School, Schedules, and Grace

When I began my homeschool journey, I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled. I was alone and frantic. I wasn’t sure what I should or shouldn’t do when it came to doing school at home.

Should we have a schoolroom?

Should we sit at desks? Where those important parts of education?

Was it okay to accomplish everything one day and not the next?

Pressure

I met a few families during the first year and that just seemed to put more pressure on me. These families were clean and well-coordinated. The kids wore khakis and polos. My youngest son wore the same shirt with a hippo on it, all the time. My eldest daughter preferred boy’s tennis shoes and liked her hair kept short. My middle daughter wore dresses all the time and thought she lived in a musical production. She had breakdowns if her hair-bows and socks didn’t coordinate.   When these other moms talked about the schedule, the importance of this textbook, that curriculum, I just wanted to hide under a table. Most of the time I had no idea what they were talking about. I didn’t know who Charlotte Mason was or Kathy Duffy, Sally Clarkson, or fill in the blank.

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I put my schedule and my schooling on a pedestal.

I came home from events with other homeschooling moms determined to schedule better, to get it all done, and find out who they were talking about. I began a round of re-educating myself. Most of the process was great, except for one thing. I put my schedule and my schooling on a pedestal. I thought if I did all the right things, at all the right times and read the right books, my kids would be well educated. I could pat myself on the back.   It backfired. When I had my schedule on the altar, when I worshiped it, checking the time, plowing through when the kids were frustrated, when I was tired and no one was learning anything, my sticky-noted schedule became my frenemy. It could have been my friend, but I let it push me around, just like those feelings of inferiority I got when I listened to those more seasoned homeschoolers talk. They weren’t trying to make me feel bad, I did that all by myself.  

You think that in two decades I would make exponential progress in the area of giving myself grace when it comes to schedules and school. You’d think I would have pushed those ideals off of their pedestal.  Some days I would leapfrog forward and sail through with God’s peace and joy as my companions. Other days, I woke up in a panic. And why? After all these years?  Do my baseboards have to be clean to start school? Once,  I was working on my schedule and I told myself –if I can do it all two days, three days, a week…isn’t that better than not doing it at all? When I say “it all” I mean everything on my schedule, all the school subjects, perfectly completed by joyful, compliant children. All the chores accomplished. Baseboards sparkling. Kitchen shiny. Errands run. Pantry full. Doctors’ appointments, meetings, and practiced attended with nary a whine by child or parent. Check. Check. Check. Check.   In my dreams.

Reality Check

Reality is more like chores somewhat finished most days. A load of towels in the washer too long. Run it again. Clean up the kitchen most of the time. School subjects worked through completely some days. Other days we’d chuck it and go for a real-life field trip.   I’ve studied many of the works of the names mentioned above. I’ve changed my philosophy of education. It’s been tweaked, but I am the same person who wants to do everything, every day, perfectly.   So, give yourself some grace. You may hit some weeks where you do all the stuff every day and then you have that under your belt for when you can only hit two good days one week.

but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.2 Corinthians 12: 9

It’s not about perfection, it’s about persistence to keep going. It’s about what you have under your belt, not what you don’t. It’s about grace in the journey, educating your child, and enjoying the trip.

The Proverbs 31:16 Test

Is your calendar too full?
Has the back to school schedule turned into chaos?
Are the events piling up on your calendar?
When do you say yes to a good thing?
How do you do it all?

During the long days of summer, we long for schedules again. They’re comforting boundaries, those schedules. We put tabs on our planners, fill up all those little squares and if you’re like me, you add in hi-lights. We use our calendar planning apps to keep track of everything. Sounds great, right? Until the calendar is bossing us around and we don’t have time to breathe. Then we are stressed and frustrated. Our health begins to suffer. We lose things. We can’t remember why we walked in the room.

So, what do we do? How do we manage? Maybe you haven’t filled your calendar up yet and you still have time to do the Proverbs 31:16 test.

16 She considers a [new] field before she buys or accepts it [expanding prudently and not courting neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties]; with her savings [of time and strength] she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard.

