I have been striving these last few days to be more present. Present in the moment, present in the school day and present in my time. I think we all struggle for balance each day. Some of us step back and take the time more often then others.
From afar I often see folks making choice I wish I had thought of. Conscious choices to live a certain way. Conscious choices to add or delete something from their lives. These observations make me want to do the same. They make me take pause. And for that I’m am thankful.
It is important to reflect, I remind myself, on what has led me to this point, to these choices. And if I’m not comfortable with them, to decide what am I willing to change?
After a particularly unsatisfactory day last week, I took a step back to look at our school day. I am particularly partial to list and schedules. I am, dare I say, too rigid. Homeschooling is hard for me in this way, which is ironic.
I choose to homeschool so that I be, present with my children. So that we can move as we please through the day, not held to the school systems schedule. And yet, I have a tendancy (cough) to come unglued when my schedule is not followed.
Or, worse, I allow the time to slip by trying to be cool about the fact that it is 10:!5!! We should have accomplished more by now, but silently freaking out which ends in a big karfuffle. To put it nicely.
Often the kerfuffles happen as we struggle to come back to group work, they are at different places mathematically and with reading, but there are still many parts of our Unit Studies that we do together. This transition time is a problem for me as I wait, and wait for one of them to finish up, so we can begin group work.
So last week I decided, I wouldn’t freak out. I would accomplish the things on my schedule, get up, exercise, work, start the day. Because those were important for my day. But I would not play drill sargeant all day. Instead I would be calmer, work at their pace, be more focused on them, but be firm about personal breaks through the day. And I found with our firmer breaks, natural transitions were easier. Coming back from a break is a great time to do group work, and you can finish up your math when we are done.
Amazingly, we got all our work done, I was calmer, stayed on task. Not as focused on the clock and what we hadn’t done. I didn’t throw my schedule out but I reminded myself that while schedules work for me, they may not work for us, here at Dragon Valley Schoolhouse.
And it was of course? Fine. Everything was fine, work was done on time, minus my yelling at them to sit still, get your work done. The last few days have gone smoother, instead of hounding them to get back to work, I put my energy into keeping breaks rigid. Making sure we take them and then reminding them of the time left to accomplish work.
We were more relaxed, I think learned more, took time for questions, and of course made some silly hand puppets. That may not have been in my lesson plan, but it fit in nicely with our week, and was able to remind myself that, this is the reason I homeschool, so that I can look at the schedule, and then walk away, and get the hot glue gun out, and maybe some yarn.
*Jumpin’ Jack Flash-Rolling Stones