Sunday, November 13, 2011

Can Radical Unschoolers Have a Schedule? Part 2

How does my schedule work with radical unschooling?

I'm organizing MY day, not theirs.  If they are happy playing with each other, it is irrelevant to them whether I do dishes first or make phone calls first, whether I play on the computer or get something accomplished.  We are in a stage right now where my activities and my children's activities are often separate, but side by side.  We frequently intersect with each other, but I don't need to revolve all of my activities around them and I don't need to control their activities in order to get mine accomplished.  I am honestly surprised to be in this place with my children still so young, and it feels almost taboo to say such a thing in some attachment parenting circles, but truly my day does not revolve around my kids, nor does their day revolve around me.

I'm flexible.  Here is how today worked out.  After my little morning routine, I wanted to get the house straightened up since I don't do any cleaning on Shabbot it was messy from yesterday.  I started on dishes, but then E was asking about hearts and wanted to look up some videos.  So I stopped cleaning and we watched an open heart surgery.  Then I found the girls some vidoes with songs about the skeletal system and while they watched, I went back to cleaning.  My plan was to work on my business plan next, but D put a movie on the computer for them so I couldn't use it.  So I basically just flip flopped my morning plan with my afternoon plan and worked on organizing their games and making some phone calls.  Then my afternoon was thrown off because someone came to look at a trailer we are selling and that took an hour.  It was good though, because the girls and I needed the fresh air and that got us outside.  Then my mom took the girls on a date to a movie and D and I decided to take advantage of it and watch our own movie at home, which I usually never do during the day.  I didn't start working on my business plan until after five o'clock, but I managed to get in more than the 2 hours I was originally planning while D made dinner and put a movie on for the girls before bed.

Usually my days go closer to the plan than today did, but my goal is not for my day to fit my perfect plan.  My goal is to 1) move through my day with purpose, getting *something* accomplished and 2) keeping my kids my priority and being available for them as much as they need me.  No mater what I am doing or have planned, if the baby needs to nurse, I nurse her.  If the kids are hungry for lunch, I make lunch.  If the kids need me, I drop what I am doing, whether it's to help them resolve a conflict or because one wants to snuggle or if a interest comes up that we can explore further.  I have noticed that because I do have a plan in place that includes time for the kids and is flexible, I don't get stressed out that I won't get things accomplished when I stop to spend time with them.

Maybe that does sound like it revolves around them, but what I mean is that *right now* I do not have the often bemoaned stay-at-home mom dilemma of feeling like I need to entertain my kids all day long.  E and L spend large chunks of the day playing together, and Z either follows them around or hangs out in the carrier on my back while I work.  Throughout the day I will check on how they are doing, or they will come show me something and we'll talk for a minute, or they will help me with something and then run off to play again, or we will read a book or snuggle with a movie.  But I am not moving them through *their* days.  It feels very The Continuum Concept-ish and it is really nice.   

I have actually discovered that I feel more relaxed and I have less anxiety since I have embraced living like a type 4.  I also noticed (and this will be a shock to my family of origin) that I don't like messes.  Really.  They set me on edge.  I always had a messy room as a kid, and I have never been the greatest housekeeper and I never realized how much it bugged me.  I was too overwhelmed and I didn't have the skills to keep up on it, so I was simultaneously used to living that way and irritated by it.  I'm still far from a neat freak, mostly because I have little kids and I have to set priorities with my time, and following my kids around and cleaning all day is not one of them.  BUT I have also made it a priority to own less clutter, to set aside daily cleaning times, and to have things picked up at least 5 nights a week and do a more thorough cleaning job once a week.  Also, if I noticed that I am feeling irritable for no apparent reason,  I can now pinpoint when I am feeling that way because of the clutter around me, and instead of taking it out on my family, I can channel it into doing a quick 10 minute clean up time.  



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