April 7th… and 8th

If I gave you permission, what would you cut? -a friend told me yesterday, trying to guide me and help me in my despair.

(I don’t even know how to answer that question… I had kept going on so stubbornly wrong, not wanting to give anything up. I feel I’m in a treasure cave, stuffing my pockets with gold and rubies, riches beyond measure, when I cannot get out of that trap unless I pick up just a lantern and climb out burden free).

This post will have to do for yesterday and today!

I’m about to leave the computer and get on with life, but not without telling you I’m trying to apply the same advice I give over and over… I tell others what Kelly tells us, “keep cutting back until there is Peace in your home, yet I don’t follow it myself.”

I’ve always taken the AO years for my daughters, and try to run fly with it. We are now in the third term, week 29, of years 2 and 4, and I’ve swamped them. They love the books, the new practices, their lessons… but not in the quantity and rushed spirit I’m imparting. I have “added” components… not to excel or compete, they are meaningful things, or CM practices we did not used to do and now we do, so something has to give in. I failed at removing something (since I was adding, even if not much, it’s like a little ripple that’s turning into a storm).

I planned and started early last year, (in May), we had a long 7 weeks trip, they have grown into a new year, and yet I forgot AO adds some more load towards the middle of each year, and I failed to accommodate for my girls needs. I’m not meeting them but pulling them toward my unrealistic standard.

Now it’s difficult to maintain this rhythm (which ends up being chaos) and finish the year, but we will. And next year will be planned much.more.carefully. I must leave much more breathing spaces, or we will start it all, and feel we cannot do anything well. Less done well, as Amy Jo tells me she aims to do, will be my aim as well.

I’m conformed to finished all we started, and paying the price of doing so less meaningfully that it could have been with less. Once you are almost finished (even if not quite), there’s value in finishing what you chewed on. Next time I’m being extra careful with my order. When we eat out, I do great, even if I think I want more than what I’m just ordering, or the girls ask for lots, we start with one thing. I always tell them that, if they are hungry, we will order more food… I need to do the same with the schedules. I’m going to simplify, even cut back (considering our challenges), and very carefully adjust at the beginning. I want more joy, more peace… without love nothing matters, right?

So, if you find yourself in April, thinking about how to finish a year you planned carelessly when you thought you had nailed it, and wanting to change, and invite joy back to your daily lessons and life, know you are not alone!

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4 comments on “April 7th… and 8th

  1. And you are a caring friend. It is not all that empty or chaotic now in our final weeks. We started very early last year and it's true I had to stop and reconsider. We will get there, to the joy, Lord willing.

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  2. Hey Silvia! Sorry I haven't commented on your recent posts. This last month or so there's been a lot going on and I'm surprised I've managed to get several posts up on my blog! 🙂 I read your post this morning and wanted to be sure to come back when I had a little time and let you know that you are not alone! When we were using AO as our main curriculum, I can remember feeling like you feel…like there was just a lot to cover…feeling overwhelmed sometimes…wondering how to cut out things from the reading schedule, etc. There was one year in particular when my daughter was doing one of the HEO years, that by the end of the year, my daughter and I both felt like it had been a bit too much of a reading load and I think we both learned from that. It was a good year as far as what was learned and my daughter will tell you that she really enjoyed a number of the books she read and the time period of history being studied. But it proved to be overload I think. While we are no longer using AO right now, I still appreciate AO so much! It’s just not a good fit for us right now. And I found that for me, I think that because of the way AO is structured, I just had a hard time picking and choosing from all the great books. I didn’t want to miss anything and felt often that if we dropped books, would we be missing out on something important? Now, I simply use AO as a book list to reference for good books instead of using it as a curriculum.

    My youngest is one that to have too many books to read would be overwhelming. She needs fewer subjects/books and more time to ruminate on those books. Right now, I have to streamline our curriculum…simplifying and picking and choosing a few resources over a whole variety. And I think you can still have a generous curriculum in doing that.

    That statement “keep cutting back until there is Peace in your home”… it really resonated with me too when I first heard it. As I have heard it said many times, “less is more.” So true. I just wanted to encourage you to step back and take a look at where you and your girls are at right now in this season of life. Find what works for your girls AND you. If that’s AO, great! If not, that’s okay too! I feel that AO can be used in different ways. If you struggle like I did with being afraid you’ll miss something important if you don’t cover all or even a lot of the great books they use, then maybe it might work well for a time to see AO as a booklist versus a curriculum to follow to a tee. Go back to the basics, pick just a few books, and focus on enjoying the good books you choose. And with those few books you choose, choose maybe one or two to regularly narrate and leave a couple just for reading. Maybe pick one read-aloud to share together…both you and your girls together. Another idea would be maybe to combine some subjects with your girls. Could you have one history spine book that you all read together and then maybe give each of your girls one book for them read on their own with history? I realize they are in different AO years, but maybe you could choose a time period of history of interest to both of your girls and study it together. Anyway, those are just some thoughts that I hope might be helpful.

    You’re doing a great job Silvia! Don’t ever forget that! And remember, what’s important is doing what works for your girls AND you. 🙂

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  3. Thanks so much for the detailed comment. I'm thinking about many of the points you make. I have much to think about and pray about. Karen, thanks for sharing your heart and experience with me… it's true. I will use AO, but not everything as written. Once I make cuts and our schedule I am not going to look back and lament those things left out.
    Thanks again… I had missed you. I also read your blog even if I not always comment.

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