We home educate, which allows considerable flexibility in our schedules throughout the week. But we supplement with once-a-week classes in a cooperative effort involving multiple families. The parents share the teaching, and I offered to teach high school writing.This means, of course, that I assign, read and evaluate a lot of papers. Last week I finished grading the last of the ten-page research papers my writing students completed. This was the first time they undertook an official research paper assignment, so they needed to learn the process from beginning to end: how to brainstorm for ideas, narrow down the topic, develop a working thesis, do initial research, modify that thesis based on the initial research, find reputable sources, begin in-depth and focused research by digging into online databases, organize note cards (yes, I had them use note cards), fuse outlines, write a rough draft, revise that draft, and turn in a final copy on time with all the requested elements.They did it all; they turned in their papers.And then I got to grade them.Lucky me.But I paced myself throughout the week. This is unusual for me. My tendency is to put off the tasks that I dread and then spend one panicked day cramming in the work I should have spread out over time.What a pleasant surprise to finish up the grading and pack my bags for co-op classes by 10:00 p.m.! I know this whole idea of spreading out the work falls into Time Management 101, but I guess I realized that this is a way I can slow down and simplify.I can look at the week and schedule my to-do list tasks over several days so that my pace is measured and sane. While doing that, I can make time for the really important things. I want to find a pace that allows me to pray and play and ponder things like this:
Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. (1 John 2:6)
Please link up your Lenten reflections below:
Virginia Knowles says
We too are home schooling (only five kids this year), and I’ve been sitting at the computer for the last hour or so trying to pace out our week with the various responsibilities of daily group reading & individual assignments, YMCA PE classes, grocery shopping, babysitting my grandson one afternoon, preparing to speak on “Amazing Grace for Home School Moms” at a support group Thursday night. I am a spontaneous mom who probably has ADD, so scheduling specific times for specific things is an extreme act of discipline for me. We’ll see how it actually goes… 🙂 I think it will bring a measure of peace and sanity. Thanks for the affirmation of what I’m trying to do! ~~ Virginia
P.S. The speaking notes for one section of my Amazing Grace presentation are here: http://comewearymoms.blogspot.com/2010/03/tender-compassion-for-mothers.html
Cheryl Smith says
Pacing is not my strong suit. Yet…
I’m getting better at scheduling out longer tasks, over days, or at least in blocks of time. In the past, I simply plugged in a spot on the calendar, but the appointment blocks were for 30 minutes and the tasks usually took much longer. Now I’m applying a more realistic sense to how long projects take.
I like the idea of making room for play and pondering.
Yeah, my tendency is to cram. Today is a cram day. I keep thinking:
Just get me through Thursday. Just get me through Thursday.
I need a slow-down solution! Thanks for the reminder, Ann.
I’m not a good pacer either. For instance, I should be doing homework right now. Funner to check in with you :).
Another thought: I bet you are a great teacher, Ann. I love how you describe the steps of the research paper writing. I’d love to audit the class sometime :).