I just finished doing a Bible study called "Homeschooling with a Meek and Quiet Spirit" by Teri Maxwell and enjoyed it immensely. Got a lot of "gems" from God's Word about managing a home/educating the kids/keeping a meek and quiet spirit in the middle of it all. I saw that Maxwell had some other books out too, and the one that really caught my attention was "Managers of Their Homes". I've been really convicted about taking my calling seriously of not just physically raising kids, but training them to be responsible, capable young people. We've been on a pretty consistent schedule since homeschooling began, but I knew I could use some help. I know Michelle Duggar uses the Maxwell's system in her home to cut back on the chaos. So, I ordered the book and have begun using it to make a schedule for our days.
Just in the planning stages of mapping out what had to be done each day, this system has caused me to analyze what is truly important. So many times as a mother of three, the "tyranny of the urgent" reigns, and I end up responding to things that happen instead of controlling what happens. It has caused me to think about what "non-negotiables" we had to make time for versus the "negotiables" that don't necessarily have to be done every day. If the decision is made ahead of time that I MUST spend a half hour in the Word every day, there is time in the schedule for that instead of me constantly having to look for time to do it. If the decision has already been made that Allie will have free time from 3-4, then she knows it is coming and doesn't have to worry about not having any free time. We can look at the schedule and see that there will be a time for each thing that is important during the day.
Today was day one on the new schedule. The whole day just went so smoothly. I took 5 minutes when Allie's alarm clock first went off and looked over the schedule with her, showing her that there would be time for each subject, including music and art, and that she would have free play time. I had activities planned for Maggie at each half hour so that she didn't get bored and start whining. It took a little planning ahead, but the day was virtually stress-free. Even Penelope did fine with the scheduled naptimes versus "demand" naptimes (or, naptimes whenever she got fussy). I felt like I had more individual time with each child, which probably cut down on the fussiness.
The schedule will probably change 100 times before we really have a good one down pat, but at the end of today, I knew that everything we wanted to accomplish was accomplished, our priorities truly took priority, and everyone got what they needed. It felt good. :)