It’s getting to be that time of year when all good adjunctmoms start thinking about heading back to school. Homeschool has started. All of my teacher friends are either currently teaching or about to be, but because I take the second summer term off, I don’t have to be back until September 22nd. This is a good thing because it gives me time to decompress from a year of work and then start thinking about how to make the next year go more smoothly. This is where I am now: the planning stage.
Planning has gotten a lot trickier now that Katie is starting to do activities of her own and some of those activities compete with Ben’s. Add in the dogs, the parents, the family, the church, the students, and things that I might like to do myself. Every year, I set off with a super-ambitious schedule and every year I end up floundering by week 2 and finding myself wondering why I spent all that time setting up something that was doomed to failure. Why do plans fail?
- I am terrible at estimating how long it takes to do something. For example, we started a science activity for Ben’s bible study about a half hour before creative time starts. According to the parameters I read, that should have worked out just fine. Unfortunately, those parameters didn’t include the set up time of about 20 minutes. So, the science activity is in his room where he can watch it during creative time (and where, undoubtedly, I will be cleaning yeast and water off the walls in about an hour).
- I allow myself to believe that I can work faster than I really can. This is not the same thing as the first one, even though it sounds like it. I know that it takes me between 20 and 30 minutes to do a close read on a student paper. I’ve been doing this for 20 years, so at this point, I know. I have to allow roughly 30 minutes a paper in order to do a thorough job. Every year, though, I convince myself that I can shave that down to fifteen minutes. And every year, I prove that I can’t do that.
- I rarely factor in the planning/prep/routine things when I’m considering what needs to be done. For example, I’m making dinner tonight because P isn’t feeling well. The recipe plainly lists a prep and cook time of 20 minutes for the main dish and 30 minutes for the side dish. So, theoretically, I start at 5:30p, I should have dinner on the table at 6p, right? Well, maybe. They also note that the potatoes for the side dish are peeled and cut into chunks, prior to starting the dish. So that adds time.
- I rarely remember to gather all of the required elements for a project before I start it or even the night before. So, back to the science activity. We had to find a water bottle for it, find a balloon and a rubber band for it, and so on and so forth.
And for the record, this goes just as badly with academic things. I have lists of topics that I want to introduce in a specific sequence in each course that I teach. Half the time I can’t remember where those items are or how to find them or, sometimes, why I wanted to use them in the first place.
So, I’m trying something new and actually old. I have printed out Tell Your Time and am planning to spend this week working through the exercises in it. Because really that’s not enough for me, I’ve added Mission Statements for Moms, Maximize Your Mornings, Create Your Perfect Cleaning Schedule, AND One Bite at a Time. I’m hoping that the combination of inspiration from these sources will help me figure out how to plan a life that is more balanced and more conducive to maintaining my health.
Next week I’ll talk about how the planning thing is going and my search for the “one true planner” which I think has turned into three planners, sort of. Monday posts are going to tend to cluster around the academic/personal spheres of my life with only tangential discussion of homeschool as it relates to the other parts of my life.