This week I have been looking at our days together here and thinking a lot about how it all flows. Most days go really well and everyone is happy. I get most things done that I need to like washing, cooking, cleaning etc and I get to spend lots of time with the kids reading, playing and learning. But I have noticed that some tweaking is needed occasionally to accommodate new needs of the family and our house. So I decided it was time to make a few small changes to our daily routine and to the set up of the house so it would suit us better.
I can fly though the day doing what I do and forget to actually stop and connect with each of my kids in any real way. Obviously I spend all day, everyday with them but its different to actually giving them your time and proper attention.
Firstly, I wanted to make some special one on one time for Xev each morning before I start the morning homeschooling session with the older boys. I try to include him in everything we do but I know he needs some time with mum first. This meant I had to look at my mornings and make some time as I was already pretty flat-out. I decided to make an “appointment” for him at the same time each morning and he can choose what we do together. It’s a time that he knows he gets me all to himself. Something that he really needs right now. It has worked really well so far. I have loved that time with him each morning and the others just cruise around doing their own thing or sometimes they will join in with what we are doing. Hopefully then when my focus is more with the other boys he doesn’t feel like he is missing out.
I have set up “snack times” now so that I can be prepared with something healthy for the kids to eat. Usually the kids just ask for food all day…..so if I set up certain times then its easier to be ready with a healthy snack on the go and then continue on with the day. This has worked so well this week and has saved a lot of time and energy wondering what to feed them throughout the day. It also means I can set up activities for us to do and know that we wont have to stop because the kids get hungry. The times are a general guide and are obviously flexible depending on what we are doing.
As the days grow warmer here it is getting too hot to be out in the sun in the middle of the day with our fair skin, so we all decided that our “Tech time” will be earlier in the day. Much to Korbens delight. Then we usually head out for a walk or bike ride later in the afternoons. In winter it is usually the other way around as the late afternoons are for getting fires lit and staying warm. I do have set times for computer and TV now and this is what works best for our family.
Another thing I did this week was change around our playroom/homeschool space. We are so lucky to have this space and I love rearranging it occasionally to keep things interesting. I have been thinking a lot about Xev slowly becoming more involved in what we do. He is already asking for his “school work”. I wanted to make sure there was a space for him work on projects or puzzles etc near us if he wants or he can always sit with us around the big table too. I also set up a desk that we were not using at the side of the room with some paper, pencils, stickers etc. Ari loves to draw so she can just come in and help herself anytime. I also moved a book-case in the lounge room ,which houses a few toys and our wooden train set, so that the kids can get to it easier and have more room to set up the trains. I really want to kids to have different areas in the house that they can enjoy different activities and games freely.
Setting up our house so that our days run smoother and the clean up is easier is my mission at the moment. I am determined to be organised…lol. I think with 4 kids it becomes a necessity. Well I am trying anyway. 🙂 I have allocated “clean up” times so that when we are learning , creating, playing and having fun we don’t worry about any mess we are creating. Then, Usually before lunch we are ready for a big tidy up and the kids all pitch in and help. Then the same thing goes at the end of the day before dinner we all clean up any mess together. The kids seem to be happy to help with the clean up when it’s at roughly the same time each day, rather than me randomly saying “Clean up time”.
I have written out “our Day” and put it up on the wall so that the kids know how our day will go. I know for us things definitely run smoother with a routine that we follow each day. Of course it is very flexible and that is the great thing about homeschooling. We can really do what ever we like, but as the kids are still little, following a daily rhythm seems to help keep everyone happy and our home more harmonious.