Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sharpening My Saw

Over the years, I've read widely and incorporated many great ideas I've learned into my own family.

One lesson I learned and still value is the importance of taking the time to 'sharpen my saw'.  

There are many stories about the importance of this, and here is just one:
A man was struggling in the woods to saw down a tree. An old farmer came by, watched for a while, then quietly said, “What are you doing?”
“Can’t you see?” the man impatiently replied, “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look exhausted,” said the farmer. “How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours, and I’m beat,” replied the man. “This is hard work.”
“That saw looks pretty dull,” said the farmer. “Why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen it? I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”
In this story, it is pretty obvious that if the man took a few minutes to sharpen his saw, he would be able to save a lot of time afterwards. However, in our lives, it isn’t always so obvious when we need to stop and “sharpen the saw.”

I have learned over the years to take some time- usually on Sunday afternoons- to plan the following week and re-evaluate my life goals in general.  
It helps me see where I'm going and where  I may be getting off track.

When it comes to the education of my children, I like to really focus for two or three days on what I envision for the upcoming school year.   It is then that I comb through my school supplies and curriculum, seeing what I have and listing what I will need.
I plan my general schedule, leaving room for flexibility. 
I also include my children in the planning; asking about their interests, etc.
For me, home education with my kids is...Endless Possibilities!

I only give myself a few days to a week in order to organize my coming school year.
The reason for this, is that I could spend all year sifting through wonderful curriculum catalogs, reading homeschool reviews, planning and replanning and daydreaming about what it will be like.
I have been educating my children for over 12 years now and I have yet to see all of my lofty school visions realized in a school year.   
I could plan forever and enjoy it very much....but the fact is I need action in order for education to take place.  
And by action, I don't mean it's all up to me.  My children know that they are equally responsible for their own learning.

It's just that spending all your time sharpening your saw and no time cutting is just as bad as spending all your time cutting and not sharpening....if not worse.

Many years I felt desperate for some quiet time to myself, time for planning.  It was virtually impossible with babies and toddlers needing my constant attention.  Still, by honing my multi-tasking skills, I was able to get it done in stops and starts.
I have filled many a notebook with thoughts and ideas through the years!
This summer is special.  My beloved Man of the House has taken all but one of the children on a camping trip in order to give me time and peace to do my planning.  

For me, a woman who cherishes books and cameras  more than rubies and diamonds; this was a gift indeed.
 I will be busy sharpening my saw for the next few days and relishing the leisure to do so. 

Here's to mindful contemplation and summer stillness for the weekend!

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