And yet, as soon as you set up a fabulous schedule, you will be tested. Why? Because invariably your day will not go as planned and your carefully thought out schedule will come crashing down! The "traffic jam" that results will test your flexibility! Flexibility is sometimes defined as the ability to bend without breaking.
Tip #5. Be Flexible.
Flexibility is a very important character quality; however, as I learned 20 years ago from Inge Cannon, you can't be flexible if you don't have anything to flex!
So, we must start with some kind of plan before we can "flex" that plan. That means we need to have basic goals, simple plans for how we will accomplish those goals, some kind of daily routine or schedule, and some combination of curriculum, books and/or learning materials in place. (Even an "unschooler" has a "plan" - it just may be more child-directed.)
Once we have a basic plan and routine in place, we may discover that we don't like the way our days are going, or we don't like our carefully chosen curriculum after all, or the workload is too easy/hard for one of our children, or some of the children aren't getting enough sleep and are grouchy when they get up at our planned time, or the stomach virus hits, or any unexpected event happens -- that is when we practice flexibility.
Flexibility is a willingness to change plans or activities as needed without getting bent out of shape. We must guard against setting our hopes and affections on our well-laid plans and schedules, because God is in control and I think He likes to remind us of that often!
A man's heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)As long as we stay flexible, putting our faith and hope in Him, we will not break when the Lord bends us through interruptions, challenges, testings, and trials. Many times God allows the unexpected because He has a totally different lesson in mind for our children (and us) than what we have penciled in the lesson plan book!! (I call that "God's Classroom.")
Some areas where we may need to practice flexibility:
- curriculum we are using - do we like it? is it working?
- a child's readiness for reading - Out of my ten children, some have read as early as 4 1/2 or 5, while some didn't catch on to reading until 8 or 9!
- a child with a different learning style - what worked for the rest of our children may not work for one of our children who learns differently
- daily or weekly schedule - life happens or God may have other plans
I'm sure you can think of other opportunities for developing flexibility, as well.
What are some areas where you may need to practice flexibility? Did any specific area come to mind as you read this? Do you struggle with being flexible? How can you bend and not break when life happens and when God interrupts your plans with His plans? Please share in the comments or over on my Facebook page!
If you've missed the first few posts in this series, you may want to click on the links below to read the first four tips:
Tip #1: Know why you are homeschooling.
Tip #2: Set your priorities.
Tip #3: Start slowly and finish strong.