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I had this ideal thought of January. As soon as January arrives, I will be back into a winter rhythm. I will have the kids back into a school routine, and we will all be able to slow down.
I’m sure that you realize this is not what happened at all. Instead, we dealt with sickness the first two weeks in January, our return to homeschooling has been incredibly slow, and we have been go-go-going every weekend since Thanksgiving.
I realize that having two kids in sports that have practices and games on different days throughout the week might have something to do with this.
January is becoming a month that is not slow and drawn out, instead it is moving faster than I anticipate, and all of the change that I want to take place during this month is not completed on my time line.
My word of the year is action but I don’t feel as though I have had time to put any of the intentions I have into practice.
That is where creating a winter rhythm comes in.
I realized that our day to day needs a re-boot. The kids school schedule needs to be adjusted. We need to have defined blocks of time for quiet time, for rest, for reading, for play, for chores.
Why am I hesitating? Well, I want everything in order and perfect before we can put our perfect rhythm into practice, of course!
Obviously, that is not realistic. So let us move on to plan B.
We need to have a daily rhythm, if only to give my kids an idea of “what comes next.” And to save me from constantly answering at what time they can do x, y, and z.
I often need to remind myself that my kids are 7, 5, and 1. This means that my rhythm needs to be fluid, and able to change. I would love to be able to have our schedule down to the minute – I love to plan, however, in my experience, that does not work for my kids. No matter how hard I tried getting my kids on a regular schedule, it never stuck. So I moved towards a rhythm, but that rhythm is adjusted seasonally depending on what is going on in our home.
This winter I plan to do a whole-house purge – it is part of the “organize my life” theme I am following this year. I want my kids to participate in this, and that causes some changes to our rhythm.
I mentioned back in August that as soon as we started school, Lucy decided she did not want to take a morning nap anymore. It has been a daily guessing game to figure out when she will go down for a nap. But, for the past couple of weeks she has been pretty consistent (which of course means now it will change!) with an afternoon nap most days.
With all the busyness, and the jumbled baby nap times, plus trying to do the whole house purge while homeschooling, well you can see that we need a new rhythm.
But how can we get there?
First I had to evaluate what I am truly trying to accomplish during this season.
When I look at all that I want to do with my kids and school, it is overwhelming, to me and to them. There are days that my daughter most definitely does not want to do school, and wants to play all day. Trying to find a balance between what I think she needs to accomplish while still allowing her the freedom to be seven is quite the challenge.
I can easily identify with the “school at home” crowd, with charts and desks and a school room all set up – I loved setting up my desk and “playing school” when I was young. But, at the same time I can also identify with unschoolers, letting my kids follow their interests. That is quite the predicament, and quite the span of educational philosophies to meld together.
When I see these homeschooling needs, along with my own desire to de-clutter and organize my house, I can see that our rhythm is going to be a little different than what is considered normal, and that is ok, because it is only a seasonal rhythm!
Once I evaluate my needs and my kids’ needs during this season I am able to make some changes in our rhythm, and understand what comes next.
My plan for this season is block scheduling, and attempting to fit our “school” time in while the baby is napping, whenever that may be. There will be more audiobooks, and science videos. More playing outside since we have a lot of snow, and a lot of family de-cluttering.
This week will be a lot of de-cluttering of the kitchen – it definitely needs a complete reorganization. Also, I am going to see if the afternoon nap continues for Lucy, if it does, we may be able to dig into the rhythm I have in my head. I also have some new to-do charts from *Erin Condren coming in the mail this week for the kids which I hope will work for our rhythm, and giving the kids an idea of what comes next in our day. Although we don’t hold to specific times for doing activities, there is a general progression of items that the kids like to check off.
My true desire for this season is to hold on and enjoy the ride, and then to look forward to a *hopefully* quiet spring with less running around.
Do you feel a change in rhythm as the seasons change? What are your strategies for making it through a busy season?
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