Monday, November 4, 2013

Finding a Rhythm

Life seems a little crazy of late...manageable, and actually pretty good, but a little crazy.  Have you noticed that I've been blogging a little less?  It's because I'm working a wee bit longer into the evenings, trying to keep up with myself and get somewhat organized for the following day.

I'm so (cautiously) excited that things are going basically well this fall...lots of stumbles and lots of ongoing adjustments into our still-new unschooling life, but basically ok.

Something that I'm loving these days is our mornings at home.  I've tried really hard this fall to keep us home most mornings, to enable us to get into a little rhythm...not so much a routine, because the order of activities seems to vary from day to day, but somehow a rhythm nonetheless.  The kids are up by 7:00 (well, two kids are awake well before 7, but they're allowed out of their rooms at 7!); then there's cuddle time with me in Geoff's and my bed and sometimes a bit of read-out-loud time at this point; then breakfast, usually accompanied by some reading-out-loud (these days books about mammals, and the Canadian Flyer books) and some bible study and discussion; then breakfast clean-up; then time for the kids to get dressed, wash faces and brush teeth (and occasionally tidy their rooms!); then we complete Math work (first Matthew, because he's the wild card of the morning rhythm, then Seth, then Lizzie); then if we have time we have another read-out-loud time in our library; then we prep for lunch and the morning is gone!

Afternoons are usually spent outside of the house involved in some thing or another:  gym class; music and piano lessons; play times with friends; errands; etc.

The slightly trickier part of the day seems to be around late afternoons, during the pre-dinner or dinner hours.  Four out of five week days we are committed to something during these hours:  Skating lessons; swimming lessons; soccer; mid-week kids' church program.

The tricky part is what to do about dinner!  I'm willing to bet that this is a challenge of most parents - particularly, perhaps, for working-outside-the-home parents who also cart their kids to various extracurricular activities at the end of the day.  I like crockpot meals as much as the next mom, but not all the time...maybe once/week.  

So I'm changing up a little how I do menu planning for the week around the dinner meal; I'm planning healthy meals that can be prepped earlier in the day (like the soup and bread that I'm making tomorrow at/before 7am for dinner in the evening, or the crockpot dish I'm making on Thursday) or that can be prepared very quickly last minute (such as a pre-packaged salad from Costco, and pasta with spaghetti sauce that I've pre-made and frozen) or that can be transported in containers in the car (like the new wraps I'll be debuting on Friday on route to soccer - featuring cream cheese, mashed black beans, red onion, red peppers, tomatoes, and lettuce).

But the best news of all is that we are finding our rhythm...particularly as unschoolers.  The kids are doing the best yet over the past 2+ years, Matthew is so much more relaxed, and their mama has sort of found a new groove.  I'm cautiously excited...almost scared that this is too good to be true.  So I'm going to enjoy the new rhythm while I can and hope that it's just the start of wonderful things to come!

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