I'm a goal oriented person. I love setting goals, making lists, and then kicking those goals in the butt. Obvious starting/ending dates (birthdays, anniversaries, New Year's, etc.) get my goal setting, list making self all aflutter.
So, as Ken's Christmas vacation drew to a close, and my beloved and I surveyed the wreckage of our household, we knew it was time to set some organizational goals.
Two of the things that tipped us off? The boys hadn't changed out of pajamas the entire vacation, and one day the Wii log showed that the kids had been playing video games for six hours.
And now, a tender four days into the New Year, I'll show you what we're doing to jam chaos back into manageable sized chunks.
The first thing we did was realize that the kids needed not only to have a schedule, but they needed to see it. The brick wall in the kitchen is centrally located, so that's where the master schedule went. Later, Ken will get a sheet of plywood, I'll cover it with fabric, Ken'll attach it to the brick wall, and we won't have to use duct tape and wall putty like we're doing now.
Here's what we've currently got:
I took all the things we're likely to have to do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, made a card for it, put velcro on the back of each card, and hung a ribbon on the wall. At the end of the day, before I go to bed, I put the kids' general schedule up on the ribbon (specific school schedules are beyond the scope of this particular post- i.e. they're not up and running yet).
As they do each chore, the kids move the card from the "to do" slot to the "done" slot. If they want to go play outside or do something fun, I can easily look to see if their chores are done first.
Gabriel likes this part best. He gets the biggest Gabriel grin on his face as he moves a card from "to do" to "done".
However, the second day this schedule was in effect, he came downstairs, saw his "to do" list had refilled, and burst into angry screaming. The concept of "daily schedule" wasn't made clear enough, I guess.
If there were one thing I'd advise households to implement, it would be a meal plan. It's one less thing you have to think about, you save money, and you are better able to eat healthy.
Like this meal, pictured below. A healthy crock pot dish of black beans and rice, using economical dry black beans, soaked for 12 hours before entering the crock pot at the same time as the rice.
Don't be like me, y'all. Check cook times before combining crock pot ingredients.
He was right.
Even more shameful was the fact that the two children who HAD managed to not slum around in their pajamas were wearing the same outfit that they'd been wearing for the last four days.
Ken suggested that maybe it would be helpful for the kids' future work ethic to lay out a clean outfit every day before bed. I blanched at the idea, since it smacked of conventional school mornings, which represent to me a level of organization and productivity that I cannot yet grasp.
Ignoring my feeble protests, Ken put hooks at the end of each boys' bed, and I was tasked with the assignment of overseeing The Laying Out of Tomorrow's Clothes.
Results are mixed. On the one hand, everyone's wearing clean clothes every day, and when I am ready to venture outside the house for errands, I don't have a two hour clothing expedition. On the other hand, it means that when Gabriel picks his "rich man shirt" as Tomorrow's Outfit, it stays on all day. Even during errands.
Lastly, after seeing the Wii log for one day of vacation, which informed us that our children had managed to play video games for six hours without us realizing it, I knew it was time to put us on a strict screen schedule.
As I'm prone to do, I may have overcorrected in this area, and we went from letting the kids park themselves in front of TVs, computers, or iPhone games whenever they wanted to no screens whatsoever unless it was an approved part of the curriculum.
I'm going nuts. This change is the one I hate the most, since any down time I got during the day came courtesy the electronic babysitter. Now I've fired her, I'm running at full speed from the moment my feet hit the floor in the morning (which, thanks to my no screens rule, means when the kids wake up), until Ken gets home at night.
I have no illusions about this part of Operation Organized Donaldsons being cut. Soon.
I've made a couple of modifications to homeschool, but I'm going to wait until next week to show them, since they're not fully operational yet. Read: we're slooooowly easing our way back into a full school day.
And that, my friends, marks the longest, most pointless Quick Takes in the history of the Internet.