With last week all crazy because of the power outage I have had time to reflect on our routines and how they are working. In general life fits together pretty well with housework, homeschooling the children, giving them time to just be kids, cooking meals, family time with daddy, church, and so on. But we tossed all those nice routines last week and it was good too. I realized that my babies are growing up and into new stages. As of next month my boys will be 4 and 1, my girls 7 and almost 3. What we had to do for survival with a new and young baby isn't necessary now. What I had to do to keep two young preschoolers entertained/contained during homeschool isn't always necessary anymore either. So I have decided it is time for re-evaluation and remodeling on our routines. Time to challenge my assumptions and drop the habits that are for coping with stages my children have moved out of without my noticing.
So what am I envisioning? How will I go through this process? If you really know me that is a silly question. I'll do it with the 3 P's: prayer, pencil, and paper! Over the years I've read lots of books about organizing, homeschooling, home management, and so on. I've gathered bits and pieces that work for me. I've been gifted with an organizational streak. It comes naturally to me. Of course so do other things like obsessing, perfectionism, and bossiness. Unfortunately it's not just about me anymore! A husband put a few kinks in my plans. Add in the 4 children and my preferences are at the bottom of the list!
If it were just me I would have a nice, scheduled week with times for each activity. Really, every hour would have a purpose, even if it was just to read a book and rest. That doesn't work with my family though. So instead of a schedule with defined times, I get a routine or things we do in general order, tied to triggers like meals and snacks. If I want kids to help with a chore, I've learned to offer something they want to do next, like eat or play outside. "We can go play outside as soon as you pick the toys up in your room and put them away," works so much better than "It's time to pick up now. Go do it." And we have a cycle, usually one homeschool subject/activity, one chore, one playtime, repeat. Meals and snacks are what brings them back from the playtime to start homeschooling again.
One thing I am hoping to do is work some routines in for me: exercise, scripture reading at regular parts of the day, and so on. Wouldn't that be nice? Instead of trying to shove it in where I can and often running out of time or energy.
Another thing I would like to try is a routine for chores. Losing power showed me how nice it could be to have the laundry or dishes done swiftly and regularly. Imagine if we didn't have clean clothes in the house? If I let the dirty laundry pile up to wash all on one day we could have been in bad shape. (besides, who likes washing 6 loads in one day?) And I'm not getting any less pregnant. We're close to halfway at 16 weeks. Now is the time to work that deep cleaning into the schedule and then set in place routines to maintain it. It's so much easier to wipe down the shower every day when you get out than to scrub the grime off once every 6 months!
So off I go to list and brainstorm ideas! I'll update you how it turns out later!