I usually like to spend spring choosing the materials we will need for the next academic year. This consists of evaluating current materials and assessing the kids' strengths, weaknesses, and interests. In a perfect world, my materials for the following fall would be ordered before the school year ends so that I can spend the summer pouring over the new materials.
I did not do that this year. Just last week I received my big box from Rainbow Resources and am completely overwhelmed with how much work I have ahead of me.
I need a schedule. Structure. I need to know what the halfway point is in our chosen texts so that I can see if we're staying on track. Not in an obsessive way; if we fall behind because the kids are stuck on a concept and need more time or because they're interested in delving into something more thoroughly, that is fine. More than fine, in fact; those are two big reasons we home-school. But, generally speaking, I like to know that we should reach or be near a certain chapter by a certain point; those types of goals help me sleep more easily at night.
I like to be familiar with what the kids are learning the following year, especially now that Madeleine spends so much time on her own with minimal help from me beyond oversight and tracking her comprehension of what she is learning. If she, say, has trouble identifying and labeling pronouns used as subjects, direct objects, predicate pronouns or as the object of a preposition, like she did this past year, then I sure as heck better reintroduce myself to the concept so I can explain it to her if or when she struggles.
The other day someone said to me, "I'm done with summer. I wish it were fall already."
I am not ready to wish away these lazy summer days.
And I find I am calm about what I first saw as my lack of preparedness, academically speaking, because this summer has recharged me, psychologically-speaking. Sleeping in. Lazy mornings at the pool. Vegging with friends. Playdates at the beach.
The books are there. And they'll still be there on a rainy day when we have nothing to do. And I find, amazingly, that I am OK with that.