Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Schedules and Discipline

When you are home all day everyday and you homeschool and have little ones even if you don't homeschool and are just a sahm I believe it is important to have a schedule to keep things running smoothly. Now there are various ways to go about doing this. You can schedule your time in 30 minute incriments throughout the day and run around all day playing dictator making sure things are done. This may work for some but for me the thought of it is exhausting. Even if you schedule free time and playtime. It's just too overwhelming for me.
Every year I sit down with my husband and we rough draft a schedule for the school days and pray about what we want done throughout the day. This can sometimes take weeks of prayer and planning. We start off small maybe just scheduling the morning and leaving afternoons open. That works well. We did really good last year until I got pregnant and sick so the mornings got thrown out of whack. We slowly got back on track then I needed afternoon rest time and then the baby came and the schedule went out the window. Now that Elizabeth is almost 6 months old (where has the time gone?!?) I realize I HAVE to have a schedule to keep things rolling smoothly. So here we go again.
Right now we are functioning on a "skeleton schedule" things we know that have to be done in the mornings get done ie; morning chores, school etc... but nothing is written down. The problem I have found is that we are all exhausted by the afternoon and then I realize the house is a wreck and I run around all afternoon cleaning like a madwoman and feel as though I am running in a hampster wheel with no end in sight. With Brandon's crazy work and school schedule I have been nothing less than exhausted. So spending time in prayer and realizing I am once again doing things "in my own strength" I knew a change needed to come into play. After spending a whole morning talking to a wonderful friend who has FIVE little blessings at home she helped me to realize I had to implement a chore chart and chore schedule.
So this is what I did..
I sat down and wrote out all the chores that need to be done in the home. I separated them into daily, weekly, and monthly. Then I looked at what the kids could do to help and added their names to the daily, weekly and monthly chores. I asked Brandon for any thoughts or changes that needed to be made and then I started adding them to a spreadsheet on the computer. Tristan has his own chart and we have a laminated one for the family that sits on the fridge. The daily chores are on there along with one extra chore for each day of the week that came from the weekly chore list. Every day we spend ONE hour sometimes it only takes 30-40 minutes to do all those chores at one time. And we take our little dry erase pens and cross things off as they are done. Since Brandon is gone on Saturdays I use about 2 hours on Saturday (usually during the little ones naps) to do the big monthly chores. There are different chores done every Saturday.
This has been AMAZING for us. The house is so clean and it is so nice to sit down after dinner and not have to run all over the house doing things I forgot that I needed to do and driving myself crazy. This is our second week doing the chart. The first week was hard to be so disciplined about it. I don't like cleaning and it sucked. And I had to remind the kids of their duties along with making me do mine. But we pressed through and the results have been wonderful. Now Tristan helps to remind and encourage me and we all work together and clean as a family. Put on some happy music and get it done. Even Abby cleans up her toys and brings all the trash cans to the kitchen. I reward us all with a snack when we are finished.
I was excited especially this week when we looked at the chart and it said "oil and dust living and dining room furniture and dust shelves" I looked at my furniture and it was still all shiny and clean from last week's cleaning. The shelves weren't even dusty. One plus about not living out west, is that you don't have to dust as often. Anyways, it was such a blessing to me to look and say
"WOW! It's already clean, we can skip this week!" I am loving this chart. And I encourage anyone who doesn't already have a cleaning plan or just cleans when needed to try something like this.
Now that we are on a routine and that part of our house is undercontrol my next step is to work on a daily schedule for school. Right now we just get it done but there isn't much detail to it. I don't mind, but Tristan seems to thrive much better when he can see what needs to be done next and there is much less frustration. So back to the discipline part... maybe I'll do a part two post next week and see how far I have come...


Carrielyn said...

I totally understand what you're saying here!!! Yeah for you for biting the bullet and getting it started!

I sooooooo need to get back in the practice of doing this!!!

Leigh said...

I need to make a schedule too. It seems like every night after work I am running around like a chicken with its head cut off, yet it never all gets done. Maybe with a chart I could make more "me" time! Way to go Sarah! I know it has to be a tremendous help to you.

Peasy said...

Yeah, I hear ya. I'm just happy if the house isn't disgusting and the girl's aren't getting F's in school. :p

AIMEE said...

Way to go! That is a big accomplishment! I reintroduced chore charts again this week and the kids love it...and it keeps me from nagging!! :) I told them that if they did all of their chores daily, checked them off (i used an online chore chart maker and printed them and slid them into page protectors...the kids stuck them on their bedroom wall with double-sided tape), and I didn't have to remind them, I would give them a little treat on Saturday. Sometimes people argue whether or not we should use rewards for chores, but I am come to the place to see that I LOVE rewards, God talks about rewards, and it makes it fun until it becomes habit! The house looks great this morning and I only have one load of laundry to fold and put away! More time to have fun! We always have a "before dinner pick-up" of the house too. I set the kitchen timer for 15 minutes and we all pitch in to clean common living room, dining room, kitchen. Then we can just relax after dinner without messes.