Saturday, September 5, 2009

Applying Our Schedule

I have so much to do I feel like doing nothing! Actually, it isn't that bad. What I have to do is not as urgent and pressing as organizing curriculum. It is nice to take a break from that urgency.

Our week went well... all considering. I have tried to bare a multitude of advice and previous years' experiences in mind as I step into this homeschooling year. The hard one has been to "Put your husband and his schedule first." I think that one came from Lorrie Flem of TEACH. It is a good one but I keep praying, "Lord, are you sure? Cause I think if I give my husband the firsts he will take it all!!" I realized the other day I need to be praying, "Lord, I want to be a good wife and give my husband the first, please put on his heart not to take it all"!

Seriously though. I am finding peace and some measure of balance in our homeschool with a husband who is going to school full time and has a goofy schedule this semester. He schools 2 evenings and 2 days and has Friday completely off (for now). Wednesday he wanted to chat with me about a few things that took until 10am. Our whole schedule that day was a little off but we managed. I kept my cool ((pat myself on the back)) and just enjoyed what we could get done.

The importance of a schedule is having a profound impact on me this year. I have always gauged my days with to-do lists and schedules. The difference this year is an article I read this summer assuring homeschool parents that keeping the schedule to a T every day isn't as important as just having one. I think of it as a compass. When you get lost in your day, you can re-orient to find your North. And if you can't find your North, then just pitch a tent and hope for better weather tomorrow!

In this regard I am also not using the clock as our guide but rather the timer. Neighborhood kids usually don't get home until 4pm by the time the bus drops them off and such. But even then... I am taking each subject, while set in a time slot, and setting the timer for that allotted time. We work until the timer goes off and then we are done with that particular area for the day. I am pleased, so far (after all, we have only finished week 1), with the kids' response to this and with the peace it is bringing to our schedule. It is a challenge at times though... when I want to just keep going!

I have noticed some areas this week that will require some tweaking. Ash is learning to type this year and 2 time slots of 20 minutes each is not enough to feel successful. I am also thinking we need a bit more time than 30 minutes for math success each day. I realized that early rise is going to be a necessity as well. By early I mean 7:30/8:00 for the kids. (I'm usually up before the sun!) Some days Ash isn't rolling out of bed until 8:30 or later! By the time breakfast is consumed and chores are completed, we are all falling behind. My rationalization is that, in the real world (with some exceptions) we have to be able to get up "early" for work or college... depending on your schedule. It is good practice to discipline oneself to such a schedule now (with weekends off of course).

I have also found getting up and having breakfast with my Sophomore public schooler is going to be a key part of my day (and our relationship) this year. We have time to chat, get a hold on our schedule, and just enjoy each other's company. I let that fall to the way-side last year when I lost my bearings. I thank my Heavenly Father for showing me this critical key to keeping the relationship with my oldest son open. I pray that the time we have enjoyed together so far in the wee small hours of the morning, will continue to become something special throughout the year, and in the few years he still has left here.

Lastly, on that note, is one of my philosophies with homeschool: If you can't use it in the "real" adult world, I don't see the point in teaching it. That isn't to say that if the kids want to learn about something irrelevant to life that I won't teach... I will. But when they want to know why they need to estimate math problems or spell or write stories explaining a given topic or ideas... that is when I explain how and where they need those skills in life.

I pray all of you are finding peace in this back-to-school season. A new year of teaching with fresh and exciting possibilities ahead!

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