In an effort to maximize our time while I’m off for the summer, we have decided to create a family schedule. Time and time again I have found that instilling a new family rhythm helps things become ‘normalized’ within our home. Once a new rhythm is established, things which are part of our everyday happenings just…happen! Like every family, we are certainly not without a difficult day here and there (please don’t get the impression we have it all figured out!), but when the struggles do come, they are are occasional, which makes life so much more enjoyable!
“Meaning hides in repetition: We do this every day or every week because it matters. We are connected by this thing we do together. We matter to one another. In the tapestry of childhood, what stands out is not the splashy, blow-out trip to Disneyland but the common threads that run throughout and repeat: the family dinners, nature walks, reading together at bedtime.” ~ Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting
In this desire to have it all, do it all, be it all, we forget that we already are it all for our kids. The thing we really need to put down is our desire to prove these things to ourselves and the world. When we can take a look at each day as an opportunity for growth rather than something to be shaped and cajoled into what we ‘need it to be’ in order to fit in all ouf our ‘stuff,’ we have the ability to find great peace and comfort with the ones we love. When our lives are built around what our true desires and values are, we don’t need a trip to Disneyland to escape…there’s nothing to escape from!
Let the beauty we love, be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground. ~Rumi
We were finding during our busy spring that a lot of time was being spent in what we call ‘spinning our wheels.’ By this I mean that we spent a lot of time waiting for someone to speak up about their personal needs, or an urgent something-or-other that needed to be completed. Usually the urgent tasks took precedence. While I have to admit that this worked very well to get the many time-sensitive spring tasks accomplished, we did end up feeling ragged by the end of the season.
Now that we’re edging into summer and we’ve got more time (Spring planting is done and I’m on summer holidays from my teaching job), we feel we have the space to push further into our family rhythm. We had the basics in place already, but found that we were not balancing ourselves well for things that are not considered ‘jobs.’ We had a desire to bring more joy into our days, addressing our passions as well as the things our children wanted to explore. Although we are an unschooling family, we also wanted to carve out some solid time for direct instruction on basic skills that would help open up our children’s worlds, like reading. In an effort to find balance, we came up with a basic structure that also leaves room for adaptation and interpretation.
Here is our basic summer rhythm:
Family Schedule – Summer 2019
7:00 – 7:30
7:30 – 8:00
8:00 – 9:00
Math, Reading, Writing
9:00 – 10:30
10:30 – 10:45
10:45 – 12:00
12:00 – 1:00
1:00 – 2:30
2:30 – 2:45
2:45 – 4:45
4:45 – 5:00
5:00 – 5:30
Julie/Rob Dinner Prep
5:30 – 6:30
6:30 – 7:00
The blocks of time we have defined as Independent Time, Family Time, Rest Time. and Task Time change from day to day, depending on what we need to do. Yesterday, Independent Time looked like: the children building a giant lego train layout in the living room, I was gathering homeschooling materials and my husband was working in the garden. Family time included harvesting garlic scapes, riding bicycles and swinging outside. Rest time is always spent alone, and each person chooses their activities ( that’s when most of my blog posts get written!). Task Time was spent processing the garlic scapes into scape powder, frozen chopped scapes for stirfrys and a couple jars of pickled garlic scapes. The children helped snip the scapes into small pieces with their scissors.
What we are finding is that the children are much more willing to participate in family time and food processing tasks (which we’re trying to keep to a couple times a week). I feel this greatly due to the fact that they know what is coming when. If they know they will need to chop scapes in the afternoon, they also know the morning is when the giant train layout gets built! The rhythm is giving us all a structure to lean into. Rather like a well woven hammock to relax in on a mid-summer day.
It has only been a week since we’ve chunked our time this way, but already the adults and children are feeling more comfortable with our our days roll out. The other thing worth noting is that we plan several days at a time. This way we know that although we aren’t going to get to cleaning the toilets today, it’s on the list for tomorrow. Also, our children know that family time today might look like picking scapes with a bit of bike riding, but tomorrow we head to the park together. Making a schedule allows us to each have a voice in how the days (and subsequently weeks) roll out. By creating a system, we can relax into the structure we’ve made for ourselves. Isn’t it always lovely to lounge in a hammock in the summer?
Please share in the comments below what rhythms are working for your family? And, if there are things that you find difficult to accomplish?