One of the best things I did was to borrow Aleisha's fantastic weekly schedule visual. Have you seen hers? I love the idea that the kid(s) help create it, thereby owning it to an extent. And displaying it helps keep everyone on track. --I borrowed from it liberally, because she has things laid out so well.
I also borrowed some organizational finesse from Spinneretta, of The Jacobite Rose. She's got the best planner idea I've seen yet! And using downloads from Spinneretta herself and Donna Young, I've now got a working planner. Emphasis on working. Yes, I'm actually able to plan stuff, keep it in one place, and follow through. I've added a handwritten sheet for Goals (both emotional and educational) for my girls, and I'm good to go. I'm trying to write in pencil on those weekly sheets, so that I can erase anything we don't get done, and then move the item to the next day. What I'm left with is a record of what has actually happened, rather than what I intended to happen. I'm really loving it, and I think the nice thing about the planner is that it's something tangible that I can look at the night before and see what I need to prepare/do/think about in order to be fully present the next day.
I usually get so caught up in my own needs after my three kids go to bed that I forget to think about tomorrow. I get so bent on trying to get that dose of time for myself, no matter how minuscule it may be some nights, that I find myself often walking into the next day ill-prepared.
I've been reading such provoking books lately, perhaps the most so is Eugene Schwartz's lectures Rhythms and Turning Points in the Life of the Child. In the first lecture he says such incredibly smart things that, had I been underlining, the book would have looked ridiculous when I was through. One of those incredible things he says is parallel to something we learned with our exploration of Rosh Hashana-- that the new day starts at sundown. He says if you prepare for the lesson the night before, if you think about/meditate on the children in your care, you then take all of that with you into your sleep where you meet in spirit form with the children, have a "cosmic main lesson," and receive guidance, not only from higher spirits but from the children as well.
I've heard this sort of stuff many times over the years, and while I believe in this spirit world he refers to, it has been awhile since I really made an ongoing, conscious effort to sit with the lessons and my thoughts at night. It's so easy to slide into the place of meeting my own immediate needs, rather than looking ahead to tomorrow. But Schwartz reminds me that the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. That this nightly preparation has such measurable effects, that it works and can be proven.
"Think of a main lesson that went especially well, one that you can look back on... you could look back on it and not only say, "Well, that was good. They really learned something" but you feel your inner being is somewhat transformed. You feel as though you and the children were speaking together, your hearts were beating as one, you were breathing as one. Something happened. Then look back on it and I'm certain that you will find two things occurred. One is that some point you practically threw your main lesson plan out the window and started to teach something rather different. It was still in that subject but quite changed and metamorphosed from what you imagined. And most likely the reason you did it that way was because a child asked a question... it was as though they were feeding you what you needed to say. It was coming out of their being and as they heard you speak what was on their soul, they smiled and said, "Ah" or grew more and more enthusiastic."
My inner being transformed? Our hearts beating as one? Breathing as one?
All this for planning ahead? Count me in!