June 2, 2013

Getting Back Into It is PAINFUL

 I have decided that there is no casual, friendly, painless way to get your children and yourself into a routine after several months of a free-for-all.  Everyone is happier when on a schedule but that initial adaptation to the new environment is challenging.  Oskar is now three months old, absolutely adorable, and on a pretty good schedule.  It was time for school to start again.
 I planned, I prayed, I thought, and I hoped that the transition wouldn't be as grim as usual.  It was.  It still is.
 The messy house is just going to happen.  While you're reading with one child the others are going to be getting into things--especially the two year old.  Take a deep breath, let it out, repeat as necessary.  (All advice in this post is for myself.  I'm sure you all have magical powers that make this easier at your own homes.)
 Patsy, the Flying Poodle, learned how to climb our 6 foot fence and race away to freedom.  She contributed to the general chaos and I was less than impressed. She's currently living, in disgrace, with her godmother (my hubby's sister who trains search and rescue dogs).

I think the hardest thing for me is to really commit to getting up early.  I make my schedules and write down all the good things I want to do with my children and then I sleep in, we get behind from the get-go, we only accomplish the most critical tasks like reading, grammar, math, etc., and I get frustrated because the kids could do all those things at school.  I want to get up and going early enough that we get to all the fun extras.  I consider history a "fun necessity" and look forward to all our Ancient Rome projects.  We've worked on Rome two days.  We've had it in the schedule for six.  Grr.

The other hard thing is the infernal whining.  I'm sure your children never whine, but mine suffer from whinitis whenever we pull ourselves back into a good school routine.  "I don't want to read!" "I hate math!"  "I did Spanish for 15 minutes.  It was 15 minutes, it was!"  "When is it my turn?"  "I'm not rewriting this paragraph ever, Mom."  And on and on it goes.

Once we've had a schedule in place for about three weeks my children accept it and are generally happier with the increased structure.  They value play time because they know it is limited.  They start to feel a sense of accomplishment as they move from one section to the next in their math books.  Grandmas get called to hear new piano pieces and Dad can have ever more complex conversations in Spanish with the oldest.  It is human nature to be happier when progress is being made and the kids reflect that universal truth.  The getting there, though, is hard.
 I'll be writing more about our Ancient Rome unit.  I tried to keep things fairly simple as we are still working around an infant, plus the other demands on my planning time.  I found a lot of fun ideas on pinterest (yes, I finally learned how to pin things) including a whole folder thing on it.  (Okay, my brain is fried--what are those things called when you open up a fancy folder and there are lots of little flaps and envelopes and things??  The unit I looked at is one of those.)
 I'm not using the entire unit, but there were several cute ideas and we've never done a folder-thingy, so I thought I'd give it a try.
 So far we've filled out a little flap thing on the Romulus/Remus legend.  The kids were thrilled that they got to use a stapler and loved decorating their folders.
Harriet's in a slightly easier stage now as she is willing to join us for some things.  While we did our legend and our maps she made her own.

Do any of you have any brilliant tricks to getting your family back in a good routine??  I think we're past the worst of it, but we've had some distractions the last few days so I'm a little worried that all our hard work on the routine will have to be done again.  Maybe.  Maybe not.  For those of you done with school for the summer--have fun!!  For those of you who homeschool year-round or need to make up a baby break, I'll be posting this summer.  We'll forge on together.


  1. Glad to see you're back! :) I'm schooling throughout the summer because I have felt like we're "behind" on a few things. I school my older three in the afternoon, while the little ones take their afternoon nap. When I had my youngest (he's now 18 months-old), I thought I could jump back into school when he was a month old. It was horrible! Whenever the next one comes along, I plan to wait until the baby is three months old -- and not fretting over the break, just enjoying it. I change my mind about how to "do school" constantly. Right now we school for 4 weeks and take 1 week off, then we'll take about six weeks off for "summer break" (I did something similar around Christmas time). We are only doing the necessities, too, but I sure would like to get back into history (we do science with another family once a week in the mornings). I've been meaning to put up a timeline for our history heroes and memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution and making some things, but it hasn't happened -- yet. Anyway, I'm feeling for you!

  2. I believe the folder-thingys are called lapbooks. ;) I still need to figure out pinterest so I can save some of the brilliant school ideas I get from the internet. Unfortunately, I have no tricks on how to get into a good routine after a break. I just know it is absolutely necessary. My kids go crazy without routine. CRAZY! I am a bit nervous thinking about getting kids into a good routine in the fall since we have a baby due mid-August. YIKES! My oldest has a routine through the summer that includes several core subjects, practicing and his chores, but other than that (and our daily devotional) school is not happening at our house right now. I am attempting to get super organized for school to officially start again though so that hopefully I can transition back into a routine after the baby gets here. My preference would be to keep our school schedule as similar as possible through the summer, but I have found it very difficult with family vacations (with extended family) and other external demands from families in public school. Never easy no matter what you do. Good luck getting back into the swing of things. I do think you're right. Kids fight routine when you're trying to get it back and then all of a sudden, they accept it and are much happier as a result. It's a constant juggling act!