The Proverbs 31 woman always seemed like an over achiever to me until I saw this lesson tucked in this verse. Joyce Meyer briefly touched on this verse on her podcast. I just couldn’t get this verse out of my mind after listening. I thought about while I vacuumed the pool, did the dishes and walked to a friend’s this evening. What I learned was just mind blowing.

When Life Gets BusyHow do you choose what to do_.png

  1. She considers a field before she buys it. She thinks about it. Gone is the myth that this perfect lady is out snatching up the real estate. No impulse buying here. I’m trying this on that item I really want to order on Wayfair because it is 80% off. I’ve thought about it all day instead of just clicking that button.
  2. She’s prudent. She is making her decision based on caring about what happens in the future. Like will this new vineyard max out my credit card? Do I have enough time and energy to care for this new thing? What will it mean to me ten years from now? Will adding this to my schedule hurt or help in the long run?
  3. She doesn’t court neglect of her present duties by assuming other duties. WOW! Why did I not see this before? Why wasn’t it written on a giant sign or at least a t-shirt every single time I volunteered to do something. Like, if you can’t manage what’s already on your plate, don’t ask for more. That’s what we do though, isn’t it. We complain that our schedules are full and then what comes out of our mouth? Sure, I’ll make those cupcakes. Yes, I’ll teach that class. It’s no problem, I can do that all semester. Yikes! Guilty. Then we can’t manage everything. We court neglect of our present duties. In other words, we can’t do what we are already responsible for. We just keep piling it on.
  4. With her savings of time and strength, she plants fruitful vines in her vineyard. When the Proverbs 31 woman says no because she can’t add anything more, she saves time and strength. What does she do with that? Invests it in what she already has.

I am guilty of piling things on, how about you? If I have a spare minute, I think I have to fill it or my life isn’t meaningful, which I know is not true. It’s the busyness lie. If you are busy, you are doing something worthwhile. The truth is, if you are busy in the purpose God has for you, you won’t feel overwhelmed and stressed all the time. You’ll have peace in your purpose. So, before your calendar fills up too much this autumn, join me in taking the Proverbs 31:16 test.

  1. Consider it.
  2. Be prudent.
  3. Don’t neglect your present duties to add a new one.
  4. Use the time and energy you save and invest in what you already have on your plate.

 

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Many years ago, when I was pregnant with child number three, a very put together, organized friend came over and helped me get my home in order. I practically worshiped her. Her home was clean. ALL the time. And beautifully decorated. And she knew where her car keys were, all the time.

Confession: I used to be terribly unorganized. I knew I had organization in me…somewhere. I just didn’t know how to get it out. I didn’t know the simple truth I am sharing with you today….

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Schedules are for unorganized People

I used to think that people who were super organized were born that way. Some are. Some aren’t. I thought I was organized when I just had to take care of ME. Then I went to college, met Mr. Right. Got married. Three kids later and I was drowning in unorganized chaos. You wouldn’t know it to look at me or my house. I seemed to keep the dishes washed most days. And I washed clothes. It was just those days when I couldn’t find this or that or I didn’t know whether I should mop the floor or go through the bedrooms. Not to mention, I felt the need to train my children to take care of their things and learn some responsibility.

I needed a tool to help me. I needed a schedule.

Some gals I know are afraid to use schedules. They are afraid they might mess up. And they will. I do. Some schedules need tweaking. Some schedules get set aside for a day or two. But, they are still great tools.  A farmer doesn’t throw his hoe away if he accidentally hits himself on the toe one day. Or if he doesn’t use it for three days. No, he picks that thing up and uses it again.

A schedule is a tool that I am in charge of. I choose it. I use it. I tweak it. If it works for me, I work it. If it doesn’t, I scrap it.

We gals don’t like people telling us we need to get organized. So, I’m not telling you. Here are some things to consider….. If you cannot find your car keys, your kids don’t have any clean underwear and you eat cereal for dinner several nights a week, those things tell you. I’m not going to tell you what kind of schedule to use. I don’t know what will work for you. I will tell you a schedule won’t work for you if you don’t use one. If you feel unorganized today, you will feel that way tomorrow unless you change your habits. It’s totally up to you.

