I said to my husband the other night ‘I’m always looking for that perfect formula of beauty and function” (whether it’s the daily schedule or how to arrange the furniture in a room.) He reminded me, “For the schedule, you will never find it, because life is always changing.” Oh. Right. Remembering that IS key, but continuing the search, always adjusting, always looking is human and good.
This is the schedule we’ve had for several months that, for the most part, WHEN we get to it, is working now. We veer from it at various times when life gets crazy and things never go quite as well.
6:00am Quiet Time in the Morning
In the ideal world, I am up by 6am so I can have some glorious quiet time,
but again, that does not always happen. Especially in the winter when it’s cold and the body wants to hibernate. But, still…it IS my goal. The other main variable is I LOVE to read in bed after all children are in bed (for good) for about an hour. It is that slow unwind to go to sleep. It’s one of my favorite times. I SHOULD go to sleep earlier, so I can get up earlier, but ….. depending on how late I’m reading…. argh…. It’s a never ending circle. I just pray that God helps me get up those times that I NEED to get up. I’ve got to leave it at that!
Anyway, here it is:
7:30-8:00 Get Up Everybody! The Train is Leaving the Station!
Walk around and get all kids up (Emma is always up early)
8:00:-8:30 Breakfast with Dad
Everyone is at the breakfast table for 30 minutes including Dad. All of us meeting together WITH Dad, is such a key factor, that continues to amaze me. After that breakfast, the way the kids act and respond all morning long is very different (and worse if we haven’t met.) And Dad doesn’t do anything in particular. It’s just his presence. It becomes so clear how important a mother AND a father are and, yes, I do feel extremely blessed. God bless all the single moms out there working their tails off!
Also, let me emphasize, it took us years to get to this point. When Matt worked in an office away from home, this would have been almost impossible. He moved his office home in late 2009. It’s the best thing we’ve done for our business and our family.
We quickly put bowls, cereal and milk on the table and serve there as we are all seated (Unless Mom has it REALLY together and made something hot and yummier.) Less time preparing. More time together. We go over the plan for the day. Dad reads a few Proverbs and says a prayer. And we’re off to the next thing.
Then there are those days that nothing is going according to plan, SO I make waffles! And all is good in the world.
8:30-9:30 Chores. Still working on attitudes!
Chore time is next. Kitchen dishes go in the kitchen and we immediately head upstairs for the upstairs chores. This next hour is all about that work ethic we parents pray that our children develop. I have blown this off many times to do school or something else instead and it is so wrong. Work ethic will always be more important than academics. Got to remember that! Chores are: Get dressed, make bed, clean room, clean closet, clothes to washer, push laundry through (whatever is necessary).
Starting with math and boys in the kitchen seems to be working at the moment.
10:45-12:00 More School
On to writing and other such things.
12:00-12:30 Food Again!
On days Dad is with us for lunch (depending on the week, that would be 1 to 3 weekdays – His schedule as a lawyer is as unpredictable as ours!) we, quickly, take a big cookie sheet with paper plates, a loaf of bread, peanut butter, jelly, ham, turkey, cheese, lettuce, mustard, mayo and those small bags of chips for each person that come 20 in a sack. (Yuck, the junk food is abhorrent to me, but sometimes survival mode is necessary for the greater good!) Two people make sandwiches for everyone while we talk. Sometimes I will read a chapter of our current book. Right now we are alternating between a missionary story about Cameron Townsend and a G.A. Henty book called True to the Old Flag.
Reading aloud is my absolute favorite thing to do in homeschooling and, many experts say, the most important (aside from Bible). Good literature read aloud is teaching them how to write, grammar, listening skills, comprehension, sitting still skills, etc. I haven’t done it enough lately and I’m determined to do better.
12:30-1:30 Clean the kitchen and a little play time
Everyone loves the new mop. Works for me!
1:30-3:30 Naps and QT
Naps and Quiet time for all which include any school left to do for the older 2 girls or projects. Emma has just started sewing with her new sewing machine. Meg is making earrings.
Henry is still the Lego master and the 2 little ones usually sleep or rest.
3:30-4:00 Just leaving the house takes time…
Prep to go to the YMCA.
4:00-6:00 Exercise for all of us
YMCA. The big girls are on the swim team. Boys go to an organized fitness area for them and Sally to the nursery. I work out doing treadmill, elliptical, and/or weights (the machines.)
I just read “Younger Next Year” for Women. It totally and completely inspired me to start working out regularly. It’s about your health from age 50-80 and 40 is not too soon to start.
One key factor that helped me get going was when Charlotte Siems said “Just lace up your shoes. Don’t even think about the work out. Just lace up your shoes.” That little tidbit has been very helpful. Once I’m dressed and the shoes are tied, mentally, I’m ready to go.
6:30-7:30 And, once again, Food!
Dinner. HOPEFULLY something was put in the crock pot or something else was figured out earlier in the day! I’m trying to keep cooked chicken or ground beef in the freezer. That makes dinners a whole lot easier! This was fish cooked on the stovetop, steamed green beans with butter and rice made in the rice cooker. More work at dinner time, but not too bad. That rice cooker is a necessity!!
7:30-9:00 Chill out!
Whatever we decide to do. Maybe read by the fire or watch a family movie.
9:00 Sleep! Yes, it is time for bed!
My goal is that, Sunday through Thursday, all kids are in bed reading by 9pm (SO I CAN BE TOO!) This has been the hardest thing to achieve, but sometimes it does happen so I continue to pursue it.
Of course everyday is not like this. Matt works on Monday nights. Tuesday night is my night to do necessary tasks. Sometimes Wednesday is church, depending on what’s going on mid-week. Thursday is date night for Mom and Dad. Friday is reading or a movie, but much more relaxed. Stay up late and hang out with kids. A good family night. The weekend is completely unstructured. Saturday night we go to church and after, it might be reading or a movie and Sunday is a true Sabbath. And, of course, this doesn’t include any other parties or classes or activities or appointments.
Slow and Steady
Some weeks are wonderful and others are hard, hard, hard. But as Matt says, slow and steady wins the race. We all have to hang in there and keep on keepin’ on. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way for all the hard work you do. I do and I enjoy it fully!
What are your great ideas that you have for your schedules? Remember, I’m always looking for that perfect formula!