Dancing with dynamic systems- Flexibility and Parenting.

Morning guys.

I’m fighting a painful sinus headache.


I need to do better on my January writing goal.

I think I overestimated my available time and so need to may need to adjust expectations.

We’ll see, its early on.

Do you give yourself flexibility/ take time to reassess your goals?

How do you do this as a parent?

I like to sit down and make a plan.

In public school, children in the special education track have something called the “Individualized Education Plan.”

In theory,  goals and means of attaining them are specific to the child, and regularly assessed and adjusted to fit  learning needs and accommodate for disability. This is meant to provide flexibility.

I think every child should have a specific plan that address both strengths and challenges in order to better learn.

Sadly in public schools, IEP’s sometimes aren’t more than ideas on paper, and general ed kids, well they get a general education don’t they? Flexibility is sometimes not as available to teachers as they would like.

Parents have the ability and opportunity to individualize their child’s learning regardless of where they go to school.  A big part of self efficacy is planning and achieving goals. It is something that parents need to help a child through with ever increasing independence in determining what those goals are. This can be algebra, or learning to cook.

We have the ability to work on goals and be flexible.

I know, I know, especially if you are autistic, or have autistic children, this is hard.

It’s manageable though.

It is helpful to think of it in systems thinking mindset.


A child’s brain is a complex system within a complex biological system.


If you homeschool, you use a learning system.

Ours is relaxed and based on constructivist/ Montessori principles.


Your family is a part of your social system.bronfenbrenner-theory-of-ecology

Each is a  part of ever larger systems, till we get to, well, the UNIVERSE.

Systems produce feedback.

What is you feedback with a child?

Grades or other methods of formal assessment can tell us academic results in shallow way.

However more importantly, BEHAVIOR, FEELINGS, THEIR expression of thoughts, health,  are  lovely indicators of the state of their systems.

For behavior, I do not just mean “good” or “bad” behavior in terms of following rules and the like, though misbehaving frequently  tends to be an indicator that something is up.

I mean all of it.

Feedback  is not just output, but input that creates future behavior.  (so, like a loop)

Example: If a child is angry and behind on a task and the leading adult grumpy,  without change, it will feed that back into the task/day likely keeping things still behind and rather unpleasant for everyone.

It can indicate what is going well, and what  needs changed.  Keeping in mind, system failure almost never has one single cause.  There is no smoking gun.  It may be you need change several things (but not all at once!)

Most systems are complex.

As much as I dislike it, things are ever changing.  (accepting this is important to peace of mind, even for autistics, its possible)

Most systems are dynamic.

Dynamic systems need to be flexible.  It is important to not get stuck in doing things the same way merely out of tradition, because it worked before, or because “the book” says so.

In the article “Dancing with Systems,” Donella Meadows states:

“You can imagine why a dynamic, self­-adjusting system cannot be governed by a static, unbending policy. It’s easier, more effective, and usually much cheaper to design policies that change depending on the state of the system.”

So every break I sit and think on every single child. I ask myself these questions:

How are the children sleeping? Are they retaining information? Do they seem content? Is our schedule meeting their physical, emotional, social and intellectual needs? Are they feeling challenged? Are we meeting our goals? How can I change things to keep up with the ever changing dynamic of our family life? Am I noticing the needs of each child?

I also take the time to have a “conference” with my verbal kids to express what it is they think is working, and what isn’t.

I see something in each child’s current course that could be tweaked a bit.

So I need to  sit down to work out a plan. Or rather six plans, including my own, and figure how to dance with them.

How do you deal with changes in family life or education?


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