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My new number one goal

October 7, 2008

Part 1 What’s working, what’s not: timewise.  Part 2 will be curriculum.

My new number one goal is to be finished with our schoolwork for the week before Saturday at 5 p.m. 

Way before.

Like 29 hours before.

Like noon on Friday.  Why can’t we seem to achieve this lately?  I really don’t have a problem with doing schoolwork on Saturday. I remember A getting upset when he was about 4 because I didn’t have any school planned one weekend.  But I have a problem with doing (formal) schoolwork on Saturday when we’ve been doing it Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday besides.  I need a break in there somewhere!  I need planning time, I need rejuvenating time.  This is exhausting work!

I really wanted to have a 4-day workweek with Fridays being left open for fun projects and outings this year.  Lately it feels like we’re having 6-day workweeks and we never get to the fun projects.  And most of it is my own fault and due to lack of self-discipline probably, but here are things that are working for us and some things that aren’t.  (It’s kind of long and rambling, I’m just trying to type out my thoughts.  It helps me sleep better.)

Working: Mondays!  I love Mondays.  We always get so much done.  I’m not sure why, but we don’t have to leave the house for anything and for some reason that makes me more relaxed and we always seem to accomplish a record number of things. 
Not: Any day I have to leave the house (3 days a week)–I can’t seem to settle down and just focus on the task at hand.  I have this mental block that we’re pressed for time (even when Kindermusik is not until 4 p.m.) and therefore must hurry, hurry, hurry.  And of course those are the times the boys start moving slower than ever.  I tend to not start any involved projects or long reading assignments either for fear we’ll have to stop in the middle.  This is a me problem, but also why I want to start school in June–we have no outside commitments in the summer.  We’d have 3 months to get SO MUCH accomplished!

Working: The job chart–I’ll detail this later, but everybody knows what they’re supposed to do when they get up (although we’re still working on making it a habit first thing in the morning), my house looks cleaner, and I don’t feel like I’m the only one doing the work.  Now if I could just get on top of the (my) clutter.
Not: A daily school schedule–I just can’t seem to make one that works.  I have general weekly goals.  So the nice thing is we’re not tied to the clock, but we can also waste or just lose track of a lot of time some days and some weeks, which brings me to. . .

Working: The weekly schedule–A lot of my curriculum is divided into weekly topics (history, science, Latin.)  I like that, it’s organized, my calendar is neat. 
Not: The weekly schedule–Because each week has a theme, I feel compelled to finish it all, every last assignment, during that particular week.  But some weeks get crazy (or lazy) or some themes are a lot more involved than others and then we’re doing science experiments and history maps on Saturday afternoon so I can feel like we’re done.  I do set my own schedule and will tweak it when necessary, but I also want (and need) the discipline of sticking to my schedule, and don’t want to constantly be carrying over into the next week.  I need to work harder in the middle of the week.

Working: Scheduling math, grammar, reading lessons for 4 days a week instead of 5–We’re in no huge hurry to finish these books, and 4 assignments a week work well.  There’s a day to not do them (preferably Friday, usually Wednesday.)
Not: Friday when we still have math, grammar, and reading lessons for the week–DH is home on Friday and therefore treats it as a weekend day (no alarm clocks, no big hurry to shower or eat) and I have a really hard time getting everybody else going and still treating it like a school day, which is why I don’t want it to be a formal, sit-down schoolwork day.  DH and I have talked about this though and I will try harder to get the bookwork done before Friday and he will help us get off to a better start in the morning so we can get to the fun activities together. 

Working: Piano practice first thing after breakfast–It gets done!  Thursdays can be rough though, A usually has all new music after his Wednesday lesson, and can take twice as long to get through it, and that’s one of those mornings we have to leave the house after an early lunch.  The best solution is to get up and started earlier.  And that’s where I fail.  And I can’t imagine what it will be like when more than one has to practice.
Working: PPSS (Prayer, Pledge, Scripture, Song)–We do this first every day (after piano) and we’re getting through the New Testament!  I’m so excited.  I’m thinking of putting it before piano though because C and D never want to do any other work until after it’s done and that way they could get to work individually while A practices. 
Not: Some mornings, all we get done is piano and PPSS.  But those are extremely important in my mind, so I’m not really that worried.  And we always get literature from the cd’s in the car.

