Monday, April 18, 2016

Routine, Routine, Routine...

Oh, what a lifesaver!

In the early years of homeschooling and trying to be a good manager of my home, my over-ambitious and hyper-excited self tried a little too hard sometimes. I tried the color-block scheduling thing, which was just too much pressure. Carefully-planned 15-minute increments for each family member? Yes... we never made it past 8:00 a.m. without falling behind. And leaving me feeling like an epic failure quite early every morning.

HOWEVER, attempting that method did usher me into the world of ROUTINE. As I prayed about my daily failures and offered them up to God, and asked repeatedly, "HELP," God took my ashes and started building.

I find keeping our routine posted generally helps my boundary-needing children
stay on track and be more willing and obedient.

God gently pointed to one thing at a time, and block by block, our solid framework of routine has been built. It is pretty unshakeable now.

It started by declaring nap time every day from 1:00 to 4:00. For everyone in the house.

That meant lunch was generally 12:30 no matter what.

Then we pledged to do our Bible lesson first every day at 8:30. That generally meant breakfast was at 8:00.

My husband's work schedule made it so 7:00 became our ideal dinner time. So...

We made a habit of doing our chores at 5:30 p.m. so the house would be nice when Daddy got home.

Then, at 6:00, as I (or my daughter) cooked dinner, we made a routine of the older ones playing intentionally with the younger ones. Reading to them. Building blocks. Playing with toys. Coloring.

And now... 14 years later, our routine is like a fine-oiled machine. It always works. Even if we deviate here and there, when we come back, it is still there, functioning perfectly, and we just pop right back in.

Here is how we roll:

8:00 Breakfast (Some kids get up earlier--if they do, they can eat and start on their independent school work. Also, since my pre-schooler is usually the first up, often his school is already done or we get it done while the older kids eat at this time)

8:30 Bible lesson

9:00 School

11:00 Beach or pool or park

12:30 Lunch

1:00 nap

3:30 Older boys (ages 6-10) do daily yard work

4:00 Play time (their daily 30-minute video game turns may be taken at this time)

5:30 Chores

6:00 Older kids play with younger kids

7:00 Dinner

7:30 Family time

9:00 Baths/showers/pick up house

9:30 Pajamas and brush teeth

9:45 Prayers/bedtime talk/devotions

10:00 Bed

Now what you don't see is all the things that occur within this framework during the course of the day:  Having the 4yo play with the toddler. Taking the toddler potty. Switching a load of laundry while the boys finish an assignment. Typing this blog post as the boys finish their last bits of schoolwork before we head to the beach. Helping my high schooler with her work.

Also, even if we don't start right at 8:30, the routine says that Bible lesson is first.

Soon, I will post an actual "day in the life" post so you can see how this routine looks in reality. The day may seem busy and crazy, but the framework remains solid and unshakeable and always keeps us on track. Hopefully, you will see!!