We’ve had quite the relaxed week. I definitely like our new approach. When I planned our week, I listed on a piece of notebook paper the 5 reading lessons and corresponding MCP Phonics workbook pages, our Handwriting Without Tears number of the week, a few fun activities I thought we could do, a few reminders, a nice Charlotte Mason quote, and our habit to work on. That was it. We accomplished just as much as when I used a more structured lesson plan sheet. The difference was that we had more fun. We baked cookies, finger painted, went out side (ok, it was only 10 minutes, but we did get out), played Uno, read a Bob Book, and did lots of other good stuff.
I think I need a break from the Internet, and the computer in general. I don’t spend massive amounts of time on the computer, but quite a lot, and I’ve learned that time on the Internet begets more time on the Internet. I go on in the morning, while Stiggy’s still asleep to check my messages, reply to some, check out a website or 3. Then usually during his nap to log what we’ve done and check messages again, maybe read an article, check out some books on Amazon. I occasionally go on after Stiggy’s gone to bed to do whatever needs doing. On Friday I go on for a big chunk of time to plan the next week (well, that only takes about 30 minutes now), tidy up my email inboxes, organise my computer file, blog, and catch up on anything that needs it. And, obviously, some of that time is spent doing things that aren’t necessary. I spent about 30 minutes a few nights ago figuring out how to embed a youtube video into a blog post. Simple, once I googled it. Or I may decide to write an Amazon review. I feel this need sometimes to impose my opinion about a book on the world.
I could stop blogging, that would save about an hour a week of computer time. But I like my blog. I’ve cut out a few of my Yahoo groups. I should cut out more. I can homeschool without them, and I can live without them. Maybe I’ll switch all but a select few to ‘no mail’ for a month and see if it makes a difference. The thing is, it isn’t about the volume of messages; it only takes a few minutes to get through a daily digest. It’s the rabbit trails some of those messages send me on, the books I investigate due to a suggestion, the websites and blogs I want to dig into, and the replies I want to make to some of the messages (again, that overwhelming desire to voice my opinion). These are the time-consuming activities that all these groups cause. And I have to ask myself: Do these groups really help me to home educate? Yes and no. I do get a lot of good tips, information, ideas, and book suggestions. A lot. But I can live without a lot of it, ’cause you can’t do it all.
I’ve always justified my time on the computer by saying Stiggy’s asleep, but I could be using that time more wisely, which would give us more time for other stuff. And, *gasp*, maybe I could have a bit more time to do…nothing. I never do nothing. Never. If I’m waiting for Stiggy to go the bathroom before tucking him in for his nap, I put laundry away; if I’m waiting for him to get his pajamas on before our bedtime story, I’ll get a load of laundry in the machine for the next day. I never just sit and wait. Any time there is more than a 60-second gap in my day, I fill it. Because there is always some damn thing that needs doing. Always.
I think one thing I can do to save time is to a once-a-week log of what we do, instead of a daily one. I also need to resist the urge to check out everything under the sun that looks good that someone suggests, and the urge to voice my opinions on everything; the world, after all, will continue to spin even if I don’t have my say. And on Saturdays, I won’t do housework or homeschooling stuff. Yesterday was Saturday, and after going to town to visit the library and go to a few shops, I sat down and did a bit of knitting while Stiggy watched Top Gear. Then I had a little nap. Then I did nothing. And I thought, ‘I’m bored.’ It was great.
I think we all need a bit of boredom. Because even if we’re not doing anything, our bodies and brains are: they’re resting. I have spent the past several months in such a manic state, I’ve been so enthusiastic, so excited about homeschooling and just so busy with it, that everything else has been pushed aside. I well and truly have not had a minutes’ boredom in over a year. A change of pace and routine is most welcome.