Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The Planning Type & The Beloved Schedule

I think I might be the weirdest person around. I don't like a lot of weird things, or have a super strange sense of humor, but I am a very A-type, "all-or-nothing", hate to stick to a schedule but must have a plan type of person. Those seem so weird together! Right? This has definitely made homeschooling challenging for me. Even though I hate to plan things to do each day or having scheduled appointments or tasks that occur every week, I also LOVE doing them & crossing them off. I feel like I hate routine, but I also hate being interrupted, or having my plans disrupted. I feel like I am either way out of balance or perfect. I usually think I am either incredible or horrid. 

This has its ups & downs. One bonus is that I rarely start things I don't plan to finish. I just cannot. This is why I got a C my junior year in English (my favorite subject). Too many papers that I just wasn't exactly sure how I was supposed to write, or didn't fully understand the topic & purpose, so I just didn't write them. Ha! I look back & laugh because if this happened now, I would just go & ask the teacher. But back then, I just wasn't as sure of my abilities, and was too afraid to go & admit that 1) maybe I just was not smart or 2) that I hadn't been paying the best of attention. 

But I also did things that surprised me. Like deciding to write & prepare a speech for graduation. I was no valedictorian by any means, but at our high school, anyone could "try out" for the speech-giving roles at graduation. I was SO nervous to see if I was selected. And I was elated, surprised & fulfilled in being one of the graduates to speak that night. I've always wanted to be a writer. I'm not the best, but I feel a fire in my bones to share hope with others. I often feel I am not smart enough, eloquent enough, educated enough or just even liked enough to be a popular writer. I will never be Jen Hatmaker, or Beth Moore, or Elisabeth Elliot. I will never have enough good stuff to say for it to be a worthwhile endeavor. But then again, I know it's actually God speaking, Him giving me words (hopefully, most of the time), and His divine purpose in placing that fire in me. Like the desire to homeschool, I just have to keep doing my best, taking risks, seizing opportunities & moving forward!   

What does this have to do with a homeschool schedule? No idea, getting a little side-tracked, but I think all that other stuff is still worth saying :)

So, here is a photo of several months of my "schedule" for schooling my kids. I have a general routine each day, but it has been in flux the last couple months as my daughter changed from 2 short naps to one kinda short nap (as fun as it sounds, trust me). And I am trying desperately to pray think & will a better rhythm into place! 

Last year, I had no schedule, but with a Kindergarten kid who could read & add a little, I did not think it was necessary. And I still don't think it is. The only thing I had planned, was that 2-3 days a week we spent one of Jovi's naps doing math and/or reading or spelling. And it worked. We made it through all the spelling & reading (only about 80 lessons total) and about 80% of his math. Plus, we did Classical Conversations, and while I did not expect him to memorize everything, we just worked on stuff & learned things alongside it that he was interested in. I felt behind a lot of the time, but I really had no clue how much I was "supposed" to be doing, so it was weird, and not amazing for sure. 

So this year I decided I was going to map out the entire year! And it was fun. I looked at how many weeks we were going to school, how many lessons were in each of my 2 boys' subjects & figured out how many lessons that translated to each week (basic math skills were key in this process). I opted for making it a smaller load each week & schooling well into June, in the hopes that I would not get super far behind & become discouraged. And it has mostly worked. But I find myself getting really worked up when we are 1 lesson behind, or 1 entire day behind. I mean really, to be in mid-February and have my 1st grader reading well, but being being stressed that we've been just 1 reading lesson behind for a couple weeks.... stupid,  right? And to be doing so much explaining to my boys each day, both in school-work and in life, I should expect to be pretty tired & not overly on top of things. 

This is the most challenging part of homeschooling for me. And actually, this is probably the most challenging thing in life for me! Learning to chill out. Every year, one of my New year's resolutions is to relax, chill out, become more laid-back. My husband often says, "I just want to see you relaxed & happy." I'm sure my kids do too! But, it is tremendously difficult to do!!! When you have a lot of responsibilities, and you feel like you are failing others by simply not picking up the living room or cleaning enough dishes, it's hard to just relax & let things be. We put a lot of these weights on ourselves. And while we do have responsibilities, we have to weigh them against the responsibilities we have towards our husband's & children's hearts too. 

Having the opportunity to invest so much into my children's lives is worth the effort of overcoming my laziness, overcoming my selfish ambition, finding ways to cope with fatigue & still be a pleasant person! My schedule has definitely helped me a lot, and if you have more than 1 kid you are  homeschooling, I totally recommend having one - even if it's very loose or vague! Despite all of my all-or-nothingness, I am learning that just a little is still better than nothing. And "not the best" is still better than nothing. When it comes to taking steps of faith, doing scary things & trying something challenging, you just really have to start. Start small, start easy, or go all out & make a crazy plan. Start trying and analyze as you go. Most of all, pray for wisdom. James 1:5 says "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given to him." 

Be brave, ask for help, try something you said you would never do. Go for it when you feel incapable & you will see God filling in the gaps. It really is amazing. I feel like I have learned a million little & big things about Him and about everything since I started homeschooling. He makes us able. You can test that to your limits! Don't be afraid to find those limits... While it is scary to come to the edge of your ability, it's a thrilling, yet humbling, & fulfilling place to be. It is where you see your child's growth, your flexibility & God's divine power. 

Now I'm just sounding all inspirational & attempting to be motivational. But really, it's worth it. Even if I never turn out to be a famous writer, an amazing genius, or a fabulous entrepreneur, I will never regret the effort put into being the first-hand witness of God opening the hearts & minds of my children. It is a gift I am willing to devote my life to unwrapping. What is stopping you? What is hindering you? Seek out the Lord with those questions. He already knows the answers. And He is willing to help you over those hurdles. And chances are, there are hosts  of other women trying to jump those same hurdles! And many more who have gotten over them! 

Really, all I wanted to do was share my schedule, share my failures & share a little about why I keep pressing on, why I feel like it's worth it. I hope you go away feeling a smidge better, or at least a teensy bit more inspired. If not, I guess I will just try again next week ;) 

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