Since we are homeschooling our rowdy crew, we have needed to establish a daily routine that works for all the ages in our home. I have read tons about this but what really helped us was to actually write down what we did on a typical "good" day. That is the place to start - what actually works in your household.
4 keys to our mostly successful routine:
1. Write it down and post it - we use small, young reader words to help
2. Build in rewards for mommy (and kids) for finishing a section of the routine
3.Be flexible - you'll notice there are very few times listed in our sample routine below. We must build in flex time for discipline, messes, emergencies, and just play fun. I am enjoying each of their ages and I don't want to over schedule my life.
4.Be protective -I have received a lot of negative feedback for this, but I have found I must be protective of our time and wise in what I allow to distract us. I do not allow TV at all during the day. I do not usually answer the telephone. I do now have an answering machine and will call people back. Sometimes, I do not even answer the door (that's on our rough days, sickness etc....). I allow myself one friend phone call per day. I am no longer involved in "service" type activities. I quit my part-time job. We don't often go out in the evenings. We are very strategic about our travels. This sounds like alot of don't's but we are all much happier! I'm more available to do what God wants me to do and still keep our routine. I can take a meal to neighbor who broke her foot because I am not over-committed. I could write a whole blog on this but I think it is crucial to serving our families as well as serving the Lord. Even in the Christian church this concept is NOT understood very often. We do not need to teach, serve, disciple other people and their children at the expense of our own husbands and children. See Deuteronomy chapter 6. As parents, we are instructed to teach our children to love the LORD.
It has taken me five years to see that my mission field, my calling, my career is right here in my own house. Kurt also sees this call to disciple our children as his first priority above his career. My dad has strongly encouraged us in this, and I quote him, "What you are doing in raising children is of eternal and global importance."
A gentle routine may seem like a small puzzle piece, but I believe it has been vital to the peaceful, Christ-centered atmosphere of our home. Please understand, we still have bad days. We sometimes don't make it through the routine at all! But, the next morning, we try again. And it allows me to be patient and prayerful throughout our day.
Purely for ideas sake (please don't hold us to this) this is our gentle routine:
Wakeup -Potty/brush teeth
Downstairs - breakfast
kiss Daddy goodbye
put in laundry
take out dog
Reward - mommy checks her email!
Upstairs- Morning routine potty/brush teeth
Mommy's chores / playtime
take dog out
Bible reading rest/ Ethan's 2nd nap
More school/play/special activities
play with Daddy/Andrea reads out loud
night time routine
sleep - aahhh blessed sleep!
May you be encouraged and empowered by the Holy Spirit that what you are doing with your children is of vital importance to the Kingdom of Christ!