As Good as a Feast
We spread an abundant and delicate feast in the programmes and each small guest assimilates what he can–Charlotte Mason
Enough is as good as a feast–Ma Ingalls
Jennifer Louden writes about a practice she calls conditions of enoughness. She says big tasks–like writing a novel or educating a child–are so big we tend to get overwhelmed with their size and scope before we even start. So she offers conditions of enoughness as an antidote. She makes a container for her work. And when it’s full, when she’s met the conditions, that’s enough.
Here’s an example from housekeeping. It is a truth universally acknowledged that house work will expand to fill any available space. As much as outer order contributes to inner calm for me, there are other things on my list that call for my time and attention. Enter the Apartment Therapy list. If I am keeping up with laundry, meals, dishes, and this 1 extra thing each day, I can count on meaningful progress. I don’t clean like this every month–usually start thinking about it before guests come or a shift that is going to take my energy for a season (school starting). The list is my container, my condition of enoughness. I don’t have to clean the whole house today, just what’s on the list. Then I’m done, and I’ve got forward momentum without overwhelm.
You can read more about Jen’s ideas here. But here’s my homeschooling version:
- Name what is enough–have a clear plan of what’s expected
- Include a time element–I work in weeks because they’re less variable than a day but small enough that I can keep track of them!
- Ensure that it’s a plan for an average day, not a superhuman day–this is the heart of the questions for homeschooling mamas! The Hounds of More are always calling for another program, one more activity, a little more exercise, one more book. There are real limits to how much we can cram into a day.
- Celebrate that you accomplished what you said you would–especially because it won’t feel like enough.
I am knee deep in discerning what an average, human-sized homeschool day looks like for us. Leadership Education has been invaluable in this process. It’s not all about scaling things down. It’s about crafting a day that’s nourishing, spacious, and sustainable. And I am making sure to include the children in our daily celebrations, honoring the work that they do each day.
This idea has been slowly taking shape in my mind this season. And it will take 10,000 days to work out. What do your average days look like?
Really appreciate how you are taking the teacher into account when thinking about what is sustainable. Too often, in wanting to do what’s best for the kids, we forget to consider ourselves. When we plan, we talk about what’s best for the family in the season we are in and try to dance our way towards it.
Ha! Makes me think of the Tolkien quote: It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near her. Love your image of dancing closer…
For the record I didnt call anyone a dragon :)…lol I should have said break dance. Someone in my house has stale clothes on, throws themselves on the floor and plays with cardboard (thanks Amazon!) everday!
I was calling myself the dragon!
I love your wise words…
Thanks, Mama! <3
I love this. ♥
It made my day to know that *you* are reading along here, Brandy! Peace keep you, dear one.
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