For the first, um, 9 years of our marriage —we’ve been married 9 1/2 years— I was under the impression that if I could just strike on the right schedule, the right organizational system, the right meal planner, then I would have a friend for life and would never have to think about those things again. I would coast through the rest of life with meals practically making themselves, cleaning happening on the fly, and I would never again need to answer the question, “What can I do now?” Because of that delusion of mine, I have been quick to jump from one system to the next, waiting for one to “stick” and swinging from the pinnacle of hope to the pit of disappointment. For most of those years, I was also waiting around for “normal” life to resume. Ahem.
So, by the grace of God, I’m beginning to embrace the fact that all these things are what managing a home is all about. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (Proverbs 31:27) What I have been doing all these years is attempting to sidestep my responsibility of looking well to the ways of my household! I would much rather eat the bread of idleness than work hard at making our household run smoothly.
Circumstances change, trials come along, and children, along with their challenges, grow; this is all “normal” life that God has given me! So this week, as we’ve been adjusting to our new homeschool schedule, I want to share what our summer routine was like. I’m not ashamed that this was a temporary schedule for a very specific season, because I have come to believe that a schedule is a tool and not a taskmaster. Schedules, routines, and plans will change as we seek to honor God by raising our children unto Him. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
My goals over the summer were to:
- Adjust to having a baby in the family again, after a four-year hiatus
- Keep some sort of routine going so the big kids had stability
- Continue with enough schoolwork and chores to keep us in the habit
- Go swimming as often as the weather allowed
Our schedule looked like this, on a good day. On a very good day.
Looking back over a summer that really flew by, here is how I rate those goals:
1. The adjustment to baby #4 has been smoother than ever. The kids’ enthusiasm over him and their legitimate help with him have made all the difference. Not to mention that he is an amazing baby.
2. We did pretty well with our daily routine. The workboxes helped the kids know “what to do next” without asking me… mostly. The chore-training effort I put in pre-baby really paid off as well.
4. This was an excellent year for swimming. The kids advanced in their skills and swam like little fish by August, thanks to Mom and Dad who took them swimming even when I was too tired to. More on that in a later post.
Once we get a week or two of the new school schedule under our belts, I’ll post our progress. And if the schedule needs to change along the way, it’s all good.