It’s Got to be Sustainable

I have been making schedules left and right in preparation for our “official” school year. I mean, we do technically go year round but during this season, I feel the need to schedule a bit more (academically) to make sure we get some of those gaps filled in and also to try to encourage my kids to do some purposeful independent learning. I am probably not the only momma though who has a huge list of things for us to do and explore -forgetting that there are 24 hours in a day but not 24 hours in our day. We have to eat and sleep and shower…all that right? So maybe we don’t have as much time as I think we do.


I stumbled across something called the Get One Thing Done course by Michael Nobbs recently.  I liked the sounds of this one right away. Get ONE thing done. Not get it all done or get some things done but simply, get ONE thing done.   The idea is that we really do have a limit on our time and energy, so we need to acknowledge that one. Just admit it and be okay with it. And we can still honor and feed a creative life.  How?  Like so many things, baby steps. Its taking things ONE at a time.  These are great lessons for me when it comes to homeschooling, as well as home keeping….In so many aspects of life, we can really use this wisdom!


I love his tea; I love his accent. I love his focus on slowing down so that we can live a creative life. I think back to when I was a child. I was always reading or writing, sketching, dancing, making music, or even just coloring pictures. I did a bit of knitting and crochet; I would sew and have fun baking fancy and silly looking treats. As I got older, as I became a momma, that all stopped. Why?


He speaks so clearly to me as he says: ”  I would rush at my work, I would exhaust myself. I would want it finished NOW.”


I can relate to this so much myself. And while I always saw that as a good thing, to begin and complete a project as soon as possible, as I read and listen to Michael Nobbs, I have to say I am really rethinking my thinking. Perhaps the “right now” thinking, is a form of stinking thinking? Could it be that I am setting up expectations for myself (and even my family) that are totally not possible?

Work within your limits; let the day flow.



These are some of the wise, simple words he shares. He reminds us to take the day as it comes, living life one day at a time. This is something that has really been on my mind lately. As I have read my Bible and prayed; I hear again and again reminders to be blessed in today because tomorrow is not promised. I am reminded that we need to be intentionally present in our family and our home. Are we seeing the blessings in the little things we encounter each day ? Are we seeing the opportunities presented in the trials which come our way? Everything IS an opportunity.



IN this first week it is all about choosing that one thing which fits nicely within our limits. He encourages us to brainstorm creative projects. Make a list perhaps. Write ideas or projects we would like to, have considered, trying. Some of the things on my list are as follows:


  • drawing, sketching
  • crochet
  • sewing (I have a machine…never really used it yet)
  • piano
  • coloring for fun
  • baking (decorating)
  • quilting
  • writing
  • calligraphy
  • needlepoint
  • language studies (hebrew)
  • flute playing
  • arm knitting
  • skating
  • dog training (can be creative yes?)
  • Prayer



From there he helps us to select the proper tools for whatever creative project we are determining to do. Of course before all of that we need to choose ONE (he is big on the one thing theme in this course) so I chose to begin with sketching. Its something two of my four children really enjoy; it can be something fun and relaxing we can do together. And it can be done anywhere so with things beginning in our “homeschool year” its a thing we can do anywhere we go. I also determined to make sewing one of those projects because, my mother in law is going down this weekend and will be helping me get my machine in order while here. So perhaps that will make it much more possible for me to do some creative projects on that if I can get comfortable with it in the time she is here. And of course writing is one that, as I blog here, is definitely a part of all of this. Surely in time I will get to more of the things on this list but for now, one project for each of these chosen. Perhaps I can arm knit a fabulous blanket or wrap before winter comes. I can maybe complete a fleece blanket with my daughter too. And as I do these things; I determine to blog my progress right here. (there’s something — can I continue through the whole class — alas, so many projects started never to be finished). Thankfully this course is here to help encourage me to get out of this alleys starting never really finishing, thing I seem to be trapped in.




Now, he says we only need three things things really: a pen, a notebook and a kitchen timer.  My timer is a little pink piggy. I have a lovely notebook I was so blessed with by a sweet Sister in our church and some lovely colored pencils and pens to make all of this bright and beautiful! That is all we need. For now anyway.





He is a big believer in creating small amounts (containers) of time to create in. If we make the time available small, if we don’t over expect of ourselves, we can focus more and be much more pleased (surprised too) with what we really can get done. I think this goes for our home and our homeschool in so many ways. Instead of using a different program for every topic we study, perhaps there is another way. A simpler way. I need to think more often of those ways when we find something we want to begin.




I tend to get excited about every new material I see. Astronomy, writing, grammar, math, art classes and online programming courses for my kids. And thats not including all the things we can do outside of our home: soccer, skating, hockey, football, choir, music classes, sing language, Spanish, speech and debate…the list goes on and on. I am reminded already in this course of the great value of keeping things simple. Sticking with the basics. Finishing something that you start.



If we see the list as a creative project in itself, he says, it is so much more possible for us to complete the projects that we have listed.





Perhaps its also about letting go a bit, of that routine, and becoming more aware of the rhythm, of your home. I wrote about having rhythm that leads your homeschool some time ago. I think I need to dust that one off and get back into our rhythm. Or maybe even find it again. 🙂





William Stafford speaks to those moments when we are “stuck” saying we ought to: “lower our standards and keep going”.  This really is a great lesson for all of us. Certainly we need to encourage hard work, perseverance and diligence. But we certainly do not want to become so “stuck” focusing on this that we forget the value and beauty of rhythm, of creative processes and letting the day flow just a bit.










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