I woke up this morning, as I do every morning, thinking thinking thinking. One thing led to another…and I started to have a sort of epiphany.
Sort of. I’ve gone around this idea for a little while now, but I’m starting to feel like I’m formulating a sort of plan now. I need to get this down on paper (virtual paper) before I lose it. So I can refer to it later when I’m in the zone again and can use this to help me actually create something that works.
Background, for those that don’t know me. I’m EXTREMELY routine challenged. Seriously. Cannot keep to a schedule to save my life. I usually blame it on A.D.D. (which I am pretty sure I have, though not officially diagnosed), but regardless of why I cannot seem to stick to anything, I need to find a solution to the problem. Because it’s a big deal when it comes to homeschooling.
Now, I’m not looking to get myself to stick to an hour by hour plan. I think we’d all hate that. But I just want to be able to get some sort of a loose plan even to work. Not that our homeschooling for the past 8 years has been a waste of time. Both my kids read, and read very well and often, they both are really good at math, and they know SO MANY things about all kinds of art, science and history topics!
So there’s not been a crappy education going on over here. I just feel like it could be so much MORE, if I could find a way to work with my weaknesses instead of against them all the time. I am exhausted from the struggle. And I know it’s just a matter of hitting on just the right formula to be able to make something work.
So, that said…The ebook “Stick-ability“, by Julie Gilbert, has started to change my life.
I’ve now read it completely twice, and I plan to continue to read it over and over again as I find that it really has helped my brain start thinking about all this in a different way.
It talks about accepting who you are, especially your weaknesses, and using them instead of fighting against them.
I am a rabbit. I’m not now and never will be a tortoise. The tortoise can stick to a schedule and day by day keep working at it, bit by bit, until he/she reaches the finish line. I cannot do that. I lose interest far too quickly and need a nap. Distraction happens constantly EVER.SINGLE.DAY. And in this day and age of the internet, I’m engulfed in distractions 24/7.
I’m a total tech junkie, though. I LOVE LOVE LOVE technology! I live on my iPhone, I adore my laptop, I love working on websites. So I’m not interesting in ditching the internet or any of my gadgets. They are brilliant tools, and if I can just get things all sorted out, I think they could really help guide me on a new, more appropriate for me, plan. (I do need to force myself to have a timeout from Facebook for a period of time daily, though…that’s such a time sucker! But I’ll sort that out another day…for now, I’m on a roll here…)
SO, what to do? Julie says that rabbits work well with short burst sprints vs long marathon sessions. I am so the sprinter. I get engaged in something and I obsess over it for awhile, but then I inevitably lose interest, and often I’ve not actually completed anything so I get frustrated because I’ve “failed.” But what if, like Julie suggests, I instead aim for smaller goals? Channel my energy for short term things. Then I can actually accomplish something and feel good about myself and my accomplishments!
I do this all the time with housework. I teach my children, as I was taught by my dad, that you don’t look at the entire job. You just work at a part of it. Ignore the rest of it and focus on a very doable, smaller, section. It works every time for me.
Flylady does this as well. And from her, I’ve learned that that clean area can be your fuel to keep going. When you feel like you’re losing steam, you go look at that clean area and draw energy and drive from that accomplishment. It seriously works.
So how does this translate for homeschooling? This year I faced the fact that I just cannot do a full year’s curriculum. Meaning, if it is a curriculum that is designed to be accomplished in a full school year, I most likely will fall off the wagon in a matter of months, maybe even weeks. And then I constantly feel behind. (And an additional problem this year was that my kids just weren’t digging the curriculum we were doing, although they were WONDERFUL curricula! There’s nothing wrong with them….they just don’t fit me and my kids. But that’s a side problem.)
Now, I AM able to handle many short term goals. My Great Summer Purge and Clean is a great example. Last summer I stayed on track nearly the entire summer, and accomplished nearly all that I set out to accomplish. This was a 3 month plan. And each week and each day was broken into very doable pieces, with lots of flexibility. I felt good each day that I accomplished something. And then I felt awesome each week that I accomplished my week’s goals (or most of them.)
So maybe this is how I should approach my homeschooling. In 3 month increments. But I need to build into the plan the possibility of not accomplishing all I’m setting out to accomplish, and being ok with that. Because that’s what I did with my Summer Purge.
There were days that I didn’t do the entire job I had planned to do, and I was ok with that because everything I got done was an improvement over what I had done before (which was nothing!) Maybe I need to approach homeschooling this same way. Aim high but don’t stress if you don’t get there. And aim for smaller sprints vs long marathons, and maybe, just maybe, I’ll actually be able to look back at the end of the year and say “Wow! Look at all we accomplished!!”
Hm, much to think about! I’ll blog about what exactly this will look like once I’ve had a chance to mull over it some more. But now it’s past noon and I’m on day 2 of my Purge and Clean and need to get back to my house work! The refrigerator won’t clean itself! (What a cool invention that would be!)
And one last note….stay tuned for me to discuss my other great idea I’ve had recently… “Funschooling.” If I don’t get back to it, post a comment and remind me. Because you know how scattered I am. 🙂
I can so relate to not finishing curriculum. I am several years into homeschooling and I just get bored with curriculum after a few months. I find getting a new curriculum so invigorating and inspiring. I have finally just come to terms that if is ok if I do have of one and then half of another and then circle back around to the second half of things later. It’s funny because this is definitely my issue- not my kids. They would be fine (at least my older one) with sticking to one but mom just gets bored and if mom is bored learning is not as productive.
Nice to hear someone else has the same issue! 🙂 Yeah I’m basically creating my own curriculum now, except for math. For some reason our math curriculum works fine for us. But I get bored easily too and the last science and history curricula I had, the kids actually got sick of them around the same time I did. Just weren’t feeling it. They are truly great curriculum, just didn’t work for us…but I am hoping these new ideas I have for our homeschooling will finally make us all happy. We’ll see.