So we are a household of 8 again! Only two missing — my boys in Oregon. It snowed a bit on Saturday while we were gone picking up my daughter’s fiance, going to Mass, visiting my husband’s parents while in town, and dining on very good take-away Chinese food.
Yesterday was a quiet day except that the younger set were unusually restive and disputatious. Oh yes, and Sean drove us to the local grocery store, his first experience with slushy roads and with weekend driving through town (more to watch out for). He did well.
I worked on Kieron’s school notebook, and tried to make lesson plans.
One thing I started which I hope will work with my weird style of planning is that I put book and text lists on large index cards with estimated dates. The thing is that if I plan carefully, in lesson planning books for instance, it is a waste of time because I never actually follow my plans. For one thing, we never move as quickly as I think we will. For another, my plans change as we get further in to the actual material.
I thought that by writing it out quickly on pages that can easily be edited, shuffled, rewritten, I could make planning actually work for me. On the first index I put a calendar breakdown, eg week 1 — 2/25-3/1 so that the week numbers can be jotted down on the rest of the pages as a sort of shorthand. I don’t know if that makes sense. If the system works I will probably post on my main blog.
Another challenge I have when it comes to planning is that I use a lot of “real books” and I don’t generally plan out a fixed series of them because of a lot of variables. For example, sometimes we discuss something and I realize I want to focus more on that idea or event, or I get a new book that I want to use, or the child simply doesn’t respond to a certain topic so I decide to shelve it for a future date.
So this simple listing system allows me to plan out the books we actually ARE using and give me an idea of when to look for the next book to plug into the schedule.
And I can actually then use my ever-evolving lists of books. I usually have booklists that contain all sorts of possible choices for books, and then I have a sort of running list of ones that crop up in my mind as being appropriate to read sometime in the mid-future. For example, Paddy is so interested in animals right now that I am making lists of animal stories that he might like.
Because I am so interested in notebooking and lapbooking right now, that has changed my planning style, and I am still trying to catch up to that. Notebooking is wonderfully flexible, but it requires some skills in nailing plans down that are not strong in me.
All this reminds me more than anything else of planning stories when I used to try to write stories. I don’t have a hard time actually writing, but I have a hard time planning ahead. I am good at big ideas and OK on nitty-gritty but terrible at the middle picture, the phase between ideas and day to day doing. In productivity literature, Stephen Covey calls it “Important but not Urgent”. Moving that category onto a daily plan is terribly hard for me, I’m not sure why.
Today won’t be much of a school day. Aidan has a neurology follow-up at the hospital, and there is piano lesson in the afternoon. Oh well, February is almost past and we have weathered it without complete chaos or the smoke and ash of complete burnout.
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