Day 1 of the seven day blogging challenge: GO!
Why does this feel more painful than a seven day Jillian Michael’s workout?
So this will be my one rambly post where I throw my scattered thoughts at you and try to wrap it up neatly without boring you to tears.
Today is a day of lists, notes, reflection and planning. Yes, I know what I’ll be writing about for the rest of the week, mostly, but besides that, I’m once again trying to get this house, and myself back into some sort of routine after allowing chaos to reign supreme. And it’s about time, seeing as we’re wrapping up our last trimester of the school year on Friday. As usual, I’m trying to see what worked, what didn’t and why no one even starts thinking about completing their math work until it’s 1:30 and I’m trying to finish corrections.
The last school year was all over the place, which I never would’ve expected since it was the first in many (ever?) that we didn’t move or I wasn’t pregnant or contending with a newborn. Yet, it didn’t go according to plan. While I recovered from the loss of nursing, and even got a better perspective on our schooling situation in general, I did come to realize that while I can “do it all” in regards to teaching and caring for Fulton, it’s hard. Really hard. Made worse often times by my own lack of planning and ability to stay on task or follow a schedule. It doesn’t help that we don’t seem to have a typical day around here. Yes, we have set appointments and activities each week , but everyday it seems like I’m thrown monkey wrenches that no schedule, no matter how beautiful, could account for. You know what I mean: something important breaks, illness, the key ingredient for dinner is MIA, an appointment needs rescheduled, even a beautiful day that just cries to be spent at the beach. There is the part of me that wants to adopt and stick to a militant routine so I know ‘everything’ will get done or taken care of. And then there is the part that wants to seize opportunities, adapt as the weather or the children’s’ call for and deal with the consequences later.
I was inspired when I read Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ a few months ago. I immediately jumped into ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Families’ and wrote out pages of notes. It’s been helping, so long as I remember to tackle one disorganized mess at a time. What I’m realizing is I don’t need one huge master schedule that dictates everything in minutiae, but smaller systems of tackling individual problems. I’ve learned to stop seeing the situation as ‘we’re one disorganized family that *I* need to fix’ to viewing it as several smaller issues that we can work together to solve.
With input from the whole family I feel like it’s getting better. Our house has been cleaner the last couple months thanks to some positive reinforcement and clear cut goals for the older kids. I wanted to tackle numerous other issues at the same time, but managed to restrain myself.We took it slow with the new chores/cleaning expectations and now, like I hoped, they’ve become habits.
So with the daily grind of school off my plate beginning next week, I’m starting to think of other problem areas that I…we, as a family, can work on. Some things are squarely on my shoulders, like trying to make time for me without causing, ahem, problems. Others, like everyone’s attitude at dinner or bedtimes, will require family input. And as I pull together next years lesson plans, I’m hoping we can create a homeschooling mission statement of sorts to guide our efforts and clarify to myself, the kids and anyone who asks, why we’re doing this. Even if the kids don’t enjoy every aspect of their school day, I hope they will come to better understand Tony and my motivations and better appreciate why we do what we do. And maybe, with their input, I’ll even learn where I can make some changes to help excite them about their education. (Okay, excite might be too strong a word, but I can hope.)
When I was a kid, I loved the beginning of a new school year because I got new clothes, maybe a new Trapper and a fresh start in front of me. (Maybe this was the year I’d finally figure out how to properly roll my jeans and make friends with the popular girls!) Now, every August, I try to see each new school year as the year I get this homeschooling thing down pat. I become the homeschooling mom you idealize on Pinterest. The kids no longer mock my schedule but embrace it and start wearing uniforms of their own accord. With a few more family meetings…or even just one, it could happen. If not, I’ll consider it a major victory if everyone starts eating their broccoli without barf noises. Baby steps.