Our family is still liking the new schedule. Remember the big areas we changed were:
- kids wake up later (8:00am)
- homeschool begins later (10:00am)
- quiet time is also later (2:00pm – 3:00pm)
I’ll take each area individually, so first let’s talk about that wake up time.
I am a morning person. Despite the fact that I am still awake in the middle of the night every single night with one or two children between 1 and 4 times, I am still a morning person. I wake up and want to get started on my day. Not all of my children are like that. As a matter of fact most of my children are not so chipper in the early morning. Joseph is my early riser. Thanks to the dark mornings of fall he is waking up closer to 7:00am or even 7:30am. I still usually need to wake the rest of the children at 8:00am, occasionally they wake on their own before then.
Next new part: Homeschool begins later, at 10:00am. I go back and forth on this. The kids really like it. They bring better (more cheerful) attitudes to their school work after 2 hours of being awake, doing chores, and playing. Most days I really like it too. I can get a lot of the house work done in those two hours before homeschool. There are days when the house is pretty caught up already that I would like to just get homeschool started. But the kids do much better on this schedule.
Last, but not least, the change to a later quiet time. This is the part I am most ambivalent about. Daniel naps, Emma naps, Oliver sometimes naps(if he didn’t earlier), and Joseph and Makayla listen to an audio book or music while resting on their beds. When we had quiet time at 1:00pm I could let Daniel nap for 2 hours. Now I have to be much more diligent to wake him at 3:00pm or he stays up later(midnight). We are still sticking with 2:00pm, unless Daniel is tired enough to sleep earlier.
What I have realized over the last few weeks is the importance of having a schedule. Some people cringe at the word schedule. Replace it with routine if it makes you feel better. What I mean is that having a predictable order to our day helps this family of 7 run smoother. There are fewer meltdowns from one of the children who want to do something ‘right this minute’. They know when they get to do that activity and can wait cheerfully, knowing they will get to do it.
I am able to keep balance in my life. There is a time for me to read the scriptures and fill my spirit so I can give to my family. There is a time to pay attention to the housework, a time to focus on the homeschooling, a time to just relax and be mom because all the “work” of our day has been finished.
An important key to remember is you are the master of the schedule, not the slave to it. When something unexpected comes up you can easily judge how to respond. You know that your home, homeschool, and family have been maintained regularly, so this temporary adjustment will not throw everything out of balance. If the unexpected is not something you need to take care of, the schedule gives you that honest knowledge that you really have no time to add a new obligation to.
For example, there are many things that come up in a week I could go and do out of the house. Some of those things are needs, like taking a sick child to the doctor. Some are good activities that will enhance your family’s life and homeschool that week, maybe an activity with another homeschool family. Some are good activities, but ones that take you away from your first responsibilities at home, like two or three activities with friends in the same week. A schedule equips you to find and maintain that balance. When your home, homeschool, and family regularly get your time and attention, you swiftly notice if something gets out of balance. You may not know right away what has changed to throw things off kilter, but you can look back and find the times you dropped the schedule for something that came up, and you may see what has become out of balance.
Another thing to remember – the schedule may need adjusted. We change, tweak, or update our family’s schedule often. As seasons change, family dynamics shift with new ages and stages, or obligations and opportunities change, the schedule may stop working so well. Don’t throw it out! Adjust it. Try it on for a few weeks, and adjust it again if you need to.