Up until that weekend, I had always resented schedules a bit. I knew they were necessary, but they always felt restrictive. That may or may have been me standing in my dining room informing the spreadsheet on my school cupboard, "You can't tell me what to do!" Ahem. It was silly and immature; I fully acknowledge that. While I knew in my head that I needed to organize my time, for some reason over the course of that weekend retreat, I finally started to believe that a schedule isn't a slave driver to push me—it is a tool that I can use to free myself up.
The beauty of a schedule—or a routine, or a daily rhythm—is that you don't have to make decisions when you are rushed or tired or hangry. You have already made the decisions; all that's left is to do the next thing. When my alarm goes off, I don’t have debate whether to hit the snooze button or not, because I know that if I do I won't get to have my coffee alone before my kids get up. (Believe me when I say, no one wants to be around me before I have my coffee.) When I'm heading to the shower I don’t have to get sidetracked by a mess, because I know that it will be dealt with during our chore hour. I don't have to argue with myself about when I feel like starting our school day, because I know that at 9am (or close to it), we are going to gather in the living room and get going. When I'm tempted to hide out with a new book instead of making lunch, I can remind myself that my free hour is coming and I can read then... with a clear conscience. For the first time in my life, I have really embraced Miss Mason’s assertion:
At this point, I’m playing with possibilities, trying to find the right combination for my days. It seems like I should say, “Now the hard work begins,” but that's not really true. The experimentation, successes and failures, and reassessment isn’t really that hard. The hardest part was humbling my own heart and realizing that I needed the structure I’ve fought against for so long. I guess I will say instead, now the fun part begins!
In the next post, I'll share some of the details behind how I'm planning out my days. Maybe it will spark an idea that will help you out. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you. Are you a natural scheduler? How has your time management worked for (or hindered) your homeschooling efforts?