This week I realized something. For a long time I have underestimated my role in creating good days.
This week I realized that I can make almost every day a Slushy Day. I found several things that made a difference in our days this week.
I woke up early. Early is very early at my house, and it's really tempting to squeeze in just fifteen more minutes of sleep. Lauren is out of bed and ready to go at six-zero-zero every morning. She's more than capable of entertaining herself if I'm still in bed or still trying to get a shower. Unfortunately, capable of entertaining herself means that she'll start watching a video on the computer or iPad. Watching TV is never a good way for her to start the day. If her day is going to be off to a good start, I need to be up and dressed by the time she wanders downstairs at 6:01 am.
I had a plan for the day. I'm not a big planner, and I didn't have color-coded schedules for the days. My plan was just the basics -- really just a rough sketch in my head of when I was going to do things during the day and what I was going to serve for dinner. Most of our work is just the next thing in the book. Even though I didn't have it all written down, the important thing is that I thought through my rhythm for the day ahead of time.
I cleaned up as I went along. I emptied the dishwasher as I waited for my grits to finish cooking in the microwave. When we finished breakfast, I put the dishes in the dishwasher, quickly rinsed out the coffee pot, cleared the place mats off of the table, and left the kitchen looking nearly spotless. As my children completed various school assignments I checked it right away. No more piles of papers for me to look over later in the day, and more importantly, no more math pages that were done completely wrong because I hadn't noticed the errors the day before. All of the cleaning up tasks that I normally dread aren't so burdensome if I just take care of them along the way. Besides, my house looked nice nearly all day long.
Finally, and most importantly, I didn't spend time on the computer. Early in the morning, I set a timer for five minutes so that I could glance over my inbox for emails that I wanted to see. After my time was up, I closed the laptop and didn't look at my email again until after all of our schoolwork was finished. I was amazed at how much more I got accomplished on the days when I didn't keep checking in on my email (or facebook) for just a second here and there. When I'm not looking at a computer screen (desktop, laptop, iPod, etc), I'm attentive to my children and their needs. I check their school papers as soon as they're done. I intervene before one child's talking or ball bouncing gets on another child's last nerve. I'm being the homeschooling mom that I'm supposed to be.
I have no illusions that every day will be easy from here on out. Honestly, paying attention to what I'm supposed to be doing is hard work. Hard work leads to sweet rewards, though, especially on days when I just happen to be driving past Sonic during Happy Hour.
Several members of the Schoolhouse Review Crew are writing "How to ______" blog posts this week. If you'd like to learn something new or perhaps just a new way to do something old, visit the Crew blog any time after Tuesday morning January 12th to see the list of what everyone is sharing.