Habits and routines

I have learned that when you're trying to add new things to the schedule, it is easier to add on to what is *already* working for you. For instance, if the kids already go down for naps/quiet times at 1:00 and we're wanting to add in an afternoon clean up time, I've found that the likelihood of achieving that new habit will be far greater if we tag it on to our existing routine (say, at 12:40), rather than deciding to do a clean up at some random time of 4:00 or something.

Last week when we began homeschooling, one of the first things I was thankful for were those pre-established habits of ours. Specifically, our morning routine of memory work, the reading of a Psalm, and our chores. Tagging homeschooling on to our existing routine just became one new habit in a chain of things that were already working for us. It has just made the transition that much easier.

Our old chore chart has been updated with new chores and a new look, but the kids were already in the habit of doing chores, so this has been a smooth transition, too.

Some habits are in need of changing, though... and we're still trying to iron out those things.

I have been diligent in getting up early and showering before the kids are up, and that has been a HUGE help. *And* I'm back to exercising-- as of last week (do ya'll know that it takes SIX weeks for a broken toe to heal?!?!?! Sheesh! Up until last week, the only shoes I could wear were flip-flops and crocs. So if you're going to break a toe, make sure to do it in the summertime when you're wearing those kind of shoes anyway. Somehow I can't quite imagine wearing flip-flops to church in the dead of winter.) Anyway, what I was saying was that me showering earlier has changed our routine a bit. When I used to shower a bit later in the morning, the kids spent that time watching a video. And since the video was a half-hour long and it only takes me about 10 minutes to shower and dress, I then had a whole 20 minutes to check email and/or read blogs. The first two mornings of school I tried to squeeze in the video anyway, but we were getting a late start on school so I've dropped it. So far no complaints, so that is good. And yet.. I still would like to have a bit of computer time so I'll have to figure that out.

Our habit of doing all of our laundry on Mondays and Tuesdays is going to have to change, also, and I haven't quite decided what that will look like. All I know is that it's Wednesday, and the laundry is about halfway done, with very little folded and put away. And that happened last week, too. What I did like was combining our read-aloud time with folding laundry, (the kids folding, mommy reading), which is what we did on Monday. (Thank you, Dana, for that tip!) Maybe we should fold a little bit everyday and build *that* into our read-aloud routine.

And there's one other thing we're still trying to figure out. Mark's day off is a rotating one, so if he has Monday off one week, he has Tuesday off the following week (and so on). We haven't decided yet if we should do school with daddy on his day off, or if we should skip school on his day off and school on a Saturday instead. We might just vary it from week to week. Last week we took it off entirely but this week (tomorrow), we plan to do school with daddy here and see how that goes. If anyone else has a similar schedule (with daddy home mid-week), I'd love to hear what you do! (Or even if you don't have that issue but want to put your two cents in, that's okay, too!)


  1. Well, we don't homeschool, BUT my husband does have midweek days off pretty regularly, and we try to rotate between keeping the day as it would be in the normal pattern, and acting like it's a weekend with special trips and "saturday stuff"!! Does that make sense?? I mean, it is special when Daddy is home, so we try to spend as much "family time" as we can. And when he is off midweek, he takes the kids to and from school (they usually walk, which another cool Daddy treat!). They LOVE that!

  2. Hey, girl! Sounds like you have a great schedule! I'm now getting up at 5:00, working out, quiet time, and email/blog check before the kids get up. I shower about when they are getting up or while they eat breakfast. Laundry... I tend to do one or two loads a day; it is a ginormous thorn in my flesh. Scott's day off changes, too. We don't do school on his day off (fieldtrips!) except for an occasional test until 3rd grade; that's when I couldn't get away with 4-day weeks anymore.

  3. I think you should treat Saturday as a working day for you and the kids and always enjoy Marks day off as a true day off for everyone.
    For the subjects he wants to be a part of, you can save it for the occasional evening.
    I am having trouble with laundry and housework too. We have time for everything but that... interesting. Did you see the baskets of laundry to fold at my house yesterday? Drives me crazy!
    But not so much that I am not checking your blog right now. I mean, I can't do laundry at naptime!
    Oh, and I am glad you are walking again! Let's do padden!
    Love amy

  4. We're right there in the middle of this too. If I could find a whole 20 minutes for blogging I would be so happy! :) I have written a post every day in my head, but I haven't even had time to even get on the computer! Yikes! I wish my routines were going as smoothly as yours.

    Stacy...come to Oregon and help me be organized! :) hee!

  5. It makes it so much easier to get up early, doesn't it? I have been doing that and it makes my morning go smoother. Now the exercise part....

  6. Hi Stacy :) A couple of ideas... I really like keeping Dad's day off a family day. I also really like having Dad be a part of the school day (by giving him some one-on-one time with the sweeties on a rotating basis) while you do a light school day. That would give you and the children a light school day on Saturday as well.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on existing routines! That is a neat encouragement. Love to you! Q

  7. Great - I'm so glad things are working pretty well for you!

    Yes, Kevin is home on Wednesdays for his day off, and we've decided that we will do History on that day - he loves History, and took over that part of school long ago. I get up at my usual time, and so do the boys, and we do our routine, and then Kev gets up shortly after. We have breakfast together, do catechism, pray, (all normal school day routines) and then either run some errands together, or go to a museum, or he takes them to the park so I can get a haircut, or do the shopping. Then in the afternoon, while Eliana sleeps, I walk on my treadmill and he does History and Geography with the boys. They love it!

  8. Oooo, I love your chore system. Aren't you just creative!

    I'm also planning to have my quiet time and shower before the kids wake up once we start preschool next week. I used to rise early like that but have been out of the habit this summer. My little Jack crawls into my side of the bed every morning when he wakes up and we get a solid half hour of cuddle time- I so don't want to part with that! I think I'll just have to go back to bed when he wakes up! :)

  9. Stacy, we have set our schedule up for a 4-day homeschool week. That way, if Daddy is home (which is often is sometime during the week) or a chance comes up to have a play date or field trip, it doesn't throw our week off.

    Sometimes we will work 5 days, but if we don't, it is okay.

  10. My husband sometimes has odd days off too. Sometimes he doesn't leave for work until 10 or ll am. That is a little rough.. So, I have decided that if he leaves later, we have breakfast together. If he leaves earlier and comes back around dinner time, then we have dinner together. We do school when he is at work and take the day off if he has the day off. We do laundry on Tuesdays and Fridays no matter what (bedsheets on Fridays, bathroom towels, rugs on Mondays). I am so eager to get into the habit of getting up before everyone! That is my one downfall. Thanks for the post, Stacy, very encouraging!

  11. My DH has Monday and Tuesdays off. We're trying to do school Tuesday through Saturday now so that Monday can just be family day. On Tuesdays he helps with the homeschooling, but in unusual ways. He doesn't follow my plans, instead coming up with ideas for "consumer math" like playing with the fruit scales at the grocery store. The kids enjoy the change of teachers.

  12. Brian has Tuesdays and Wednesdays off, so our schedule follows that. We homeschool Thursday through Monday. Despite my best efforts at keeping a M-F schedule, we always got thrown off when Daddy was home - too much fun stuff to do with him here! I heard a great tip for laundry, but am still trying to get into the routine. We do about a load a day, and heard of a family where the mom starts the daily load every night after everyone is changed into jammies. The next morning, switch them to the dryer, then they are ready for folding after breakfast, and the washing machine is empty again to start throwing the new day's clothes into!


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