September 23, 2003

Morning Musings on Routines... We are trying to establish routines here in our household which I must admit is hard for a person like me (I'm not a huge fan of schedules) but I'm atleast admitting now that it would help us all. I am trying to get everyone up, dressed, fed and ready for the day (chores, day preparation, etc)by 8am. Then we have quiet time and then large muscle activity (usually running around or riding around the yard) and then we have some formal lesson time, free time, lunchtime, chore time, nap/quiet time and our afternoons vary based on what we may have scheduled (field trip, co-op, various classes, errands). Then dinner prep and another routine for the evening which concludes with laying out the next days clothes, packing my bag for the day and a quick general pickup of the house.

Why you might ask am I writing about this on a homeschooling sight? Two reasons. First, without routines (of some sort), organization and cleanliness (I still have three under 5) and some level of structure ours days tend to be more chaotic and unhappy. We seem to always be playing catch up or unable to focus on what we want as we deal with the ever present "tyranny of the urgent". However, when the house is picked up and we know what to expect and when and we know there is a time for everything than we are more free to do what we want. It's a concept I never really understood until I experienced it - but for our family atleast we are truly happier when things run more smoothly and they run more smooth when I plan better (and follow through) than when I just kind of go with the flow (my personality).

The second reason is because I am "schooling" them during this time. They are learning how to help a family and household and school function. They are learning invaluable life lessons that they will use throughout their lives to help them and perhaps someday their families be more productive and happy people. They are disciplining and training themselves to do the things that need to be done even when they may not want to and hopefully some of the things will just become second nature to them so they don't seem like a big deal (like housework always did to me). We all have routines even if we don't call them that, sometimes we don't like to think of them as routines though. I am trying to change our bad habits (laziness, procrastination, half-stepping and denial) into more positive habits through the use of routines.

Also besides the inherent lessons found in establishing and carrying out routines there are all the lessons one learns through housework, the value of quiet time and mealtimes together. I also find my kids are often more teachable in these moments and lessons over baking cookies stick in better than all the math sheets we do. Shopping at the grocery store has done more for color recognition than flash cards and playing red light green light has taught them to mind me better. So I try to remind myself of these benefits as I struggle with finding a balance in my life.


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