Sunday, September 07, 2008

Well-Laid Plans of Moms and Teachers

A plan can be like a clear path ...

In our attempt to grab just a bit more out of our summer days, we waited two weeks after my husband's classroom filed back in before we started our school routine. We did some playing, we did not-enough cleaning, and we enjoyed those last few days of sleeping in. But most importantly, I did a lot of planning. I have looked askance at detailed school planning for the last few years, but I came to the conclusion that I need the plans, my students need the plans, and our year goes much better with a plan. And you should see my lists. Wowee zowee...they are in sheet protectors, all shiny and perfect-looking. I have weekly schedules for each child, daily schedules for the whole family, lists of daily tasks and weekly tasks as reminders. Poems were listed, Shakespeare plays for the year were chosen, and artists and composers were organized. For my voracious readers, long lists of recommended reading were filed; for my minimalist readers, the required books for the year were noted. I am sure there were a few stones unturned, but not for want of trying. We were r-e-a-d-y.

Along came Day Two of our well-planned school year, the Wednesday after Labor Day, and I was reminded that flexibility is the key to successful execution. An infection on my older daughter's skin was determined to be staph and is likely to be confirmed as the antibiotic-resistant type when we talk to the doctor tomorrow. We have spent hours we planned for studies in the surgeon's office instead, and she has spent hours on Vicodin that had been planned for reading. It has been a week of painful wound cleaning, of praying with guttural incoherence, and driving to and fro and to again. None of these moments were in my binder, covered in a page protector.

The lists and plans I labored over were the perfect solution for these demanding days. I was not here to drill biology vocabulary, and I was not available to talk over the world history reading, but I was able to facilitate the reading, writing, arithmetic parts of our day. We read our weekly poems, we practiced spelling words and drilled various levels of math. We read aloud and studied the 20th century and we prayed and we wrote. It was a good week.

So we are encouraged and discouraged. School went well for the week, the original spot of infection is clearing on my daughter's skin, and the pain is subsiding. But, there is a new spot that is getting more infected, instead of less, and we have to go to the doctor as soon as possible tomorrow morning to tackle this new development. If you pray, please join us in praying for all that is ahead.

And my binder, filled with page-protected lists, will continue to guide our days. We know we can't lean on the shiny pages, but only hold them loosely. We'll rejoice on the days we can move through the daily dance without interruptions, but we will pray for grace to keep moving on the days that doctors cut in to have their turn. The students are not the only ones who will be learning this year.

...but even amidst dark silhouettes, the way through can be found.

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