(the photos are from my morning walk)
Remember how I was talking about how St Martha was teaching me that there is One Needful Thing, and not to get scattered and divided.
Now part of the art of education (and organizing, indeed) is the art of dividing. Is it not so? We divide into subjects and then the subjects are divided into grade or developmental levels, and then the subjects are sometimes divided into sub-subjects, as when Language Arts becomes vocabulary/grammar/spelling/phonics/reading.
Then when we are homeschool planning, we might even organize our organizing, by perhaps splitting the year into months, or our role into different sections like Keeping House, Family, Child Training, or whatever else we are doing in our lives.
When I am cleaning the kitchen, and my kids are helping, I am my single self, both keeping house and mothering my children and perhaps making the world a slightly less dirty place to live in. And perhaps sanctifying myself through my duties, if I'm blessed enough. But if I make my endeavors be servant to these divisions, I become scattered, overwhelmed, and my role is at risk.
If I make myself the servant of divisions in the homeschool, whether of skill or content, I have a fragmented homeschool (which is when I stop and go back to unschooling to restore our integration).
Yet in another way, division (making distinctions) is almost what learning is all about. A baby sees contrasting dark and pale and eventually resolves the forms into the face of his mother and then his father and siblings (so I am told, because I don't remember it myself, but I think I have seen it in the wondering eyes of my own infants). Later on he may call everything furry on four legs "kitty" but eventually he learns the difference between a dog and a cat and maybe learns to love a litter of kitties in his garage (if he is one of Chari's kids) and names them and knows their personalities.
In the same way, when I'm doing things, I find it very helpful to divide... to emphasize different things at different times. It is the very nature of any project to be done one step at a time, and that is a division.
The Jesuits always said, "Divide and conquer!" which allowed them to do great things in the service of God. But of course, it was all about God: "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!" " All for the greater glory of God!" was what they also said. The division was in the service of the conquering, which would add up to Restoring All Things in Christ.
Jesus did not reprimand Martha for having a list of discrete tasks to get done. He told her gently that she was missing the point, the way the scattered bits are really One Thing.
So that is where I got stuck in my planning series, because I really don't want planning to become scattered bits everywhere, and I wouldn't want those who might read my posts to think that either. Since I set out to writing my planning posts to encourage others and share ideas, I didn't want to write out of a state of complexity. There is enough complexity in the world and planning your homeschooling is really as simple as what Jesus told Martha! All the rest is, or ought to be, in service of Him and His plans. I need that posted on my computer screen.
Rather than just keep going I decided to pause and pray. I also got rather busy because I started our summer term and even though it is very lowkey, altering my own habits always requires lots of focus.
Now I have a few ideas for how to continue. But I want to devote a whole post to this aspect because it is so KEY to what I always forget during busy seasons, or at least don't dwell on enough.. I am telling this to myself most of all:
- Every endeavour starts, continues and ends in prayer, or it's in vain.
- What system you use for planning does not matter all that much. It's in service to your purpose, which is the important part of the whole thing.
- The important division is: Preparation Action Conclusion (the motto of St Maximilian Kolbe). You can see my Kolbe Academy roots are showing, and indeed their philosophy informs practically everything I do in my homeschool, in one way or another.