[selfies with muderous-looking cats…there are about a billion more where this came from]
After Silas left, I dove quite enthusiastically into organizing everything in my entire life. You know I love me some lists and charts.
I cleaned the fridge, reorganized 2 closets, a few shelves, and our junk drawer, washed and vacuumed the car, made an elaborate meal plan and cleaning schedule (both of which are sitting, beautifully organized and ignored, on my fridge)…and started planning our homeschool trial run.
That last one alone has eaten up countless hours of research and planning and scheduling and crumpling and throwing away and dreaming and then trying to rein myself back in. You see, I am a planner. I absolutely love to research and chart and plan and organize and make lists with all of my pretty pens and think about how wonderful life is going to be according to my carefully constructed schedule.
I have dozens of discarded meal plans, cleaning charts, workout schedules, parenting plans, resolutions, and color-coded goal lists…all handwritten on just the right paper in just the right pens.
I am absolutely a planner…
But I am not a doer.
I probably execute about 3% of the plans I make. My intentions are golden but they match neither my personality nor my energy level. After a quarter century, this is finally sinking in, and I may actually be learning my limits so I can plan within them.
The first step in my grand plan for moving toward homeschooling was to bring some order to the aimlessness that is our mornings. I spent some (read: a lot of) time making a job chart for the boys to help our mornings run a little smoother. Against my own strict principles (you’d think after 4+ years of parenting I would have given up on trying to have principles) I found myself constantly picking up the boys’ messy rooms, and making their beds for them because trying to get them to do it seemed so exhausting. Most of the time we left the house without their teeth or hair being brushed (maybe one, but rarely both), and I was tired of all of it.
So I came up with some ideas for morning chores, printed them onto cards, and organized it into the little system seen below (adapted from a much prettier one here🙂
[Blue for Tesla, green for Desmond]
The first four cards on both charts are always the same–make bed, get dressed, clean up room, brush teeth and hair. (And these four take the loooooongest to get through. But! We actually do get through them now!) The last three cards are different almost every day, depending on what needs to be done that morning (or depending on how much time we have–I’ll assign easy chores if I know we need to be out of the house by a certain time).
We’ve had the charts for a couple weeks and it is so helpful to have a visual reminder of what needs to be done. The boys can see what needs to be completed before we move onto anything else, and having everything listed in plain sight keeps me accountable so I don’t just give up and skip something or do it myself because I’m tired.
I’m not saying our mornings are super smooth and that everything gets done without dawdling or fighting happening (let’s be honest, most days it takes forever and there is always a fair amount of distraction and arguing), but things are much improved. I can tell the boys (especially Tesla, who took to the chart immediately because he is really into knowing what everyone’s “job” is at any given moment) are learning to be a little more responsible, and they take pride in getting to put up that smiley face after completing a job.
Desmond vacuumed his room by himself (!) for the first time ever this morning. A couple of weeks ago he had no idea how to vacuum and also refused to even touch it unless I was holding his hand. Note to self: see what happens when you are actually consistent?
This tiny success has given me just enough enthusiasm to power through the last bit of the homeschool planning I have to do. I have almost everything we need so our tentative start date is next week!