Homemaking, Homeschooling, Motherhood

A Changing Routine

I’ve always really enjoyed having the ability to be relaxed as teacher to my kids. But I have to make some changes as we begin this new school year because everything has changed so much! At least for the moment, I don’t have the luxury of being as relaxed if I want to have any hope of getting things accomplished. Housework, school lessons, baby and child care – these things take time! With a newborn, a Kindergartener, a seventh grader, and an eleventh grader, things are getting a bit complicated! But with some planning and will power, everybody can thrive – I know we can!

The purpose of this post is to help me focus and evaluate the routine we have, which things need to change and which don’t. Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!

Waking up in the morning 

In theory, I think children should be able to sleep until they wake, for optimum health, which is why I’ve rarely woken my kids up in the morning. Believe it or not, this hasn’t resulted in lazy lie ins. When they go to bed at a decent hour, they get up at a reasonable time in the morning. But I want to streamline their mornings if possible, and I think choosing a wake up time for the older two would help a lot.

I still plan on letting Samuel sleep until he wakes, which is currently somewhere between 7:30 and 8:30. I can’t decide if I want Stephen to wake me in the morning so I can be up before all of them…by the time I start implementing these changes, Elizabeth will be five weeks old, so I miiiiggghhhtt be able to start getting up at 6am instead of whenever Samuel comes to wake me.

Snacks 

Snacks work best when pre-measured out. We can grab and go, without having to make decisions about what to eat or the appropriate serving size. I’m thinking of asking Maggie to take over part of the job because I’ve been falling behind. She could make five days’ worth of snacks on Mondays so that they’re ready for her and her brothers for the school week. I can still make mine.

Shopping

Since baby Elizabeth’s arrival, our grocery shopping day has changed from mid-week to weekend so that Stephen can either a) do the shopping for me, b) go with me for support, or c) stay with the kids at home while I shop. I don’t plan on changing this new arrangement for a long time.

We also go to a handful of other stores at various times throughout the month, based on sales, what we’re out of, etc. Again, no change needed.

Chores

Both big kids have certain household chores that they are responsible for each day (in addition to their rooms and taking care of personal hygiene) but in the last few weeks I’ve thought of some additional jobs that they could be helping with. I’m sure they’ll be thrilled, lol. And I’m also going to add Samuel in on the fun! I’m thinking of making a little chore chart for him. Any online suggestions?

Combined School Subjects

For the first time in a long time, I’m considering combining a few of the kids’ subjects. This will reduce my workload a little bit and hopefully bring the kids closer together. World geography is one I’m definitely going to have Maggie and Joshua do together. Read alouds I’m going to begin doing with all of them (we had to stop a few years ago simply because of Samuel’s rowdiness and lack of naps, lol). And I’m also thinking of having the big kids each do something with Samuel each day (like reading and/or crafts).

Resources

We use a wide variety of resources to teach the kids. Library books, textbooks, videos, etc. It takes a lot of time to plan lessons because most of the resources aren’t designed to be broken down into individual lessons. As tempting as it is to look for an easier (less time-consuming) way to teach, I’m still happily eclectic at this time.

Maggie’s Lessons

Maggie is sixteen years old and has always been a great student. She is internally motivated and enjoys doing schoolwork, making my job easy and fun.

Joshua’s Lessons

Joshua is twelve and has no desire to do schoolwork, lol. He has far more interesting things to do with his time, like play games, watch videos, and ride his bike. And while I’ve been trying my hardest to find ways to make school enjoyable for him, my attempts have failed to impress. Lately, I’ve felt really frustrated because he is behind in a few subjects and I know it’s because I haven’t required as much as I should from him. Well, that’s changing as of August 1st! I am willing myself to stop caring whether or not he’s okay with what I’m giving him to do. *sigh*

Samuel’s Lessons

Samuel is almost five years old and has been showing a readiness and willingness to begin learning to read lately. I’m planning to start Hooked on Phonics with him this fall. I also want to begin doing more seasonally themed arts and crafts with him.

Errands/Outings

Before having Elizabeth, we generally weren’t leaving the house to go anywhere until the afternoon, unless I had a doctor’s appointment in the morning (which was pretty frequent). But even “afternoon” was typically early, like shortly after lunch. Months ago, it was more like 3pm or so when we’d go out but during my pregnancy I started having very little energy in the afternoon and evening, so we had to make it earlier. But Hallelujah! I’m no longer pregnant, lol! So, we need to get it back to 3 or 4pm unless there’s something special going on (like a day trip or an event at the library).

Weekday/Weekend?

My kids sometimes can’t tell the difference between school days and weekends because they have so much freedom every day. This is both a good and not-so-good thing, in my mind. While it’s lovely that homeschooling really is just a way of life for us (and always has been), their lessons should at least make them feel like they’ve done their work for the day – which they don’t have on the weekend. I’m going to be changing this, too! I’m not going to punish them for feeling that sense of freedom, but I do want them to have more structure and perhaps a heftier workload during the week. I hope this doesn’t sound awful! I think it could be good for them to really appreciate the weekends. I have the opposite problem – I work just as hard on the weekend as I do during the week, which isn’t good either! :P

Let me know if you have any experience making any of these changes, and/or if you have any suggestions! Thanks!!

5 thoughts on “A Changing Routine”

  1. Wow good on you for homeschooling! My husband and I talked about it and as much as I love the idea I know I don’t have the self-discipline or structure to follow through. Or the energy! How are you doing this with a newborn!!?? Superwoman you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just knew I wanted to teach my daughter – I had no idea HOW I’d do it! Over the years, I’ve had to adjust things a lot here and there to make homeschooling work for us. It’s certainly not easy, but I love this lifestyle!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I will be in your shoes shortly. My baby is due mid September, I have a nearly 2 year old, and my oldest is 11. I homeschool too, and am changing curriculum this year.
    My husband and I share the homeschooling duties, so my son does have school on the weekend. We always have Tuesdays as our family day since my husband and I only get Tuesday off together. Sometimes Tuesday is a fun day, but more often than not we have appointments or errands to run. Depending on which of us has more to get done at home or away from home we mix up which other day during the week to have as a day off of school.
    Things were pretty crazy with a toddler this year, so we are nervous about staying focused on school with a newborn to take care of. We are leaning towards some more online/independent learning options for my son this year.
    I have given my 11 year old some more chores this year, and he has responded pretty well. He has been responsible to clean litter boxes since I am pregnant, and he is getting quite tired of that chore. ;)
    I try to avoid early morning appointments too, since we stay up late, and sleep in late. My 11 year old stays up later than I do most nights. The baby is usually in bed around 9pm, and sleeps until about 9am most days. When I work I go to bed between 9 and 10, but have to be up at 2:30am. On my days off, I usually go to bed by 11 but sleep in as late as the baby and animals will let me. :)
    I am not looking forward to the unpredictable newborn schedule, but I can’t wait to meet this little guy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think that a toddler is more challenging than a newborn, in regards to homeschooling. When my four year old was 18months or so I was freaking out because things were so hard to balance!
      I know what you mean about the “fun day” being used for errands and such. I hate when that happens but it’s necessary sometimes. :/
      I hope you find an independent curriculum that works for your son!

      Like

      1. The toddler does worry me, since he has a bad temper at times. He hates to be corrected, and throws things. :(
        We will be trying to choose our curriculum this weekend. We normally start school in early September, but I was just told by my high risk OB that I will be induced around 9/12 if I haven’t delivered by then. My due date was 9/21. Early September will probably be quite hectic aound here.

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