Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Schedules and Charts

Please don't be intimidated when you see all of these schedules and charts.  I'm not a "live by or die by the schedule" kind of person.  I'm flexible, my house is still not perfectly clean when visitors drop by unexpectedly, and I wasn't always this "detail-oriented."  The more children I have and the more we tackle (like homeschooling and extra-curriculars and moving) the more important having a routine and schedule becomes.
Our My Father's World curriculum and K-Math book from Amazon have not arrived yet as I had hoped.... so for now, this is my school plan.  When it arrives and I look it over and become familiar with it, I will need to tweak this a bit to incorporate MFW.  But for now, this is the plan.  I used two blank-calendar printables off the internet and taped them together above the homeschooling table.  Devo is short for devotions, which is what I call the Bible lesson.  Grat. Journals are the Gratitude Journals we started doing last year, where the kids draw a picture each day in their notebook of something they are thankful for.

My husband was a little shocked by how much I wanted to accomplish in a day until I explained to him that many of the things on here take 2 minutes, 5 minutes, or 10 minutes.  In fact, everything on the schedule can be accomplished in 2 hours on a good day, 3 hours on a day with crafts or a lengthier "hands on" time.  That leaves plenty of time in our day for playing outside, going to the park, visiting friends, doing household chores, etc.
My mom saw this in the Oriental Trading catalog for $13 and asked me if I wanted to buy it.  It's great for teaching the kids the concepts of months, days of the week, etc. 
For a while, I tried index cards for household management, and after that daily to-do lists and a home management binder.  Then, for the last year it was a bit of just doing what had to be done and cleaning where it was needed.  However, after moving to a huge house, I realized it would be good to have a chart just to glance at daily or at least a few times a week to make sure that things were getting done.  We used to have 1 laundry hamper which we all shared, now there are 5, with another to come when baby joins us.  So, it's nice to have this chart, reminding me what needs to get done to manage the chores at home.  A lot of it is just habit, like making the bed each day or bathing the kids on Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday night but some of it is new for me, like having a guest room bathroom to clean and an entryway to vacuum, etc.
This Melissa and Doug Responsibility Chart is awesome for teaching kids to do their chores.  We've had it for a couple of years now and it's been a wonderful tool.  From 7:00-8:30 a.m. we work on eating breakfast, getting dressed, getting morning chores done, and then at 8:30 a.m. we start school.  When we do our chart, we are usually looking back a day.  So, on Monday we will talk about whether or not they whined on Sunday, made their bed yesterday, or used their manners all day, etc.
My weekly menu plan is just a magnetic pad I got at Walgreens for $1 last year.  Once a week, as I'm planning my weekly shopping trip, I'll write down 7 dinner ideas and then shop for ingredients for those meals as needed.  Lunches are usually leftovers or sandwiches so I don't even plan those out unless I have a special event and breakfasts are usually cereal, since my husband prefers it over a hot breakfast.  I try to always keep pretzels, popcorn, crackers, or fruit and cheese on hand for the kids' twice daily snacks and I don't usually plan out side dishes as we usually have frozen veggies, bread, salad, or fruit as dinner sides.  Each day I choose which of the 7 meals fits my schedule and mood/cravings and make it.  Menu planning at it's simplest!  As you can see, this week I had tuna sandwiches planned for one meal and then realized we had frozen hamburger patties in the freezer and decided those sounded better!
This planner, $1 in the Target dollar section, is where I manage all other areas of life.  Again, I'm not someone who lives for my schedule and checks it constantly.  Many a day will go by without me needing to look at it.  But for family and friends' birthday reminders, lists of people I need to write thank-you notes to, financial notes, dental and prenatal appointments, reminders of which pregnancy week I am on, extra-curriculars like homeschool swimming, AWANAS, or just super busy days where I have 10 things to do and need a place to write them down, this is the spot!  Some people use a wall calendar for this kind of stuff, but I prefer to have mine portable so I can take it on planning trips to the library or wherever I happen to be doing some month-at-a-glance planning in the house.


Carrie said...

I don't know if I've ever commented before, but I found your blog a while back and I really enjoy it! I have been thinking about getting one of those Melissa & Doug chore charts for a while, but I am curious how you make it work for more than one child? (We have three--ages 6, 4, and 2.) If you have any great tips to share about that, I'd love to hear them! :) Thanks for sharing these tools that you are using for school, etc. We are starting into homeschooling next week (my oldest will be in 1st grade). I'm excited!

Melissa said...

I have three kids --6, 22 mos. and 4 mos. and even though I have the luxury of staying home with them for a full year before my maternity leave runs out, I usually find that the house is still a mess and things are left undone.

Thanks so much for sharing all of your organizing tools. They will help me try to maximize my day further!

Melanie said...

Oooh...fun! I love schedules! I'm nerdy like that but I think I need it because I can't remember ANYTHING! These are great ideas. Thanks for sharing it all!

Rachel said...

"In reality, many days I find the weight of motherhood to be CRUSHING.
I hover in a strange state between adoring my kids and feeling so blessed to be a mommy and savoring cuddle-time with them and yet being so sick of them and feeling like I am not able to have 30 seconds in my day where someone isn't calling, "Mommy!!!" or needing wiped, or a drink, or their hands washed, etc. Sometimes I hide from them in my big house and let them wander around the house looking for me for a few minutes just so I can have a moment's peace. Sometimes I turn the baby monitor off upstairs because I can't bear to hear any more screaming or whining from one of the boys and don't know how to make him stop and just go to sleep. Even though I am firm in my reasons for homeschooling, I am often envious of my friends, most of whom have chosen public school this year, as they get a break from their active children while they are at school all day. If I had the money, I would definitely hire a nanny to watch the kids for at least a couple hours every day during this stage of life!"

Thank you for writing this, Lindsey (sp? - sorry!)in your previous post. I feel this exact way often and it's hard to admit it to others. It's refreshing to hear your honesty and know others feel the same. We all struggle with our flesh as much as we try to deny it. This will help me to remember to pray for you when I am feeling overwhelmed/stressed/tired/feeling in need of time away from my children.

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