Let's look at more failures: that's when we shine the most!
There's the time I missed the memo of being the speaker time to a pretty BIG workshop at a Large State Homeschool Convention. I checked the program, and scanned it (with a COMPUTER, not with just my eyes) for my name. There I was: "Learning Foreign Language as a Whole Family" & "Learning Styles and Languages: Getting Started." Both on Saturday.
<<Yes! Friday is empty! Nice!>>
So. Imagine my surprise when on Friday morning, the convention coordinator (and her assistant!) ran up to my booth.
"Suzanne, where are you?"
"I'm right here."
"I mean, why aren't you in your workshop?" At this point I'm rushing somewhere with them, waving at my son to handle the booth.
"My workshops are both tomorrow."
"The other one, the last minute one is right now! Remember?"
"No... was my name on it?"
"No! It was last minute, remember? We didn't put your name next to it."
"Oh man.... well, what's the title?"
"You can do it! Remember? It was 'Managing it all: Home, School, and Life.'"
At this point, we've reached the room, and I begin giggling at the irony, the fallen blocks, the tumbling down of the facade of having it "all together" as a homeschool mom of five, teacher, curriculum author, and workshop presenter. After all, I was an "expert in the field." I quickly made my way on to the stage in front of approximately 100 patiently (I hoped) waiting people, and commenced the workshop. (Because what else could I do?)
With a big grin and a strong voice: "What happens when there's a breakdown in communication? What do we do, what's our next step?"
I admitted my failure to prepare to the entire audience, and proceeded to give possibly one of my best workshops yet. I had more than a dozen people stop by the Flip Flop Spanish booth later that day and encourage me in how much they learned and how grateful they were that I gave the workshop even without preparation. They aid I was funny and helpful.
Failure is an accomplishment! Own it, and remake it. I'm glad I didn't take a pass on this one. I'm glad I began, and I ended better than a began. Let's begin again, even stronger, ready for failure.
As a fun aside, here is an email I received from one who attended that workshop that day. He came by the booth to tell me my "extemporaneousness was just what he needed," and emailed me his notes from the surprise workshop.
Enjoy this homeschool dad's fantastic notes! These have not been modified or edited in any way.
Managing Home, School, and Life
Suzanne Gose - Flip Flop Spanish, was a public school teacher
3 Main Points
- Let it drop - sometimes things drop, so let it go. Set a realistic standard.
- dinner, the grass, etc., may drop. But your're busy homeschooling. Look at your children. Look at your priorities.
- Ask other homeschoolers.
- 1st thing is priorities - make sure they're realistic. Make sure they're what you want.
- Once you figure out your highest priority (for your homeschool or your kids), post it somewhere.
- For her, #1 was become a Christian. #2 is Character.
- Look at whose kids you like, then look at their moms. Can I hang out with her. Go to her house. See their real life. Her yard was atrocious, but her kids were wonderful.
- People who have been homeschooling for 2-3 years are good, but 6-7 years is better.
- Konos (sp?) is a great unit study on Character.
- #2 - does your time match your priority?
- List it out
- Daily stuff - homeschool is about the daily things. The days are long, but the years are short.
- "Oh, Suzanne, drink this in..." What? I don't have TIME TO DRINK!
- Don't talk to the ones who are the best parents, but have no kids. Talk to the ones who have older kids that are great.
- Write down your chart and post it somewhere. Get the child to check it off. Did you do science today? Maybe just a nature walk, but check it off.
- Your chores, etc. Like you have on the fridge. It's OKAY to not check everything off. Now you know what you need to work on tomorrow / ). .ext week / next time.
- Post it
- Used to miss the Bible lessons. Whatever you do that you can't get done, do it first.
- Look @ your priorities vs. your Husband/Wife's priorities. Are they similar? Where are they different? Try to mix it all in or reprioritize or what. But do it together.
- #3 - Family Life is more important than checkboxes and keeping up with the neighbors
- Prioritize again.
- Just go play while I do _______ (laundry, dinner, fix what you broke, etc.
- Come and help. We've got to do this, this, and this. What do you want to do? You're GOING to help, but you get to decide on what.
- Learn to Delegate.
- Stop saying "go away." They're just going to make another mess. They just want to be with you.
- Yes, it will take 2x as long, but that's okay. It's part of their education. How do I manage school / home / life? It's jsut called life.
