July was spent with awful fevers, colds, stomach issues. It literally began on July 1st for us and didn't let up until the first week of August. The whole month was simply spent trying to maintain the basics, celebrate my husband's 40th birthday, and keep hope that all would be well again.
Today we begin again!
This learning year will look a wee bit different than other years have. My oldest two children will be given a more formal schedule. Nothing over the top...just clearer weekly expectations and goals. My middle two children will have a focus on learning/growing in their reading skills with lots of delight-directed learning from library books coupled with a science-focus. My littlest boys will have time carved out with me each morning for play and good books and simple activities. I am using this to actually build a schedule that will give me some individual time with each child instead of always seeming to deal with them en masse.
I also realized how important hiking and camping and being outdoors is to our family, but that you wouldn't necessarily know that when you looked at how our daily time is being spent. So I grabbed the calendar and filled in one day a week for us to head outdoors to a hike and filled in a few weekends for camping. I kept hoping that those things would naturally happen, but in a family this large, it just can't happen without a plan.
I could live a life of spontaneity in learning and exploring when I had fewer children, but more children means more structure and planning. It just does. I tend to resist that, but am learning that life moves more smoothly for our big crew with more forethought and implementation.
So I have no big creative plans right now for our learning times. Just lots of books and practicing the basics. My theme for this year for our children is "wisdom". We are going to read through the Proverbs every day and learn the difference between a life of wisdom and a life of foolishness. Instead of focusing on what is necessarily right or wrong in a situation, I want them to ask, "what is wise?" We will be learning this together...here a little, there a little. I don't view this year with any great expectations or with a great deal of inspiration...I view it as a year to be faithful. Faithful to teach, faithful to train, faithful to serve. And I hope with a great deal of wisdom.