Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Schedule that Works

If there is one thing I am grateful for this academic year, it's the adjustments to our schedule and to my expectations. I created our plan this summer with my needs in mind in addition to those of my children, rather than the other way around. After feeling completely burned-out last spring, I knew I wanted to proactively take better care of me and work things to give myself the margins I need for peace and rest.

Here are some elements in our schedule that are really working well:
  • I take a shower at night. I was doing this off and on for a while, but now that I have committed to it, I do not feel like I have to sneak away in the mornings when the children are all up to rush through a shower before the toddler destroys something or the boys get into a drag-down, knock-out fight. I am able to fully focus on getting my morning tasks done with a good attitude, knowing I'm not neglecting myself.

  • I have one cleaning chore a day on my morning list, and I try to get it done before school. It might be sweep the kitchen or clean one bathroom, but knocking this out in the morning (or eating this frog, as some would say) makes such a difference in my attitude and outlook for the rest of the day. It's not hanging over my head, making me feel like I can't get it all done!

  • I try to get the boys outside before school for a quick walk or ride around the block while my tween is in the shower. Now, I have to admit this has only happened a handful of times in the three weeks we have been schooling, but on the days we have done it, it has made the rest of our morning run more smoothly. As the weather cools down, I hope to do this more often.
The four-year-old who needs outside!
  • When we do start school, the two big kids start on math, and I give my full attention to our Pre-K boy. This is advice many moms have given me over the years; put the little one first while he is fresh. The theory is he will be more focused on learning and more willing to play on his own when you switch to working with his older siblings. He is so excited to learn his letter sounds and to recognize each letter! The play on your own worked for a while but is starting to wane. I'll need to start filling his drawers this next week to give him more options. He keeps asking for screen time!

  • I have included loop scheduling as a big part of our homeschool this year thanks to Sarah. I am looping some things during our Morning Basket and setting aside time to work on bigger Loop Subjects after that. I'll detail more what materials we are using in a separate post, but this is working very well to help me feel at peace with our workload and accomplishments. I am curious to map out how much we actually completed in our first term in a few weeks, though. 
Little man joining in on Morning Basket

  • I am off duty during quiet time. I school with the big kids for two hours, and then we break for lunch and quiet time for two hours. They can continue to work on independent work during quiet time, but they have to save all questions for afterwards. Then, we come back together for table time and do our remaining work. This break for me has been huge. They are not thrilled with it and would rather not wait on me to finish their school, but I know I need the break. I am a much nicer mama!

  • My quiet time begins with prayer and a nap (yes, for me!). Ideally I want to spend a few minutes with Scripture or a spiritual book. I haven't made that happen consistently, but I am usually able to spend some time in mental prayer while cleaning up the kitchen or switching the laundry. Then, I lay down with the Pre-K guy. He doesn't take a nap usually, but we read a story or two and snuggle for a bit. Most of the time I do fall asleep, and, for now, I am allowing myself this privilege. I sleep from 20 minutes to 2 hours while my son plays quietly in my room with his very own box of little Legos or the marble set he cannot use with his little brother around. I cannot tell you how much this rest helps me to cope with the evening crazies and bedtime routines, which I'm usually running solo these days!
Those are just a few things that are working well for us, right now. I know it will change, of course! What is working for you?

Bless Your Heart!

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