It’s September. A new school year off to a great start. And our daughter becomes engaged. How wonderful! How exciting! And the wedding date is set. For February. Right smack in the middle of our school year. Five months to plan the wedding of a lifetime. Four younger children still needing their education. How does a homeschooling mom handle this!?
- Make a list. Make several lists. List out all mandatory schooling assignments and activities. When you sit down to do school, you can refer to the list to help you stay on track. List out all wedding appointments and projects. I made up a notebook with dividers just for wedding planning. All ideas and business cards and receipts and samples and checklists were recorded here, which left my brain some space for tackling schoolwork with the younger children. These lists will be on-going and ever-changing.
- Set Priorities. Determine what is most important for your children to accomplish. For this season, pick your top most priority subjects and see to those. A math lesson? Reading practice? See to those and leave the extras for a later season.
- Set up Self-Directed Activities. Keep a drawer or bin stocked with art supplies or math games to be used only when Mom is occupied with big sister and the wedding. Have a basket within reach filled with books on topics that you are studying in school. If you aren’t getting to the school books, they can still be learning. There are plenty of websites offering worksheets and educational games for all subjects, any age. Having new and fun activities available will help distract everyone from all the hub-bub going on with the wedding planning.
- Organize the days of your week. Choose one day to be ‘Errand Day’ when you will schedule as many errands as possible, making them the most of your time out-and-about. Check your Notebook before you head out! Another day can be ‘Light School Day’ when you get math lessons and writing lesson in and then work together on the wedding to-do list (making rice bags, cutting ribbon, making place cards, looking through bridal magazines, etc). Fill the other days with as much schooling as you are able. Remember that list we made earlier? Refer to it often.
- Ease up on your school schedule. For a time. Instead of math 5 days a week, maybe 3 or 4. Science 1 day a week, History 1 day a week. A little reading everyday, but grammar every other day. Create an alternative schedule with more flexible time built in. It’s only for a season. You’ll work your way back to normal once the Big Event is over.
- Plan school activities and subjects around wedding-related topics. Study family history, hold ‘home ec’ and ‘shop’ classes in order to create wedding gifts, learn some geography while compiling the guest list and updating your address book.
- Take a Teacher Enrichment Day when needed. When you’ve been stretched too thin, retreat for awhile and do whatever it is that recharges you.
- Enjoy family time together. Your daughter won’t be living under your roof much longer. Pull out the old photo albums and scrapbooks. Relive favorite memories while fixing her favorite meals. Make new memories – do some of the things you’ve always wanted to do together.
- Regroup. When the younger children have been pushed aside too often because wedding plans have been front-and-center, take time to reconnect. Read out loud together, sit around the table as they work and look them straight in the eye, look through their school work and praise a job well done. Or, if you’ve been pushing, pushing, pushing schoolwork playing catch-up, yell “School’s Out!” and let the younger ones pick an activity (it might even be educational, you never know!)
- Keep a List for the Future. Yes, another list! At the top write “When This Wedding is Over, We will . . .” and then keep a running list of things you’ve put on hold. Don’t have time or funds for a planned project or field trip? Put it on the list. It will give you something to look forward to and can be helpful later, when adjusting to life without sister.
- Give yourself permission to mourn. Go ahead, have your mini-meltdown when it hits you that your baby girl is about the leave the nest. Tears will rise to the surface at the most unexpected moments. At times I would quickly wipe the tears from my cheek. No need to hide it, my children understood. Other times I’d leave the room and have a good, old-fashioned cry, taking a few minutes to myself to sob – I was missing her already! Then I’d be good to go again. By stuffing those feelings, or ignoring them, it would just build and I wouldn’t be any good to anyone.
- Be in the Word. Be with the Lord. HE will give you the strength to juggle all the logistics, emotions, details.
- Breathe. Eat well. Get your rest. Enjoy. This is a special time, give your children the opportunity to be a part of it all. Your daughter doesn’t get married everyday. The schooling will still be there after she’s walked down the aisle.
Linda Sears is a stay-at-home wife, homeschooling mother and doting grandmother. She and her husband have 8 children, a daughter-in-law, 2 sons-in-law and 5 grandchildren, so far. They have been homeschooling for more than 20 years, graduating 4 of their 8 children, with 4 more to go. You’ll find her at Apron Strings & other things where she blogs about life as she knows it, with children in various stages of cutting those apron strings.