Within the last week, I ended up extremely frustrated with the State of the House and its occupants. Despite my best intentions, chores slowly were piled on my back, too much technology had crept in, and attitudes were everywhere. Obviously the problem was too much unstructured time – idle hands and idle thoughts and all. So, I sat down and thought “what are the things that I want to incorporate into our family culture” and “how will that be accomplished?” I ended up generating a schedule like so:
Breakfast – Wake up, make beds, get dressed, brush hair. Eat breakfast, clear off table, load dishwasher. Morning prayers.
Morning – Chore of the Day. Everyone plays with the baby. School for those old enough, Nugget naps. Everyone else is playing, coloring, or reading a book.
Snacktime – Only if people are respectful during school and Nugget’s nap (we’ve had a problem with people deliberately waking up the baby, grr).
Lunchtime – Mom and Nugget eat, everyone else plays, prays, reads, or cleans. Big kids eat with Dad during his lunch break. Afterwards – clear table, load dishwasher, sweep floor.
Afternoon – Big kids finish up school. If school was finished in the morning, then afternoon occupations. Little kids can play, color, be read to, etc. When Nugget is napping everyone has quiet time.
Snacktime – Only if people are respectful during Nugget’s nap.
4 o’clock – Quick tidy so Dad doesn’t come home to a disaster area. Make dinner, eat when Dad is back from work. Clear table, load dishwasher, run it.
Evening – Playtime with Dad while Mom eats chocolate in the bathroom. Final clean up. Bath/showers for all kids. Read aloud. Bedtime prayers, tuck in, lights out.
I made several copies of the schedule, and gave one copy each to Peanut and Moose. Everyone else gets it read to them and reminded regularly about what they should be doing and what’s coming up. It’s working out rather well – I’m not as frustrated, the kids aren’t as aimless, and everyone is understanding that Mom Means Business if you dare to wake the baby from any kind of sleep!
When I broke the readings into their daily components, one thing I did for Moose (year 2) is leave one day a week as a “light” day. He’s the kind of kid who will burn out quickly without regularly scheduled breaks. In addition to trying a six week on/one off break schedule this year; we’re testing out a four day on/one day “light” day for five days of school each week. He still has to do reading, math, handwriting, literature, and religion but the rest (British history, history tales, etc) isn’t done. Thursday is our “light” day, which worked out well yesterday. At 11am my husband called me to let me know that at 2pm, I needed to take our dog to the vet to get his rabies shot updated. Okie-dokie. Thanks to our “light” day, everything was pretty much done and so it was easy to work into our schedule (although it did make it so Nugget couldn’t nap, but oh well).
On Monday we add in Peanut, who will start Year 4. It shouldn’t be too chaotic as she’s pretty independent and Moose is off to an acting camp for the week. The following week the juggling will begin as both will be doing school at the same time. 🙂