Hanging On As Tight As I Can

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I’m gasping for breath, exhausted, clawing and pulling myself to the finish line. My strength is diminishing by the moment, I’m sure I don’t have what it takes to cross that line. But I know that quitting isn’t an option. Now it’s a mental game and I will myself to go on. The end is in sight: it’s Friday,

Can I get an amen here, mommas? I know it’s a wee bit dramatic, but this is pretty much how I feel for the first few weeks of every school year. I was happily ensconced in a relaxed, pretty unstructured summer, and then all of a sudden, it’s September.

It’s not just getting back into the school routine, it’s getting back into ALL the routines. It’s sports, practices, play dates and extracurricular classes. And if you’re also in the special needs world, it’s IEPs, meeting new therapists, setting up therapy schedules and rearranging most of the appointments so that you can fit everything in.

The calendar is full!

It all feels so impossible during those first few weeks. There’s the exhaustion, both physical and mental, of making sure that all the people are in all of the places all of the time. It feels as though I will never figure it all out. And for an extra fun challenge, usually one or all of us catch a late summer/early fall cold.

But then, somehow, someway, it all starts to click. My children become used to the routine, even start to enjoy the structure. My body and mind both start to get with the program and it all becomes, well, doable. I can feel that I’m almost there this year, so I’m holding on and doing a lot of praying. Because this looks to be our most challenging year yet.

Over the last few years, we have home schooled Gray and Hope through a private school program (PSP) that only supervises home schoolers. Although I pick the curriculum, I do have to let them know what we’re doing for each subject, and we have to report grades and attendance. I’ve really enjoyed the school we’ve worked with, and we still have Gray enrolled in their program.

However, this year we decided to go a different route with Hope. We’re still home schooling, but through a public charter school. The benefit is that we have much better access to speech therapy, occupational therapy and adaptive PE. She has a special education teacher who will work with her, but also with me, to better teach her to her greatest potential. We really believe that this will be the most beneficial option for Hope this year, and so far, I’ve enjoyed working with our charter school.

Gray is a junior this year, and we felt that he needed a bit of a change in his school program. We want him to be prepared for college and the challenges he’ll face with multiple instructors, syllabi’s, etc. But we still wanted a great deal of flexibility, so this year he’s doing a hybrid program.

Two days a week, Gray is attending classes through our PSP. He’s taking history, English, health and nutrition, chemistry and a film making class. Three days a week, he studies at home. He’s also taking math and Spanish online. It’s actually very similar to a college program, but at a high school level.

Chemistry is one of Gray’s most interesting but also most challenging classes so far.

I’m so excited for him to have the chance to participate in this program, with such excellent instructors. The class sizes are small so it’s very personal and he can’t just slide by, but is receiving excellent instruction. I think it’s going to be a great year for him, and I can’t wait to see him blossom and grow and be stretched in ways that he’s never experienced.

Hope and I are continuing to patiently work on her reading, writing and math skills. We’re also working in some earth science and some unit studies on ancient civilizations. We just wrapped up Egypt (so fun!) and next week we start ancient China. I’ve been scouring Pintrest for ideas and I think we’ll probably try to work in a field trip to China town sometime very soon.

We made mummies and pyramids. The link for the kit we used is below, it was so fun!

Both Hope and Gray are playing soccer, so that means practice during the week and games on Saturdays. Gray decided that he missed performing, so he’s doing a musical and has practices 2 nights a week, and Hope started a tap/jazz dance class (too adorable for words. Seriously). Gray also keeps busy with youth group, church activities, community service (volunteer, not court ordered!), friends and an occasional part time job.

Hope has behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, vision therapy and in a couple of weeks, she’ll be joining a peer based social skills group. All great things for her, but a LOT to keep track of!

So that’s what we’re working with these days. I know that I’m not alone, that moms all over the country are right in the midst of it with me. I know that we all struggle to juggle our responsibilities, and that we have varying levels of success depending on the day or week, but we keep on going.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.

So, solidarity, sisters! Nothing but respect for the many moms out there who are trying to figure it out and do what needs to be done. May you have the strength to make it through the week, and may you figure out a way to get the rest you need to make it all happen again when Monday rolls back around!

 


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