Friday, June 14, 2013

Mid-Year Makeovers

I'm not a person who thrives on have-to's and rigid schedules. I like to wing it. I like to see where the day or even the hour takes me. This can be a nice thing for my eclectic-ish style of homeschooling (in theory) I can meander down a path with my kids and see where it takes us.

But I'm a person who struggles with fear. Fear that I won't do a good job, fear that I'm ruining my kids, fear that I'll never get this life right. So when I fail (and at some point I always do) I tend to blame my carefree permissive streak. "If only we stuck to the schedule we'd get more done" "If only we ate when we were supposed to then boys wouldn't be so grumpy" "If only I {you, they} got up on time then we wouldn't be so late"

We have a nice tidy schedule posted on our kitchen wall. I'm not sure we ever stuck to it, even once. This entire school year I found myself setting limits {like we must stop work at 12 noon to make it to piano by 1p} but the day ALWAYS has a mind of it's own. Or maybe it's just that my children do...

I see the benefits of living by bells and schedules like traditionally schooled kids do. The day is predictable. If a certain boy chooses to not do his work in the time allotted he has to move on and make it up later {maybe even with his mother at home?}. But when my son stares at his paper for 40 minutes and just-gets-going-five-minutes-before-we-have-to-stop-for-lunch-or-we'll-be-crazy-people-late and then I let him work just a few more minutes because he's on a roll now, it can really all fall apart quickly.

Given the choice between the two, though, I'll take the messy life with no bells, living a little more organically and less Pavlov like. I'm just saying, some days I wish I had a bell {and a lunch lady, and guidance counselor, and a principal, and a teacher's aid...}

Schedules can help us feel less chaotic but they can also put unnecessary pressure on us. Too often I find myself measuring the success of the day with how much work got done. This is so far off from where I mean to be I'm not even sure how it happens.

I homeschool my kids first and foremost so I can share the love of God with them everyday and have that love be the major influence on their life. If that is true why does a crumbled paper at 4:30 in the afternoon send me to tears? How can I put final product over process? How can I care about math facts and sentence form and that damn to-do list over modeling patience and love?

There has to be some kind of middle ground, doesn't there? I can't seem to find it. And it's June. My kids need a break and so do I. We're wrapping up loose ends and pulling together a portfolio. And i wish I could go back. I want to do this whole spring over again. I want to be less schedule focused and more love focused. I want to not care that I have 4 more weeks of history left to cover and that I probably can't get my 10 year to write another blessed thing down without {both of us} shedding some tears.

My morning manifesto has helped me focus...on the days I remember to look at it. But since I haven't looked at it since 3 days after I posted it I'm realizing I need a little bit of discipline in my life. Discipline, not scheduling.

I know I like freedom to change the plan, but I also know I tend to lose it if there's no plan and I can't think of one on the fly. I know my affection for being loose usually translates into missing some important things.

I know I struggle with my mood and having no rhythm in my life doesn't help my just-hanging-on-emotions.

I know this mess I made of this spring had much more to do with my inconsistencies and daddy being back to work then it had to do with my kids being kids.

Since I can't go back I need to go forward, with dicipline. I need to establish MY OWN routines before I expect my children to.

I need to get some help...especially on my "hard" days. Someone to check in and speak truth when I can't speak it to myself.  The problem is I don't always know which days will be hard until things are falling apart.

I need to find some quiet to right my perspective....9a, 12n, 3p.... I must move away from noise and chaos to hear from my God. Even Jesus did. Thinking about praying, planning to pray, scrolling through FB posts (even biblical ones), returning texts and emails does not count as actual praying. Seriously. I'm not allowed out of my room in the morning until I pray...then I can pee and return to my room to open my bible.

I need to just be quiet. I can be angry and frustrated AND quiet until it passes. My words are to build up others. It's funny how I can't seem to find the book I haven't been able to finish reading...War of Words.

To establish a routine NOW when I'm not feeling like I'm scraping by. I can't wait until it's hard to make sure I have a good plan. I always need to have a good plan. A daily rhythm. And I need to keep it.

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