Monday, October 1, 2012

Plan A...B, C, or D- Joyfully Flexible

Wow. Ain't that the truth?!
At the beginning of every school year (and every other month or so, it seems), I make a master schedule.  A master routine.  It's nice to have an example of my perfect day.  It's my Plan A.

We almost always run into B, C, or D depending on what is going on in the real world, and you can't have a B if you don't have an A.  Somebody told me that years ago...before I was ever attempting the task of educating my children.    Homeschooling is part of our lives.  It meshes with everything else.  Somehow, it blends together.  I, desperately, want it to blend, and I have to keep the type A part of my personality in check over it.  She wants Plan A, every day, all the time, with a smile. Period.

However, life is rarely Plan A.  And there is a lot our children can learn from our reactions to the derailment of all our plans.  Those life lessons are more important than any math or phonics lesson you could dream up.  I know precious people who are nearing the end of a quite lengthy and trying situation concerning one of their children.  And I'm telling you, the lessons in faith and perseverance that their other children are learning are priceless.

That's not to say we don't need math or phonics lessons, but those are not the bone structure, not the meat, of home education.  Those things don't hold everything together.  Those are not the point.  Not a single mother I know would tell you that they educate their children at home, so they can be the one to teach the three Rs to their kids.  Not one.

One of the main lessons I want my kids to learn is to be joyfully flexible. Things come up. Kids get sick. Someone needs a favor.  Someone needs help with a meal or childcare while mom goes to the doctor.  Various life experiences come up all day long. I want them to be ready to manage their attitudes and their time as things come up to alter our schedule.

A couple of weeks before we left for CO, Grace caught a viral bug of some sort and literally, fell asleep on the floor in the middle of the living room one morning.  Hannah stepped away from the table and her math lesson, went to get a blanket, a pillow, and Grace's stuffed puppy in order to take care of her sick sister.  She also filled a cup with juice and placed it beside her.  I think the main lesson she learned that day was a lesson in kindness, a lesson in putting someone else ahead of yourself.

So when my Plan A makes a stop, my purpose is to look at the bigger picture and remember that we can get back to it after we take care of our derailment.  My attitude is everything in those instances.  My children can either learn that math is more important than their sick sibling or that math will still be math after you do what you need to do. (And I was going to move Grace, but I let Hannah handle it that day.)

They need learn that schedules are gentle guides not rigid rule books.  Children need to learn time management, too.  If their schedule is always perfect, there are no lessons learned.  No need for time management.  However, my kids and I do need structure.  We all need a plan.  But that plan needs to be adaptable. And we, moms, need to be flexible, joyfully flexible.  Like the saying goes our kids will remember what we did long after they've forgotten what we said...

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