Saturday, June 28, 2008

finishing up basic planning

I think I have almost finished this planning thing. Over on the left is a gif of this PNEU Programme I found over at Ambleside (you can click on the gif to make it more readable). I can use it alongside this categorized Formidable List of Attainments for Age 6.

The next things I have to do involve planning some methods and habits and how to approach the detailed planning that inevitably takes place during the year.

That takes a different part of the brain.

I also have to think about the "meta-organization" -- meaning how I actually work with this mass of information. That's usually rather a weak point of mine. In the past, I've made all these methodical plans and then found myself without a clue how to actually access them day by day. I've gotten better at this in the past few years, realizing that I have to pay conscious attention to processing the information. I usually have to write out a master list something like this:

  1. Look at basic weekly plans
  2. List materials and books used
  3. Make notes for presentation or method


I plan to script out the "first week" very thoroughly. NOW, I've learned from studying St Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises that a week doesn't always have to be exactly five school days, nor does a script have to be followed exactly. It's a starting point. In fact, I usually start the academic year rather slowly, giving myself and the kids a chance to transition, so basically allow myself TWO weeks to finish the "first week".

Oh, and one more thing I have to do is plan a summer routine. I am not one of those who does formal schooling in the summer. Yikes, I hardly do that in the fall or winter or spring. But I do hope to get a routine planned for ME -- to remind me to interact with the kids, go outside, play games, science investigations, etc. I have realized that I'm a natural workaholic who can sit and study and plan for hours forgetting to eat or pay attention to my headache, basically growing roots to my chair.

So I want to get back to a bit more "intentionality" in the way the days go. This is our "Core"---but the details of how I actually manage it seem to vary from season to season and year to year. But that's the essence of what I'm going to set up a routine for.

From Elizabeth Foss's post On Being Intentional, though it is about housekeeping, I extracted a sort of examen for working on the environment, discipline and life elements in the home. Where I used her exact words, I put quotation marks and italics. Basically, the rest is just a paraphrase of what she wrote, applied to the daily rhythm as opposed to housekeeping in particular.

  1. "Claim a quiet moment" and think about what you want for your daily life for this season
  2. Think about the priorities -- the most important elements of life.
  3. Think about the problems ... say, too much time on the screen. How can that change? Visualize bedtime, mornings, different parts of the day. What are problems? What are good things that could be developed in light of your priorities and those of your children?
  4. As you engage your imagination, jot down those things which come to mind. It's all fair game right now. Don't let the things that pop into your head be distractions; all of them to shape the picture.
  5. Now, what stands in the way?
  6. Make a list -- a simple list (no need to bother with a system yet)
  7. What would you like to do every day? Occasionally? What do you need to get done daily, weekly, monthly? Try to include the urgent (need-to's) AND the important but likely to be pushed aside (like playing games, talking)
  8. What would help make the daily environment richer, more peaceful, more imaginative and intellectual?
  9. "The list needs to make sense within the context of your family. No one can make the list for you. "
  10. "Which days are you home all day? Which ones call you out into the world? Which days precede days with special needs? "
  11. "Think about the individual children." How can they help? What is the balance between solitary time and active together time? What habits can be started that bear fruit in the long run?
  12. "It's not a perfect list. PRINT IT OUT. Hang it on your refrigerator. Live it for a week. Make notes on it. Tweak it. Think, think, think about it. But do it.
  13. "At the end of the week, look at your notes and adjust.Then do it again.
  14. "Give yourself three weeks before you really will have nailed your routine."

So I'm going to spend some time journaling on these questions and then trying to set up a foundation that can be built on when we add formal work in the fall.

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