Working: The increased workload–I didn’t think it would be a big difference this year, but I have added more in for A (and he’s really stepped up) and am spending more time one on one with both C and D, and it’s working out.
Not: We cannot do school after lunch, nobody will concentrate, so we work and work and lunch gets pushed later and later some days which eats into my cello practicing time.  We need to start sooner in the mornings.

Working: I feel like I’m taking time for ME.  I’ve been doing quite a bit of reading and self-educating and I feel good about doing something every day that doesn’t come undone (unlike laundry, dishes, etc.).  The downside is I feel like I have very little other free/do nothing time, and I occasionally take too much time for myself and sacrifice sleep to do it.

I know I had some other issues bugging me about how things are working out around here.  I still need to go to bed earlier and get up earlier.  This is my constant battle.  I have to work hard to stay on top of my planning as well.  If I know what we’re going to do each week, I’m excited.  And if I’m excited, they get excited.  If I wake up Monday morning without a clue, the week just doesn’t go as well.  Ever.  It’s humbling to think how much of our home/school success depends on me and my preparation and my attitude.  And I’m really glad it’s October.  September was just kind of a bad attitude month for me all around, between figuring out our full fall schedule with all the out of the house commitments, PMS, huge hay fever, increased cello practicing, and I can’t remember what else and probably don’t want to talk about it anyway. 

What’s really Working: I’ve made homeschooling a top priority in my life, which isn’t always easy.  But this is what we feel we should be doing right now and we do it, every day (even though I’d rather not some Saturdays.)  I don’t let outside things encroach on our learning time (unless a dire necessity) and I really look forward to this time I have to spend with my children.  I’m learning so much along with them and this is only 2nd grade!  I can’t wait to see where we go from here.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2008 10:38 pm

    We have the same problem on Mondays that you have on Fridays because Monty has Sundays and Mondays off. We talk occasionally about doing school Tues-Sat and we even tried that a couple of years ago and it didn’t work because Saturday just FEELS like a day off. So we found we were only doing work Tues-Fri. lol. It’s hard for ME to keep focused on Mondays with Monty around, but the girls tend to work faster so we can be done earlier that day.

    You’re right, it’s a constant battle. Worth it. But so hard sometimes.

  2. October 7, 2008 11:14 pm

    I stand in awe!

    I have the opposite problem on Monday. I can’t get anything done school-wise and so we have moved our cleaning/baking/errands day to Monday. We still play on Saturday, but Tues-Fri we usually work until 4-5. My girls don’t seem to mind working that late in the day, and so we’ll keep the current schedule for now!

    Good luck on all your plans! Your a good Mama!

  3. Becca permalink
    October 8, 2008 12:05 am

    I love this post! I too am fighting the fight each day, and I really think all you do is take one day at a time and take time to see if it is working.

  4. October 8, 2008 6:23 pm

    I loved that you mentioned that some days all you get done is Prayer, Scripture and pledge. That happens too and I always feel like such a slacker on days when that happens but some days just go that way.

    I am interested in your chore chart and look forward to your post about it. We really need something to get my kids motivated to help out a bit more. It is soooo hard to get them to do much of anything.

    I think this is a good time to look at what is working and not working… maybe I should sit down and really think about this too.

  5. October 9, 2008 2:47 pm

    you have inspired me to work on a post about this–partly just for my own evaluation.
    we are also doing 4 lessons a week of the basics. my goal is to get our seatwork done before friday even comes around, so that we can spend fridays doing field trips, science, and family play time. it’s mostly working, but sometimes it just works because i let something go. (i still have a half-completed death mask in my homeschool closet. we have got to finish it.)
    you are doing a fantastic job and are such an inspiration to me. i feel so blessed to be homeschooling because of the learning that i get to do with my kids, because i get to spend more time with them, and because of the team spirit it builds in our family. i do wish that i got a little more time to myself, but most days i get a little.

  6. October 11, 2008 8:30 am

    Terrific post! Inspirational as always. It’s fun to learn about what different people do that works for them. Learning from others’ experiences has shaped the way we homeschool and had made it possible for us to continue.
    Thank you so much for sharing!

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