With only a whopping three days under our belt implementing our schedule, it may seem premature to call it a success. However, I've tried the scheduling thing before, and always met with utter frustration and failure. I figured I was just one of those people who couldn't live in a schedule. But the problem wasn't that I couldn't live in a schedule, BUT that the schedule was unrealistic. The one big piece of advice I took off of "Large Families with a Purpose" about scheduling is to schedule how much time it IS going to take, and NOT how long you *think* it should take. That was the ticket for me!
I've tried quite a few schedules, and it was misery. I felt like a drill sargent trying to get everyone to move on to the next scheduled slot...all. day. long. By the end of the week I was totally worn out! Or when I've tried implementing chores, or trying to keep up on the house, the problem was *I* was doing too much of the work. All day long I would be putting things back where they belonged, wiping up messes, etc. This time I divied up things like laundry and dishes. In all seriousness, dishes would take up my WHOLE day. Partly because there are so many of us, and partly because, without set meal times, someone was always eating at any given time.
But that all changed this week! I made sure to really think about how long different activities actually take us. I really wanted to delve in and get order restored around here, but I am so glad that I gave plenty of time to figure out how long things *actually* take. The result? Even on our first day, there was no rushing. Don't get me wrong, the boys were totally not used to keeping in one room, or having to play with a certain sibling...right now at this time. BUT I gave enough time to get all we needed doing done. Erika from Large Families, suggests not to change the schedule for the first week or two. You should just jot down what you think may need changing and wait to see how things go after the first week. After all it is hard on everyone to jump into a schedule and everyone needs to have time to adjust. But one thing became VERY apparent in the first two days...I scheduled lunch way too late for our brood. I wanted to have three main meals and one snack. But no one, including me, who in all seriousness will pass out if I don't eat at a proper time, could handle the gap between breakfast and lunch. I am thinking it may be due to there not being enough protein in our oatmeal breakfast, but at any rate, none of us could handle it. So I did switch that up. That made it possible for us to eat breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner.
Some things that have helped to make this week go smoothly was to do some in depth meal planning and, most importantly, meal prep on the weekend. The meal prep is something I made sure to schedule in on our weekends, knowing it was going to make the schedule work much better. I made our meals VERY simple. For breakfast (mon.-fri.) the choice is oatmeal or granola. On the weekends I have pancakes, and eggs with hash browns planned. For lunch I made up a few different types of soups that all we have to do is reheat. For dinner, I made sure to prep things like beans, and precook meats. This makes meal preparation each day MUCH easier.
In the past I took up the slack in picking up all the little things (which ended up taking all my time throughout the day), and handling things like laundry and dishes. But, like I said above, that meant non stop work for me. Now, even the boys have things they have to help with. I also make the boys take a small basket around the house to pick up their toys that they left behind. With the girls taking turns being with the boys this has REALLY, REALLY, REALLY cut down on the messes around here. Exactly what I was hoping would happen.
Anyways, I'm pretty excited with how things went this week. We were able to get all the cleaning in, and get all of our schooling done. And that includes me working with Jedidiah, something that kept being put off if I didn't have time...which happened way too often. In a future post I will share my schedule with you. If you need any scheduling inspiration please visit Large Families, and click on schedules on her side bar. I will also share how I broke up chores.