Living Stones Academy

Educating by atmosphere, discipline, and life

More like guidelines, really

on March 2, 2017

There are so many little things that can hit us all a once. One at a time we might be able to handle. But when it’s a lot of little things, or not so little, and we make an adjustment for one so we think we have to adjust for the other, pretty soon we’re doubting everything, and throwing other things out the window.

Happens to me all the time. It happened just recently. Some things were absolutely necessary to change. Others, not so much. We tried experimenting with a totally new way of scheduling the day for my older two boys this week. Now, I know sometimes you have to give a thing a chance. But in my experience with school schedules, that usually means chance to fail completely. Yes a first day may not go smoothly, but try it for a week.

But there’s “going smoothly” and then there’s . . . actually “going”. This did not go. At all. Not a little bit. Not an atom. Nada.

So, back to the one we’ve been using since beginning of Term 2.

Why did we change? We discovered that one of our older boys was having compounding anxiety and stress over all his work–schoolwork, chores, youth group (AWANA), everything. We didn’t identify it at first because he SAID he could handle it. He blamed himself for not getting things done (and honestly, so did we, because it looked like dawdling), and would make resolutions to “do better” each day.

It turns out he has high, unrealistic expectations of himself, combined with a need to please, and true anxiety issues. We thought, therefore, that his day needed to look different. Wrong. What the REAL problem was, was giving him way too much responsibility. More than he was ready for. He acted like he was ready. He was excited to be ready. But he wasn’t, not emotionally.

So not only does his formal planner with checkboxes have to go; we also had to stop writing down when to start, when to stop, and actual times. That sounds a little silly, even to me, but it really was too much pressure for him. Next year maybe he’ll be ready for it–his older brother (who is only 18 months older) thrives on it. Right now he just needs to know what to accomplish, and I need to be the one monitoring his time.

I received great encouragement in this from this blog post: Timetables, Principles, and Brains. It in turn references this old L’Umile Pianta article, one I’d read and forgotten about: On the Possibility of Doing P.U.S. Work While Keeping Strictly to the Time-Tables. What it comes down to is, getting through the schedule and keeping to it should never take precedent over the goal–which is educating the child, who is a person. The schedule SHOULD be there and SHOULD be used when able. But it is not the taskmaster. It’s the guidepost. The framework. The track to travel on when one can.

It’s more like guidelines than actual rules.


One response to “More like guidelines, really

  1. […] More like guidelines, really Mar […]

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