Recalculating Route

All ready for the start of school.

All ready for the start of school.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way to death.”  Proverbs 14:12

With the first week of school under our belt it’s time to assess how things went and how we should proceed from here.  Every summer while Tom is working his tail off at Hartland Christian Camp I spend all the time I would normally be cooking and cleaning planning for the upcoming school year.  The boys run amuck with all their camp buddies and I have the closest thing I ever get to regular “quiet time” scouring the scriptures for passages to read and memorize during the school year.  At meal times in the cafeteria I get to drill the other seasoned veteran home-school Moms up there about everything from spelling to spot-cleaning, poetry to potty-training, and just life in general.  I am soooo thankful for the richness of Christian fellowship those fleeting weeks afford.  They keep me going through all the lean months that follow.  And the detailed planning helps me face the school year with some semblance of preparedness.

Then there’s the first week.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way to death.”  Proverbs 14:12

I just love having everything in order.  I REALLY need to get over that.

I just love having everything in order. I REALLY need to get over that.

After pouring my heart, soul, mind and strength into all the planning, prep, the extra late nights, the extra early mornings, the extra times up with the baby just because he thought this would be a great week to be fussy, the extra fun activities, the extra needs of some of our elderly neighbors, the extra work organizing the house all left me thinking, “This dying to self is going to kill me!”

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way to death.”  Proverbs 14:12

But, God also says,

“Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him, and He will act.”  Psalm 37:5

After praying and mulling and after kicking all the boys out of the house for an afternoon at the park with Dad (isn’t it amazing how just THAT can change one’s perspective so much?) the Lord mercifully acted to bring peace of soul and clarity of mind regarding our first and forthcoming weeks.

So here is a rundown of our planned schedule and some thoughts on how various components may or may not change.

1st Five (or First 5?)This was loosely scheduled for between 8 and 9 in the morning not because it takes a whole hour to complete but because my goal is to have it done SOMETIME during that hour.  Really in a pinch it could all take about 5 minutes but we like to stretch it out to about 30. First Five consists of the following:

1. Animal Joke or Poem (you can see my complete list of poems by clicking here)  I read them 1-5 poems a week and for the days that we don’t have a poem I substitute an animal joke.  This was a new feature  and has been a HUGE hit.  Nothing like starting the day with laughter.  Won’t be changing that a bit.

A snack of Animal Crackers  to enjoy during our reading of a poem by the same name.

A snack of Animal Crackers to enjoy during our reading of a poem by the same name.

2. Prayer (Because we live in a unique community environment and because Shannon’s post on prayer really pricked my conscience, we spend this time praying for our neighbors).  Still a keeper.

3.  Hymn (For a list of all the creature-related hymns we will be singing this year click here).  After 5 years they’re not tired of hearing my croaky morning voice from behind the hymnal so praise the Lord we’re still doing this!

4.  Bible Reading (Mondays I read what ever chapter our memory verse is from, and the rest of the week I either read another chapter with animals in it or we do a Speed Drill where they race to look up some animal related verses in their Bible. You can click on that list here)  Haven’t done the Speed Drills yet so can’t evaluate but thankfully the Reading of God’s Word NEVER gets old.

5.  Verse Memorization (Still using the A-Z method and keeping to our creation-related theme.  It’s so much easier for them to keep track of a year’s worth of verses in heir heads if they have the alphabetical frame work to go from).  Click here for a list of this year’s verses.  Nothing to change there.

6+/-. Then there was the addition (and subtraction) of Bedtime Math which  I called morning Morning Math because we were going to do it as the last part of our 1st Five, only then it would be 1st Six.  But unfortunately the handy app that I had used to select all the word problems pertaining to animals crashed and I was left with only 2 problems, which all the boys loved doing but then there were no more so that was that.  If you want a great oral math warm up that’s geared for ALL grade levels check their website out or get the app or order the book which I am doing now (plan B).

So far so good, right?  Not much to  tweak there.  Of course that’s only our first 5 to 30 minutes.  The next little bit had a few more bumps, but I will have to share about that in another post as tomorrow we’ll be trying out a new version of things to see if it fits a little better than my original plan and then we’ll let you all know!  (Because, of course, I know you’re all just DYING to hear).

Let me just leave off with this.  If you are an over-planner like myself, it’s best to heed the advice of my own dear-departed Oma who often said, “Mensch denkt, aber Gott lenkt,” which was her little summary of Proverbs 16:9 which reads,

“The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

If left to my own devices even my most brilliantly devised plans and strategies have the potential to kill the natural love of learning God instilled in my children.  And as much as I love being a wife/mother/teacher/neighbor/Church member, doing too much of a good thing can leave me paralyzed by fatigue and render me ineffectual on every count.  It’s only by a daily surrendering and committing of my plans to The Author of Plans and an absolute trust in His ability to Act when, no, BEFORE, I am at the end of my ability to do another. single. thing.  Only then will my plans succeed.  Because they will be His plans.  And that’s one syllabus I want to live by!

Don't want to ever kill this enthusiasm!

Don’t want to ever kill this enthusiasm!

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7 thoughts on “Recalculating Route

  1. I am doing some recalculating myself! Whew! I threw out the first week’s schedule & plans, and I’m starting round 2! All those late nights and early mornings of planning aren’t for naught though! I am learning! 🙂 And yes, I AM dying to hear all about yours! Your 1st Five (or six) sounds a lot like our mornings… only it takes me 45 minutes! :/ Thanks again for the encouragement!

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  2. Recalculating . . . many more reasons to praise God for our grandsons teachers this year! What encouragement, hope and comfort in knowing our Creator God leads you through each step. Thank you for the posts . . . can’t wait to share in the excitement too!

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  3. I love your #4.. our science and history have bible intertwined in it.. and my oldest finds the veers/chapter and then he or i will read it.. but i love the memory verse a week.. i might try to add it.. 🙂 thank you for sharing how you do it!

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