Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shake things up a little

Recently, I was finding that our daily school schedule was in need of a little shake up.
You know how, sometimes, the same old routine just isn't working for you all of a sudden? The schedule that worked so well for a while, now just ain't cutting it? Sometimes, the needs change; sometimes, we just need a change of routine - whatever the reason, it's time for something new.
It's important to recognize that it's okay to make changes sometimes. There are times to press in when doing a hard thing, but generally how we do those hard things are fairly subjective. I still need to school my kids, keep the house fairly sanitary, and put food on the table, but how I go about those things is pretty much up to me. But since I do not exist in a bubble and how I structure our day impacts several other people, I took some steps:
  1. I talked to the kids. My three big kids (generally known as "The Students") have the most work to do and need to work around the needs of their younger siblings. They are also able to do a certain amount of work independently of me, so I wanted to get their feedback on when they would like to do certain subjects and see how their desires would work for the family as a whole. For them (and me), it seemed like a good idea to modify our schedule so that they were doing most of their independent work in the morning, and we would do our "together" work when the little ones were down.
  2. I sought to prefer my little guys. Ellie is Kindergarten - her school work takes about a half an hour. Dan is about the same - he loves his workbook (he's probably my only "enthusiastic" student!). With the old schedule, I was fitting in their work where I could, which often meant that it only happened a couple times a week. With the new schedule, they get my full attention for an hour while the big kids are doing their own work. They know that their school time is important to me, and it's not getting missed. Score!
  3. I made note of my own needs. I'm generally a morning person, so it's good for me to give my attention and energy to needful projects in the morning. So now, for half an hour after breakfast, I get busy with my own to-do list, whether it's prepping dinner in the crock pot, chipping away at a larger project or just folding laundry. A half an hour isn't long, but it's more than I'd had before and I'm finding that spending time, little and often, on a job is better than waiting and whining for that 3 hour window of peace and quiet. When's that ever going to happen with 6 kids running around, anyway? 
So, that' s what we're doing. It's not perfect, but it's working for now. I'm fully aware that the time will come, probably sooner than I'd like, that we'll have to change things up again to make allowances for a new need. And that's fine, because in the end, whether the schedule is strict or flexible, it's there to serve me and my family (or you and yours), not the other way around.
Are you seeing any areas that need a shake up? Share your thoughts!