Thursday, November 15, 2007

Paper Trails

(This started out in the middle of my post about dragons and unit studies, but it didn't really fit, so I'm putting it in its own post in order not to set a bad example for my kids with disjointed thought processes)

From Cindy (an organized unschooler : )) -- see this post and this one and this one -- I got the idea for an "idea notebook" where I put things that we might just get to, whether the kids are interested in it, or I think they might be, or I want to share with them because I think it's neat or valuable. But blogging is the best way I've found to keep track of these plans (I do keep rough notes jotted down in a bound index card pad, as well, but those are more to help my mind function, and are usually so messy I can hardly read them).

Going off on a trail about organization, now -- Dawn has a visual of her clipboard (also a compilation on organization). That reminded me that I have been keeping a clipboard for a few weeks now. In my case, I got the idea from Mother Auma -- from an old Ambleside post of hers, I believe, about how she trains herself and her kids to follow a new schedule in a new term. She said that she carries around a checklist on a clipboard of her daily routine until it becomes second nature. This is so exactly the sort of thing that I wouldn't think of doing on my own, but it works beautifully for me. I keep the boys' weekly checklists on the clipboard now, as well. It's easy to find and accessible and easy to glance at.

A Father's Academy has a post about simple solutions for homeschool logistics. Complicating things used to be a problem of mine -- not quite so much anymore, now that I've acknowledged it and acknowledged Charlotte Mason's principle of education, that only parts of the books and ideas are going to be assimilated by a given child, and not the same parts. I think it is a bit the same for any kind of method, including organization. It isn't going to be a perfect glass bubble; it isn't going to solve every possible problem. It is going to be contingent. The Ignatian manual on education that I have been referencing lately says that methodology is important, but as a means to an end, not an end in itself. I try to keep thinking that way, but sometimes I need reminding -- that I shouldn't evaluate my schedule or method by how perfectly I keep to it or by how wonderfully rigorous it is, but by how well it functions as a secondary goal, a MEANS to my accomplishing what needs to be accomplished.

For that, Mother Auma has, on her sidebar, a good reminder about the limitations of my strategeries (a neologism my husband likes to use -- with Rube Goldberg-type gentle irony).

Our little systems
have their day;

They have their day
and cease to be:

They are but
broken lights of thee,

And thou, O Lord,
art more than they.

--Alfred, Lord Tennyson


Anonymous said...

Those links to Cindy's posts were great. I particularly like this line in the last one "I will research and scour up neat ideas, but then they fall into some black abyss and I forget about them." I so recognize that. And still haven't quite worked out how to keep it from happening though writing a blog post helps.

Faith said...

I love the little poem. I think I might have to post it my on fridge!