Saturday, April 20, 2013

D is for... Disruptions {Blog Cruise}

Hardly a day goes by that our homeschool isn't disrupted in some little way. Thankfully, the crises and true disasters have been few and far between for us, but interruptions and distractions and snags can be very disruptive too. And a string of days - or weeks - full of those kind of "well, that didn't go as planned" schooldays can make me feel like I am doing a horrible job. Or tempt me to go into a closet and beat my head against a wall because we "aren't getting anything done".

I'd lay odds that I am far from alone in having my best laid homeschool plans derailed by disruptions more often than disasters. I have to admit that most of the time these kinds of things don't bother me a whole lot, because I have very little Type A in my personality. I'm generally pretty comfortable with a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants approach and can change gears as needed. My plans and schedules are loosely defined and flexible.
...or an actual schedule
Still, when little things keep going wrong and things don't as I'd planned, how do I handle it? Or how should I handle it?

Be prepared. Starting the day off right, by reading Scripture and spending some time praying makes a huge difference! That helps me focus on what is truly important and usually there are at least a couple of verses that stick in my mind most of the day. In order to spend that time without feeling rushed, I do need to get up at a fairly regular time and stick to a morning routine. And that first cup of coffee is helpful too!
Keep it in perspective. Earlier this week, our schoolday was interrupted by a phone call from my oldest son - his wallet had been stolen. Our schoolday ended at that moment because I needed to advise him and be available to make and receive phone calls. That was more important than doing a few more pages of a history lesson. A few years ago, my husband had knee surgery, and was home for several days and with limited mobility. He tried to "stay out of our way" but just having Daddy home and with such a cool machine bending his knee for him was a big distraction. Plus he needed a gofer. At first we tried to just have a normal schoolday, but I soon let that go by the wayside. If Kennady wanted to do her phonics lesson on the floor beside Daddy - fine. And if school didn't get done that week, that was fine too. Learning to serve was more important than getting all the phonics worksheets done.

Laugh about it. We can manage to find something to laugh about in almost every snag we run into.
The man with the real sense of humor is the man who can put himself in the spectator's place and laugh at his own misfortunes. That is what I am called upon to do every day. ~Bert Williams
A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.            ~Proverbs 17:22 
Learn something anyway. Sometimes things just don't work. We still haven't figured out one of the volvelles from our classical astronomy course this year. It's probably user error. We did our best and we haven't given up yet, so I guess we're learning some perseverance. Science is often like that - when it doesn't work the way you expect it to, you have to figure out what went wrong. Was our hypothesis incorrect? Was our method faulty? If nothing else, we've learned something about scientific method. Last year at co-op, we had some epic fails trying to make match rockets (on a damp and windy day) and a tennis ball mortar (we discussed some design modifications that might work for next time). So it wasn't a complete loss - our co-op students learned about collaborative problem-solving using what they knew about physics and chemistry!
Tennis ball mortar - all ready to go!
Just because something doesn't do what you planned it to do doesn't mean it's useless. ~Thomas Edison

Know when to cut your losses. If it's a curriculum that doesn't work, maybe it can be tweaked, but there comes a time when you just have to give up on it. I've done it with a couple of things over the years. It might be a great product, but just didn't fit my kid. One of the science texts we used a few years ago became such a source of frustration for us that I offered it for sale the day my son finished the book (that one we stuck out to the end because it was high school level), and another homeschool mom was delighted to buy it from me. Quick turnaround that honestly made me wish we'd given up on that book at least six months earlier.
If it's a day that just isn't going well, no matter what, sometimes the best thing for everybody is to either take an unplanned and extended break for everyone to relax and regroup, or maybe just to call it quits for the day. After all...

Remember that it doesn't all need to get done today. Which is good to know when we are just plain tired.

How do you handle disruptions? Leave a comment and let me know! Be sure to visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog (this link will be live on Tuesday, April 23rd) to see what other Crew members have to say about "When Things Don't Go As Planned". You can also visit the Schoolhouse Review Crew blog homepage to see the reviews we are working on, past reviews, and past blog cruise topics. 

This post is also linked at Ben and Me: E is for Energy (I'm a letter behind!) Join in and to see what thoughts this week's letter has prompted for other bloggers.
Blogging Through the Alphabet
To find out more about the Blogging through the Alphabet link-up, and how to participate, visit Ben and Me: Blogging Through The Alphabet

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