At the beginning of January, as we restarted school after Christmas break, I noticed something in our school schedule that I really didn’t like—Littlest wasn’t attended to. He was daily wreaking havoc. And though our schedule had been awesome all fall, I’d never felt as though I’d found a place for Littlest in all of it. And apparently, he felt the same way. Remember this?
So, in a desperate attempt to find a solution, I turned our whole schedule on it’s head. Literally. I mean we worked totally backwards. I left the mornings very open-ended, doing some Tapestry activities and our extras (art, music, and the light stuff); and we did the serious stuff (math and language) in the afternoons while Littlest napped.
We did this for about 3 weeks. Littlest and Middlest loved it. Oldest hated it; he’s my OCD, gotta-have-structure child. And to be honest, I had a love-hate relationship with it, too. I loved the mornings. I HATED the afternoons, which seemed to drag on forever. Then just as we finished up, it would be time to make supper.
But it was exactly what I needed to convert our schedule. Here are some things I learned from our great shake up:
- I had the opportunity to watch Littlest, to see what he liked doing, what he wanted to do, and when he was ready for a break of his own. For example, every morning at 10 almost on the dot, he was leading me to his pack ‘n play and pointing out the toys he wanted tossed in with him. I got to observe his natural schedule so that I could incorporate it into our family rhythms.
- I learned how important it was for us to have a little flexibility in the mornings, since our ministry lifestyle often has the kids up really late.
- I learned how quickly the kids forgot how to discipline themselves to be ready to go somewhere on time when we eliminated our structure. Truly astounding!
- I started holding myself accountable to shorter lesson periods with the kids (15-20 min. per activity, a suggestion from Charlotte Mason that is gold, people!)
We’re now settling back into some structure and a new schedule (which I’ll reveal in another upcoming post), but shaking things up was crucial to coming to this point. So I just wanted to encourage you, if you’re struggling to find your groove, do something drastic! It just might shake things into place.