I try and stick to a schedule, I really do. I made a simple one for this year. One that allowed for chores worked in and daily habits set up. One that allowed for lots of leeway for daily life interruptions and one that is stripped back to essentials that I want covered. And by essentials I am including art and nature study because even though they are the fun subjects, they often get pushed aside for more academic work. So I have this completely workable, flexible, well-rounded plan for the year. We’ve been at it for 2 weeks, this week is our third. I was glad for the leeway time because we used up every bit of it working out kinks the first couple of weeks. We, and by we I mean I, are starting to get into a routine, at least for the morning part. But there is just this part of me, this hippie-idealistic-spontaneous part of me, that just can’t stick to it…no matter how simple. Life just doesn’t work that way. I had promised myself that I wouldn’t change anything for at least three weeks…no tweaking, no diverting, no extra plans, no changed plans. And while this schedule is much more realistic for our lifestyle of a large family, I can’t say I’ve totally stuck to that promise.
So I thought I would record here, for posterity purposes, what my schedule was suppose to look like versus the actual of what happened. A note of caution ~ I am not belittling our day or beating myself up or feeling guilty. I see how much we accomplished and moved forward and learned even if we didn’t follow the schedule to a T. This is just more of a reminder to myself that the best laid plans are still my plans. I still deal with 5 very independent wills each day with a sixth kicking me as a reminder that his, too, will be reshaping my plans. And I daily learn to trust that God’s will is the only essential for the day, which may look completely different from my own!
My purposed schedule:
8:30 AM ~ Breakfast
9:30 AM ~ Morning Chores
10:00 AM ~ School Time
- Bible ~ Scripture memory verse, Bible story, Song, Prayer
- Math ~ Gabe works independently while I work with Lily
- Literature ~ Mom reads aloud (my choice)
- Poetry Memorization (their choice)
- Grammar through Dictation
12:00 PM ~ I prep for lunch while they have 5-minute tidy then a bit of free time.
12:30 PM ~ Lunch
1:00 PM ~ Afternoon Chores
1:30 PM ~ Break (They watch Fetch on PBS and I set up for afternoon activities or nurse baby to sleep.)
2:00 PM ~ School Time
- Science ~ Read from Exploratopia and do corresponding experiments
- Art ~ Go over a new technique, practice time to play with technique
4:00 PM ~ Free Time (for them, chores or dinner prep for me)
Sounds simple enough, right?
Here was my actual day:
6:15 AM ~ Adam leaves for work. I sit nursing baby wishing desperately that she would go to sleep so I could get at least one more hour before having to be up. (She was up from 2-3:30 AM and from 5-5:30 AM already and I am extremely exhausted.)
6:45 AM ~ Tried laying baby down, didn’t work, still trying to rock, nurse, and console over two molars trying to come in. Gabe has gotten up and gone downstairs for his allotted video game time. Luc is up and begging me to find his Green Lantern mask so he can be a superhero as I am trying desperately to ssshhhh him so I can lay the baby down. He finally relents and goes downstairs with Gabe.
7:15 AM ~ Baby is NOT sleeping and decides to join the boys downstairs (She can now maneuver herself up and down the stairs and up and down the bunk beds…15 months old…incredible!!!) and I collapse on my bed, letting the morning breeze wash over me as I bury my face in a pillow and lay there dozing.
7:20 AM ~ Luc comes to ask for cheese crackers for breakfast. No, we are NOT having cheese crackers for breakfast! I encourage cereal (was going to bake muffins but who has the energy?). I hear him rummaging through pantry, pull out bowls and try to open the cereal box, which is a new one, and know he will be back shortly.
7:30 AM ~ Trying to ingnore Ivy by my bed babbling for mommy to get up. Think she wants cereal too. Trying like crazy to force myself to get up.
7:40ish ~ Luc brings me the cereal box and I open it for him. Lilah brings me a different cereal box and I open it for her.