This article was birthed out of a conversation with my eldest, daughter- Audrey, who commented that several friends had said that schedules didn’t work for them and then promptly threw them out. No, schedules don’t work for you. They are a tool, like the hoe. You pick it up and use it. With your help, your muscles, it tills the soil. It does what is needed by your power linked to the design of the tool.

When you have the proper tool, you can be productive. You can be more in control of what happens on a daily basis instead of feeling out of control. That means you can schedule some time for your passion. That’s what the tool of a schedule does. It frees you. It frees you to do whatever your God-sized dream is. If frees you from fretting about whether you should do the dishes or write for half an hour. Read a book to your child or clean out the garage. You decide. Dust the house and make cookies. Up to you. Instead of having lists and lists of things running through your head of what you should be doing. You know. The guilt list. I should Clorox the sink. I should sweep out the garage. I should write. I should suck up all the cobwebs in the corners. Schedule it. Use the tool. Decide ahead of time. Those cobwebs bothering you today? Tell them- You are scheduled for termination tomorrow. Enjoy your last day hanging around.  Take the powerful tool of scheduling and use it for you. Not for me. For you.

  Let’s together test the power of the schedule tool by trying one out.I know you can do it! Pick up that schedule and use it. Schedule in your God sized dreams. Then share… what has worked for you? What hasn’t worked?

*This is an excerpt from our Mom Habits Course!

Schedules, School and Grace

 When I began my homeschool journey, I didn’t know anyone who homeschooled. I was alone and frantic. I wasn’t sure what I should or shouldn’t do when it came to doing school at home. Should we have a schoolroom? Should we sit at desks? Where those important parts of education? Was it okay to accomplish everything one day and not the next?
I met a few families during the first year and that just seemed to put more pressure on me. These families were clean and well coordinated. The kids wore khakis and polos. My youngest son wore the same shirt with a _____ on it, all the time. My eldest daughter preferred boy’s tennis shoes to girls and liked her hair kept short. My middle daughter wore dresses all the time and thought she lived in a musical production, all the time. She had breakdowns if her hair-bows and socks didn’t coordinate.
When these other moms talked about schedule, the importance of this textbook, that curriculum, I just wanted to hide under a table. Most of the time I had no idea what they were talking about. I didn’t know who Charlotte Mason was or Kathy Duffy, Sally Clarkson or fill in the blank.
Sunflower- honey-flavored
I went home from events with other homeschooling moms determined to schedule better, to get it all done and find out who they were talking about. I began a round of re-educating myself. Most of the process was great, except for one thing. I put my schedule, my schooling on a pedestal. I thought if I did all the right things, at all the right times and read the right books, my kids would be well educated. I could pat myself on the back.
It backfired. When I had my schedule on the altar, when I worshiped it, checking the time, plowing through when the kids were frustrated, when I was tired and no one was learning anything, my sticky-noted schedule became my frenemy. It could have been my friend, but I let it push me around, just like those feelings of inferiority I got when I listened to those more seasoned homeschoolers talk. They weren’t trying to make me feel badly, I did that all by myself.

You think that in two decades I would make exponential progress in the area of giving myself grace when it comes to schedules and school. You’d think I would have pushed those ideals off of their pedestal.  Some days I leapfrog forward and sail through with God’s peace and joy as my companions. Other days,

