Monday, August 8, 2016

Rooting Out Perfectionism

I'm a recovering perfectionist.
I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again.
It has taken years of God's working in my life ~
moving me overseas almost 13 years ago now, rocky days in a marriage that didn't look like anything I'd imagined, secondary infertility, the miscarriage of a baby long-prayed for, the birth of four daughters {one if which was born with a heart condition}, trying to learn a new language, ministry hardships that included lies, unjust accusations, and slander, planting a baby church from the ground up, learning disabilities, sickness, need, fear, and a continual opening of my eyes to my sinful self ~
to slowly root out the lies of perfectionism I've believed.

For too many years, my worth was wrapped up in what I could achieve, how well I performed.
Every time I failed, what I thought I was worth plummeted.
Satan preyed upon me daily.
When I did well at something, I was the greatest Christian that had ever lived!
When something didn't go as well as I'd planned, I was the worst sinner that had ever walked the earth.
I lived my life on that swinging pendulum of pride and despair.
As I'm a slow learner, it has taken me many years to grasp the truth that my worth is not in me at all.
I have worth because I'm God's own dear child.

But learning that truth was only part of my battle.
For it to make any difference in my daily life, I had to root out the perfectionist thought patterns I'd accepted and replace them with new ways of thinking.

One of the ideas that helped me most was the concept of partial solutions.
I'm not exactly sure when or where I stumbled across this notion {as I didn't actually have a name for it until just recently ~ thanks, Tsh!}, but it really was revolutionary to my thinking.
{It had been squirreling around in my brain for a while, but I'm pretty sure God gave me baby #4 to cement it in there!}
Partial solutions is simply making do with what you have until you find something better.
As a perfectionist, I used to struggle with cleaning my house, because if I didn't have six hours to scrub everything and make it look immaculate, I couldn't clean anything.
If I didn't have three hours a day to do my language studies in absolute quiet, then I couldn't study at all.
If I couldn't do my devotions first thing in the morning, feeling completely rested, with no noise, I couldn't do them.
For years I didn't have any kind of prayer life, because my prayer journal didn't look just right.
I even had a spiritual excuse: It's a sin to do less than your best.
You know, good ol' Ecclesiastes 9:10 ~ Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might...
The reality is that I was twisting Scripture.
This verse doesn't mean only do things perfectly.
It means that whatever you are supposed to do at this moment, do your best.

With the idea of partial solutions, I was able to gain victory over the lies of perfection that had bound me for many years.
Now, I've learned to take little bits of time here and there and clean what I can, when I can, and my house is actually much cleaner than it used to be.
Using even fifteen minutes to sit down and study the language has seen me progress much farther than those sporadic blocks of time ever did before.
I have a set time to do devotions, but if something happens and they don't get done then, that's okay.
I find another time to work them in, or I split them up. At times that means reading part of the Scripture in the morning, slipping away to pray after lunch, and finishing after school is done for the day.
I realized that if I was ever going to have a prayer life, I'd just have to go with what I had, even if that meant scribbly, messy pages in an old notebook.
Are partial solutions the ultimate answer?
Not necessarily, but most of the time, I've learned that doing something is better than doing nothing.
In accepting partial solutions, I've been able to tear down at least one of those destructive, sinful ways of thinking.
And anything that roots Satan's lies out of my mind is a good thing!

On that note, I'm sharing my homeschool schedule here today.
If you don't teach your children, then you may stop here {wink!}.
We follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy of education, so of course, our schedule is specific to that, but I've learned over the years that seeing the way others do things often sparks something helpful in my own mind.
As I've been talking to some friends here and online about school schedules, I thought it would be easiest to share it here.
My girls are 12, 9, 4, and 2, but birthdays for all of them are just around the corner.

