When I first imagined myself homeschooling, one of the perks was the ability to take my kids to daily Mass. Three years later, that is finally becoming a reality. As with so many other areas where I feel called to grow, I had a list of excuses of why it just couldn’t work. My most prominent excuse was our schedule.
If only Mass were earlier. Or later. Either would be more manageable. How could I possibly go to Mass at 9AM and have any semblance of a reasonable daily schedule? How would we ever get anything done?
While visiting with a friend recently, we were chatting about the unreasonable expectations we place on ourselves in the context of our homeschools. In the course of this conversation, I discovered that one of my unspoken expectations was that we must be done with our school day by lunch time. Why? I don’t really know. Other than for bragging rights. You know, something along the lines of, “Oh look how efficient and productive we are. We finish school by lunch and then have the whole day to play and enjoy childhood.” Yup. That’s about how my thought process went.
Discovering this was a major revelation for me and, best of all, released me from my scheduling hang up. Granted, it took me a few days to come to terms with this revelation, (Yes, I’m ever so graceful when it comes to change.) but once I did, our whole day opened up! I love our new schedule and the icing on the cake is: so far, we haven’t gone past lunch time with our book work! It is so true that when we make time for God, he allows everything else to fall in to place.
Just in case you’re curious, this is what our day looks like right now. I know my family well enough to know that there are many areas I can’t put tasks in order or schedule them into 15 minute increments. In these instances, I simply schedule blocks of time. The routine in that area may vary some each day, but I allot enough time for us to get it all done. This flexibility is also incredibly useful for the days when we’re not exactly “on schedule.”
6:00AM – Mommy’s alarm goes off. Ideally, I get up and exercise, but, unfortunately, I have a rather strong tendency towards sloth.
Some Most days I just hit snooze.
6:30-8:30 AM – Everyone gets ready. We get dressed, I shower, nurse the baby, serve breakfast, etc.
9:00 AM – MASS!! Truly, the highlight of our day. Sometimes, thanks to my not-so-angelic children it’s also the low point. Thanks be to God, even when it’s the low point, it’s still the highlight!
10:30ish – We get home from Mass. It just depends on how long we chat afterwards.
10:30ish-12:00 – Formal lessons and bookwork.
12:00PM – We stop to pray the Angelus and sing the Salve Regina.
12:05 – 1:00PM – Lunch and free time.
1:00-3:00 PM – QUIET TIME! (It’s almost as good as Mass.) The little ones (and cranky ones) nap. Other options are reading, praying, or quietly working on a project that requires no assistance. No group activities allowed. In the future this will also be a great time for studying, test taking, researching, etc. (This concept may seem odd. One day I really will write a post about the value of silence to further explain why I find this so important!)
3:00PM – Those who are awake pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
3:15-5:30PM – Finish lessons (if needed), art or science projects, chores, free time.
5:30ish – Dinner.
6:00-9:00ish. Family time. Baths. Prayers. Goodnight!
9:00-10:30PM Mommy and Daddy time.
10:30PM – Lights out everywhere. Sweet dreams!
Despite having our day planned out, I am certainly not opposed to impromptu water gun fights or trips to the park or visits to/from friends. This flexibility is one of the many things I love about homeschooling and one of the reasons our family chooses to school year round. But that’s a topic for another time…