The topic for this week’s blog cruise is “When Things Don’t go as Planned”….wow, I have way more experience with this topic than I want to!
I will admit it, I am one of those people that likes structure! I have a notebook where I plan our homeschool days. I have a color coded calendar where I keep track of appointments, meetings, and events. I even plan our vacations, deciding which days we will do which activities!! I am not, by nature, a “go with the flow” kind of girl. Of course, as we all know, life has a way of messing up your plans. Sigh….sometimes it seems like I have entire seasons where NOTHING goes the way I pictured it, and honestly, it frustrates me!! At moments like that I find I have to step back and try to give myself a vision of the big picture.
Examples? Well, as we neared our second semester last year, I looked at our curriculum and sketched out a plan for the rest of our school year. We were actually going to complete all of our math and science curriculum in one year!! Woohoo! I was excited. Then, my hubby gets injured at work….a knee surgery that was supposed to require a six week recovery resulted in six months of therapy and doctor’s appointments etc. etc. Suddenly our school days became a question of “How much can we get done while driving in the car and sitting in a doctor’s office?”. Needless to say, we did not finish said curriculum like we were supposed to. We ended up finishing up at the beginning of this year instead. Sigh….
Another example? We are supposed to move out of our old house on “X” date. Fine, we have a few months to find a house and pack. We can school around that and take a break the week we move and everything will be fine. And then…a knock on the door. Guess what? The bank has decided we need to move. NOW! Ummmm, one week to find a house, pack, get the electricity, water, etc. transferred? Can you say panic attack?? Honestly, I just wanted to bury my head under the covers and never come out. Forget schooling, and a nice leisurely move creating only a small bump in our schedule. We were launched into a frenzy of house searching, late night sorting and packing, and endless phone calls! I intended to at least have my kids read independently at that time, but even that didn’t happen (mostly because the books were boxed up who knows where!). And then after scrambling to move, it took another two weeks to sort through everything and find our books again. I swear, our lives didn’t return to some semblance of normal for a MONTH! That was absolutely not what I pictured and it drove me crazy!
Then there are the day to day interruptions. You or one of the kids gets sick, an impromptu visit from relatives, the need to go help a friend or family member when something comes up, car trouble, computer trouble, plumbing back ups (ugh!). Some days I go to bed wondering if I actually accomplished anything at all. Stuff like that can be a real joy killer for a “plan everything to last detail” kind of girl like me.
So, what do I do to keep myself from going insane at times like this? I try to remind myself to look at the overall picture. Yes, we do get behind in our school from time to time. No, we typically do not finish all of our curriculum in one school year. However, my kids are learning how to adjust on the fly when necessary, and if their lives are anything like ours are now, they are going to need that skill. They are also learning that there are times you just need to drop what you’re doing to help someone out. And if something unexpected happens (like an injury), it’s perfectly okay to set some things aside to deal with that. My boys are learning first hand that things don’t always go the way you think they will, but that doesn’t mean you just throw your hands in the air and give up. You find ways to work around, or through, the problems. You prioritize the things that are truly important, and don’t worry so much about the other stuff. You TRUST that God has the situation under control, and you just hang on and let Him guide you.
I remind myself in these moments, that I am not homeschooling just to prepare my kids for college. I am homeschooling to prepare them for life. And life is sometimes a messy, sticky, bumpy journey. If I want my children to be adults that can face challenges, I need to let them see me dealing with them now. These life lessons are sometimes far more important than book lessons. If they can learn flexibility at this point in their lives, it will greatly benefit them in the future.
I wish I could say I have learned to take challenges and changes in plans in stride, but I haven’t yet. Sometimes I think God purposely throws some of these things my way because He is trying to teach me to be flexible, and to let go of some of my need to control everything (because, after all, I really can’t control everything, can I?). I am learning to deal with changes with a more positive attitude, and I find that keeping things in perspective really helps.