Having just recently turned 47, with our youngest now 7, our middle child almost 15, and our oldest 23, I notice my milestones and my goals seem to be shifting. There was a time when my goals involved finite & tangibly measurable things: financial security, a good performance evaluation, a raise, a vacation in a new place. Recently my milestones and goals have shifted to family, food, shelter & clothing. I don't know if it's because my focus has simplified, or the last several years' economy has simplified my focus for me. I reckon down the road aways I'll be able to see more clearly where I am now ;)
I am so very thankful for the long days of summer. This year more than ever I seem to need the extra time to get things done before I wear out. We are blessed here in South Central Georgia with fresh local produce: first strawberries, then peaches, blueberries, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, etc. Since our 9.967 acres are still in the process of being rehabilitated from sand to usable land, most of the local produce comes from neighbors, friends and local orchards or pick-your-owns. So on top of the usual chores & regular daily routine I need to squeeze in food processing & canning. I am glad to do this, but I don't do all-nighters as well as I did when I was in my 20's.
One of my solutions for dealing with my energy limits is declaring the summer off from homeschooling. It's funny, we've been homeschooling for what feels like forever but it's only been about 14 years. Up to now our homeschool calendar has been year-round. One reason we educate, train & prepare our young'uns is so that when they grow up and begin their own life as adults they can prosper and thrive. I always used to think it was sending the wrong message to incorporate summer vacation each year, because you don't get a summer vacation from "real life" - why instill that expectation in our young'uns?
But this year is just different for me. >>> I <<< needed a summer vacation from homeschooling. My youngest has been cooperative about being off from school for the summer, but my middle daughter has continued her schooling steadily along. Bless her heart. I don't want to discourage her excellent hard work ethic. I just need a little space.
Each year we order curriculum, we look at what we're using, see if it's working, see if it's user friendly and cost effective, and make changes as necessary. We began using traditional Christian Bible based textbooks for the oldest, and that seemed to work pretty well. When the middle daughter was ready to begin, we started with conservative Mennonite curriculum preschool and then kindergarten. It worked well, but was very time consuming for me. Once she was reading on her own I knew I needed something less cumbersome. We tried Alpha Omega LIFEPACS and I knew that was exactly what we needed! Very user friendly, reasonable cost, and engaging for the student. We have used the conservative Mennonite preschool stuff for the youngest, as well as my favorite "Hearts & Hands" from Christian Liberty Press, then AOP LIFEPACS until she's reading & writing well on her own (probably thru 3rd grade more or less).
For the middle child, I'm glad we decided to transition from AOP LIFEPACS to Switched on Schoolhouse. Seeing as how she can't get the whole "summer off" thing. I reckon we saw this coming. My husband has taken over the supervision and grading for her; he's so very much smarter than me and actually likes complicated Math and Science.
So that's one thing that has helped me to deal with my time & energy limits that the summer challenges bring. Another has been to look at where my time goes. There are some things we must do every day - those get first priority. Then there are those areas where we choose to spend our time. It's amazing how many seconds, minutes and hours we are willing to squander on things that really don't add value to our lives.
I remember last year when we tried Facebook for a bit how much time I squandered waiting on the computer to upload my pictures I was sharing with my family and friends. I take a lot of pictures, and I love to share them. For some strange reason, our computer got slower & slower as I uploaded pics to FB. Probably using an older machine didn't help. Probably not deleting unncessary files on a regular basis didn't help. Probably just using the free Malware wasn't enough. Anyway, when an opportunity presented itself to repent of Facebook we did. At first I missed the daily FB contact with friends & family. But my goodness, we still have a phone and email, so it's not like we no longer were able to communicate ;) We learned to be in touch better with the relationships that were healthy. And I learned that it's okay to let relationships go that are not healthy.
So how much time do we squander on computer slow time? Well, do something about it. Invest a little bit in good Malware and virus protection. Or upgrade. Your time is worth it! Your family's time is worth it!
Make time for real life people. I heard somewhere that husbands and wives spend more time on their computers than they do with one another. I believe that is true. Is your solution to buy everyone their own computer and just email one another more? Or is your solution to be vigilant with your time and your relationships - value those in front of you that you can touch that call you Mom or Dad or Husband or Wife or Sister or Brother more highly than those that "friend" you or "like" you or "follow" you.
And periodically look at where you are. Where you've been. Where you're going. What are your values? Mine have changed over the years. Does the amount of time you spend match your value system? How about your money? Is it going where your values are, or are you wasting it on things that don't last beyond the next moment?
I am admonishing myself here. I am not preaching at you. I am working through this and figuring this out for myself because I tend to be a slow learner - I often learn the hard way. I hope you are smarter than that ;)
A scripture quote that is helpful to me:
King James Version (KJV)
1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given unto it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God.
3Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you.
5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
7And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
8And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.
9No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:
10And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.