and lectures about what we need and how we are going to help the kids. Every teacher is different. Please don't get me wrong--the teachers are great; they are just so thorough that it is overwhelming. I am that mom struggling to write down every word even though I know they will have grace periods/reminders for incorrect headings, not every kid will remember every supply, and the first week is designed to deal with all the new 'rules'. But I don't want to get it wrong, at all. I do not want to make a single mistake, ever. So I start to panic the Sunday before orientation week. I can't sleep. I worry I am missing something--school supplies, uniform pieces, textbooks, my mind.... I start to worry about the review I did with the kids over the summer, well actually the lack of review. I panic the first day of school the teacher will pass out work and my kids will look at it like it's Chinese.
And my panic turns to stress and we all know what a stressed mommy makes a house. Our entire world is in sudden chaos right now. I have a ZIT. I do not get zits. But I have a zit. This is how stressed I am. After my first orientation meeting, I came home ordered a pizza and popped open a Shiner Bock ( and I am not a beer drinker). Then for breakfast--the kids had left over pizza. They have never had this but I am a wreck. And for right now I don't think I care. I need to know what needs to be in the school supply box--and I do not want to forget, anything.
And after I confirm I have everything, I begin to panic about the new year. What if my kids just don't get this? What if I am crappy teacher on this subject? What if I lose my cool like the time last year, I got so frustrated with Miley I broke a pencil in half while writing out steps to her missed math problem on the paper, or I get so annoyed with Sara's whining about her math drill that I have to go to my room, slam my door and scream in a pillow? What if I go nuts and just run out of the house naked and screaming? It could happen, really.
I feel I need a plan to make the year perfect. Every year, we get tips to make this the best year ever--add fun learning games, be sure to include exercise, be CONSISTENT. I usually write schedule after schedule or make rewards like the treasure box. I try and strive to be consistent but the fact is we are a family of 6. There are always hurdles and roadblocks, no matter what I do. So this year, I panic and try to think of what to do. A morning bike ride as a break with Spanky in the stroller (I'll run), a schedule that imitates the school one, earned lunch outings, the treasure box (that one actually works), but this year I might add something different. I am thinking a weekly, maybe daily trip to the wine shop might make this the best school year ever :)