I’ve found that sometimes the simplest of plans are the most effective.
Take our set-up routine, for example. Each month with our Mother Goose Time curriculum, we receive a new calendar with separate date pieces to assemble. The first go-around with Mother Goose Time, when my oldest was 4, I would the calendar, along with the other Circle Time board pieces, before we started our month. Everything was in place and ready to go come the 1st of the month. We would identify what day of the week and date it was, mark it off, and get going with our day.
Now with two, more out of necessity any strategy, the first month we received our cute little school bus curriculum box,
I decided that I would pull out the calendar and get it ready while the kids were exploring the rest of the box. I just didn’t have the extra time and energy in the evenings to pull together my Circle Time board on my own.
And just organically, I found myself leading my youngest, who is now 4, through assembling the calendar with me. What was really just happenstance became an awesome, impromptu time of learning.
It was a great exercise in counting, talking about the days of the week and the months of the year. We identified the pattern for that month, that is represented by different graphics on the date pieces, and it became an exercise of small motor skills, using tape or glue sticks to apply the dates to the calendar.
So that is what we do now. We pull out our Circle Time bag full of materials for the month, grab our calendar, pop out our perforated date pieces, and get to learning. And bonus – my kids now feel a little bit more ownership and inclusion when it comes to our homeschool. They recognize that they can be a part of setting up our environment and contributing to the learning environment, and I love that.
I love it when God slows me down enough to show me the beauty and fun in just going along with Him instead of feeling like I need a plan and to be super organized all the time. Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for all of that, and I am usually there, loving life. But I am also learning to enjoy the beauty of the casual and the spontaneous fun in the moment.
Effective teaching doesn’t have to look like a full two hours worth of lessons and games, videos and fun dances. It can, for sure! But it can also look like spending 15 minutes connecting with your student, exploring what is in front of you – whether that’s a calendar or nature or book – and just learning more about how your little one thinks.
Effective teaching looks a lot like a less-stressed teacher finding her own rhythms and joy in the teaching, and it tends to overflow into whatever activities are being facilitated.
Now one of my goals is to no longer dismiss the less the ideal because it wasn’t what I originally expected, but to hunt for the treasures that God has hidden in those moments and days that I’m just not out ahead of it and don’t really have a plan. Because He still does. And it’s much better than mine could ever be!