Friday, September 20, 2013

Back-to-School Jig

I am almost staggering under the amount of free time around here these days. I get almost two hours a day of quiet time. TWO! HOURS! And did I say "free"? I meant child-free in the sense of "children are sleeping or pretending to sleep in their bedrooms." But let's be clear that these "free" hours are being used productively.  This productivity will probably return to unabashed wastefulness when the new Downton Abbey comes out, but until then I am doing laundry and packing boxes and other productive things.

This summer was an exercise in self-effacement. I am happy to report that it was much better than last summer. Not so much better that I cried heartily when my two oldest returned to school, but better enough that I felt a moment of wistfulness as #1 and #2 headed into the halls of learning. Thought process: "They are growing up?" Thoughtful, sad pause. "They are growing up!" Begin dancing.

Now that summer is over, I want to review what worked for us and what didn't so next summer I'll be crying hysterically when they return to school. (Because our summer together will just be that awesome.)

Our routines this summer were a good way to keep some semblance of normalcy and control and I think they contributed to our overall happiness. We did pretty well at sticking to them until our week-long vaction in mid-july and then we kind of just hung on until school started. Here's is what worked and what didn't work and why or why not.

In review, biking 100 miles did not happen. But we did make it 30! It just got too hot mid-July and we never got back into the swing of it. So maybe next year we'll have to try doing 50 miles all in June.

Also, I feel like it was a good call to only have one major chore and incorporate more cleanliness into our lives with the routines. For instance, having dinner clean-up be part of our routine instead of a "chore" worked well. We still don't always clean up after ourselves, but we're a little better.

The Pass of all Passes was a good thing, we used it almost weekly. We need one of those for activities up North. Honestly, will someone get on that please? The gas was killing me. Our pass is still good for June of next year, so we'll do it through June, but after that I'm not sure. 

Summer School did not occur as regularly as planned. We did make it through Road Dahl's "The BFG" and Betty Brock's "No Flying in the House" and then somehow we devolved into watching movies.  I think we'll have to be better about this next summer. I had the girls do a drawing book report of their favorite part of "The BFG" and put it in a special notebook and planned to do that for our other books, but that just didn't happen. I found a nice website about family theme days and would like to have Thursday Theme Days or something like that next year. I like this everyday theme idea too.

Hiring a babysitter in the mornings to exercise and grocery shop once a week was a fantastic thing I will do until I feel comfortable leaving the chilies to fend for themselves. I'm guessing that's in about two years, when my youngest can get her own cereal in the morning and my oldest is 10. Or maybe when my youngest has learned enough karate to defend herself from the often ill-intentioned advances of her sisters. I guess we'll see.

If I can find enough spare change I think I will hire a babysitter during the day so I can finally write a novel and become a rich and famous writer. :)

So now I've developed a whole new series of routines for school. They seem to be going pretty well so far. More about those some other time. I have to go gargle salt water. I have strep throat and my throat is on fire.

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