I am waking up in a panic.
And why?
After all these years?  My baseboards have to be clean to start school?
I was working on my schedule for school today and I told myself, after I started getting worried about whether I could do it every day or not, if I can do it all two days, three days, a week…isn’t that better than not doing it at all? When I say “it all” I mean everything on my schedule, all the school subjects, perfectly completed by joyful, compliant children. All the chores accomplished. Baseboards sparkling. Kitchen shiny. Errands run. Pantry full. Doctors appointments, meetings and practiced attended with nary a whine by child or parent. Check. Check. Check. Check.
In my dreams. Reality is more like chores somewhat finished most days. Load of towels in the washer too long. Run it again. Clean up the kitchen most of the time. School subjects worked through completely some days, other days we chuck it and go for a real life field trip.
I’ve studied some of the works of the names mentioned above. I’ve changed my philosophy of education. It’s been tweaked, but I am the same person who wants to do everything, every day, perfectly.
So, give yourself some grace. You may hit some weeks where you do all the stuff every day and then you have that under your belt for when you can only hit two good days one week.
It's not about
It’s not about perfection, it’s about persistence to keep going. It’s about what you have under your belt, not what you don’t. It’s about grace in the journey, educating your child and enjoying the trip.

Schedules are for Unorganized People

Many years ago, when I was pregnant with child number three, a very put together, organized friend came over and helped me get my home in order. I practically worshiped her. Her home was clean. ALL the time. And beautifully decorated. And she knew where her car keys were, all the time.

Confession: I used to be terribly unorganized. I knew I had organization in me…somewhere. I just didn’t know how to get it out. I didn’t know the simple truth I am sharing with you today….

Schedules are for Unorganized People

I used to think that people who were super organized were born that way. Some are. Some aren’t. I thought I was organized when I just had to take care of ME. Then I went to college, met Mr. Right. Got married. Three kids later and I was drowning in unorganized chaos. You wouldn’t know it to look at me or my house. I seemed to keep the dishes washed most days. And I washed clothes. It was just those days when I couldn’t find this or that or I didn’t know whether I should mop the floor or go through the bedrooms. Not to mention, I felt the need to train my children to take care of their things and learn some responsibility.

I needed a tool to help me. I needed a schedule.

15695319589_9ffb0e9cca_o

Some gals I know are afraid to use schedules. They are afraid they might mess up. And they will. I do. Some schedules need tweaking. Some schedules get set aside for a day or two. But, they are still great tools.  A farmer doesn’t throw his hoe away if he accidentally hits himself on the toe one day? Or if he doesn’t use it for three days. No, he picks that thing up and uses it again.

A schedule is a tool that I am in charge of. I choose it. I use it. I tweak it. If it works for me, I work it. If it doesn’t, I scrap it.

We gals don’t like people telling us we need to get organized. So, I’m not telling you. Here are some things to consider….. If you cannot find your car keys, your kids don’t have any clean underwear and you eat cereal for dinner several nights a week, those things tell you. I’m not going to tell you what kind of schedule to use. I don’t know what will work for you. I will tell you a schedule won’t work for you if you don’t use one. If you feel unorganized today, you will feel that way tomorrow unless you change your habits. It’s totally up to you.

This  post was birthed out of a conversation with my eldest, daughter- Audrey, who commented that several friends had said that schedules didn’t work for them and then promptly threw them out. No, schedules don’t work for you. They are a tool, like the hoe. You pick it up and use it. With your help. Your muscles, it tills the soil. It does what is needed by your power linked to the design of the tool.

When you have the proper tool, you can be productive. You can be more in control of what happens on a daily basis instead of feeling out of control. That means you can schedule some time for your passion. That’s what the tool of a schedule does. It frees you. It frees you to do whatever your God-sized dream is. If frees you from fretting about whether you should do the dishes or write for half an hour. Read a book to your child or clean out the garage. You decide. Dust the house and make cookies. Up to you. Instead of having lists and lists of things running through your head of what you should be doing. You know. The guilt list. I should Clorox the sink. I should sweep out the garage. I should write. I should suck up all the cobwebs in the corners. Schedule it. Use the tool. Decide ahead of time. Those cobwebs bothering you today? Tell them- You are scheduled for termination tomorrow. Enjoy your last day hanging around.  Take the powerful tool of scheduling and use it for you. Not for me. For you.

 Let’s together test the power of the schedule tool by trying one out.I know you can do it! Pick up that schedule and use it. Schedule in your God sized dreams. Then share… what has worked for you? What hasn’t worked? If you’re interested in what I use, just ask (it’s not a product)……Blessings!