Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Routines or Schedules?

I am not a schedule person.  Trying to keep our days managed in hourly or half-hour increments makes my eye twitch.  Seriously!  My guts tighten up and I can turn into a monster.  Give me gentle routines....everyone knowing what they are supposed to do and when it is supposed to be done.  That's for me!

Except we have slipped out of our routines.   When the older girls were small, I had two lists of routine chores and activities typed up.  Each week the girls either had "A" chores or "B" chores.  Each list was divided into several categories:  Before breakfast, after breakfast, before lunch, after lunch, after school, after dinner, etc.  It made life much more manageable.  And then we added more and more children and the older ones could still do their "A" or "B" chores and the  younger ones...well, they just didn't get as much guidance in the chore department.  Now, I generally only have the younger ones here at home during the bulk of the day.  However, they are not quite so young anymore.   My 18 year old son is a big help.  He generally does whatever I ask without complaint and pretty thoroughly.  Key word here, though, is ask.  I'm sure he would prefer knowing what I expect him to do without me having to ask or tell him.  The other problem with him is that he works part-time three days a week, so he is not available.  That leaves me the 14, 11 and 6 year olds whom I have neglected sorely in this department.  Don't get me wrong!  I do give them chores to do each day, but I have failed to INSPECT them each day.  You know the old adage "don't expect what you don't inspect"!  So it has occurred to me that we all need a period of training.  We desperately need to rid ourselves of bad habits and replace them with good habits.

This morning I sat down with my school aged children and we discussed some routines that need to be implemented in our family to help our days run much more smoothly.   I thought I would share here for accountability and I thought there may be someone out there who could use some help or encouragement in this area as well.  Or you might just sit back and get a chuckle at the 22+ year homeschooling veteran who is still struggling to get some routines figured out for her family"!  Ha!!  I would laugh with you, but really, it's something that changes every time a new baby is born, a child starts working, a daughter or son is married and leaves  home....and for the record in the last five years I HAVE HAD  one daughter get married and leave home, a husband whose job changed, a home business started, two children start working and a new baby born....and just to add a little more into the mix we also had three grandchildren born in that time frame.  Time brings so many changes!

Before breakfast:
-awake and wash up
-get dressed--even socks and shoes
-brush hair
-make bed and tuck pajamas under pillow
-have quiet time of Bible reading and prayer

During breakfast:
-review memory verses posted on white board
-listen to our weekly music selection

After breakfast:
-everyone clears their own dishes from the table
-brush teeth
-do after breakfast chores (which will be posted on the bulletin board and assigned for a week)

Group time:
-read our daily chapter from the book of Proverbs
-review our Greek and Latin roots
-geography or history --alternate days for group teaching
-missionary biography
-music history

Independent work:  (this will also be done when they complete their after breakfast chores and before we start group time)
-I work with Jackson at this time while trying to keep Caedmon occupied as well (if Devin is home, she occupies Caedmon)
-math drills
-assigned reading
-grammar and writing

Before lunch:
-general pick up

After lunch:
-Kaelan and Aaron clean the kitchen while I read with the little boys and get Caedmon down for a nap

Afternoon session:
-Kaelan and Aaron take turns practicing piano, Kaelan practices violin, Aaron does science and Spanish and both of them do any unfinished work
-Jackson and I work on any unfinished work

Free time:
-outdoor play or whatever  until 5

Before dinner chores

-we have started doing our family worship at the table right after we eat...It is easier doing this that waiting until after dinner clean up and baths.  It makes our evenings more relaxed as well.
After dinner chores

Before bed;
-general pickup
-gather and sort laundry
-take out the garbage
-lay out clothes for the next day
-start breakfast (mix up muffins, lay out dishes, prepare fruit, pull from the freezer)

I need to resurrect the "A" and "B" chore list for Aaron and Kaelan to rotate weekly and make a daily list for Jordan and Jackson as well.  When Devin is home she takes care of a lot of the food prep for me and anything else that she can help with...however, she is gone all day two full days a week, about half the day on another day and must practice two hours or more each day.  She is not at my beck and call!  Now to get busy with the chore lists and start working on developing good habits!  How do you roll at your house?  Are you a scheduler or do you do better with routines?  Do you find you have to change things around every so often?  I would love some feedback from others on our routine list.


mom2svn said...

