Friday, September 28, 2007

Keeping House

In early August I attended a two-day conference with Barbara Dewey. One of the things I took away from this event was the charge to put one's house in order before planning the school year. I had taken a small stab at scheduling near the end of summer and it had glorious results so I was game. I did some serious thinking about what needs to happen in our lives before schooling. The short list I came up with:
  1. Bearcub's nap,
  2. cleaning the house,
  3. one day to do my paid work (yes, I have an outside job!),
  4. family time,
  5. church,
  6. care for the pets,
  7. home cooked meals, and
  8. a general sense of calm.
Sounds good. Then I looked at our outside activities - for all family members. They are:
  1. Nightowl's Violin lessons - twice a week,
  2. Horse back riding - Nightowl - one a week,
  3. Homeschool park day,
  4. playgroup,
  5. Rehearsal night - me (I sing in a group),
  6. Bookclub - me,
  7. Bookclub - Chillymama,
  8. church committees, and
  9. Spanish class - Chillymama
Ok, things are getting full. Next I looked at our weekly homeschooling activities:
  1. Main lesson,
  2. form drawing,
  3. painting,
  4. clay work,
  5. music practice,
  6. Coop class,
  7. permaculture class,
  8. handwork/crafts, and
  9. circle time.
Alrighty, there's a lot on this list. But I took small step, started with the first list, and reflected on Nightowl's rhythm, when Bearcub naps and other items that are inflexible (lessons, rehearsals etc.). Then we plugged them into a grid and - wow - we've got time for everything.
I drew up a grid and as one of our starting second grade lesons Nightowl and I filled it in with illustrations. It now resides proudly on our fridge. We look at it every day.

As long as I don't get over zealous we can make it work. Priorities are different for me this year. For example, I don't feel that every homeschool activity needs a product for the main lesson book (more on this in future posts). I'm also coming to terms with cleaning house in bits and pieces. Plus, I now realize that activities don't need to be hours long - some just take a few minutes. And most important: as much as possible I let go of the clock. There are no times on our schedule. I can remember when the inflexible things happen but as for the rest - it fits in as it can. And you know, it's working. I'm more relaxed because there is time, planned time, for everything. That nagging worry of when it will get done is gone. What a relief.

1 comment:

Sara said...

I love this weekly schedule map. We have borrowed the idea, and it totally works for us, too. Thanks for sharing!