Too much or too little?

Posted by  | Thursday, September 29, 2011  at 6:30 AM  
I really cannot believe that we have been officially doing pre-school with Karis for over a month now! It has been such a fun and exciting experience for all of us. Even when we are not "doing school," Karis is constantly asking me, "What schoolwork can I do now?" And Karlie has utterly amazed me by doing absolutely every. single. thing. that Karis does. She wants to count backwards from 20, learn to read, and do worksheets right along with her sister. The whole process has been a blessing for our family and I am so happy to be teaching them at home this year.

But I still struggle with doubts a lot. I daily go back and forth between "Am I doing enough?" and "Am I doing too much?" I know that sounds contradictory, but I just want to be honest here.

I read my friends' blogs about their children going to pre-school and all the fun crafts they are making and hands on activities and what they are learning and it just makes me want to do more with my girls. I start to second guess myself and wonder if there is an aspect of her education that I might have left out of my plan. Plus, chasing around my suddenly-crawling, short-napping almost-eight-month-old definitely limits the amount of individual instructional time I have with my big girls. We primarily try to do our school work during her morning nap because my big girls have their own rest time when she naps in the afternoon. But Abbi's morning nap used to be our best reading time and now that we have started more formal schoolwork, I am finding it hard to make time to read at other times. When Abbi is awake, she either wants our attention or wants to eat our books :) So I am finding it hard to squeeze in as much educational time into our day as I had hoped.

But on the other hand, Karis is only 4 and I want her to have plenty of time to play outdoors, pretend with her baby dolls and doll house, and make up her own artwork. I struggle between wanting to plan out lots of fun crafts and activities for her and at the same time wanting her to be free to use that wonderful, blissful imagination that God gives to 4-year olds. I want her to have time to be a kid! So at the same time that I wonder if I should be teaching her more, I often wonder if I am actually doing too much and need to just let her play more.

I would definitely say that although we have had a wonderful 1st month of pre-school, I am still struggling with balancing it all. But I love every minute of it and it is so worth it! It thrills me so much to be a part of Karis' learning and being there to see things all of a sudden "click" in her mind. I taught her how to sound out words for the 1st time yesterday and I cannot tell you who was more excited -- Karis or myself!

I've been trying to think of what I might change for our second month of school and have come up with a two main goals. They both involve personal sacrifice but will be good for me, HA!

1. I need to get up earlier! Ever since Abbi's hospitalization, she hasn't gone back to sleeping through the night again and I haven't had the heart to make her cry it out. (Yeah, I'm a wimp, but once you see your baby cry/ scream for almost 2 days straight, it is a long time before you can stand to hear her cry again!) I've used her multiple wakings as an excuse to stay in bed longer in the mornings to get as much rest as I can. But I'm going to start getting up an hour before everyone else again. I need to have time to read my Bible and start my day right, as well as get breakItalicfast all ready and unload the dishwasher so we can jump into schoolwork more quickly and have more time later on in the day to play or read.

2. If one of my big girls does not fall asleep during nap-time, I am going to allow her to get up early to read books with me. I posted a while back about our nap-time solutions, and the plan works wonderfully as long as both of them fall asleep or both of them are awake. But it seems that a couple times a week only one of them falls asleep while the other sings and plays until Momo's eyes open. This new addendum to the plan will allow me to have special one-on-one time with one of my big girls and add in some extra reading time as well. I'll miss that 2-hour chunk of time to myself but since my girls are all usually in bed by 7 each night, I should have plenty of time to finish up my housework, blogging, e-mail, etc. after they go to bed.

How has your first month of school gone? Is there anything you plan to do differently next month?


Christy said...

Meg, I've been having the exact same dilemma. Even in the homeschooling world, there is such a wide variety of opinions on the subject. Some say make it look exactly like traditional preschool, some say don't dare do formal instruction until age seven!

The beauty of homeschooling is that we can each decide for ourselves what is best for us, our kids and our families. But that is so much easier said than done! Like I said, I'm right there with you!

I just keep telling myself that in a few years I will look back and laugh at myself for stressing so much. It helps, at least a little.

Rachael Davis said...

You'll be encouraged by this article I found called "What a 4 year old Should Know."

Meg said...

Christy, Thanks; it is nice to know I'm not the only one!

Rachael, I love it! What an awesome post! Thanks for linking to it! I'm going to be sharing it... :)

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