Sunday, January 17, 2010

The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray

I've figured out the main reason I don't blog often. It's not that I don't have lots of ideas for entries. I do. It's not that I couldn't find time to write. I could. The real reason is that I want to have an idea fully fleshed out before I write about it. I am sure that is silly. In fact, I know that most bloggers use the actual writing as a way to develop an idea. My problem is that I want to know where an entry is going before I even start it.

I guess that could be a problem in other aspects of my life as well. I am a planner. If I don't have a plan I feel scared. It makes me nervous, and if forced to operate without a pan for too long I actually get sick. The rational me knows that sometimes it is a good idea to "fly by the seat of your pants", but I really have a hard time sticking to that. I can't tell you how many times I have decided that I should be more spontaneous. Yes, I see the absurdity of planning to be more spontaneous.

The problems with over-planning involve a couple things. Of course, there is the problem of missing out on new things because I have already planned something else. I think that I have done an ok job over the past few years combating that one. I am much more flexible than I was a few years ago. I credit that to being a Mom. My girls, so often, find amazing opportunities. They are so amazing that I know we can't pass them up (even if it means adjusting my precious plan.) This flexibility has created a new problem that I can't seem to shake. Even though I am happy to add new things to my plan as they are presented, I can't let go of the planned activities. The result is that I end up feeling stressed as I try in vain to "stick to the plan". Eventually I end up feeling like a failure.

This tends to be especially true with the girls' school. I have what I think are very realistic goals for them. The plan is for them to do math and language arts (writing for Kali, reading for Claire) five days a week. I do have "curriculums" for other subjects, but they are used to supplement the life learning. The problem ends up being that as I try to be flexible to allow lots of opportunities for life learning we often have less that five days to devote to math and language arts. As much as I believe that real life learning is absorbed better than artificial desk learning I still can't let go of the plan when it comes to skills like reading, writing, and arithmetic. This results in school sometimes being less than the euphoric experience I imagined when I decided to homeschool the girls.

So once I again I am planning to be more spontaneous. To help me in this endeavour I looked up a few quotes about chilling out.

"Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans." John Lennon

"Expect the best, plan for the worst, and be prepared to be surprised." Denis Waitley

"In preparing for battle I have found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable." Dwight Eisenhower

"Those who plan do better than those who do not plan even though they rarely stick to their plan." Winston Churchill

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." Darwin

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