Saturday, August 2, 2014

Getting into a Routine Again

I'm sorry I've been MIA this week on the blog. I finished planning for my school year and decided to start this week.

The problem is, I have been a bit overwhelmed with my new routine this week, and we have not completed a single day as planned yet. I'm not sure yet if I need to adjust, or if my routine needs some tweaking. Probably we'll need a bit of both. I'm hoping that writing through it here will give me some clarity, so bear with me if this post rambles a bit.

I've explained before why a routine works better for me than a schedule. I have been a bit challenged on this lately because many of my fellow Charlotte Mason homeschoolers use a schedule in imitation of Charlotte Mason herself. But in my season of life (three children under six, and another on the way), I am still convinced that flexible periods of time anchored to regular daily events like mealtimes work better than assigning a specific time for everything.

The routine for our Kindergarten year worked wonderfully. It was a simple routine, with plenty of room to breathe and live our lives. Our days were (mostly) peaceful. Year one adds several new elements, and that's where the challenge lies right now. I'm wondering if my tiredness and inability to finish it all are just the normal pains of adjusting to something new, or if I will have to drop some things. Let me show you my planned routine. I will italicize the items that are new on our routine, or new in the time period I've put them in. Maybe you will have some ideas for me...

Before Breakfast:
Get dressed
Brush teeth
Chore #1 (Hasn't happened yet. I hope to get SA to collect the laundry so I can start a load before breakfast.)

Breakfast: 8:00 

After Breakfast (while we're still sitting at the table. Everything in this time period is going well.)
Scripture reading
Narration of Scripture reading 
Scripture memory work
Psalm/Hymn memory work
French (ten minute lesson once a week, five minute daily review)
Copywork (five minutes. I set the timer.)

Play Outside
Clean-up Time

Poetry Teatime (10:30)
We do this outside if possible. This time includes our folk song and several poems. I plan to alternate Poetry with Music Appreciation (once a week) and Art Appreciation (once a week). Neither of these new things happened this week.

Lesson Time
Math Lesson (I set the timer for fifteen minutes, and give him five more if he really wants them.)
AO Reading and Narration (This went well this week.)
Pilates (SA has some Pilates-like exercises prescribed by our eye doctor. It was good to have this in the routine, as I had not been very faithful with them up to now.)
Reading (SA usually just reads aloud from a library book or a reader. I will also use this time for occasional reading instruction that may arise from that.)
Drawing (20 minute lesson once a week, a few minutes of practice on two additional days.)

Play Outside

Lunch (12:30)

After Lunch (while we're still at the table)
Reading Proverbs with SA (SA and I read a few verses alternately. This happened once this week.)
Catechism Memory (did not happen)
Scripture and Hymn Memory Review (Review of memory work we've learned in the past. This did work out this week.)
AO Reading and Narration (This went well.)

Quiet Time (Sort of happened, but not really in an intentional way.)

Play Outside

Nature Walk/Geography (3x per week/2x per week) (Did not happen.)

Snack Time (3:00)

Play Outside

Clean-up Time 

Screen Time (5:00)  (This used to be at 4:00, and we didn't end up changing the time this week yet.)

Supper Time

Several thoughts are coming to mind as I write this all out.

We were really focusing on narration this week. This is a new skill this year, and I'm really happy with how it has been going so far. SA narrated two or three times per day (Always the Bible story in the morning, one reading from his school books after teatime, and one reading after lunch.). He seems to have accepted that this is what we do now for school. He asked just once if he could just listen to a story instead of narrating it, and I explained that it was a school book, and whatever we read from our school books has to be narrated. I think that once narration becomes second nature and we don't have to devote quite as much brain power to it, the rest of the routine may become easier.

If I step back and look at what did happen, I am fairly happy. The boys continued to spend lots of time outside. We began our Poetry Teatime again, which has always been one of the richest and happiest parts of our day. We began with French and Drawing, and neither of them were as scary and overwhelming as I feared they would be. Narration went well. I didn't get to do everything I planned, but I can build on this.

The one thing I really missed doing is Nature Study. Maybe I will just choose this one thing to make sure I add to next week and not worry yet about doing it all.

But I still feel overwhelmed with my own routine. I want to do every single thing I have planned, or I wouldn't have added it. Last year's routine was an easy, peaceful walking through the day, and I do fear those days are behind us. I don't want them to be, though. Note that this is our school routine. Dishes and laundry and lawn mowing still have to be done. I'm not sure I dare to think about weekly and monthly cleaning chores. Rest will no doubt become increasingly necessary as well with the progress of my pregnancy.

Maybe I need to plan more and get my chore routine under control. Hmmm...

For now I will keep trying to conform to my routine, and hope necessary adjustments will become clear to me.

How do you plan your days?