We took two weeks off from homeschooling for Christmas and I was really excited to get back to it in January. I had spent some time during the break reevaluating our materials, reading some other home schooling blogs, checking out a ton of books from the library on homeschooling, and just basically figuring it all out. So we hit the books the first week of January and by the third week, I was burnt out again. And what's more, I felt tired and lazy, out of touch with God, out of touch with my kids, and I wasn't getting anything done around the house. Stacey usually does some dishes and laundry a bit on the weekends but all of the sudden, I noticed he was doing A LOT of dishes and laundry and not just on the weekend. I felt like I was busy all the time and not getting anything done. And the fact that I was burnt out again after only three weeks of school was a bit scary. Now, a couple of things occurred that put a kink in things (Engaged Encounter Weekend that we hadn't finished one talk for, two weeks of sick kids, speech evaluation, other misc appointments, new coupon hobby - more on that later) but I could have easily kept myself on track if I would have had the discipline. *DING* Our word of the day.
I was listening to The Catholic Guy with Lino Rulli (The Catholic Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio 159) and he was talking about his discipline. He wakes up every morning at the same time (no alarm), followed by morning prayer, followed by showering, followed by going to the gym, followed by more prayer and showering (it sounded weird at first but my husband says you never want to be the stinky guy or be next to the stinky guy at the gym) and he had more but I didn't take notes or anything. He also made an awesome catholic connection having to do with discipline in the religious life and some other awesome stuff that, again, I don't completely recall. It got me thinking about my own routine, or incredible lack there of, and why I felt like I was chasing my tail.
With Lent quickly approaching, I felt this was the perfect time to make some changes in my life so I turned to my trusty friend: The List. Oh how I love a good to-do list. I keep several small notebooks and note pads next to my laptop on my desk so I can jot something down when it pops into my head. The only problem is, those notes get buried and will probably only be uncovered by an archaeologist thousands of years from now. I started browsing some blogs on home office organization and found one where she had set up this really clever system of hanging clipboards up on hooks attached to the back wall of her desk. She kept really important school papers and such on the clipboards and since they were attached to the wall, they never got buried. Genius!!! I have three clipboards but I'll focus on one, which I call my focus clipboard. The top sheet in my newly created "Weekday Schedule", right underneath is my newly created "Weekly lesson plan", under that are teaching materials for that particular day, underneath that is a piece of blue card stock, underneath that are Shannon's work sheet's for that day, under that a piece of pink card stock, under that are Chloe's worksheets for that day. Okay it sounds like a lot but it really isn't and the card stock makes it really easy to flip through and find what I need. I have a black blinder that I was using to keep all of the materials for the week but I felt it was really cumbersome to carry around with me and check things off. On Sunday, I gather everything for the week and put it in the black binder and then pull from it each night and put the daily materials on the clipboard.
Check out my new fancy lists:
When I have the time, I will figure out how to insert these as documents and then they can be stolen and used for good by other moms. But, I am new to this whole blogging thing so that might take a minute. So back to discipline. I used this system for the first time last week and it totally rocked. I kept the house clean, laundry done, and all home school lessons were completed. Yes! But (of course I have a but) I did not do very well in the prayer and quiet time departments. Why is it so hard to just be quiet! Let me just share with you what I found on a piece of scrap paper when I was deciding what to do for Lent:
Read huge stack of books piling up
Healthier diet/fitness routine
Work through anger book and journal (more on this later)
Morning - Daily Readings
Afternoon - journal, 3 min retreat (new iphone app I discovered)
Night - Daily Reflections for Lent
Family Service Project: Form Joggin' For The Noggin' Team and raise some dough
So I incorporated the prayer, quiet, and reading into my weekday schedule but somehow I keep skipping over it. But today starts a new week and I will try again. So I better end now while it is still relatively quiet around here and get my prayer on.