Sunday, January 8, 2012

Balaam's Ass

I love a beautiful, tidy schedule!  I love those neat homeschooling plans with each student in his proper place!  (I really mean that; this is not sarcasm.  I had tons of nifty neat-o forms for my Daytimer when I was working.)  Alas, God knows I love those things and tend to make them idols from which I derive my self-image, so He has thoughtfully blessed me with a family and circumstances that make such plans impossible to live by.  The more I have struggled to make them work for me, the more complications He has heaped upon me.

All of that is to say, if you find that scheduling your day into precise segments does not work for you, do not despair!  For some families, it apparently works well.  But you are not alone in your situation--many of us must use a much more flexible, organic approach.  lol  When AO had its one and only conference back in 2005 (notes; reviews and a link to purchase CD's which are well worth listening to), one of the AO Advisory members, I think it was Wendi Capehart, had this to say about schedules: 
"A schedule is for the days when life doesn't happen."  (I hope I accurately quote.)

God has His own plan for each of your days, for each minute of each of your days.  When your child does not cooperate with *your* plan, consider that this lack of cooperation may in fact be the hand of God, much as Balaam's ass interfered with Balaam's plans.  At the very least, these interruptions or derailments test our resolve to show grace and love in every situation and to develop patience and perseverance in teaching and loving our children (not in checking off all the boxes on our schedule).


  1. Thank you for this timely reminder, as I prepare to draft a schedule for the new term. Love the quote! I'm just like you - I love the idea of having a nice and tidy schedule. I'll try to feel better about the fact that we have lots of real life going on here. :)

  2. Thanks for the words of encouragement; I just happened over her after clicking on your link in the AO Yahoo group. I have said C. S. Lewis' quote many times in the past few weeks: “The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own,’ or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life — the life God is sending one day by day.” Your comment of "deriving your self image" strikes me as I've struggled with the concept that we are to be image bearers of God.

  3. Thanks for sharing that quote, Beth! I did not remember it, but need to.

  4. Thanks for this. I am not really a schedule-maker, but I do love my lists. This year I have realised that I need to enjoy my children more, and not be so hung up on completing a list of tasks. I have two little girls who need lots of attention and two older children who I am trying to teach, and the little ones get pushed aside too often. I love the C.S.Lewis quote too.

  5. This is great, Kathy. I should print this and post it on my fridge!! I, too, am a scheduler. And a list-maker. I used to be the office manager (and run the entire secretarial side alone) of a Physical Therapy clinic before I had children, and, OH, how organized my time was! I had my tidy schedule with regular breaks, and plenty of time to get everything done.....
    That set-up, I've found, doesn't really transfer to the world of the stay-at-home-mom. I've recently been conducting an experiment in my home...... I was stressed by always trying to stay on top of my routine with the kids, and getting aggravated when things didn't go "as planned," so I decided to see what would happen if I completely threw my formal routine out the window and just concentrated on being outside with the kids as much as possible and having fun with them, only worrying about keeping up with meals and housework as it became necessary. I've been doing it about 2 weeks, one of which was spent sick and caring for sick ones, but it is going well! And do you know what? Nobody's died, burst into flames, or even missed a meal!! I will say, the laundry got behind, esp while we were sick (which is usually my pet priority that MUST be kept up!), but we all even had plenty of clothes to wear. I'm enjoying this, and I expect to get back into a formal routine again eventually, but this is great to let me decompress myself for awhile and reset my priorities in raising/schooling the children and keeping up with the housework.
    God Bless!
    Sarah in AR

  6. What a great reminder from an obviously successful homeschooling mom. So timely. Perspective can change so much, can't it?

    Rachel from AO

  7. Yes, thanks for this so wisely written.

    I worry because the plans seem to be just my thing, at least with my oldest and only daughter in AO2 now. She does not own them, initiate any of the things in them, or keep working on any of the things. Organic plans will have to as you say be a MUST, and I will have to find a way to make her drive our day (even if I keep doing all the read alouds and such).

    1. Drive HER DAY, you see, even when writing I can not hide that tendency to COMMAND and run the show. :) or should I say :(

    2. Have you read "Parenting with Love and Logic"? It really helped me see how I needed to step out of the way, and how I could actually make it work.