If there's one major thing I have learned over the last two years of homeschooling, it would be that it's imperative to remain FLEXIBLE. Not as in yoga-flexible (although that's good), but as in time and attitude flexible. Because stuff always comes up. Life happens to you when you plan. Expect it! Then you won't be disappointed. It is wise to plan for the unexpected and give yourself some wiggle room during your year, or cop an attitude of going with whatever happens.
We are trailing down to the end of the school year, but I don't have a date set wherein we'll officially stop. Today Max yelled in celebratory parlance, "only three more days of school!" Where did he come up with that number, I wonder? We will likely continue on with some math through the summer courtesy of my extra generous husband who has agreed to strap the math load to his back. Together they are working it out and I am humbly giddy about it!
With respect to being flexible, we dropped everything on Friday and made arrangements to fly to Minneapolis to attend my grandmother's funeral. She was 99 years, 1 month and 2 days old. Born in 1912, she lived out her entire life in a small farming community in Minnesota. Those are my roots! Deep in that black soil up there. My grandparents were farmers and left me with many sweet memories of days on the farm, of all the animals they tended. I spoke at her church service in an effort to share with everyone what it was like growing up as her granddaughter. I hope I did the experience justice; she was a gift as a grandparent and I certainly was lucky to have her for 45 years.
This was Max's first funeral. He's eleven, so I felt strongly about him attending and experiencing the custom of the wake and church service, even though we aren't active church goers. He was extremely anxious about attending the wake as this would be the first time he would actually lay eyes on a real human being who had passed from life. He had never seen a casket before, or a funeral home, or a cemetery, or his own grandparents crying. It was an incredible experience from all angles and I couldn't help but observe him as the events unfolded. It was an emotional ride for all of us, but overall Max handled everything very well. He was exhausted by the time we boarded the plane last night to make it back to New Mexico in the wee hours. Needless to say we slept in very late and completely ignored any school subjects today.
Not once did school or math or language arts cross my mind while we were gone. All of my energy was catapulted to another place so that I could say goodbye to my grandma the way I needed to and I was drinking up the farm, taking a walk through my memories. An exemplary reason for homeschooling. You can stop for as long as you need to to cope with life. You are not bound to an arbitrary, contrived schedule dictated by others who are certainly not interested in the needs of your family. You can create your own schedule on top of the ebb and flow of your own family's rhythms.
You can have space to grieve your losses. The world needs more spaces like that!