7:47 AM ~ Ivy babble-yells at me and I finally drag myself from the bed. We get for-real cereal on the table, I pour milk, Luc prays, I yell for Gabe to come upstairs.
8:15 AM ~ Luc and Lilah have run off to play. I bring my bowl to sink and put on water for coffee. Gabe and Lil sit at table talking and pull out their Fire Fighter Safety booklets (free from a neighborhood park get-together). I stumble to the back to get dressed and make my bed. I also pull sheets of Ivy’s crib to be washed for the day and gather laundry together.
8:30 AM ~ Put hot coffee in carafe to stay hot. Gather diapers downstairs for a day of stripping (to remove detergent buildup from cloth diapers and give them a bleach – only do a couple of times a year when needed in order to refresh and keep cloth in good working order). Pull Lilah upstairs with me to get changed for the day.
9ish AM ~ Change Ivy and Lilah, putting both in disposables since cloth is out of order (which also means Lilah’s potty training is interrupted for the day – she won’t potty train in disposables). Put cereal away in pantry and remind the kids, who are busily working at the table, that the table still hasn’t been cleared or cleaned and it is a school day.
9:30 AM ~ Kids have done chores and still want to work on fire safety books. Littles are downstairs playing blocks and Yoshi. Lily comes to show me a story she has written (i.e. drawn and told to me orally) this morning about a ghost who goes to school, has craft supplies, makes two posters and a craft paper, drives home on the school bus. I praise and am amazed she already had time to squeeze that in. I check to make sure her bed is really made and think about starting school a half hour early. Then I remember my promise not to change. The kids are expecting 10 AM and relish having this extra time for their stuff. I grab a cup of coffee, sit in my chair and go over World War II living books.
10:00 AM ~ We actually start school on time. Verses are said from memory. A story about Joseph and his coat is read from an over 100-year-old catechism book. We talk about still trusting God even when things don’t seem to be going your way and Him having a purpose for your life, even when it doesn’t seem like it. We sing “Trust and Obey” with Lily assuring me she doesn’t need the lyric sheet anymore and me wondering why I still do when we’ve been singing it for over two weeks and it is a familiar song to me anyway. I discipline Lilah several times mid-song to stop sitting on Ivy. Despite the correction, she is still merrily singing away with us.
10:20 AM ~ I read aloud chapter one from Addy story (American Girl History series) and we talk more about slavery, which leads to an Underground Railroad discussion and Harriet Tubman. I ask Gabe to pull a book from shelf. We quickly read that as well. Meanwhile, Lily is flipping through the Addy’s World book and exclaiming on all the projects she could do. She notices American Girl dolls in back which reminds her of her birthday wishlist and decides, for today, that Addy is the doll she wants, then decides on Molly who I remember I just checked out a book on because Molly is from WWII period and I am in the middle of reviewing for that. Lily is ecstatic and wants to read now. I remind of her of math and tell her she can look at it later.
10:40 AM ~ Gabe and Lily go to kitchen table to work on math. I turn on “Follow the Drinking Gourd” for them to hear while they are working. I am sitting here realizing I have picked no dictation for them to do. Should I just pull something together? Adam’s new job kept me from my normal planning day. I’m winging it this week. And do I pull them over to do poetry recitation? Gabe already has his memorized and Lily still hasn’t picked. And what about Grammar? No dictation means no grammar. Just skip for today?
10:45 AM ~ Work with Lily on her math, mainly checking. She is doing well with subtraction book. Remind Gabe…again…to stop talking with Lily and concentrate on his own work. Go down to restart diapers and check on littles. Sit on couch with Luc and Lilah (who are watching Word World) and discuss how apple starts with ‘a’ and pie starts with ‘p’. Lilah requests that I sit with her downstairs. I go up, grab a cup of coffee and snuggle with her and Luc on the couch and nurse the baby.
