On January 4, I wrote, “More than any other teacher on the planet, you can be flexible with your lesson plan and schedule. If you see a sudden interest arising in your student, then make it a priority, change your schedule, and allow it in your lesson plan.”
So, what does that mean? How do we change our schedule, and allow something new into our lesson plan? In other words, if your plate is already filled to overflowing, how on earth do you add something else?
Great question! To answer it, may we first step away from academics to some tips from a professional organizer? This person was paid real money to organize people’s homes and offices, and when she offered a low-cost workshop on organizing, let me tell you that I jumped. . .
Here’s the biggest tip of all—it is so stunning that I don’t want you to miss it!! Are you ready?
Tip #1 to change your organizing life:
When something new comes into the house (or office), then something else of equal size has to go out.
Do you already see the analogy? Or are you asking, “Huh? What’s that?”
Maybe I should have started with her preparatory step.
Tip before #1 to change your organizing life:
Everything needs a place. Everything.
Okay. If we’re going backwards, maybe I should add this little bit, too.
Tip before Tip before #1 to change your organizing life:
You have a finite space, meaning it’s not expandable. So, room to room, look at each thing you have. Is it useful to you? Is it important and worth keeping? Then keep it. Is it worn out, outdated, no longer useful? Then get rid of it.
Let me set the steps in order so they make sense.
Look at your stuff and decide what you can keep, based on your space.
Assign a place for each thing you’ve kept.
When you bring something new home, get rid of something else.
Now, let’s apply this very common sense approach to scheduling, lesson planning and flexibility.
What is your daily, weekly, monthly, yearly schedule like?
As you look at it, remember that you have a finite amount of time—it’s not expandable. Do you have enough time in your schedule for having fun, taking breaks, free time, and family time? If not, it’s too full!
Now, how does the daily and weekly schedule look?
Did you remember co-ops, music lessons, trips to the library, grocery shopping, housecleaning, and mealtimes added in? They have to live within the schedule, so if it’s not going to work on paper, I can promise you it won’t work in real life.
When your kids find something compelling to study, something else needs to drop off the schedule.
Whether it’s learning about King Tut (a potential field trip!) or ice skating (a potential physical education class!), if your kids are interested, it is VALUABLE. Think of it as a Ming Vase coming into your home. When you know the value of this treasure, you won’t mind getting rid of that $3.89 vase you picked up at Goodwill five years ago.
It’s all a matter of perspective, isn’t it?
Your schedule can reflect the things your children consider treasures, rather than looking like an overstuffed storage shed. . . IF you remember that to take in something new, something else has to go out.
P.S. If you have a copy of our book, "Things We Wish We'd Known," I highly recommend reading Joy Schroeder's article on this topic, beginning on page 106.