Common issues in planning ahead weekly for home schooling

by Mary Ann on September 11, 2010

Regular Preparation Makes Me Cringe

Janet Fackrel Family

I have been teaching a webinar this month and the first class dealt with the Five Rules of Engagement. The assignment I gave was for each parent to determine which of the five rules they felt most resistant to. I just had to share this response from one of the parents. It is so hilarious that I and others think she should seriously write a book. It is also sobering as it rings a bell with me and will with many other parents.

“The rule of engagement that makes me cringe is “regular preparation.”  When I think about preparing for anything I feel anxiety.  My experiences with different preparation activities are riddled with frustration and interruption.  Having a large family multiplies the potential and real distractions to carrying anything to completion.  Meal preparation generally includes a host of interruptions and ultimately failed recipes.  Things burn.  Things melt.  Things don’t get finished.  When I find some quiet time for lesson preparation or quiet study and succeed in following a thought through to the end, I emerge to find the house destroyed and a number of children roaming around in various stages of undress and degree of soiling.

In the time I’ve invested in this brief paragraph I’ve fielded 5 interruptions. Only one was a screaming, urgent one, but each required me to stop to deflect, softly remind that I am in my “office” working, or interrupt a persistent child.  Then I search through my short term memory:  “What was I thinking about?”

Perhaps I, like Pavlov’s dog, am programmed to respond to even thoughts of “preparation” with despair and trepidation.  Perhaps if this triggered salivating I would get more accomplished, just in a wet and slobbering fashion!

So my solution seems to be eliminating the most unpleasant companion activities that occur when Mom is trying to prepare, or to learn to like the mayhem and disorder.  If I am missing a third alternative, I would be delighted to discover it!

Here are my initial ideas:

  1. get rid of the dog (she interrupts with barking, vomiting and digging things up)
  2. keep the kids entertained while I am engaged in preparing
    1. send them to their rooms
    2. let them watch brain gelatinizing videos
    3. send them to the back yard and lock the door
    4. give them a list of chores to do
    5. promise a reward if everything is intact and everyone is safe when I am finished
    6. Do all preparation when children are asleep (this seems the most likely to succeed)
    7. Get a housekeeper who would be responsible for the children when I am preparing!

And for learning to love the journey:

  1. Watch “cheaper by the dozen” and “yours, mine, ours” weekly and tell myself that I might like a little more chaos and surprise in my life.  It could be viewed as “excitement.’
  2. Hire a hypnotist
  3. Laugh and cheer when I find that the house has been dismantled during a primary meeting or a lesson preparation stint.
  4. Tell the kids that though I like the way they’ve redecorated the house   I’m going to go for a drive and come back as soon as they call me to tell me that everything is back in order.
  5. Seek counseling

Some deeper thought might illuminate other avenues to resolving my phobia of preparation.  I have run out of time for the present.


Janet Fackrel

In my next post, How to overcome issues in planning ahead for home schooling, I will talk about this letter.

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