Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Homeschool Manual


Have you ever had a really good idea but then in the flow of life with its ups and downs never implemented it?  Or maybe you have?

Today I found I had implemented a really good idea... twice.  :-)

As I have shuffled things around in this house I got 2 filing boxes in one place at one time and in looking through them realised that I had set up an almost identical filing system twice over for our homeschooling papers.

After having to read a training manual at work this last week I realised that I need a manual for homeschooling.  I am creating a document that lists out my goals for homeschooling, my plans for school, where things are stored and how the paper should flow through this system.

I am even thinking of creating a flow chart to show where things go when.  lol  Too much?!

Folders and boxes are now getting labels with official sounding names like Future Planning - Lesson Plans and Materials (a binder for the overview of topics and how they fit into the big picture) and Future Planning - Subject Materials (a large file box with folders for each subject for those miscellaneous things you find like a great game or crossword puzzle or fun activity, and folders for each resource that I have to copy to use eg Critical Thinking books, and folders for lessons plans with the materials that relate to them and a list of other resources and their location.

I already have Subject Boxes sitting in a bookshelf that have the current books that we are using for that subject and a small file folder that contains any worksheets or printed resources that will be needed for the current week.  Next week's work is in the Future Planning - Lesson Plans and Materials binder or the Future Planning - Subject Materials box.

The planning side of my personality is already feeling better.  I hate feeling overwhelmed.

So, how many people have a homeschool manual?  What do you have in yours and why did you decide to create it?

Best wishes

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Time Management Alone Not Enough - Essay

This is an essay I wrote last year for a Uni prep subject.  Thought I would post it here.  Looking back at it I can see it has a few wrinkles but still it got me a good mark.  :)

Having dreams and being able to put in place actions that will lead to their realisation is a feature of humans that sets them apart from animals.  Many wonderful inventions such as the light bulb, the aeroplane and liquid paper have been created from the dreams in the minds of passionate and creative men and women.  Knowing how to turn those ethereal dreams and goals into physical realities effectively requires appropriate tools for time management and the achievement of dreams and goals for individuals, and for our society as a whole.  Time management alone is not sufficient.
Most people get caught up in thinking that if they finish their daily To Do List or achieve that elusive goal that their life will be complete.  This action component of goal setting is not enough though, unless it is acknowledged that humans are not only a physical body completing physical actions but also a spiritual being that needs meaning in life. Covey et al. (1994) and Smith (2000) agree that goal setting without a guiding passion or value can lead to feelings of dissatisfaction with life.  To Do Lists alone fail to bring dreams into reality for most.
In “First Things First” Covey et al. (1994) writes of four generations of time management. It is suggested that people with the first generation time management style action tasks without thought of priorities while second generation style time managers plan and schedule but don’t relate these activities to their priorities.  While possibly being able to be effective in their lives, those who follow either of the former styles will most likely find themselves living without a definite purpose in life and a feeling of dissatisfaction.  They are not realising their dreams. 
Third generation style time management people “achieve sizable gains in personal productivity through focused daily planning and prioritization” (Covey et al, 1994:25). While this may sound worthwhile this style may also prove dissatisfying.  The fourth generation moves on to a higher level of thinking, involving being aware of personal values, and being in touch with an individual’s uniqueness and their possible contribution to this world as they make decisions about what is written on their daily lists and what are their goal and dreams for life (Covey et al, 1994).  This level of time management is more likely to realise the dreams of those who utilise it.
Many time management systems available today focus on the second and third generation styles of organising, planning and creating task lists and schedules.  They miss the essential heart of the matter: that humans have hearts, with passions and a creativity that no other living being on this earth has.  Napoleon Hill (1965) suggests that each of us has a Major Definite Purpose in life and that when it is discovered we will know it for it will create a surge of energy in us (Hill, 1965:53).  Covey et al. (1994) also discuss creating a Mission Statement that inspires the individual and anchors them to that passion that helps make life worthwhile (Covey et al., 1994:116).
In day to day life there is a need to remember that humans are passionate and when driven by worthwhile dreams can achieve great feats.  While setting goals and writing task lists is a creditable action, it is valuable to note that there needs to be value in those goals and tasks or life can become a mundane pile of completed lists instead of a life of purpose.  When an individual knows what their passions are and what they value in life it will lead to a more satisfying life for them and will turn add value to our society as they achieve their dreams. 
There is a definite urgency for a different outlook on time management systems that acknowledges all of an individual’s needs, both spiritual and physical, if the human race is to continue flourishing as individuals, and as a whole.  Having purpose and reason to complete those To Do Lists will benefit the whole human race, not just the individual, and is a worthwhile reason to change how time is “managed”.

Covey, S.R., Merrill, A.R. & Merrill, R.R. 1994, First Things First, Fireside, New York, NY, USA.
Hill, N. 1965, The Master-Key to Riches, Ballantine Books, USA.
Smith, H.W. 2000, What Matters Most: the Power of Living Your Values, Fireside, New York, NY, USA.

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