Two days in our new home and I knew something had to change. With every day spent in chaos, I knew I could no longer handle things the way they were. But how can you possibly get a grip on normalcy when you are living amongst boxes?
You make an ABNORMAL schedule, of course!
The idea stemmed from my ride back with my husband after we dropped off the rental car I’d been driving. During our 2 1/2 hour drive, we talked mostly of our daily schedule. The majority of the conversation revolved around the way we would like to see things go once we were settled in and were able to resume school; however, I realized during our discussion that in the meantime I needed a schedule as well.
But how do you make a schedule for a life that is in such upheaval? Is it even possible?
I was willing to try.
The results have been SPECTACULAR!
Here is what the schedule looks like:
8 am – Wake Up
-tidy room, make beds, get dressed, brush teeth, help littles
8:30 am – Breakfast
9 am – Unpack 1 box
9:30 am – Play Time
11 am – Clean up & do Chores
-Mommy assigns chores
12 pm – Lunch
1 pm – Play Time
2 pm – Reading/Rest Time
3 pm – Outside Time/Games
4 pm – Clean Up & Chores
4:30 pm – Computer/Videos
6 pm – Supper
7 pm – Free Time
8 pm – Bible Time (and get ready for bed)
9 pm – Bed Time
Most assuredly you will notice precisely what my children noticed first…
There is a ton of Play Time!
In our pre-schedule chaos, the whole day was play time because Mommy was just trying to find the kitchen and the school room and the bedrooms and…well, you get the picture. I had to come to grips with the fact that when you are in a transition like this, there WILL be a lot of play time. HOWEVER, there are other things that can be interspersed amongst the play time that makes for a day that is less chaotic and much more productive.
Let me put a little flesh on this bare bones Abnormal Schedule for you:
*Giving a set time for wake up lends itself to stability, something hard to find during a move. Giving them a few set morning chores helps to get the morning started right.
*Table chores of some sort have to be done with a large family. Even if you are using paper plates, there will be clean up. Getting the children involved in this gives them ownership and responsibility within the new home.
*I didn’t want to ask them to unpack more than one box because they inevitably need help with putting the contents of their one box away. 5 boxes (Garin isn’t really up to unpacking a box ) is quite enough for mommy to help with in a 24 hour period.
*Play Time isn’t just a free for all. Mostly the children play together, and I try to make sure if one toy/game is abandoned it is put away before heading off to the next activity.
*Chores usually revolve around unpacked items. A few days ago, Ty set up the bookshelves downstairs and we set the children to unpacking book boxes. They decided to play a game with it. They guessed how many books we owned and as they unpacked they counted. By the time I called them to lunch, they had unpacked 450 books! (Yes, I DO own a small library…just ask the movers)
*Rest Time here used to be right after lunch; however, as Ty and I were discussing what we want our day to look like once school is back in session, we decided we wanted school to be completely finished by 2pm and not be broken up by Rest Time since we seem to totally lose our school mindset after Rest Time. So, I decided to put Rest Time in the slot it will hold once normal returns, making the adjustment to the new schedule easier.
*We experienced a killer snowstorm only a few days after moving. No outside time for the kiddos, which is why I put it down as Game Time as well. My idea here is that once we are back in school, this time will be spent partially in free play and partially in a more structured play that I will use for Physical Education in our homeschool. We have a fairly large open area in our basement that I will use for PE during inclimate weather.
*We currently allow each child 30 minutes of computer time on Tuesdays and Thursdays and movies on Monday, Wednesday, & Friday. Any extra of any of those is Dad’s Choice (and dad is a softie )
*Bible Time right now consists of Daddy reading from Matthew. We have not yet found our Mighty Acts of God book and Daddy really felt led to read to the children from the book of the Bible he was reading from. The fruit of this has been absolutely beautiful! Daddy reads, we take the time to explain any concepts they might not “get” and then discuss. The discussions often come up again throughout the following days. I can really see how even the smaller children are processing God’s Word and learning. It is imperative children hear the Scripture itself and not just books ABOUT Scripture.
*And finally, Bed Time. For the past several months bed time has been rather erratic. Daddy likes to keep the children up, Mommy likes to put them to bed. So, we met in the middle. 9 pm works for us. And yes, ALL the children go to bed at this time. I have yet to figure out a way to only put some of them to bed and not have a crazy mess on my hands.
So far, this schedule has been a sanity saver! The children do not spend the entire day wondering what will happen next and I have a house that is fairly peaceful despite all the boxes (did I mention movers like to pack boxes with only a few items in them and tons of paper? Craziness!) Eventually, we’ll move away from this schedule and into something more normal, but for now, I’m quite pleased with the results and feel comfortable using this schedule as long as it takes to find normal again.
…and if, perhaps, you are looking for help in making a schedule that isn’t abnormal right this very second, might I suggest this posts:
The To-Do List Series (from my blog)