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Archive for the ‘Routine’ Category

Homeschooling..twice the kids, twice the fun!

I am helping out a friend who has gone back to college recently by watching/homeschooling her kids with mine a couple of days a week. It is always a lot of fun and the kids all get along, so that is always a plus!!

I took a few pictures today of everyone at various stages of school or fun! The little girls have made “houses/forts” throughout the day in addition to my youngest deciding it was time to make Fall/Thanksgiving crafts already! (I didn’t get a picture of those yet!)

Anyway, just thought I would share! The kids have done really well today with getting things accomplished.

My kids are listening to the online science class we are doing. It has been a great learning tool thus far!

See the information here…you can still sign up and do the classes at your leisure as all sessions are being recorded and all information is archived!!

(My oldest is looking down at our kitten which she has inside her jacket at the moment!)

Here is the new kitten…it will be able to go to a new home in a few weeks! It is about 7 1/2 weeks old now!

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Special Sale!! Organized Super Set by Cindy Rushton!

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Organized Mom’s Super Set–click here!!


I love all the sets she offers and you are getting an awesome deal with this sale!! It is this week only….so don’t pass it up!!

Another Great Article–Psst! A Secret to Scheduling Success!

Psst! A Secret to Scheduling Success!
by Cindy Rushton
Back to School Blast 2008–check it out!

Want to know one of my biggest secrets to homeschooling the easy way? Want to know one of my biggest secrets to scheduling success? This one secret can make your daily schedule finally fit. It can end your scheduling frustrations forever.

I am not a “schedule by the minute” type of person. (GRIN)  I fail with schedules like that. They don’t meet my needs. My life includes too many areas that have different needs daily. Timed schedules just do not work for me.

So, what has worked for me? Setting up a framework to my day. This is one incredibly powerful tip. It can make a HUGE difference in your day as well. It just might be the secret that has alluded you through the years.

Wondering what I mean by a “framework” for your day? By framework, I mean a general flow to each day that includes all of the areas of my life that I juggle. But, how do I do that? Here are some quick tips:

1. Decide what should be included in your daily schedule. Look at what you are all about. Look at your goals, activities, values, priorities. Look at your husband’s schedule–wrap everything around him. Look at what you need to include in your day to get everything done–quiet times, lessons, homemaking, read alouds, work, etc. This is important. Otherwise, you will include things in your schedule that may not be the very best choices. And…one big risk…you may never get around to the things that matter the most. Decide what really needs to be a part of each and every day for your day to be successful.

2. Decide the best time for the tasks you need to complete each day. This will help you get a good flow to your day. For me, quiet times are just best at the beginning of the day. Chores are great right after them–I need them completed so my brain can focus on the table time.  Our business work and errands need to be done in the early afternoon. Read alouds are best before bedtime.  You get the picture. When I tried to read aloud over lunch, we had so many distractions that we could never fit it in. Trying to work the business in the morning would never work…and of course, we couldn’t take care of business errands at night. See how important it is to really look at the best time to get tasks done. Look at the best time for all of the tasks that need to be done. Look at the best flow to get everything done easily each day. You may not get this right at the beginning, but you will get closer and closer each day. You will love it!

3. Balance your day. Don’t let any one area of your life get out of balance. Everything that we do in our day has a tendency to grow into a big time thief–homeschooling, homemaking, home business. Those important aspects of our life can easily grow out of their boundaries. While I love each of them, they can get rather exhausting if we don’t keep them in balance with the other things that we have to do. The best way for me to stay balanced is to be reasonable about what I expect for each day, keep things simplified and easy, and keep everything inside of its time of the day. I don’t mind those days that we want to dig deeper in a topic that we are studying. I also don’t mind those days that we tackle a messy room. I don’t even mind those days that we have a special business project that needs more time. But, if those areas were demanding extra time every day, it would be easy to get burned-out, frustrated and battle with our time each day. Want to make it work? Find a balance for your day.

4. Set up routines. Talk about a HUGE help for me. Without routines, things can get so frustrating every day–there are constant decisions, there is more strife in the family, there is no consistency. Routines help us to make things go faster, without the strife and struggle of figuring things out DAILY. Routines reduce the stress of making decisions daily. Routines help our children to know what to expect so they can move through all of the things that they need to do each day. Routines are crucial. They assure a smooth ride. They keep us on track. They keep us out of the ruts. They take us in the direction that we want to go. One of the toughest things I ever did was develop routines in my home. However, one of the most rewarding things that I ever did was develop routines in my home. When I got very, very sick, everything kept going. During those times that I have been stretched, things kept on going. All because of routines. Set up routines. Then, your children will know what to expect. They will learn what is next and next and next. The decisions will be made for you. They will be able to “just do it” with or without you. Set up routines for your family. Develop one set of routines at a time–look for the time of day that things go haywire. If it is morning, for example, look at all that needs to be done. Brainstorm. Make a to-do list for that routine. Write it out. Work it as a checklist until it becomes a habit. If you see other things that need to be added into that set of routines, add them. Tweak it until it is smooth. Then, move to the next troublespot. Do this for all of the times of your day. Watch to see how much it helps!

5. Prune anything that is not necessary. Truth is, we cannot do everything. What we do in our day keeps us from doing other things. It zaps our time, energy, strength. We need to be picky about what we add to our day. Every single thing that we do costs us something. We need to constantly prune those things that are not necessary. Prune anything that hinders, distracts. Be honest. Be ruthless. Prune. Even the good things! Go for the best!

