Happy New Year! This is the day I’ve been waiting for … time for a fresh start. Time to plan for the second half of our school year, establish new routines, and figure out a rhythm that will work for us! I’m so excited!
As a family, we’re not all what I would call highly-disciplined. My husband is probably the most consistent of the group, but I happen to be very flexible with my schedule and my time, however, my kids have been homeschooled by me and have therefore learned my habits.
I’m the type who needs some alone time at the beginning of my day to get some caffeine pumping through my blood, some kind of printed words in front of my eyes and into my head, and quiet. My ideal day starts with my coffee, my bible, and a good chunk of quiet. More often than not, it starts with my son getting up before me, turning the noise box on for company, and the dogs asking to be let out of the crate … all before the coffee is done brewing.
As the totally unstructured days of the holiday break are quickly falling behind us and I’m craving some order in our life, I’m coming to the realization that we need to, again, establish some consistent routines … I need to work in time for our school work, chores, basketball, and my writing, reading, meetings, and the ever-present appointments that must be kept. We’d also like to make time to get to the Y for some exercise. I feel like it’s nearly impossible to work all of that in! But I’m giving it a good try.
To begin with, I finally got smart enough to realize I can’t do this myself. As my kids get older and more independent (and independent-minded!), I’m finding it harder to maintain command of our schedule and routines, so I finally figured out that I should talk to God about this. I prayed for His help, asking for guidance, support, and strength. Not long after, things began to come together in my brain.
Thankfully, we’ve already got our materials and books, so I don’t need to go down that road right now. I can focus strictly on what needs to be accomplished and what time is available to do that.
After prayer, I turned to *a great planner created by Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. She’s offering the one I’m using (Arrows) for free in the month of January, although she has created some others that might be more appealing to you for only $5 each! That’s a huge bargain compared to anything you can buy in the stores, and it includes TONS of homeschool forms that will help you throughout the year. Plus, it’s all downloadable … no need to run to the store before getting started, and you only have to print what you’ll actually use. (For instance, I use a different Notice of Intent form, so I won’t print that.)
Arrows Planner from Confessions of a Homeschooler
After downloading this planner, I made a quick list of the subjects we need to cover, added “chores” and “YMCA” to the list, and printed just one copy of the page called “Weekly Schedule Overview.” This page has hourly time slots for each weekday. Then I penciled in our meals (we aren’t even consistent on mealtimes, for goodness sake, and I often forget that we haven’t eaten yet!), our scheduled basketball practices, piano lessons, church activities, and the weekly bible study I attend.
That’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. Since the kids are still on their “break,” I didn’t want to sit and talk with them quite yet. However, I’ve now done the beginnings of my part, and my next step is to pull them in and start a discussion about time management. We’ll reflect on how our time is currently being wasted, what our goals are for the next five months (my oldest daughter is getting married at the beginning of June so our school year will end in May this year), and how our schedule can work with “who we are.” We don’t need down-to-the-minute planning, but we need to establish routines that work within the time frame created by our outside commitments.
After our little talk, I’ll let them help me figure out what times would be best for each subject … would math be better in the morning or afternoon, and why? We’ll pencil everything in so we can erase and move things as needed until we find something that works.
Once we start, I intend to keep track of how well we do. I don’t expect that we’ll hit everything all the time, but if we’re making an acceptable amount of progress (guidelines set by my husband and I), settling into a rhythm and routine, and I’m not missing any appointments, I’ll consider it a success.
I’m so excited to get back to “normal” around here and have enough time set aside for all we need to do!
Have you already found a system that works well for your family or are you starting fresh with the new year, too? Please click on the little conversation bubble at the top of this post (by the title) and share your own story. Let’s learn from each other.
*I am in no way affiliated with Erica other than being a fan of her writing and her creations. I am not being compensated for writing this … I’m just sharing what I’m using and what I like. 🙂