Life has been crazy for a very LONG time. Almost 3 years worth of crazy.
So many days that were dark and there was no end in sight.
Day by day we are reclaiming our lives.
It is wonderful. Beyond wonderful.
I have peaceful days again.
There is room to breathe. The tight, trapped, no escape feeling is gone
I get to fix breakfast without fear of a call that will derail my day. The kids are learning that Mom is REALLY here. Not just in body but also in mind and emotionally.
The numb feeling is much less frequent.
Joy is beginning to replace the deep sadness & helplessness that has ruled for two and a half years.
We learned many things by living through pancreatic cancer with my mom. I’ve been reflecting on specific side effects of going without a schedule for 2 years.
Things we learned going without a schedule
- do the next thing on the list. You can't go wrong with this
- ALWAYS pray for the hurting & need help
- Take care of those who cannot do it themselves
- be flexible
- work hard when there is time available
- kids CAN order their days and get school done without mom
It was a blessing to be available for my mom but it wrecked havoc on my role as home school teacher.
All my free moments were spent grading & making lists of lessons for the kids to get done even if I wasn’t available. SO many days were derailed by a phone call or a doctor appointment that went a few hours too long. What a relief it was to know that while I was away being a blessing, my kids were carrying on at home.
I extremely thankful that we are finding our way back to the old normal. There is more purposeful school being accomplished. Not just in terms of the amount but also the quality of the lessons. Any preteen boy can read about the American revolution in a few good books. But it is deeper and richer and is remembered better when he reads it, writes about it, talks about it and has a timeline in his head of the events that shaped the revolution. I like that we are moving beyond just reading a few books.
That same boy has gotten used to ordering his own time(doing the next thing on the list). As he is approaching 13 he, like many boys his age, would much rather rush through the work & spend the rest of his day playing Minecraft. We had quite the discussion about quality of work, giving time to other things besides screen time and learning to make difficult changes. All of which are great lessons for anyone of any age. Me included.
Enter “the schedule.”
Dose of real here. This Joshua's schedule. It doesn't always work but this is our starting point.
As Joshua works independently I work on my to do list. I am still available to help but he is needing less of that as he gets older.
For years we had a school/home schedule so that I could spend time with each child in an orderly and not chaotic way. It made life flow better. Home chores were divided up and not overwhelming. I knew what I should be doing each day. My stress went down when I could make the schedule work. If I didn’t get it done one week the I knew it would be done the following week. Not as many panicky moments.
Benefits of Schedule
- knowing the plan for the day
- gentle structure instead of just "winging it"
- free time is truly free instead of feeling guilty over doing nothing when your to do list is a mile long
- get more done
- feel more accomplished
Some people thrive with knowing what to do through a schedule. Megan and I both feel that way.
Joshua not so much.
He claims it bugs him and he does better without the schedule. I know otherwise.
Seriously we had a mini-melt down last week over "keeping to the schedule". He gets more accomplished and then after he’s done he still gets to play Minecraft. I’m sure this will be revisited in the weeks to come. It’s hard to make a change when you don’t really see the benefits.
Challenges/Frustrations of following a Schedule
- feel hemmed in
- change is hard
- feel tied to what the schedule says to do next
Hints & Tips for getting a schedule set up
- Write down tasks & estimate how long they will take
- Look at each day to see how much time you have available
- Use a planner or calendar to plot out how each hour is going to be used
- Build in some margin. Somethings will take longer than you think.
- Make sure as a teacher you don’t double book yourself. Dividing up the time is fine. Putting yourself on two or more tasks at once is a recipe for frustration.
I know there will be days that I chuck the schedule and do what is more urgent. That is ok.
I know we will pick it back up the next day and it is not a failure to have a few loosie goosie days. A schedule is a guide not an evaluation of if the day has gone well.
Does everyone thrive with a schedule in your house? How has a schedule helped your homeschool?