Friday, February 10, 2012

Part 2--The semi-well-oiled machine...our daily schedule

I am a firm believer in schedules.  I think kids/infants thrive on schedules because they always know what to expect.  I think it helps with behavior, as well.  Watch out for "over-loaded" schedules, though!  I'll talk more about that later in this post.

This is a fairly typical day in the Shealy household:
I wake Roger up at 6:20, so he can shower and get ready. (he doesn't hear the alarm!)
I wake the kids up at 6:45 and everyone comes down for breakfast. (This is the only meal we get with daddy)
We eat and have family devotions.
Roger leaves for work and our day "officially" begins.
Everyone is excused from the table and "jobs" begin.  (Look back a few posts to see what jobs everyone has.)
I change diapers and get the little ones ready for the day. (Bethany isn't always up at 6:45, so she may be eating at this time)
While the big kids do their jobs I check email and facebook.
I continue checking in with everyone during this time to make sure they are getting everything done.
By 9:00, I bring everyone downstairs.
The youngest 3 watch a Leap Frog video (This is an excellent learning tool!)  Sometimes Bethany watches from her exersaucer, or I use the baby gate to gate her into the school room with me and she plays with toys.
While the younger kids watch the video I start school with the older 2.  We begin with History.  I read whatever I need to read to them that day and they get started on their assignment.
When the video is over and Lauren and Franklin are done with History we do "Circle Time."  This is a great time for our family.  Everyone gathers in a circle on the floor in the living room.  We go over our schedule for the day, ABC's, count, months, date, weeks, sing, etc.! 
Then it is snack time!  We grab a healthy snack and then we are ready to move on with energy!
After snacks Lauren and Franklin take turns doing math on the computer and I begin kindergarten with Ari and Miles.  Ian likes to sit at the table with us and color/"do school." I often take Ari and Miles one at a time...depending on what we are doing that day.
When kindergarten is done, and Lauren and Franklin have completed their math ,I bring Lauren and Franklin back to the school room to finish up with Science. (We don't do science every day.)  Ari and Miles are sent to finish whatever jobs they have not completed, or they get to play if they are already done.

Bethany is back and forth between one and two naps a day, so she either takes a nap at 10 and 2:30, or she takes a nap at 12:30. 
Between kids doing school I do loads of laundry, or clean a toilet, or vacuum, or dust, etc.
Typically, we finish all assignments by noon.
We eat around 12:00.
If Bethany didn't get a morning nap then she and Ian go down for a nap around 12:30-1:00.  (Ian doesn't take a nap every day, but he often still needs some rest).
While the little ones are resting I work out (Ian works out with me if he isn't sleeping!  I love it!  I often make all of the kids do Zumba with me!), check email and facebook, and get my shower.
The four older kids have a "down time" in the afternoon.  Lauren and Franklin have to read at least one chapter of whatever book they are reading, Lauren practices piano, and Franklin practices guitar.  Everyone gets the chance to play outside if it is nice, go for a hike with snacks, play Wii if the weather isn't nice, or possibly even watch a movie.  This is their chance to play games on the computer, too.
I start on dinner by 5:00, we eat, clean up, and play until daddy gets home.  The three youngest go to bed at 7:30, and the three oldest are typically in bed at 8:30, and then Roger and I get time together.

This schedule is working really well for us!  I am able to keep the house clean, play with the kids, and get school done each day.  Although I am a firm believer in schedules...I have become a much more firm believer in FLEXIBILITY!  Flexibility is necessary!  We may have doctors appointments, or someone may not feel well, or I may have an irritable teething baby that prevents us from keeping an exact schedule.  I also have to be flexible when determining if Bethany needs one or two naps per day, which changes our schedule, or stopping in the middle of something to change a diaper, or clean up a spill, or kiss a booboo, or hug hurt feelings, or break up a squabble.  It is so important to keep a schedule, but to learn to go with the flow!  Your day will be much more stress-free if you can grasp this concept!

As I mentioned in the first paragraph...WATCH OUT FOR OVER-LOADED SCHEDULES!    Pick and choose very carefully what extracurricular activities you will engage.  I have been told over and over and over, "I don't get it!  How do you do it?!  You never seem stressed out!"  I certainly have my "stressed-out" moments, but I think I am not stressed most of the time because I do not overschedule.  At this time, we really don't have any extracurricular activities.  No baseball.  No ballet. No art. No music. No clubs.  None of those things are bad!If it has no eternal may be time to eliminate it from life!  Pick and choose wisely!

And that is our semi-well-oiled machine of a least at the moment...

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