Day One; In The Planning Stages

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.

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Not one, not two, but three lists going. But all helping flesh out the same goal rather than tackling three problems at once. I’m as focused as that genius in A Beautiful Mind!

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.

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  1. Geez…how is this rambling?? You are awesome!! All I blogged about was my favorite outfits that Kate wore during her pregnancy. Now I really have nothing left to talk about for the next six days! UGH!

  2. This is much more coherent than rambling! 🙂 I love reading thoughts like these because I am the person who is organized on paper, and an absolute mess when it comes to actually accomplishing things. I know exactly what you mean by “no typical day.” And my first isn’t even out of the womb yet! Point being, your struggles and insights are really helpful to me as I try to become A Person Who Accomplishes Things and plan effectively for babies. So thank you for writing it all out!

  3. I am also trying to resign myself to the fact that there is no magical formula for homeschooling success, at least not on a day-to-day basis. I want to create a nice, happy routine that will ensure we get everything done, I don’t get lazy and let things go, and the kids are happy and enthusiastic. Nice dream, huh. So I’m working on simplicity, and keeping it real. 🙂 We’ll see how things go when we gear up again in September (after a move – yikes). I love your focus on small things – setting goals one at a time and working on things in stages. I need to keep that idea in mind.

  4. I love what you said about attacking one thing at a time as well! I have to do that with MYSELF because, oh man, I have so much to work on. Then add in one good (let’s face it, replacing bad) habit per child and woah. That’s a lot of work for this mama. One thing at a time.
    Where are these homeschooler’s who have it all together? What’s the catch? Hahaha It makes me think of when I read “Mother’s Rule of Life.” Man, I know it’s a cult classic among Catholic HS mamas, but I hated it! I can NOT expect to live in that kind of schedule. I just try to keep a general *flow* and try not to freak out. I learned that from my husband. It only took a decade before I put a tiny toe into the “don’t freak out” with interruptions pool.
    Anyway, I’m rambling.
    Great post!

  5. I’ve put a lot of thought into this coming year of homeschool. Last year was a bust and I hope this year I feel like less of a failure… I too am adopting a list mentality.

    I wonder if it would be easier if I could afford curriculum instead of having to come up with lessons by searching the interwebz… At the same time I am drawn to a more casual learning style where the main focus is reading, writing and math. The rest is learned when these are learned and spending that much on a curriculum is scary but I love books so maybe I should sell a kidney to get some….

    ^ See that right there? THAT’S how you ramble. Your post did not do that.


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