- Add a little list for chores on your priority list from above. It used to be a class in school called "Home Ec."
- Most of us had to learn how to do those things after we got married.
- You're all rebels. If you weren't rebels, you would have put the kids on the yellow buses.
- Your kids are also rebels. It's genetic.
- You've got to teach your rebels how to interact with sheeple.
- Give them space to come live with you.
- #4 - keep it chunky & light
- When you have a lofty goal, chunk it up.
- with a 4 year old, people ask: "are you going to homeschool all the way to high school?" or "What about prom?"
- There's a booth for prom.
- Right now, I am. This week I am. We'll cross the bridge when I come to it.
- That's why I take tests - so I know that my son was a genius, but only 5% on capitalization. So that's how I know where the gaps are.
- So what am I doing today / this week. What are my goals -> what do I need to do this month -> what do I need to do this week -> what do I need to do today to accomplish this goal?
- Want kid to bake - must bake cookies this week.
- A lot of times, I have to turn off the TV, computer, phone. Work w/ kid. Now he knows how to capitalize.
- How do you balance your business?
- It comes last.
- It is an excellent expenditure of time. For the kingdom. For learning. etc.
- But facebook is a timesuck.
- Be disciplined. Had to start getting up at 5am. No email. No facebook. Kids come out at 7am. Don't talk to Mom until 8am. School starts at 8am.
- Mom, you came early! Why did you come early?!? For you Babe. For you.
- 3 hours per day consistently has done more for her than 8 hours on a Saturday.
- Stick it on your chore chart. (the kids also have a chore chart).
- Menu planning she never gets done. Check the things you get done. Circle the ones you don't.
- Fridays are catchup days. Finish it up Fridays. Light days with just Math & spelling & something else. The finish the other things. If there are none, it's a free day.
- How much time do you put into handling curriculum?
- Depends on child.
- Each kid has his own chore / school chart.
- In the morning, do Bible, History, Lit (all can do together). Then go do individual stuff. Some kids get up early at 6 and do their individual stuff. Some get done in 2 hours. Some in 3. If they get done in 1 hour, she looks at it, because they probably didn't do well or finish. Min 3 hrs for High school. Max 6 hrs. If they're taking 6 hrs, it is taking too long. When she taught public school, it was good when she got 15 minute of actual teaching in High School. Even 5 was a good day. Wow. My kids are getting done fast. Yeah, because they don't have to deal with the garbage (everybody get off the desks, get your books out, stop punching each other, actual lesson, pack up, stop punching each other, class is over).
- She's got a 20 minute timer. If they've been doing long division for 20 minutes, not getting it, change it up.
- How do you get the kids to own whatever it is?
- Well, to do that, they have to care.
- That's great... for you!
- You can get them to care with outside (extrinsic) motivation. If they really like that journal... Yes, I can lend you $0.25 for the journal that you only have $6 for, but you have to do ______ and I'll let you have it. (you were going to do it anyway, but it will motivate them).
- Make sure it's measurable. What is a "good job" on your bedroom? Make it measurable. No clothes on the floor, no dust on the windowsill, bed made, etc. 10 minutes ____ for each thing you check off. I'll let you have more of something if you do more of something else.
- Figure out what motivates them.
- Time, a movie, an experience, etc.
- It trains them to own it, but it takes a long time. Ambition may be latent. It'll be extrinsic for a long time before it becomes intrinsic.
- What if you have all ages - littles all the way up to bigs?
- Questioner's biggest was 8, but speaker still thinks that it a little. Lot of 1:1 time for bigs.
- Baby gate. Let them see you. But the certain toys behind the baby gate, but ONLY DURING SCHOOL TIME. Those are their school toys. So you're training the 3 year olds that they have some school time. It's expected that they're quite, not interrupting. Habits start forming.
- We're mostly public school graduates and we think that they have to have workbooks, etc, or they're not learning. Not true.
- Trade off. the 8 year old w/ babies, while 6 year gets 1:1... then trade and 6 yr w/ babies & 8 year gets 1:1. Yes, they are your responsibility.
- How do you balance your business?
It's my prayer that these notes blessed you, and that tomorrow, our last day of 2017 will help us to re-focus and recognize where our failures are and how they are NOT endings, but beginnings that just look a little odd. right now.