Monday, January 31, 2011

Finding Our Rhythm (-or- It can't be that easy, can it?)

As I've mentioned before, we've been trying to get some rhythm around here.  Some days go well, and others . . . well, you know how it goes.  We've been working with a loose schedule for a while, and while I think it should work for us in theory, I was still having a lot of trouble.  It felt like I was dragging Ella along kicking and screaming every day.  She's happy with our homeschooling (oh, goodness, don't even think of bringing up the possibility of going back to school next year), and she likes the things we're doing, but she still pushed and pushed every single day.

By the end of last week, I'd had enough.  But, stubborn as I am (can't help it, it's the ram in me), I had to give it one more shot.  I printed out a second copy of our daily rhythm, with a note for some of the new weekly activities coming up in February, and gave that copy to Ella to keep in her room.  You wouldn't believe the difference that made this morning!  Normally she would wake up screaming about how she hates Mondays or how much she hates doing her morning chores or yelling at me that I didn't tell her to brush her teeth (nevermind the fact that I told her three times or that it's written on an index card in the kitchen or that she does it every single morning).  Instead, this morning she skipped around and did everything she was supposed to do when she was supposed to do it.  No fuss, no muss.   Seriously, it can't be that easy, can it?

No, I'm not delusional.  I know the newness of that printout will wear off, but I'm hoping that seeing the day ahead of her (even though it's the same day we've had for over a month now) will help put her at ease.  At least a little.

For those of you who are interested, here's a copy of the page I made for her:

Our Daily Rhythm

It's very simple, with no frills and plenty of holes in the day to be filled.  I'll talk about what we do for circle time another day.  Believe me, it's not as formal as it sounds.  Still, starting our day with that made a world of difference.  I thought my 7 yr old would think it babyish, but she runs out to the living room to sing songs and toss bean bags.   Even when she argued about the rest of the day, she loved to come out for circle time to start our school morning.

With the extra cooperation, I'm insisting on that afternoon quiet time, too.  Since Ella's no longer picking fights and reading quietly in her room for a while every afternoon, Harper is more cooperative and playing quietly in her own room with some soft music at the same time.  That leaves mom with a quiet house and time to *gasp* do stuff!  Or not do stuff.  Oh, the possibilities!

I left times off most of the schedule, because those are mostly up to me or how well they cooperate.  And I left out things like outside play time, only because that depends a lot on the weather around here.  If it's raining in the morning, we wait until the afternoon for that.  Or we'll do some yoga inside instead.  Or something else.  I left out things that are variable, because my little Rules Lawyer would keep reminding me that we weren't doing something on the list at the appropriate time.  And that would just annoy the snot out of me.

So, there it is.  Our Rhythm.   Now, if I can just work on my rhythm for everything else - blogging, cleaning, cooking, bathing . . . you know, everything else.  Because I'm still way random on a lot of that.  But, for now, this is a good start for us.

How about you?  Have any of you finally found your own rhythm?  Or changed your rhythm midyear? 

6 comments:

  1. Wow! Fantastic!

    I have a rhythm in class and woe to the substitute teacher or assembly that interrupts it. We are routinized in a way that makes the military seem nonchalant about things.

    They come in and hang up their coats, do the math page on their desks while listening to music. Then we do calendar and read the morning message. It says something to the effect of "Dear Class, Today we will begin your new reading story, The Day Jimmy's Boa Ate the Wash. You will go to Computers at 8:55AM. Judy is our leader today and Bobby is our caboose. Love you, Mrs. Mathews" then we clap to count by fives and make a butterfly with our hands to count up and back by tens. Then we do exercises on top of our desks.

    They are obsessed with the predictability of it. :)

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  2. Oh, thank you for saying that your daughter wants to be homeschooled and yet fought you every step of the way. My almost 5 year old son absolutely does not want to go to school, and yet hates homeschooling too. It was this hatred of the process that I was trying to avoid by homeschooling in the first place. It is a struggle always, and yet I know it's the right thing to do.. .I don't think your answer will work for us just yet, but we will find something. It's just comforting to know there are others having a similar problem!

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  3. Still looking for our rhythm here...

    I had to laugh about not telling Ella to brush her teeth. The other day, we went out to lunch and my son was freezing! I said, "Why didn't you bring a jacket?" "You didn't tell me to bring one." !!!
    Maybe I should put that on an index card for him!

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  4. I have a Rules Lawyer too. She's 13 now. She thrives on structure, but I don't, so I have learned to give her "just enough" information to keep her "on board" with what we're doing without actually getting myself into any "entanglements" with her--ahem--LOGICAL mind.
    :)
    Sounds like you're doing a great job. Seven year olds are TOUGH to deal with(Girls. I have the sweetest 7yo BOY right now!).
    One of the hardest things for me and my kids is their need to learn that "maybe" is not "YES".
    Another is my trying to figure out WHY I should have to tell a 10yo to BRUSH HER TEETH every day. . .

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  5. Lora - I remember how much the little kids loved those classroom routines. It's been difficult to replicate that at home, since so many expectations are already in place. We're getting there. Slowly.

    Kim - I think we all struggle with the "don't wants" from our kids. And it's hard when you visit sites with all the fun activities and helpful advice, and it looks like everyone else having a great time all the time. We all struggle. I've been asking myself why my daughter is fighting me. Is one activity making her miserable (maybe we can change how we do something) or do we need to work on transitioning from one activity to another. And 5 yr old boys can be tough. Those were the little guys I got to know very well in the school office, and they were my buddies on field trips. They love to learn, but keeping their learning active and fun can be exhausting for an adult with not quite as much energy. Keep reminding yourself you are doing the right thing. :)

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  6. Sparklee - Haha! No, don't bother. Then the argument becomes, "But you didn't tell me to read my index card!" :)

    April - Thanks. I've been wondering if we're just going through a phase. The 7 yr old thing. Plus, it's like we woke up and all of a sudden . . . she's a girl. With all the attitude and moodiness that goes with that. At 7. I wasn't quite prepared for this so soon.

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