Fall- When Everything Comes Down
I cannot be the only person who feels like everything comes crashing down right as summer barrels to an end. All the responsibilities for all of the things seem to converge on me & I suddenly find myself drowning in commitments, work, & goals. It makes me double down on organizing & "trimming the fat" in our lives & schedules. It's a time of refocusing & redirecting our trajectory. It feels like a weird time to do this, since the year is so close to its end, but the mainstream school year is just beginning, so perhaps it is tied to that reinvigoration for our schooling...
Sidenote: how did 2019 fly by so fast? Seriously, I just had this third baby & his first birthday is looming just ahead. So weird.
When the chaos feels unbearable, I start scheduling. I am not naturally oriented to schedules. I am not a "type A" kind of person. I am a sort of fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-er. I start every new calendar year strong with a planner or a bullet journal or whatever, but my interest wanes in a few months & I end every year with a half-used planner. By summer, my scheduling powers are tapped & spontaneity, panic over forgotten commitments, & a perpetual confusion about "what is today, anyway?" reign supreme. It's a character flaw I am trying to overcome. In this way, homeschooling & having kids to care for have really helped me grow as a person. I am forced to think ahead. To... wait for it... actually plan things.
One of those things I am really working on this autumn season is establishing daily rhythm. If you're a friend of mine in real life, or follow me on Instagram, or are a Facebook friend, you may be sitting there thinking, "okay, you do this every year!" You'd be absolutely right. In the past, I would have felt that maybe this was a sign of failure. I failed to follow-through, ergo, I have to revisit the task & rebuild a rhythm. However, I now think that it's WISE to revisit our rhythm annually, or even more often than that! Our family is comprised of five (FIVE!!!) individuals. None of us are static. We are continually evolving. It makes sense that our home would evolve as well, including our rhythms, schedules, etc. We need to allow for growth for each member of our collective unit, which means we need to allow change.
So far, for my first year schooling two kiddos, we have found success in starting our days earlier. I aim to complete our language arts & mathematics by noon, leaving our afternoons for poetry & Adventure study (our interest-led history & science studies). My eldest spends her 20 minutes with a book (reading or not, no pressure, the aim of this time is to become comfortable with the practice of carving out some quiet time with a book- not a screen). My middle child crawls onto my lap for storytime. The baby naps. The afternoons are left free for diving into current interests & filling our Adventure Books, trekking forth to the library, or the park, or hitting a trail to hike, etc.
As Amos Bronson Alcott said, "the less routine, the more life". I strive to strike a balance to ensure we complete our tasks, but also have time to exist genuinely in the moment every single day. He also said "a true teacher defends his students against his own personal influences", at which I am afraid I may not be quite so skilled, as I love introducing my wee ones to my passions. I endeavor to also follow their lead, though, & hope the afternoon Adventure time will lend itself to that.
I find my time is increasingly consumed with raising my babes, & while it can be exhausting & stressful, & while I sometimes miss the freedom to spend time on my own interests or completing the many other jobs I have... I am finding peace with accepting this season of my life. I even relish it sometimes. I love seeing them meet milestones & succeed at challenges, to learn new skills & even to help them embrace failure as a part of growth- even as an opportunity in disguise. So I am turning my mind inward as well, to find what things are bringing us happiness & joy, & what things do not serve me or my family anymore, & I am making decisions both simple & difficult to best suit our needs.
Autumn truly is a transformative season.