I was participating in an Instagram homeschooling campaign to get out the truth and beauty of homeschooling.  Things were going great until the prompt was #progress and the wheels fell off.

You see, last year was grand.  Each time someone asked me how school was going, I took a deep breath and said a silent prayer protecting our progress.  It was so good. We had our snags and attitude problems (Hi! We’re human!), sure, but I felt like we had hit our stride.  There was forward motion, plans, and a good deal of comfort in knowing what the heck was going on.

And then. . . then we began this school year with a high schooler (the rattling sound is my knees shaking) and a pregnancy, and a toddler on the table most days and the fifth kid who is learning to read and I feel COMPLETELY out of my depth.  What are we doing? Who are you? How did we get here? Where are we going? When is nap time?

So, yeah, I don’t really feel like talking about progress.  Perhaps that means I should chat it up all the more?  I don’t know – I gained another teenager, Lent started this week, and it’s snowing again – cut me some slack.

However, where I can see forward motion and accumulation and real progress is in our read-alouds.  2017 was a banner year in that regard.  We read some amazing books and spent hours soaking in words and stories together.  In fact, it was the only way we survived October – audio books and me laying about.

That’s not to say we didn’t have some duds.  Twice I tried to read Stowaway! outloud and twice the kids just didn’t take to it so it was abandoned.  The Wingfeather Saga that we all ended up LOVING, was laughed right out of the house not one chapter in the first time I tried it out.  But the jettisoning what wasn’t working and the try, try, again approach, well, there were life lessons there, too.

The other thing I did that helped with the feeling of progress was keeping track of the books we read and the number of pages covered.  At first it seemed slightly mercenary – our read alouds are for enjoyment first and foremost.  But I also wanted to track the miles we were putting in for my records and sanity.

4,812 pages.

I know, it shocked me, too, this final tally.  But hot-dang does it feel like something! I like to roll it around on the days when nothing gets done and everyone is fighting and I ponder the real beauty of 6 hours strung together with most everyone out of the house and the miracle of school lunches.  I hug it tight on the nights that I drag to bed an abject failure and the devil comes knocking and I invite him in for tea.  I let it dance before my eyes when I grit my teeth over poor handwriting, crappy attitudes, or multiplication facts that just will not stick.

4,812 pages of progress.  Of success.  Of memories, joy, and real, live learning. I’ll take it.

I’m making a list of the books and our reviews to post soon!