Sunday, June 14, 2015

#9 Making an "un-schedule": In 10 TRICKS OF THE TRADE when Teaching School with a crap ton of kids everywhere- lol =)

This is the 9th in a series about teaching school with lots of kids, multiple ages and grades and little ones about.  These 10 things would have revolutionized my life, had I done them all from the beginning.  Enjoy and hopefully they help you a bit too!

#9:  Making an "Un-Schedule"

     So I have talked A LOT about chore charts and ORSH/block scheduling and having a routine and plan your food and those things are all well and good, but what happens when.... well, when the poo-poo hits the fan?
     "Mama said there'd be days like this" and Mama was RIGHT!  Bad days, busy days, and all consuming days, will find you more often than not.  Making an 'Un-schedule" is 80% attitude, 10% scheduling and 10% fall back.

The fall back!

     The "fall back" is the normative estate.  What is NORMAL IN YOUR HOME.  My fall back is really my chore system.  Because that system is worked around meals, it acts as a natural "reset".  If the day "gets weird" we can fall right back into gear by hitting the next meal and going with it.  Another great thing, is in anticipation of a disruption like.... leaving the house for a field trip; I can gather the crew, tell them to "check their jurisdictions", my house gets a once over before we leave and we come back to bliss instead of mess.  If you do not have a PLEASANT NORMATIVE ESTATE, then you will have nothing to FALLBACK ON!  Or (even worse!) if your fallback is a disorganized one,  it will be a source of contention and will breed chaos in your home.


     Now, really pay attention... attitude.  It makes a word of difference.  IT REALLY DOES!  Now I am not talking about attitude in the sense of "good day/bad day" but more in an "out look" sort of way.  Do you have an attitude that allows your home to be flexible without putting guilt on yourself?  (WHOA!)  Too often we Moms put unwarranted guilt on ourselves for not having everything done:
     We didn't get to that pile of laundry, we didn't do all 4 application that went with one lessons.  We didn't think about dinner until 4 p.m., we didn't get to all the parts of language arts we should have today...

     We get so caught up in this train of thinking though that we will sometimes disregard what we DID DO:

     We helped the oldest get passes a hard concept in math while the laundry waited patiently.  We were caught up in fantastical discussion on the slave trade and the kids were so into it that we schooled past 3!  In language arts, the one little bit on poetry stanzas turned into a hilarious sort of "whose line is it anyway" with the kids making up their own couplets, triplets and quatrains! 

     It's all perspective friends and when you count all the little things you see that they all add up to very big things!  Sometimes days just "get off track" and that is PERFECTLY FINE!!!!  Just have those safe guards in place, those fall backs, so that when it does, you know how to get back on track!

     With that said, we have to look at the schedule now and ask some very important things.

  1. Are the expectations reasonable?
  2. Are you willing to "chuck what doesn't work" or "pause on it until a later time?
  3. Is it flexible enough to bend and shift with your family?
  4. Are you willing to "call it" at any given moment when the day is just not working?
    PSSST:::::   The last one is the hardest- just say'n.  Go ahead, re-read the 4 questions one more time.  Okay maybe 2 more times ;)  There is no way to schedule an un-schedule.  You just have to be able to stay fluid enough that you can shift, but strong enough that you can carry the vessel on.  
At the beach on a school day in April with friends.
     I spent a lot of years not being fluid enough and my vessel just sat in the water.  We couldn't more forward because I was stuck in what we didn't do in the past!  Once I worked on being fluid, things started moving, kids were learning even more and we were accomplishing so much.  
     Now I'm like "psht, let's just go to the beach because its sunny today!" because I know in a few days it will rain for a week and we can "catch up" without a problem, or maybe we will need a few "tweaks" to the scholastic line up, but we CAN DO THAT!   I have also learned what I really needed (and could actually accomplish) within schooling.  Geography is perfectly fine being taught as a highschool course, we don't need a full course in it at 4th grade.  We can touch base on those things as part of history!  It's okay if a child progresses more OR LESS in an area that is not atypical.  It will all round out in the end.  I have even learned that it was really okay that we hardly did school for my oldest daughter's 2nd grade year.  There was a lot going on, let's leave it at that.  And you know what!!!  She is not scarred for life, shes super smart and has no scholastic set backs from playing most of the year when she was 8.  Guilt-GONE.  Be willing to take your best laid plans and chuck them for the sake of loving your family.  
     Besides, look at what you are teaching the kids!  Be flexible, be willing to critically look at plans, be willing to admit you "bit off more than you can chew", be the person who is wise enough to "call it" when it's just not working, be the one to accomplish much with a good attitude.  Be willing to HAVE FUN, be appreciative of what you do school wise, be willing.  BE WILLING!  BE the person who knows, when all is said and done, how to get back to the "normative estate" and be okay with it all.  You are teaching them how to navigate the ups and downs of life.  An un-schedule is really just flexibility in action!

That concludes this blog post.   I hope you have enjoyed this overview on "Making an un-schedule"!  Other topics to come in this series, in no particular order, are: