Sunday, September 07, 2014

Learning Lessons Along the Way

The simple act of living life brings many a lesson along the way.  No institutional education can even come close to doling out the important lessons we experience in actively, or even inactively for that matter, living our lives.  Lord knows I've learned some real lessons the really hard way.  For many years it seemed, at least it felt that way, that I learned EVERYTHING the hard way, and often the really hard way.  Profound and life altering lessons like the value of purity, the sanctity of marriage, the importance of honesty and integrity, the value of friendship, and the tremendous value of family.

Thankfully, those lessons are behind me, and praise God I learned from them; some quicker than others in all truthfulness.  From there I graduated to the next level of lessons including the fact that things rarely ever go as we plan them.  Life will throw us quick and fast curve balls that will test our faith and challenge our endurance.  A time, or two or ten, will come where we will NEED to sink or swim.  We will tire, rest, recharge, and kick back into high gear.  As long as we have faith we truly CAN see anything, anything, through to the other side.

Lately, I have been reflecting a lot.  I rather enjoy it.  Yes, my life has been pummeled by round after round of challenges.  Sometimes it feels like I've barely caught my breath from the last circumstance, and there's already another huge challenge coming through my front door.  More than once I've felt there was no way I could withstand another hurdle.  "It's just TOO MUCH!", I would cry out.  "I cannot take ANYMORE!"  Then the peace would come.  Just when I reached the brink a glimmer of light would appear on the horizon, and there would be hope (no matter how small) that indeed I could see things through to the other side.

When I look back at the whopper challenges I have faced and seen through, the things I am facing today pale in comparison.  On my worst days I am reminded that I have faced far worse in the past and made it through, and no matter how bad things are they could ALWAYS, always, be worse.  And, Heaven forbid, there are likely worse days to come.  With the reality of circumstance in mind I have become much better at living in the here and now, and handing what lies ahead over to the Lord;  plain and simple, and sometimes as complicated, as it may be.

When I live consciously in the present I focus on what is most important now, and my energy sustains what is necessary.  There is no wasted energy and emotion spent on what has been or what could  be.  All of my valuable, more now than ever, energy is spent on what's most important, the present.  This has been becoming more and more clear to me as each day passes.

These past few weeks have seen me aggressively putting a concerted effort into planning our 2014-15 school year.  It has been a monumental task that was nearly all consuming.  At first I lamented its necessity.  Then I beat myself up for waiting so long to begin planning.  After a little reflection and some encouragement from fellow homeschooling moms I was reminded that this is my first year using this approach to educating my children in many years.  I didn't wait, I just figured out what we are doing and started preparations accordingly.  It has been a tremendous learning curve for ME, and that is perfectly fine and acceptable.  It's all good!  No worries.  Learn the lesson, and move on.  My lessons learned about planning the upcoming school year, so far and for me, are:

1.  Know ahead of time at least the "skeleton" of what you will be studying for the following year. Have a long term plan.

2.  Know your mission statement, and refer to it often.

3.  Cut yourself A LOT of slack.

4.  Purchase any curriculum and needed materials in the spring.  (April and May host my favorite homeschool conventions, and they are perfect resources.)

5.  Spend the summer planning the following year instead of cramming it all in just a few weeks before your scheduled start date.

6.  Purchase two workbooks.  It's cheaper financially and in regard to time spent making copies.  Seriously, just buy two workbooks!

7.  Just because September seems like a good time to start the new school year doesn't mean that it is.  Follow the crop schedule, put up food, and start school in October.

8.  Purchase extra erasers for use during planning.  You WILL do A LOT of erasing!

9.  Keep a running list of needed materials or resources that you discover as you actively plan your year.

10.  Trade childcare with a friend when you need large chunks of time to concentrate.  It's impressive, really impressive, what you can accomplish with five hours of uninterrupted time to work.  Really, it is VERY impressive.

11.  Notebooks are a beautiful thing.  Buy extra.

12.  Crayons disappear like magic.  Buy extra.

13.  It's worth it to buy a full case of copy paper.

14.  Be cautious when purchasing re-manufactured ink cartridges.

15.  It will never be a fully perfect plan.  Life will interrupt living.  Start on your planned start date, anyway.  There is no perfect time.

While my focus has been on planning the 2014-15 school year for my family and learning to live with a less than tidy home I have been afforded the opportunity to see life, my life, a little more clearly in the process.  Even when living seems overshadowed by tragedy and turmoil, blessings persist.  Where I choose to put my focus is up to me; another facet of free choice granted to me by my Creator.  

The Beginning of Knowledge
Proverbs 1:1-7

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: 

To know wisdom and instruction, 
to understand words of insight, 
to receive instruction in wise dealing, 
in righteousness, justice, and equity; 
to give prudence to the simple, 
knowledge and discretion to the youth— 
Let the wise hear and increase in learning, 
and the one who understands obtain guidance, 
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.


annette @ A Net In Time said...

I've never done a major plan of my school year. I have basics laid out and just go through them as I go through. Planning it all out I think would be a tad bit stressful.

Jennifer aGlimpseOfOurLife said...

We must have had similar experiences with ink. September does seem a good time to start. We started in August and are still changing things up a bit.


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