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22 February 2013


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I get you. And I bet you would so get me. :-)

Amy F

I too, take a long midday break and we all need it. At the mid-year mark a few weeks ago, I thought about what was working with our days and what wasn't and made some changes, but kept the midday break. My kids are willing and able to come back after the break, but not for math or writing. It works out for us to have history and religion/art/science after lunch, but not much else. Our days had been starting later and later with more pauses between subjects until we were lucky to get math and one other thing done before lunch and then we were still working when Dan came home and everybody was fried. My solution was to start putting times up on our corkboard (that already listed the day's subjects). I was worried that we'd get behind due to me, not them, and it would be useless, but seeing the times helps all of us. If we end up taking a long time for breakfast and starting half an hour late, I adjust the times so it won't be hopeless from the start, but I try not to. I'm more motivated to give the kid who's not working with me his reading book for the day instead of letting him wander off. I began assigning anything a putzing child didn't finish as homework instead of letting him suck up the whole morning with one math page and 2 copywork sentences. I find that I'm spending less effort cajoling kids to keep going and saying alright, it's done, it's 10:45, on to spelling, you'll do it with Dad later.

I was afraid of scheduling times, but there's only so much loosey-gooseyness we can handle, apparently.


I have found that having a routine, or even just a loose "things that need to happen in this time period" actually makes it easier to deal with unforeseen (or foreseen but unplanned) events, because you know where you need to take up again. I realized this at work, where each shift has a sort of skeleton of tasks that need to or should be done, as opposed to at home, which was 100% chaos 100% of the time. But even if something massively disruptive (say, cardiac arrest) happened (at work! So far no cardiac arrests at home, thank God.) that meant everyone had to stop what they were doing, it was okay, because there was a good idea of what remained to be done once we had a handle on the acute situation. A semi-routine also makes it easier to prioritize tasks in my experience. Figuring this out has made a huge difference in my stress levels! I guess you need to have a routine so you can blow it off.

I still wish I had a house, and a housekeeper, and a car. So total serene acceptance is a way off.


AmyF, I think I really need to follow your lead re: posting times. I have a schedule for each day written down, but it's not "published" -- the kids can't see it! Which means that I am not accountable to them for wasting their time. It also makes it hard for my oldest child to plan when he is going to get to use the computer for his schoolwork without me having to kick him off, and when he is going to meet with me to get feedback on his independent work,


I have a strong need to "make order" in my house and I've gotten it down to a science (45 min tops to clean kitchen, start a load of laundry, collect dirty laundry, make/tidy up beds/ wipe down bathrooms). What helps me is to have somewhere to go so I don't waste time on computer. Having too much time on my hands is not good for me. So for me, having more structure during the day is better for my productivity. Obviously, I don't homeschool and its easier to impose structure on oneself than enforcing structure on others. I do think it's a good thing to take a break and chill in the middle of the day. In my children's elementary school, math and language arts are taught in the morning and science, social studies, phys ed, specials are after lunch.

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