Almost three years ago now, my fourth daughter was born at the very beginning of our school year. That was a year of utter put it mildly.
Last year I realized that I had to have something on paper, or my kids would never get taught anything. I spent a good deal of time praying {usually late at night after I'd finished feeding baby and all was quiet}, and do believe the Lord guided me.
I don't do well with a minute-by-minute detailed schedule {they rule me, not the other way around}, but I realized that I did need a rhythm.
I learned that having "hooks" or set points for certain things throughout my day helped a lot.
Once those were set, I was able slide things into place between the hooks.
As my older girls are getting older and into more complex work, I'm adding a new student {my almost five year old}, and my almost three year old needs structure so she doesn't run wild, I knew that this year would have to be better planned.
I spent free-thinking time {washing dishes, chopping onions, switching and hanging laundry} praying and thinking about what would work for us.
I scrawled out ideas, added to them, marked them out, and moved things around a lot, until I found something that seemed to make our days run smoothly.
This year I decided to plan blocks of time for each subject, rather doing a subject and then moving to the next when finished. I got this idea from Elsie at @farmhouse_schoolhouse {she is a wealth of CM homeschooling and beauty, by the way!} The older girls have that block of time to learn their lesson, do any required work that goes along with it, and explore it further, if they wish. They can also use the time to work on other work that didn't get finished during its block. The little two have two small shelves with items they can use on their own. I'm training them to take one thing at a time, sit at their own little table, play with it, and then put it back on the shelf. I rotate the items on the shelves regularly.
So here it is {I have included links for anyone interested in what we use}:

7-9 am Mom and girls get up, make bed, get ready, do devotions {mama and big girls}, little two come with mama and make breakfast. I also decide what is for lunch and supper at this time. At breakfast we do family Bible reading, prayer time, Scripture memory, and habit training.

9-10 am We begin school. We pray, state our motto, and recite our daily rungs. I assign copywork, music practice {guitar and piano}, and their personal reading book for the older two. I have Bible planned for 30 minutes and Spell to Write and Read for 30 minutes. While I do Bible with my older two ~ we are studying the epistles right now and doodling through them, my younger two are coloring a page in their Bible story book coloring book. When I finish working with the older two, I leave them to finish doodling their page and read the littles the Bible story that goes along with their picture for the day. We do our SWR lesson {a life-saver for our dyslexic daughter} while the littles have free-play {see above}.

10-11 am Math is scheduled for one hour. While I teach the lesson to the older girls, the littles free-play or play in their room, next door to the library. After the girls are ready to do their own work, I teach/play with the littles, working on numbers. During this time I am loading or unloading the laundry and hanging it out to dry {littles go with me and we do numbers outside}.

11-noon The big girls have Science scheduled for 30 minutes and Grammar for 30 minutes. As above, I do whatever teaching the girls need for Science {though this curriculum is heavy on their own work, reading, experimenting and journaling} and assign any living Science books they will be reading, while the littles free-play. I then choose a living science book and read with the littles. I take the littles and start prepping lunch. After 30 minutes, I do or assign Grammar work for the older girls and then finish up lunch prep with the littles at my side.

Noon-1 pm Lunch, foreign language {Asante Twi, the language we minister in}, and family read aloud

1-1:30 pm Together Stuff: Monday is nature study and folksong, Tuesday is Shakespeare, Wednesday is hymn study, Thursday is our composer, Friday is Picture study.

1:30-3:00 pm History/Geography are scheduled for one hour. I teach the older girls their lesson and give living history book assignments while the littles free-play, then I learn/play with letters with the littles. When that is done, I take the littles outside and start doing personal read alouds, with each girl having her turn with me. By 3:00 the read alouds are done {they usually take 10-20 minutes for each} and everybody has picked up their own mess in the library.

The only thing not on the schedule is Art, because we mix it in as forms of narration across different subjects, and from time to time use Craftsy classes, which would usually be done during the 1:30-4:00 pm slot.

3:00-4:00 pm Snack time and everybody outside. Mom takes a break, does chores, computer work, reads {mother culture!}, etc.

4:00-5:00 This year I'm hoping to use this slot for some one-on-one time with a different girl daily, and leaving my busiest day free.

5:00 pm Family Blessing Hour! Time for everybody to pitch in and help make our home neat, tidy, and enjoyable to be in! I'm cooking supper.

6:00 pm Eat!

And there you have it!

1 comment:

  1. Too cool to read this! I love your schedule and how you incorporate classical appreciation into your week. I have got to read up on Charlotte Mason. You have me so curious!