I have been reading a devotional titled "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young. It's been quite good. My husband got it for me for Christmas and it's the version with space to journal. As the space is not big enough for what happens normally when I begin to write things, I decided to use that space to write down the Scripture references given for each day.
A friend asked me to join a "Good Morning Girls" group where we share what we've been reading in God's Word via email. I share those Scripture references I've written down and sometimes a part of my devotional reading if it has struck a chord with me.
I often have several blog posts "swirling" around in my head, but usually wait until I have time to do so. There have been occasions when, regardless of time, I have to sit down and write something so that God will "release me" from thinking about it any more. Yesterday I had jotted down the "titles" to about a half dozen of these "phantom posts." Apparently the one about schedules needed to be written NOW, because what follows is what came out when I was typing my "Good Morning Girls" email tonight. I hope you enjoy reading it!
Here are some of the highlights of my devotional reading:
"It is easy to make an idol of routine, finding security within the boundaries you build around your life."
"Don't try to force-fit today into yesterday's mold. Instead,ask Me to open your eyes, so you can find all I have prepared for you in this precious day of Life."
These two provide an interesting dilemma or challenge to me. My "default" is to have no routine, except that which is necessary or when planning for a particular event. In other words, I lean more toward being spontaneous in what we do. Usually I will have some thoughts rolling around in my head and then when the mood strikes, I'll announce my idea and assume everyone else will happily agree!
Homeschooling has forced me out of this mindset in order to be more efficient with the time allotted to each day. I began sketching out a "schedule" back in 2007 or 2008 when we first embarked on this adventure. It was a very general one, which often went more by the order in which we did certain things, rather than assigning a time to said things or tasks.
As time has gone on, our schedules have progressed to actually include times. In fact, my current schedule has something assigned to almost every half hour from 7:30 in the morning to 8 in the evening. To be honest, this is very difficult for me. Some days it makes me feel trapped, but other days it sets me free. On days where I feel unmotivated, my schedule helps to keep us relatively productive, even when my brain feels like mush.
I have now printed out a schedule for my two children. I began to notice that when they knew what the day would bring, they did better. As I thought about that aspect of having a schedule, I realized that to my children, they may have never really knew what would happen next.
I realized that they were getting ideas about what they wanted to do at various times throughout the day (particularly my daughter who has similar leanings as myself) and when I told them it was time to do something, it would often lead to controversy (and sometimes worse). It didn't matter that we did the same thing every day, possibly at the same time. To them, their "plays" were being interrupted with no rhyme or reason.
So, while I sometimes feel "trapped" by a schedule, my children know what to expect and that makes things go more smoothly. I also have the authority to make changes to our schedule in case something comes up. I value flexibility and our schedule reflects that. I want to be available in case a friend needs help, my husband comes home early from work, or we just need to go to the zoo (or sometimes meet friends at the "play" McDonald's for lunch).
I have also "built" in cushions for those times of the day that I know (from experience) could take longer than I've planned. Some of these times include our morning routine (from waking up to starting our core studies) and our lunch and quiet time break. This helps me to remain a little less stressed or frustrated if we wake up late or if there's more "daydreaming" and less school work being done.
Once again, know that you are not alone on this journey. We must join together in what God has called us to do. As Philippians 4:13 says, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I can honestly say that it has only been with Jesus that I have been able to come this far in my ability to stay on task. He has shown me how "freeing" a schedule can be.