Cardinal Alternative Learning

Infinitely Tweakable Education. Because Learning is a Dynamic Process.

Too Tight, Too Loose, Just Right

I’m still figuring out what exactly I want this blog to be.  I think it’s primarily a place to share what excites me and my family, and enjoy the process of sharing, whether anyone out there is really listening or not.  Of course, I’d love to encourage others the way that I’m encouraged by great blogs I read!  But I’m a thinker, a planner, an infinite tweaker, and having a safe space to track and process what’s working, what’s challenging, the “strong moments” of victory, the big picture that inspires me – I really need it.  So by blogging, I can let people self-select and opt in if they’re interested, versus cornering family and friends and talking their ears off!

That said, this is what I’m tweaking these days…

Too tight.  We started the year with a pretty strong sense of structure or routine to each day and week, but I knew we’d loosen up as time went on.  I do think it helped us get off to a good start, helping D feel “official” in her learning like her friends going to brick-and-mortar schools.  But some days we need the freedom to take the tasks on the visual planner for the day out of order, to make room for baby, for errands or for outings.  Some days we need more time to cuddle with books or for a creative streak D has gotten on. Some weeks the history lesson just isn’t quite as interesting, so rather than belabor the point, we’re spending some extra time reading about or watching science that fascinates her (more about this on another day).  Because if we’re too busy “schooling” for those things, we’re missing the point of homeschooling, right?  Veering a little off plan for more important things feels so good!

Too loose.  Fun Fridays – what a great concept.  But “fun for who?” has become my inner cry!  The idea was that we would reserve this day for free-flowing, fun things like art, games, experiments, projects, the library, sometimes field trips (beach-schooling, museum-schooling, etc.).  I thought it would be a treat for both of us – four days to be more disciplined, focused, do the less-enjoyed things like handwriting, and then reward ourselves for our good labor on day five.  I still like the idea and want to find a way to make it work.  But week one, Fun Friday exhausted me – too many D-focused activities packed into one day!  Week two, I planned for fewer activities and more balance, including a few things specifically intended to recharge me. D didn’t get that memo, and I’m trying to give her the benefit of the doubt that the lack of a predictable plan is part of what caused her “regrettable” attitude.  So this week, we’re going to try (loosely) scheduling the fun and relaxation – first music, then art, then a nice little walk around the neighborhood, etc.  We’ll see how it goes!

Just right.  Thinking about all of this this morning, I decided the change the blog’s tagline to reflect a personal mantra.  Learning, just like balance, is a dynamic process.  You can’t judge results by any one moment; whatever’s happening in that moment, you can adjust for it in the next.  Whatever a particular day looks like, what I want is to be able to look back over the weeks and years with satisfaction, to see an overall pattern of good work enjoyed, skills and character developed, and relationships built.  So far, pretty good!

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One thought on “Too Tight, Too Loose, Just Right

  1. You are really inspiring! I’m excited to see what Dia does with her life, who she becomes. So far she is amazing and layered beyond her years.

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