It’s been a while since I’ve had time to write a post. This has less to do with actually being over-the-top busy (which is almost always the case), and more to do with being completely disorganized!
So last week I decided ( after we showed up over half and hour late to a gymnastics class) that I needed to put a bit of scheduling into our free-form natural-learning journey.
This week is our trial week. And so far it has been a success. So far.
One of the main reasons to create our schedule has not been to constrain what we do, but to remove the worry about ‘things-that-have-not-been-done’. Which is something I and the kids all suffer through on occasion.
And it has been . . . freeing.
Not because we are necessarily doing anything different (and most of the kids schedule is ‘free-play’ which inevitably transforms into awesome learning opportunities), but that there is a definite time for each activity – whether that is handwriting, Japanese, or watching endless documentaries. More importantly, lunch is a clearly defined time that doesn’t sneak up on us – as is the amount of time necessary to get out the door! We were only 2 minutes late to gymnastics this week – which for us was an awesome achievement.
It has also allowed me to schedule time for things I need to get done – whether it is phoning medical specialists (which eats a lot of time), or writing on my blog. I have figured out activities that the kids can do while I am doing my writing, rather than trying to carve out time in-between the many fun activities the kids engage in throughout the day.
One of the other motivating reasons to create a schedule is to help my kids learn to pace themselves when using electronic media. As a former IT person, I firmly believe that my kids need to be digital natives. But I am also aware of how addictive computer-use can be – particularly when you are trying to solve a problem. It can be all-consuming. Which is why when I was working full time, I would schedule my computer to lock itself every 2 hours for 15 minutes! This would force me to recognize mundane things like hunger or other bodily function, oh dear. So I know this addictive behavior intimately.
By setting up a schedule that allows computer ‘free-play’ but then sets up ‘non-computer free-play’, I am hopefully allowing my kids to learn good habits that they will be able to continue into adulthood. Fingers-crossed.
But maybe the most important part is being able to model healthy behavior myself (yes, oh my, I have a personal schedule as well). And freeing me of the crippling anxiety that wasn’t allowing me to engage as much as I needed and wanted to in my kids learning, because I was always in-the-back-of-my-mind worrying about things that hadn’t yet been done.
My worry is now on paper – not in my head, and scheduling my worries gives me a plan to tackle them, one small step at a time.
So, what has helped you deal with your worries?