A schedule is a tool

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.

Painting birdhouses built by Papadaddy

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)

Boxing practice with Daddy

My goals over the summer were to:

  1. Adjust to having a baby in the family again, after a four-year hiatus
  2. Keep some sort of routine going so the big kids had stability
  3. Continue with enough schoolwork and chores to keep us in the habit
  4. Go swimming as often as the weather allowed

Our schedule looked like this, on a good day.  On a very good day.

6:30 Me – Nurse baby
Kids – Get dressed, free time
7:00 Me – Exercise (to be honest, most of the summer I just went back to sleep)
8:00 Breakfast
Cleanup:
Wilson – load dishwasher, brush teeth
Marianne – wipe table, brush teeth
Finch – vacuum under table, brush teeth
9:00 Me – nurse baby
All – memorize verses, catechism, Bible reading time (15 min)
10:00 Kids – Start workboxes (includes math, reading, current daily chores)
Me – laundry, meal prep, misc. chores
10:30 Baby naps
12:00 Me – nurse baby
12:30 Lunch
Cleanup:
Wilson – load and run dishwasher
Marianne – wipe counter
Finch – vacuum under counter
1:30 Kids – Rest time in rooms
Baby naps
Me – Pufferfish, paperwork, email, free time
3:30 Kids – pick up rooms
free time (swimming if it’s a hot day, i.e. every day this summer)
4:00 Nurse Harvey, read book to kids (when I wasn’t too tired)
Me – Prep supper
5:30 Supper
Me, Nick – Cleanup
Next:  Family time, baths, etc.
8:00 Family Bible study
8:30 Kids – Brush teeth, bedtime


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.

How many Taylors does it take to bathe a 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.

3.  Wilson kept us his math and reading over the summer, and Marianne got some reading lessons with Grandmother, so I consider that a success.  I even managed to put in some time with Finch and the ABC flashcards.
Been painting?

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.

Wilson, finally going head first

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.

4 thoughts on “A schedule is a tool

  • September 9, 2011 at 6:01 am
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    Thanks for sharing your life, Dana! You are a great mom and I’m so glad you are my friend! I’ll be praying for you as you continue to embrace managing your household. Love you!

  • September 9, 2011 at 8:39 am
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    Dana, what great pictures! I was never organized enough to put together a formal schedule,but it looks like you’re doing great! We would love to see you guys again if you are ever back in Arkansas.

  • September 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm
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    Well said! I have come to the conclusion that schedules/routines are like fruits and vegetables – they ripen and get better, but eventually they rot and you have to toss them out and start over.

  • September 9, 2011 at 8:42 pm
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    Nice! I like that, Leah!

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