See this schedule?
This is my saving grace. And I HATE schedules.
I did all right getting things done when there were only three, maybe four, children running under foot. As more were added to our family I started lagging further and further behind. My to-do lists just didn’t seem to get anything crossed off of them. I felt like tearing my hair out most days when we were homeschooling as everyone seemed to be clamoring for my attention or help with this and that. I couldn’t find any time to refuel myself, emotionally or mentally. Falling asleep I’d realize I’d said maybe just a few sentences to Mr. Ferrero Rocher all day. Okay, probably more than that because, duh, how did all those kids get added to our family in the first place? But you know what I mean. I was slowly losing it. I realized whatever I was doing wasn’t working so maybe, just maybe doing something drastic like following an exact schedule would help.
I tried making a schedule for us to follow. Get up at this time. Do school between these hours. Eat meals at certain times. Didn’t work. The girls were still clamoring for my attention during school time. I still didn’t have any personal time. We did wake up, get fed, and go to bed on time but that was it. I needed a better schedule.
Enter the Managers of Their Homes (MOTH) from Steve and Teri Maxwell. I learned how to schedule time with each of my children, how to schedule our homeschooling day so that I spent time teaching each child and they weren’t all asking for help at the same time. There was time for personal scripture study, exercise, and blogging or other projects. Two half hour cleaning periods, one in the morning and one at night, even snuck their way in. And yes, there was also time for one-on-one with Mr. FR every day.
Was it easy to implement? NO! It was hard because I hadn’t learned to discipline myself. Discipline is key. It is STILL hard not to get distracted. I’m like a butterfly. I like to flit here and there, never concentrating on one thing for a long period of time. And that was my problem. I’d start to do things but didn’t stick with the task until it was done. I’d think of something else that needed doing and start doing it before I forgot. And before what I had been doing was finished. The worst part is I was teaching my children to do the same. We committed to trying the MOTH schedule for one week, five little school days, to see if there was any noticeable difference. There was more accomplished in that one week than I’d been able to get done for the last three! Yeehaw!
Everyone has a part on the MOTH schedule except for Mr. FR and the baby. We aren’t strict about sticking to the exact time frames either. They’re just there as general guides.
Here’s a closer look at our morning routine.
As you can see the wake-up times are staggered. These are the latest that they wake up. If the kids wake up before their time they just move on to the next item in the schedule. Breakfast is at 8am so Mr. FR can eat before going out to work. We have a short devotional at 8:30 after which I spend some time with Special Dark while the other kids start their school work. Throughout the morning everyone follows their own schedules as outlined. They each know they will have an hour where I will work specifically with them so if they have questions about their work they wait until then to ask. I work with two children at a time, paired according to similar learning levels. If they get their work done early they are free to do whatever we want. We always have someone practicing the piano even though we have music practice scheduled as that’s what they choose to do when there is free time.
The mid-day schedule finishes our school day by lunch (for most) and starts our project, exercise, and one-on-one times (which I will talk about tomorrow).
We eat lunch at 12:30pm, have family scripture study at 1pm and rest time at 1:30. One-on-one times are on Thursdays and Fridays so any doctor appointments or play dates are made on Mondays or Tuesdays. The bookmobile also comes every two weeks on Mondays. Most of the afternoon is free time especially for the younger ones. They also have time scheduled to spend with one another. I’d never thought about doing that until I read MOTH. I first thought it was dumb. Force my children to spend more time with each other? They enjoy it! The little ones look forward to having special attention from their older siblings. They each have different things they enjoy doing together – making cards, going for walks, laying on the hammock, etc.
The evening schedule is pretty typical of most families I think. Dinner, chores, bedtime routines, and bed.
I also give piano lessons in the evenings on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, two daughters a day. When there aren’t piano lessons, it’s my time to play. ☺ It helps me relax, pounding out the stress of the day on the piano, instead of losing patience and yelling at the kids (unless I’m on to them to be quiet so I can actually hear the piano). Bedtimes are staggered according to age. And look, there’s even time to talk to Mr. FR about my day.
Well, now I’ve showed you how our days go ….about 60-70% of the time. Sometimes mornings are the only thing that goes according to plan because of other arrangements that were made for the afternoon. Sickness occurs, beautiful spring weather comes, visitors arrive, etc. so we scrap our schedule and do whatever.
Tomorrow’s post . . . One-on-One Time With Mom
Heart of the Matter has partnered with 16 of the most inspiring, lovely, and just plain awesome bloggers in the homeschool community to bring you 10 days, 160 posts full of resources for those starting out, burned out or need new ideas.
Be sure to visit these brilliant women in this 10 days adventure between February 7th-18th! We love these ladies and we know you do too.
10 days of socialization for mom | The Homeschool Chick
10 days of classical education | Milk & Cookies
10 days of large families | Chocolate on My Cranium
10 days of special needs | Special Needs Homeschooling
10 days of struggling learners | Homeschooling the Chaotic Family
10 days of homeschooling girls | Homegrown Mom
10 days of homeschool enrichment | Confessions of a Homeschooler
10 days of building a spiritual legacy | Mommy Missions
10 days of frugal homeschooling |The Happy Housewife
10 days of Charlotte Mason | Our Journey Westward
10 days of unschooling | Homeschooling Belle
10 days of organization | Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom
10 days of getting started | Blog, She Wrote
10 days of homeschooling boys | The Tie That Binds Us
10 days of homeschooling Montessori | Fruit in Season
10 days of preschool | Delightful Learning