6. Take the squeeze out of your schedule. Watch out for the squeeze in your schedule. Don’t fill every minute of your day with something to do. Why? Because there are always going to be crisis situations, interruptions, melt-downs, delays. If we have our schedule maxed out, we will constantly be overwhelmed, overworked, and squeezed. Find ways to take the squeeze out of your daily schedule–cut out extra running, watch out for time thieves, prioritize your daily to-do’s (and eliminate any that make the day too tight), cut out extras that are unnecessary, keep the day simple and easy. Keep a relaxed atmosphere. Constantly, take the squeeze out of your daily schedule.

7. Stay flexible! Stay adaptable! Actually, one of the reasons that we really want to develop a framework to our day is so we have more flexibility, so we have more “space” in our day to be adaptable. We want to be able to seize opportunities that come our way. We want to be able to slow down and enjoy our children. We don’t want to miss teachable moments. These days just go by too fast. We want to enjoy every second. We want to make sweet, sweet memories. This requires that we stay flexible and adaptable. So, take the time to develop your own framework to your day. Do the tough work. Get your plans together. Work on these suggestions. Then, stay flexible. Stay adaptable. Grasp on to all that God has in store for you!

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About Cindy Rushton…

Cindy Rushton is the hostess of the Back to School Blast, her annual back to school fling for homeschool mothers around the world. She is recording Preview Chats for the Back to School Blast RIGHT NOW! Join her wonderful guests FREE for the next weeks as they count down to the Back to School Blast (August 8-9–BUT! NEVER ENDING because it is an ONLINE seminar!). Get your ticket NOW and receive her awesome A Quick Start for Notebooking Mini-Set FREE today! Check out all of the details here:

Back to School Blast 2008–click here for tickets!

Starting A New Routine!

    Today we started with a new schedule so I can have time to work one on one with each of my children in a more structured way. My goal is to give them focused time with me without interruptions (that is the goal remember…. 🙂  and to give planned schoolwork/activities for the other children to do during those individual times so they are accomplishing something productive instead of wandering off or getting distracted while I am out of the room.

I have done this type of schedule in the past–especially when the kids were younger– to make sure the youngest ones could be “entertained” or receive attention while I worked with the older kids. It worked well during the time we used the schedule. The last year or so I had gotten away from that rotating planned schedule because the kids are all getting older and each needs to be working on “school” not just playing. Our schedule has been hectic and sometimes unpredictable (still is) so I had adopted a more flexible approach to our “school” days. This worked for awhile, but I really have been feeling the need to get back to more structure in order to make sure we are accomplishing our basic goals for each day/week.

This change will require more discipline on all our parts but the Lord revealed this new plan to me, so I know that if we make the effort to follow it, this plan will be successful! The Lord gave me insight to see how I could make my previous schedule and ideas of rotation work with where the children are now.

Today was a bit bumpy as we were all up late after attending an event (International Dinner) with our SHINE homeschool group. We got up a bit later than I had planned and my middle two children weren’t being as loving as they could have been toward each other right from the start (read–bugging each other enough to make my younger daughter cry). We moved forward through the schedule and did get more accomplished the we have in the same amount of time the past few weeks. Though we didn’t get to everything, and there were numerous interruptions, I know that if we stick to the plan our days will continue to improve!

One of the biggest challenges to homeschooling for me is NOT the planning and preparation but the carrying out of those plans! If it was just me, I could follow through no problem, but when you add in four other individuals–all with their own likes, dislikes, attitudes, good & bad days, etc.–it makes it a bit more difficult to see all those plans fall into place!

For me, it was easier when the children were young–we stayed home more (less outside activities), it was easier to do their short lessons each day and I didn’t worry so much about “fitting it all in”. Now that the children are getting older, their lessons require more time, the amount of help they need varies, but they do much better if I make sure to “meet” with each of them to go over Math issues and do their Learning Language Arts Through Literature lessons. They feel they are getting much needed attention and I know they are actually accomplishing their work. Of course, we still do our KONOS reading and activities, as well as Bible time all together.

One great thing about today was that my youngest child did well during and after his lessons. He wasn’t bothering everyone or refusing to cooperate (which has happened a lot recently because he wants our attention or because he is bored–we are working on these character issues!!). He is now ready to work on his lessons more consistently as he has matured a lot over the past few months and he has actually been learning/practicing various skills on his own now. I am very thankful that I learned after my first child’s experience’s to give the kids time to learn to read, do math, etc. We work on various skills, but I don’t push it until they are ready and even then we take breaks as needed. This approach leads to children who don’t dread learning, but look forward to it! This is especially important with reading!

All this to say that we are now going back to a rotating time schedule so we can accomplish our “basics” and move onto afternoon outside lessons or KONOS activities. I have various children paired up as I work with one child so they can help each other with their read aloud practice and start on Math before their time with me. I will get my Excel file schedule updated and post it on my website: http://www.konoskarats.com .  When I do, I will post the link here also.

I know, but still have to remind myself often, that if we will just seek the Lord first in all things He will provide what we need. Always, the first thing He gives us is His Word and more of Himself, then “all these things” come after!

We often end up “too busy” to seek the guidance of the One who knows all. Instead, we keep trying to figure things out on our own over and over until, finally, we give up and the Lord shows us what to do! How much time and heartache we could save ourselves from if we would just give up right away!

Keep looking to the Lord for guidance as you plan your schedule and He will help you see just how to plan it to fit your family and your needs.