How we are finding rest this summer (our non-schedule schedule)
Rest is the theme that found me this summer, I wasn't expecting it. But for me, rest is not about letting the kids fend for themselves and the house fall apart. That would stress me out.
I am by no means an expert at scheduling. I shun schedules. However one daughter needs predictability and, alas, I am learning to appreciate routine too (becoming set in my ways. ahem).
So I share this only because it has been working well for us, and I enjoy learning how other moms plan their days. Like I said, not an expert.
I decided there were five main things I hoped to accomplish with the kids this summer. (I often look back to Ann Voskamp's Seven Daily Rungs- which is so lovely and inspiring. Maybe one day we will work our way to that). For now, these are the five blocks of time I aim for:
1. To work
2. To read
3. To learn
4. To play
5. To rest.
The first three happen in the morning:
The kids have their daily habits: teeth brushing, make their bed, etc. Then they are to ask me for a chore. I prefer that they ask me rather than keep a weekly chore schedule because each week is different (let's not go crazy with the schedules mmkay?).
At some point in the morning we read aloud. Maybe at breakfast, maybe on the couch after chores. We might listen to an audio book in the car if we are running errands.
I'd like a bit of learning to happen in the second part of the morning. Two days a week our learning time is swim lessons. The other days we may spend anywhere from fifteen minutes to two hours at the table writing, practicing math facts, or doing copywork (we are focusing on science using the Magic School Bus books). It depends on what the kids, and I, are up for that day.
(To keep a record of our learning, at the beginning of the summer we went shopping for new pens and notebooks. Each child has a notebook, and all learning over the summer is kept in one notebook. At the back we record all scripture memory, books read, and skip counting learned.)
Afternoon is for play and rest:
We choose one fun activity to do each day after lunch, which may be going to the pool or a playdate or may be as simple as setting out the paints or sprinkler. Then, by three o'clock, we are ready for quiet. (Me too). (I've found waiting until 3:00 is the best time when my 8,6, and 4 year old really are ready for quiet).
It is summer, days will change, but within an ordinary week our days are pretty predictable too:
One day is a cleaning and laundry day. The kids expect extra chores on this day, and our fun activity will most likely be something simple at home.
Two days a week are outside days. We have swimming lessons in the morning, and might go back to the pool or to a park in the afternoon.
One day is for friends or going places.
One day is Mom's Choice. I usually pick garage sales. Last week I chose to not leave the house all day. It was grand.
I am surprised by how content the kids have been (so far). They seem to be enjoying a good balance of work and play, and they like knowing what to expect. From out of this rhythm, we are enjoying a summer that feels pretty darn close to restful.
p.s. The non-chart chore chart: I wanted the kids to be able to earn a little money, and to keep track of what we learn, without a complicated chart or systems which I would fail to keep. At the beginning of the week they each get a notecard. When they do extra chores (the "paid chores") they need to remember to put a sticker on their card. They almost always remember, and at the end of the week each sticker is worth a certain amount of allowance. Personal responsibility = no bookkeeper (me)