Kristyk (have I mentioned that she’s one of my very favorite bloggers?) has posted her master plan for the school year. She is trying the ‘busy body‘ book this year. I have always wanted an appointment book but right now I just have a calendar I carry with me and a large marker board calendar beside the front door. Last year, bedtime started at 8:30 and ended at 9 after daylight savings. This year Sarah insists that I told her she could stay up until 10. I’m sure she’s scamming me. Every night the children take baths and have 30 minutes of reading only time before lights out. Once they are all in bed, I put everything they need for the next day out in little piles. Each child wakes to their complete outfit, backpack, lunch and notes sitting on the table behind the couch. Doug, Amy and Noah are “morning people” while the rest of us are “night owls”.
We have children in four different schools, on four different schedules, plus they each have their own activities and clubs. If it’s not on the marker board calendar a day in advance, it’s not going to happen. Even then, we have to decide if we will “divide and conquer” or if it just doesn’t fit that day. Some days are incredibly long and hard while other days run smoothly. With two small people and two teenagers, moods are unpredictable. We just push forward as best we can. Screaming in the car (almost always Amy) causes the driver to pull over and sit until there is calm again.
We have color coded laundry baskets that the children are supposed to sort their dirty clothes into daily. Each of the older children has a daily chore to help keep the household functioning. Tommy unloads and reloads the dishwasher once a day. Sarah empties the washing machine and brings up a basket of clean clothes for me to fold once or twice a day. Noah empties the kitchen trash daily and all the trash weekly. Each child is expected to have a clean room at bedtime and before they go out to play. Anyone who complains of boredom gets an instant chore and fighting is now going to have the same consequences. Every so often, we ask everyone to pitch in and help scrub the house.
When the children come home after school, they are expected to hand me notes, assignment books, graded papers, etc. I read and sign them while they fix a snack. Then, it is homework/study time. This gets rocky when activities and appointments overlap with study time. Usually the schoolwork can be done while waiting for a sibling to finish their karate/horse lesson/doctor appointment but every so often there is still homeowork being done after dinner. I loathe it when this happens. It makes the evening bath/bed routine drag and makes me feel pulled in several directions.
The first week of school will be rough as I try to get supplies gathered, learn that someone has completely outgrown something over the summer (what do you mean you have no underwear?) and adjust to strict bedtimes and early wake-ups. After that, we are busy but happy. It still amazes me that friends and family have no concept of just how busy we are every day.