Sunday, October 28, 2018

Frozen in Inaction due to Fear

The fear of failure is bringing the past into the future 

while doing nothing today.  


This isn't a great quote from anywhere (unless I am remembering something I read somewhere and I don't know where) but just from my pondering this morning as I think about the planning I need to do for groceries this week and this next interval of school work. 

I am over sitting down to do either of these jobs and having my gut recoil in fear.  And so often to avoid that pain I won't do anything, just making it worse next time it becomes critical to do these jobs.  I am also doing more research into my migraine symptoms as they occur and too often Google tells me that my symptoms are anxiety headaches yet I don't think I feel anxious.  Maybe my gut reaction is saying something different.

Off to eat my frogs,
Jen



Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Agile and Adaptive Planning for Homeschoolers

I was looking around one day on planning ideas from the corporate world that may fit the homeschool world.   Most of this post is about my thoughts when reading a Wikipedia entry on Agile Software Development.  (accessed 25 October 2017)


Agile software development describes a set of values and principles for software development under which requirements and solutions evolve through the collaborative effort of self-organizing cross-functional teams.[1] It advocates adaptive planning, evolutionary development, early delivery, and continuous improvement, and it encourages rapid and flexible response to change.

Adaptive planning is definitely what we need in our home schools.  Children change just as often and often more drastically than the needs of a client would change for a software developer.  We certainly can not hold too tightly to any plan and we need to be flexibly responsive to our "client's" needs.

Most agile development methods break product development work into small increments that minimize the amount of up-front planning and design. Iterations, or sprints, are short time frames (timeboxes) that typically last from one to four weeks.

I find myself planning in small bursts but in 5-6 weeks bursts.  I find that I can in the most part successfully complete my goals in science, history and geography but I do find there is a need to be flexible with maths and language arts as these require understanding before moving on.

Also in looking further into timeboxes I found that the most important factor is the time constraint for the most important part of the project.  It can mean loss of some of the ideal parts but the biggest emphasis is on completing the most important parts within the time frame set.  This is certainly how science, history and geography can be treated.  I may not get every activity done, every map completed or every experiment done in real life but we do keep the most important parts.

Compared to traditional software engineering, agile software development mainly targets complex systems and product development with dynamic, non-deterministic and non-linear characteristics. Accurate estimates, stable plans, and predictions are often hard to get in early stages, and confidence in them is likely to be low.
In looking up the definition of non-deterministic I learned that a deterministic system always produces the same output from a given starting condition or state.  Non-deterministic is definitely how I would describe children.  There is definitely no way they all develop the same way.  So in our homeschool planning we need to take this into account.  In my early days of homeschooling I definitely thought I had found the One and Only curriculum for certain subjects.  Needless to say more money and bookshelf space later I have learned that there isn't any one solution for my whole school.  I have had to flex and not hold too tightly to any plan because my children are "dynamic, non-deterministic and non-linear".    That is sort of what makes it fun.

Scott Ambler states that documentation should be "Just Barely Good Enough" (JBGE),[35] that too much or comprehensive documentation would usually cause waste, and developers rarely trust detailed documentation because it's usually out of sync with code,[34] while too little documentation may also cause problems for maintenance, communication, learning and knowledge sharing.

This part really resonated with me.  I don't know how many times I have planned out a whole year in full detail, printed it and bound it, to only find that it is out of sync with how our school year goes.  I love a plan, don't get me wrong, but I have learned that it is better to have goals for both skills and topics to be covered and then I only put in definite details as we approach each block when I am more aware of our health, our other commitments, our interruptions and our resources.  

It is always useful seeing that the corporate world's ideas on planning can be helpful.  It just takes being reflective and considering how the ideas can help us in our homes.

Best wishes
Jen

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Week in Review Week 18 2018

I really thought this week would be a write off as I had all the signs of having a virus on the weekend but despite horrible headaches and a major amount of mucus I was able to get a barely minimum school week happening. 

We started a new maths curriculum and it is working out well, especially as I am using my Yogabook to chromecast to our lounge TV.  It is almost like having a smart board.  I can teach a lesson with ease and then assign the boys their work to do at their desks.

And my youngest, now almost ten, has been having a good attitude towards his assignments so that has been good too.

The bad part of my week was having my favourite guinea pig get sick and having a roller coaster ride as I tried to find out if she could be saved.  Sadly she couldn't. 😢

And I didn't get to do the extras but some is a lot better than none and considering my health physically and then emotionally then it wasn't too bad.  And next week is a fresh start.

Thank goodness!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Camping in April

My life can get really busy at times.  This last week was a little unusual but not that different to a more usual week.

My husband works in IT and had to deal with a major issue on Monday night leaving me to drop and pick up 3 boys from 2 activities.  Then I worked 4 full nights 4.30 to midnight.  By Saturday morning we were wondering about the wisdom of having booked a camp site for 2 nights this weekend, especially as I was working a six hour shift in the afternoon.  We ummed and aahhed but decided that camping wasn't for the weak anyway and we decided to not cancel.

It ended up being a great two nights away.  We had friends visit (their camper is in for repairs) and the boys had fun.  We explored a creek, played in a waterhole and had a camp fire each night.  (Everything stinks of smoke, isn't that a sign of good times?!)

We have learned that we need a better checklist for camping so that if we don't see each other before it we can still make time to be together as a family but we had all the essentials and the weather was lovely.

Now to book the next one and to remember it was good.  No wimping unless it is cyclonic or bushfires.  lol  The time out in nature is worth it.

Best wishes
Jen
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