Friday, February 25, 2011

How to take the first step?

Yep.  That's a question.

I'm great at planning.  I'm excellent at prioritizing and I know exactly what I want out of life.

I can sit at my computer all day and research and make lists and spreadsheets and schedules that put all of my plans into workable order.

Then, the next day, I research some more, make more plans.

Occasionally, I work a plan for a few days, only to drop it when things get busy or something big distracts from the day-to-day routines that I'm trying to create.

Then, I sit down at the computer again, research some more, and come up with a BETTER plan.  Yeah - this one will work!

Then, I get busy again and just fall back into my regular patterns, which really aren't that bad, but they just don't represent my intentions.

I'm constantly putting out fires.  Some fires are small, like the children need to eat or the kitchen is a disaster or the laundry is threatening to take over the whole house.  Sometimes the fires are big, like I really want to start exercising for real this time or I have to make a decision about homeschooling or spring is around the corner and I have to plan the garden.  Whatever the fire is, it becomes all consuming and everything else goes by the wayside.  The kids watch too much tv, we don't go outside, and I don't follow through on chores.  I don't read to the kids.  I definitely don't exercise. 

There is so much that I want.  Maybe I just don't have time to do all of it - but I ought to have time to do *some* of it consistently.  I have to be able to pick a few things that I want to change about my daily life and stick to them. 

So, what do I want?  In no particular order, except the order in which it comes to mind, which may be very meaningful...

1.  Daily exercise.
2.  Daily outdoor time.
3.  Daily time reading and learning with the kids.
4.  Regular time for baking, cooking, art, music, 'handwork',  as a family.
5.  Daily home maintenance that involves and teaches the children and keeps our home peaceful.
6.  Time - everyday (gasp!) - to take a shower and groom myself for the outside world.
7.  Regular social interaction.  This one is tough because *I* don't really crave this so much as I feel it is important for the children, although I would like regular interaction with our neighbors and community
8.  Experiences.  Regular trips out into the world to experience that which we cannot experience in our house.
9.  Time for my best friend.  Something regular that nurtures my marriage and reminds us both how and why this all began.

Of course, I could keep going.  The list of things I want to be and things I want to do is infinite.  But maybe I should start here.  I can decide - for now - to focus on these things only and to work on achieving these goals before I go making new ones.

I can feel the dread creeping up in me because I realize that all this will require is setting a schedule and routines and having the discipline to do what I say I'm going to do.  Everyday.  This is my perpetual failure. 

So, I guess the question is not 'How to take the first step?'  It's 'How to keep going....?'

Friday, February 11, 2011

Homeschooling. Seriously? Starting to make the decision....

I am planning on homeschooling our oldest child next year.

There - I said it.  Forgive the fact that it may not really be true, because I have not actually made the decision yet.  I just need to say it out loud and live with it for awhile, in a place where no one is judging me (because at this point, no one is reading this :)

I have so much information and so many thoughts and ideas and resources to sort through that my plan is to try to make sense of it all here. 

My first goal is to make some headway on the pile of books sitting next to me that I have been meaning to get into.  I'll chronicle my thoughts as I go.  I'm going to start with the broader, philosophical books before I get into the nuts and bolts of planning this crazy endeavor.  I need to wrap myself up with the deep, intellectual pedagogy for a while so I have a good foundation, before I get too involved in the planning.

So, here is the Phase I book list:
1.  Since I am not concerned at all that Jackson might fall behind academically, I want to start by thinking about how I might facilitate his overall growth.

2.  I am *so* intrigued by the Waldorf method.  Whenever I read about or see examples of Waldorf practices, I get a warm, fuzzy feeling.  I believe in trusting that.  This book seems a little heavy - I had hoped for something more practical and this seems *very* philosophical.  Again, though, I'm trying to develop a strong, knowledgeable foundation. 

3.  A classical education approach almost seems like the anti-Waldolf approach.  Definitely no warm fuzzies here, but I like that it is a complete plan with a beginning, middle and end and accountability for successes.

I'll post my thoughts on these books as I make my way through them and start to develop my approach...if I'm going to have an approach eventually someday, that is.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Chew Your Food

Chew your food.

Pretty basic, right?

Well, I am extremely mortified to admit that I seem to have forgotten this simple little rule.  I went to see my doctor today (racked with fears of cancer and nerve disorders) because I have been getting food stuck in my esophagus.  Big, insufficiently-chewed chunks of food.