The new Schedule :)

I came to the realization recently (since the last time I blogged, even) that we cannot live this way anymore. Especially if we are going to have a large family; we need things to change. I worry about what the future will be like with my lack of organizational skills. I can already foresee the trouble we are going to have with Royal - so why not train up Dash and Rowan now, while they are still young and receptive?

I have many large-family blogs that I frequent to try to get a good understanding of how to organize and keep a house infiltrated by a large family.

These links are extremely helpful in seeing what a day should possibly look like with a large family. Unfortunately, it has been extremely hard for me to implement my own family's schedule just based off of these. Especially looking at the latter blog, where the mother is obviously the type-A, first-born, extreme Choleric temperament. I imagine she didn't have too much trouble seeing what needed to be done and charting it all out. In my estimation, it probably took her all of fifteen minutes to write up the first schedule, another day or two to realize all of the kinks, and then on the third or fourth day it was probably perfected. And there was the schedule.
Lists and charts do not come so easily to me. It takes about five times as long as it should even for me to reach the point that I am attempting to write a list. And it all just falls apart from there.
I can pull out a nice, clean, new piece of paper, write the list title in giant, elaborate lettering across the top... and then all the thoughts just start flooding out. I start writing things on one list that belong on another, I take notes on the list, and before you know it the whole list is a jumbled mess that needs to be re-written before it has even served any sort of purpose. Alas, I am sanguine.
So how the heck does a sanguine quiverfull mom put her family on a schedule? It takes much effort, tapping into the melancholy as available, and Jesus.
It's like 15% effort, 20% melancholy, and 65% Jesus. Jesus influences the other two.
The beginning then should probably be prayer.
After several days of just praying for the organizational ability to sit down and open Microsoft excel, I finally sat and realized I didn't know what to do.
Then I pulled out a notebook and gazed at the schedules of others. They had some great ideas, but most of them cannot apply to my miniature family. One schedule was divided according to children's ages, and since all three of mine are pretty much in one age group, that just wouldn't work.
I figured the first step should probably be to write a list of things that I want to accomplish or engage in throughout the day.
Once I began writing it, I realized that there were many things that could be grouped together, and it started looking as though I would not fill out an entire day with what I had listed.

It looked something like this (I didn't save the list so I can't remember, but this is just for a vague idea):

Outside time
art time
computer time
3 meals / 2 snacks a day
getting dressed
dishes, laundry
chore time
put dogs outside
reading and toothbrushing before bed
Movie time

It might have been longer or shorter, I can't remember. It was basically like middle-school style brainstorming. I ended up grouping things together to stick into one time slot, and other things I ended up crossing off completely because I realized they were stupid.
It took me another hour or so to open up the spreadsheet, then open it with a different program because the first one sucked, then format it how I wanted it. 
There was very much trial and error here, and when I finally got it all ready to input what I wanted, I began with half-hour intervals. The reason I used half-hour intervals was because I read something on one o the blogs about the younger children needing to move from one thing to another according to their attention spans, and I know that for both myself and my kids, it would be better not to spend an entire hour doing most things.
I wasted quite a bit of time numbering my list according to what order my preferred activities should go. Breakfast should be first, then dishes, then chores...wait, getting dressed first. Park before lunch. No, nap before lunch. Nap before park. So park after lunch?
I spent even more stupid time stupidly trying to type all this stuff into the spreadsheet while microsoft maliciously tried to sabotage my hard work and delete everything, or make it lined up unevenly, or type it in the wrong font. It was hugely irritating, but I finished up with everything and Emailed it to Josh so he could print it off at work. 
When he brought it home, I was so proud to see all of my day neatly outlined into perfect time slots; minutes would not be wasted while I sat idly drinking coffee. Chores would not stack up against me until I wasted hours a day trying to keep the house clean beneath and after my children. What joy I had in my heart....

Was quickly defeated. The very next morning, I woke up to my 8 a. m. alarm (which I had decided on) and got to work getting everyone dressed and ready for the day. But after only a couple hours, I realized a huge fatal mistake in our schedule. 
I had forgotten to adjust the time slot where I had placed the family movie. It was only a half-hour still, when I had meant to give us one and a half hours. 
I took the schedule down from the wall and searched out some paper and a glue stick. I made some make-shift improvements on the schedule by pasting new bits over the mistakes.
Day two started a little more smoothly, especially with the earlier bedtime for both myself and the kids. Day one sort of started falling apart after nap time, but it wasn't super important to me because we still stuck to a constant state of motion. Around the same two or three hour mark though, I noticed something had gone wrong. I was an hour ahead of schedule. I must have been paying more attention to the minute hand then the hour. *sigh*
I noticed just a few more places where the schedule needed to be edited, but until we had a few more test-runs under our belts I had no idea how to improve on it.  Lunch was too close to breakfast, we had scheduled outdoor time but were not ready to go outside at that time, and several other things.
More days, strips of paper, and a little more glue-stick later, and we have a decent schedule. I may still have a few kinks to work out. But the house is staying clean, and things are getting done. We remain pretty flexible in the second half of the day, because if we have plans to leave the house or do other things, this is where it fits in. It doesn't really bother me as long as we accomplish a lot in the first part of the day.

 8-9:00 a.m. - brush teeth, wash faces, get dressed
9-9:30 a.m. - laundry, breakfast, dogs put outside
9:30-10 a.m. - Clean up breakfast, dishes
10-10:30 a.m. - Art time
10:30-11 a.m. - computer time
11-11:30 a.m. - laundry, chores
11:30-1 p.m. - movie time and cuddling
1-1:30 p.m. - Lunch
1:30-3 p.m. - Nap time for kids, sewing/blogging 
3-4:30 p.m. - park time/errands or games inside
4:30-5:30 p.m. - Dinner
5:30-6 p.m. - Finish dinner, clean up
6-7:30 p.m. - family movie time
7:30-8 p.m. - teeth brushed, pajamas 
8-8:30 p.m. - bedtime reading and good-nights
8:30-9 p.m. - final chores, cleaning, dishes
9-10:30 p.m. - Adult computer, game, or general quiet time
10:30 p.m. - BEDTIME for adults

As time goes by, I am sure we will incorporate new things into the schedule, or take out things that don't fit entirely how I would like. It's still a work in progress, even now. But it is getting the job done, and I know it will only get better from here. 


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