Monday, September 16, 2013

Let's Talk: Schedules & Routines

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I really hate the question, “But how do you do it all?” Here’s the thing, no one out there simply does it all each day, every week, or even every month. We all have plans, often big plans, but honestly they don’t always unfold like we hope they do. Our family is absolutely no exception!

When we share what we do each week this is for our family to look back over & say, “Wow, we did a lot more then I thought!” or “See, we did do spelling this week & I have no idea why you didn’t put a sticker on our chart!” Here’s the other thing, by recording what we do each week we can print those pages out & have a pretty simple yearbook of our accomplishments, short comings, & weekly activities. They are a great way for us to also see our progress when we’re having a low moment, week, day. 

If reading our weekly reviews, or any other part of my blog, makes you think for one minute we’ve got it all together & you don’t,  thus overwhelming you to the point of frustration; I’ve got one very simple piece of advice for you. Don’t read my blog. I’m not saying that in a snarky, I’m better then you voice. I’m saying that in a voice that is pleading with you. That is not our intention. 

Like everyone else, we have days where we wish we could just have one big do-over. We’ve had days where school doesn’t start until it should have finished. Where when Mr S walks in the door we’re still scrambling to get things done. It happens, we’re not perfect. Not every day is imperfect either, & sometimes the best way to keep our little family on track is with a schedule or a routine.

We tend to start our day on a schedule & finish it with a routine. Does that sound confusing? Here’s the thing, a schedule is when you do the same things at specific times where as a routine is a pattern you follow each day. We mix them both together & get something that works really well for our family on most days.

For us this means that we all eat breakfast together by 815 where we can do our lovely poetry books, memory box, & if anyone has anything major going on for the day we remind them. It’s also our time together with Mr S before he heads off to work.

By 9 we start school. See, our whole day isn’t on a strict schedule, but there are certain times when things must be done. 9am is our start time. Is it mandatory we start then? No, we’ve had days where it just hasn’t flowed well for us. Maybe it was raining and Mr S couldn’t bike to work thus needed a lift. Maybe a sick child was down & out. Things happen that knock you off course at times. But in general I prefer to start at 9 because I have a child who freaks out if he can’t knock off at our normal knock off time.

At 9 we hit our routine which is how our school days flow: 

Reading to Mom for one child while the other does his morning chores, then they swap. I do time this particular thing on our schedule because it’s very easy for us to spend the whole day reading. Then we do our hymns together.

Next, Jayden & I work together while Morgan does his independent work {Bible, Science, Math}. Jayden & I do science, writing, & Bible together. Then he does his independent work {any pages related to those I know he can do on his own & math} while Morgan & I go over his work & do his writing together.

Then we meet together at the learning table to do our Winter Promise Theme. Things can get crazy here because we’re nearing the end of our day & the boys have all ready been working for a couple of hours. If the boys have pages the require colouring or drawing on them I sit right at the table & read aloud to them. In the above picture I was reading their Aussie History book, but that’s usually read after the WP books are read.

We wrap up with our Missionary story & possibly our read aloud for the week. Sometimes we save that one for after lunch & a hard play. Either way, we end at 1:30. If I’m all ready reading a book to them & that time rolls around I finish the selection for the day & then we have lunch.

After lunch the kids are sent outside to play or busy themselves with something simple & fun that they’ve been itching for all day. If we have read alouds to do I tend to try and wrangle them up around 3 where we read for a half hour or so. By 530 I call for a tidy up for the day which is when the kids do their afternoon chores while I clean up the school room, fold laundry, clean up the kitchen, & start dinner prep. 

We’ve taken, of late, to listening to our audio book during this time & it really keeps the arguing & complaining down to nothing. Seriously, it’s been really nice! Once their chores are done they leave the book on & sit listening or playing quietly until Mr S gets in from work. 

That’s a perfect day, but we don’t always have perfect days. There are those days when all we want to do is go rejoice because we saw the sun after a wet winter. When every salesman & religious group has decided to knock on my front door despite the beware of dog sign. I didn’t put it up, & you don’t really need to beware, but I kinda sort wish on days like that that you did! 


I’m also going to tell you it took us 3 terms this year to find that groove for us that has things moving along as a lovely well oiled machine. Play with your routine or schedule until you find that groove that works best for everyone!  Pay no attention to what, or how, others do things. And another secret, I like to pray for our day before going to sleep & when getting going in the morning. The biggest part of my prayer is that I remain calm & don’t freak if people slip off track. True story.

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