Enemy #1: The Telephone
It never fails. When things are cruising along nicely, we're on top of the jobs that need to get done, we're checking things off (math, language, reading...check, check, check...) there goes the phone. There are about three people who have permission to call me during the day because they usually have something to do with my life as it is and the call usually goes, "Hey, super-quick because I don't want to interrupt school..."
I am telling you this because for some reason I have gone totally slack on my commitment NOT TO ANSWER THE PHONE. I am writing this because this week, I will not answer the phone unless the person is on that very, very short list of people who have access to our school day. There. If someone is not on that short list, I will get back to them after 3:00 in the afternoon.
Enemy #2: The Night Owl Factor
I love the quiet of the evening after the kids are asleep. It's when I am most alert, most productive, and most content. Now that they are a little older, they don't go to bed at 8:00 consistently anymore, and I need a couple of hours after they go to bed. Going to bed late means that I sleep later. Sleeping later means that I need my time to wake up in the morning because I am not an up-and-at 'em kinda gal. I need some time to shake out the cobwebs. Shaking out the cobwebs means we start school later. Starting school later means we are much more likely to be interrupted by the need to go on an errand, eat, or a telephone call (see enemy #1). In spite of my love for the late night hours, when I go to bed an hour after the kids, read for a bit and then fall asleep (by 10:30 is perfect) the following school day is usually great! This is the hardest habit for me to break. My husband is also a night-owl, so it makes it doubly difficult.
Enemy #3: Neglecting the Lesson Plans
If I do not fully plan the lessons for the week and sit down with the kiddos to help them own and set their goals, then I can plan to have the kind of week that lacks direction and structure. I need to have that "meeting time" with them to help them own and set their goals.
I am writing this post because this is the kind of week I have had. While I did well with the children, getting their core subjects done, the week felt constantly interrupted and disjointed. I want to set the goal this week to get these things in line. We are beginning a new quarter this week, and it is a good time to make minor adjustments. The question I have to ask then is what changes can I make to improve these areas? After all, they are really minor adjustments, because for the most part things are moving along better this year than they ever have. I have already made one adjustment for Enemy #1, and that is a message on the voice mail that says, "We're not available. If it is a school day, we'll return your call after 3:00 p.m." Simple. Adjusting for Enemy #2 is not as easy, but it is even more simple than #1 and requires no technology--get ready for bed when the kids get ready, and turn in an hour after they do. The self-discipline it takes to turn off the computer and actually settle in earlier is the hard part. The adjustment for #3 is coming--the end of football season. Now that the playoffs are over, I can reclaim my Sunday afternoons, which is my best time for planning lessons. (Yes, I admit that I am a football fan. Green Bay Packers. Don't mess with my football-watching time. Some things just have to be...)
Hopefully these minor adjustments will make for a smooth school week. We'll see how it goes--I'll report back in a week.