Homeschooling: Melding Spontaneity with Reality
Looking in the rear view mirror at the homeschooling road behind us, I see more than an educational system. I see a life lived. Make that four lives.
Each of the four people in our family has a different story to tell because each of us look in our own rear view mirrors. We may have been on the same journey, but we saw different sights, had different points of view, and in some cases, used different maps taking different roads to where we are now.
For research purposes, I was about to spontaneously email my family and ask for a 200-300 word synopsis of their thoughts on the homeschooling experience.
However, I paused for a moment to think of their lives.
It’s nearing college finals for two of the four, and my husband’s co-worker has vacation this week, so it’s not really a good time to ask them to write an essay even if it is a short one.
And there it is, today’s homeschooling lifestyle tip:
There are good times for some activities and bad times for the same activities.
Learning our families’ time sways – analogous to mood swings — can save us much drama.
What happens when our inspired moments meet our family’s realities?
Let’s take that mini-essay I almost asked my family to write as an example. It’s about as close as I come to assigning homework these days, other than planning our occasional pow wows. Even those I’m taking a break from as much as possible this year.
The Great Idea
First, we have a Great Idea. Here was mine:
Ask the family to write about their homeschooling experience.
Factoring in personalities, I sized it at a doable 200 to 300 words each because some would take the writing prompt and not feel it was complete until a three-volume set was bound and ready for sale. Another might be tempted to hand in a canned sentence and call it a day: “Homeschooling was very good to me.”
Had I followed through on the idea, I would have liked a solid written snack, not a mouse nibble or an all-you-can-eat buffet.
After we have a Great Idea, we usually make a plan that would make life easy — on ourselves.
I chose email.
It’s so easy to shoot off ideas when we are the ones initiating the project.
The ones on the receiving end may not be as thrilled at its timing, which leads me straight to the third point, which thankful I reached before I hit send.
This is where:
- Our plan converges with their reality.
- Our desire can meet their resistance.
- Our interests may slap their plans in the calendar face.
- Our power as parents can be abused.
Yah, I don’t like that either.
But if it’s true, it’s better we face it while we can change our thoughts, ask forgiveness, and make new plans with our families rather than against them.
Autoschediasms May Instigate Drama
As parents, we have the right to mold our children’s plans.
We even have a responsibility to do so.
Which is why this post is about off-the-cuff assignments (dare I say edu-rabbit trails?) not our regularly scheduled curricula plans.
If the kiddos are in the middle of a project that is taking their hearts and souls to new learning heights, let’s be careful not to throw an extemporaneous curve ball, an autoschediasm, into their already-in-work plans.
We may end up with an unplanned Greek drama on our hands. Time sway meet mood swing.
It’s rather simple, actually; ask them if this is a good time.
If not, tuck the idea onto your planning calendar for the next day or the next week. By the time you see the idea again, it may not be as important to you as it once was.
If it still burns a hole in your heart wanting to get out, ask your family if now is a good time. They may have a bit of free time to squeeze in your amazing idea. Or they may not.
Either way, you’ve respected their time, modeling the behavior you want them to share freely with you when your project has wings of its own and they want to direct its flight path.
Life Tip in a Nutshell
Blend your spontaneous plans into your children’s reality – with cautious, loving care.
Oh, and did I ask the family if this was a good time to write a short essay? Nope. I knew it wasn’t. And I love them more than I love my great idea.