Wednesday, May 4, 2016

on schedules and routines

this is a unique position to be in - looking forward to homeschool but currently having my daughter attend public school. I don't know what the statistics are on families who make the decision to homeschool and then immediately pull their kids out of public school, but anecdotally, just in blogs and other stories I have heard, it seems to happen more frequently than making the decision and then finishing out the school year. Although, knowing that Leila will be staying home in the fall, I reluctantly send her off each morning (and Cameron's been begging to stay home from his two-day-a-week preschool ever since we told him he would be homeschooled for kindergarten), I am thankful for this time of preparation.
In addition to continually examining and softening my heart (God has done a miracle in me; my prayer now is that I don't get in His way and squander this incredible blessing), there are lots of external projects and things to consider. Our homeschool room is almost finished. Leila has been enjoying doing her homework there in the afternoons and as you saw, Cameron and I spent time in there on the days he is home. To be honest, it's currently the cleanest, most organized room in my house, so I find myself gravitating to the uncluttered white table and bright sunshiny window when I need to get some work done too, even though I have my own desk under the stairs.
I'm also trying to be mindful of routines and using this time of preparation to create good habits, both for myself (do the dishes immediately after every meal ... ugh), and for my children with chores and also general getting ready tasks that they are capable, at five and almost seven years old, of doing themselves but often get done for them in the morning rush.
Oh, the morning rush. I wonder if knowing that this won't be an issue in six weeks makes it such an issue now. Probably not, I know mornings are hard for most families, but my goodness. Leila and Cameron must be growing because my normally early-risers have been sleeeeeeeping in lately, which is nice for me and my quiet morning time, but not so nice for creating a relaxing and joyful sendoff for the day. Instead of blessing Leila with a kiss and a hug before school, I am barking at her to hurry-up-and-get-your-shoes-on-and-stop-messing-around-with-your-water-bottle-and-no-Cameron-I-can't-get-you-a-drink-of-water-your-sister-is-late-for-school-and-I-already-heard-the-first-bell-ring-hurry-up!! as I practically shove her out the front door. No wonder kids seek refuge with their friends and are adversarial to their parents at such young ages when mornings are so continually fraught with tension.
As I look forward to the fall, I am crafting a routine instead of a schedule. To me, a schedule says we will all wake up at 7am on the dot with breakfast on the table by 7:30 then family devotionals with an eye on the clock to be in the classroom at 8am to spend exactly 45 minutes on each subject, moving seamlessly from math, to writing, to history, or so help me and everyone smiling and compliant and joyful all the live long day.
Instead of rigidity, our routine will be an order of events, but not require us to adhere to specific times. If, like this week, everyone's a little tired, we may not roll out of bed and eat breakfast until 8, and then proceed with our day, and if everyone's up by 630, we'll start early and have time for a picnic or an extra-long hike after lunch. This flexibility allows for us to spend additional time on academic subjects that need more attention or are just really enjoyable! There is also freedom to read a little longer, to take time out for heart-reaching correction instead of demanding a quick behavior change, and to get up and try again when we make mistakes. This allows for grace and is a gift that we can give each other every day. I can't wait!

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