11ish AM ~ Put Ivy down for a nap. Forget that I pulled off her sheets and replace them quick. She cries but I know she needs sleep. Get out Lily’s phonics workbook for her to work on. That counts as grammar, right? Tell Gabe to practice his Latin flashcards twice in his room then come review with me. I count that as grammar too – vocab roots. Sit down on the floor with Lily and let her cut recycle paper and practice taping to construction paper. Luc soon joins us and both are excited to be working with me and talk about how much they love projects. I like that they are learning cutting and taping skills without using an expensive preschool curriculum. Simple is the key.
11:30ish AM ~ I juggle going over Lily’s phonics work (making a sentence) and reviewing Latin with Gabe while still getting tape for Lilah and Luc and keeping their fighting to a minimum. I then have to get the baby who awakes because of the Air Show practice. Lily, inspired by the littles, decides to cut from old magazines and make a grocery list. She soon runs out of tape and we switch to glue sticks. Gabe soon joins in and a project is going on.
12:00 PM ~ I realize I should be making lunch but no one seems to notice, no one wants to stop, and the table is a wreck.
What to do? It’s still nice out. Back porch for lunch it is. But before I can start prep, Luc asks me to read to him. It’s the Santa book and in it he is kissed by Mrs. Claus and Luc wants to know why the kiss is on his cheek. So we divert into a discussion on painted lips and I model with my lipstick. The kids are fascinated and running around with lips on their cheeks. Lily puts some on and kisses her grocery list. I finally shoo them outside and get lunch ready.
1:00 PM ~ Lunch. A half hour behind. Are we even going to get to science today?
1:30 PM ~ I finally sit down to my lunch while kids run outside, completley ignoring the dishes that need brought in. Suddenly Gabe runs in with a cardinal feather he found, ecstatic. He goes to clean it and wants to draw it. Well, I think, that solves what we’ll do for nature study tomorrow.
2:12 PM ~ I shooed the kids downstairs to pick up while I vaccuum upstairs. I can’t stand stepping on another scrap of paper (found three stuck to my feet as I started laundry again). Well, maybe we won’t be too far behind today. The phone rings. It is Pop and he wants to take the older two out to hit golf balls. We must finish science first I insist and quickly scramble to put an experiment in place. Only, because I didn’t get my planning time, I realize I need 24 hours for it to set up. So I vow to set it up tonight to do tomorrow as I let Gabe call Pop back and they go out for some physical education.
2:30ish PM ~ I start this blog entry while the littles are playing and happily chewing the gum Pop gave them. I try not to feel guilty that we missed science. I figure their earlier project covered art.
3:15 PM ~ Luc and Lilah come up for a snuggle. Ivy sits on my lap and scribbles on paper. I break from blogging. As I put Ivy down I realize that Lilah is on my kitchen counter and has spread green food coloring everywhere. I redirect and Luc wants the Curious George Audio CD.
3:30 PM ~ I sit down to finish my post and the older two come home. I chat with Father-in-law about rusty golf games and the tournament this Saturday.
3:51 PM ~ Gabe comes to me with Explorotopia book and finds an experiment about cleaning with vinegar and salt. I break again and get him his supplies. Lily comes to help. I guess we did science after all.
4:00 PM ~ Start my posting again.
4:09 PM ~ Lily wants to finish reading the Molly’s World book. We have discussions on WWII and American Girl Dolls. She wants to know if Molly or Addy is real. We discuss fiction versus non-fiction and fiction using historical facts. She gets out her American Doll magazine and pours over her birthday decision. Break and talk with her while reading a Bob book to Lilah two times.
4:22 PM ~ Start rice in rice cooker for casserole. Nurse baby while finishing this post.
5:00 PM ~ Baby finally asleep and I head off to make dinner and switch over laundry.
And, of course, that doesn’t even begin to count all the interruptions for diaper changes, disciplining, bathroom breaks, and the zillion questions that interrupt our activities. At least I know tomorrow is a new day!