I have written an "ideal schedule" more than once that in my fantasies I wish we could adher to. Just never happens. I have a loose routine that we go by. By 9-9:30 am everyone up dressed, breakfast eaten and in desks doing school work. I want at least two subjects finished before "lunchtime" or any child even thinks about eating again. Lunchtime around noon...sometimes as late as 1:3O. Then finish all school work and corrections by 2:00, 3:00 at the very latest or this teacher gets VERY VERY CRABBY! I am ready to be done with school work. Any schoolwork still undone by 2-3:00 means that student has spent a good part of the day goofing off! I am really struggling to work in the regular time of devotions. I have come up with a plan for this year (AM-OT, Aft-Ps & Prov, PM- NT) but so far have not worked it in. I do have 7th and 4th grader reading through the bible as part of their regular schoolwork starting this semester. 8th grader is also still working on copying the book of Proverbs. I have tried many systems for chores...none with complete success yet. 8th grade daughter has wonderfully assumed reponsibility for daily kitchen cleaning! I am thrilled! We have other chores that are "generally" assigned to certain children who are called on to do as needed. My nature and desire would be to run the household like a drill seargent with soldiers in an army. I would love everything scheduled and ordered and timely, but I have failed at all attempts to tighten or structure our daily life that tightly. I wish we could be "ordered" like the Duggars "appear" to be...but it never ever happens in this family! {:-x

April D said...

Oh, Anita, you have NO idea how timely, encouraging, and HELPFUL this post is for me--TODAY. we are routines people, too. Schedules just don't exactly work. I am in need of re-visiting and tweaking our chores too, and the school schedule, and the meal plans. . .
one question: family worship. How does your family handle it, and what do you USE? We are trying to get into a happy place with it, but it is still quite new to us after a choppy year of on-off family time. I do think the dinner table works well, except that I am so EXHAUSTED by that time of day I could just about collapse onto my empty plate. Worship is the LAST thing on my mind at that point, as I just want to make the dirty kitchen disappear and go curl up somewhere! How do you manage?
I loved seeing your routines worked out--it helps me to visualize OURS, and I am REALLY not good at that, so THANK YOU!

Celee said...

I tend to over-schedule then end up stressed. We're on relaxed schedule until further notice:). I'm learning that the world doesn't fall apart if we do our Bible time at 8 instead of 6:30 and at breakfast at 9 instead of 7:30. If we don't read every book I planned this year, we'll still be way ahead of the reading in public school. If the kids only do one page of Greek each morning instead of 2, hey they're still learning Greek. If I let my son skip a day of Algebra, hey he's 11 and doing Algebra. The Lord is teaching me to loosen up a little since I have a baby who likes to eat whenever he's awake! But, yes I like to have a routine and at least a general order to our day.

Thanks for the encouragement that even a vet like you still has to work at keeping things running smoothly!


Anonymous said...

Definitely a routine (very, very, loosely) person here! I'm a list maker, so my schedule is usually in the form of Daily, Weekly, and Monthly TO DO lists. My TO DO list actually includes things like sweeping and mopping, cook supper, make grocery list, etc. I don't have a set time for anything except supper and that's because Murry likes to eat as soon as he comes in from work.

Liesa said...

I too (like Celee) over schedule. I am a perfectionist (used to be more so than I am now), so therefore if I make a tight schedule (hour to hour), it would take an army to get it all done! So, (like Loretta) I just write out a daily list of general things and get them done. I do LOVE lists! I told someone one day that sometimes I make a list of the things I need to make lists for! lol. Anyway...I do have supper ready by 5:30 each day, and I try to keep everything straightened just in case someone drops in, and each day is laundry day. The important things for us to accomplish each day is...general straightening (including making beds, etc.), keep bathrooms and kitchen tidy & sanitized, and school. Personal hygiene is a must of course!
But, should I have more than 2 children, I know I'd have to be more specific and tight with my schedule. Sounds like you're doing a great job!

Happy New Year!


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