Thursday, January 28, 2010

Schooling amid life

You have it, the perfect year's plan.

Educational, fun, enriched, developmentally appropriate.

Then this happens:

A pair of very muddy, messy kids

Or this:

Farm boy being 'injured'

Or even this:

A very tired Papa Bear with a very new Pigeon

My own spectacular year's plan has already been shot in the foot and we weren't scheduled to start school until next week! Some core books that I was going to use got sent to the wrong address and won't arrive until next week 'sometime', no less than 3 separate lots of visitors will be coming for anything from a couple of days to over a week at a time and we are still trying to get organised after a big camping trip and a very busy January!


It's enough to make a Mama Bear go and hibernate for an extra few months.

But here's the thing, we are homeschooling. HOMEschooling. Learning at home. Homes (or at least my home) are not always tidy, neatly scheduled places. Things do not always go to plan - LIFE does not always go to plan. Life is full of people, the good and the bad, the whole and the broken, most of whom will irritate you or intrude on your life in one form or another at some point. Learning doesn't always slot into its allotted time period. Interests and passions don't always fit into a neatly written Key Learning Area Statement. Toddlers don't always sit and play quietly with blocks at your feet while you school angelic, attentive older children. The phone doesn't wait until an opportune time to ring. The oven sometimes stops working and the fridge sometimes breaks down.

The key to it all, I suspect, is to stop being surprised!
It happened before and it will happen again.

This is how I dealt with things this time around:

*I got some perspective. People who have been homeschooling longer than me, have kids older than mine and who DON'T have the renovations etc. STILL HAVE LIFE HAPPEN. As a dead Beatle once said "life is what happens while we are making other plans" (pretty sure John Lennon was alive when he made the statement, but he is dead now. Sorry about the ambiguous grammar there). Yeah, we may not get to start Ancient History next week - so what? The Ancient Egyptians will still be just as dead the week after. Some visitors will just have to sit and listen to read alouds and gush over our fabulous creations, if they want to visit us they need to realise that it comes with the territory! My house is not spotless - meh, if it ever was I think I'd go into shock.

*I counted my blessings. I have a girlfriend who has three babies in hospital and another couple at home unwell with whooping cough. I know of another Mum who has a child in the ICU with a septic abdomen after an appendix rupture, her child nearly died. This is the third major hospital trip she has had with her kids in the last three years (she has 9 kids and each trip was totally unrelated but all life threatening). I can think of at least five happy, healthy little blessings to count plus one great big hairy one who gives great cuddles!

*I got real with God and prayed about it. I told Him how frustrated I was about people messing with my plans and life getting in the way. He told me He has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me. Some of those plans involve me ministering to those people who keep messing with my plans. He told me that Moses, David and Amos spent years tending sheep and dealing with the day-to-day ordinary life stuff - and those times were just as ordained by him as the times of great ministry and adventure. He told me I am a work in progress, and these are the times He is using to shape me. He told me He has it under control.

*I did stuff about the stuff that I could do stuff about. In other words, I worked within my sphere of influence instead of griping about things in my sphere of concern. Books should arrive in the next week or so, got the dining area mopped and cleaned out, had worship with the kids and put them to bed. Stuff I could do something about!

*I remembered that my children will learn no matter what and I would rather educate their hearts than fill them full of facts. To borrow a little from the words of scripture- if I keep to my yearly plan but give not kindness, compassion and love, I am as a clanging cymbal! Better yet, in the words of C. S. Lewis, "Education without values, as useful as it is, seems rather to make man a more clever devil"

So it is time now to whip off the cranky pants and get going. Time to do something about what I can do something about and leave the rest in His hands. After all, "many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails." Proverbs 19:21

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