Friday, August 31, 2012

Routines, Margins, Soup & Trees {Weekly Wrap Up 8/31/12}

a post by Jenni {aka Mom}

(Pssst! I'm part of this week's WeeklyWrap Up over at Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers! Click over to check out all the other posts, full of tips and tidbits that work in real life.) 

Is it Friday already?? I’m sorry -- I must have dozed off for a few days. It really only felt like I closed my eyes for a minute or two…

What’s gone on in our world? Well,

·         We’ve been tired. I’ve been tired. Hubby’s been tired. We’re all tired -- except for Rooster. He pretty much always has energy. If we could only bottle it we’d be instant millionaires. Anyway, I’m not sure what the deal has been this week but the crew has been plum worn out. I sure hope that none of us are coming down with anything and that a restful weekend will send us into next week refreshed!
·         I’m very thankful to be getting in a routine again! We’d really not had one since sometime in May, and I think everyone is feeling more secure and grounded now that we’re settled in the new house and getting back on track. Planning, meals, school, appointments, errands, and even fun time just seem to flow better when we’ve got some sort of schedule or order of events in place. 
·         That said, I’m so happy that as a household we can roll with a routine and not stress over a schedule. Amy over at Raising Arrows gives a nice definition of “Routine Families” and “Schedule Families” that you might find worthwhile. Our family is a combination of the two - we do follow a schedule, generally speaking, and we do try to have certain events occur at the same time just about every day (like wake time, meal times, the start of school time, the end of school time, and bedtime) BUT we allow for pushing back the whole routine 30-60 minutes if we stayed out late the night before and we will rearrange as needed for impromptu outings, ministry opportunities, visits, and spontaneous learning opportunities. We like our schedule, but we’re not dependent on it. It doesn’t ruin our week to tweak the lesson plan, add a field trip, or sleep in a bit after a late evening of fellowship or stargazing. Non-negotiables stay put (like doing math every weekday, and having family worship right after supper - whether supper’s on time or not), and the rest of the day is able to flex according to our life. This was one week that being flexible was really nice!

·         I have to add to the last point that I’m also thankful to have margins -- and doubly thankful to have a spouse who also values having margins (anything you & your spouse are like-minded about is a blessing!!). We choose not to commit all of our time to a set schedule, even if it means passing up extras like organized sports, clubs, etc…We choose not to fall into the soccer mom trap - having much of our schedule set for us by the administrators of extracurricular stuff - and choose to rather set our schedule as we see fit and then use the bits of free time left as opportunities to minister, fellowship, study, spend time as a family, or sometimes participate in a more short-term organized activity. I grew up participating in a million-and-one extracurricular activities, and I have to say that hectic lifestyle is one I do not prefer. Our whole family seems to enjoy the ways we currently spend our free time, and I’m fairly certain that none of us are any worse off “missing out on” ball games, pack meetings, etc. Having margins and the ability to make regular choices on how to spend them is so, so nice -- and so is having reliably peaceful evenings at home.

·         Case and point: this week Rooster spent a whole afternoon with Dad up in Fredericksburg, where they scoped out the historic downtown and then did a walking tour of the Battle of the Wilderness. Rooster could spend days just walking old battlefields, and he was practically walking on air when they got home. I love how Hubby prioritizes one-on-one time with each of the boys! He’s much more faithful about it than I am.

·         Rooster’s been using a free trial of the Aphasia Tutor software, which we plan to purchase for the school year. He struggles with developmental aphasia caused by oxygen deprivation during labor & delivery, and we’re redoubling our efforts this year to help him grow in his communication abilities. So far I’ve been really impressed with the software, and I’m relieved that although the software gives scores with each use, and Rooster’s scores have been low (and he’s the type of kid who always wants to see a percentage and a grade and is affected greatly by his performance), he’s been able to view the scoring not as a grade but as an opportunity to beat his personal best like he does in running. I’m optimistic that consistent use of the software combined with more consistent exercises with me will bring forth new growth and improvement for him this year.

·         Yesterday I made the 1st batch of homemade soup since the move, and it was soooooooooo gooooooooooood! The boys couldn’t quit commenting on how much they have missed it, which made me feel flattered and bad at the same time (bad for having slacked all summer!). Anyhoo, we enjoyed it greatly with crusty garlic sourdough bread on the side, and it reminded me of just how simple eating well can be when I make the time to plan and prepare ahead. We now have enough soup in the freezer to provide lunch for several days in the future, and enough extra chicken meat for a casserole or wraps. I’ll try to get our favorite chicken-stretching soup + extra meat recipe up sometime next week, in case anyone’s interested. :)

·         Now that we live on a property with lots of mature trees, we’re excited to do some more in-depth nature study. Yesterday Rooster, Bird, and I “adopted” and named three trees for ongoing nature study throughout the four seasons. We also signed up for the 2012-2013 Outdoor Hour Challenge that begins September 1, and are chomping at the bit to begin!

Well, as Grandpa says, that’s all the news that’s fit to print and some that ain’t! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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