Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Rhythmically Challenged

Ah yes, the family rhythm. The steady peaceful drumbeat of childhood. The bedrock of consistency that is supposed to make your family feel secure and run like a well oiled machine. There are many versions of it. The classic of course is:
                                   Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Market on Thursday,
Clean on Friday, Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday

In our home it's more like, "Oh crap it's Tuesday? Why didn't anyone tell me?! Hurry and get dressed we're late for (insert commitment here)."
 
I have seen many-o-blog display these beautifully simple weekely rhythm charts outlining mornings full of meaningful parent-child bonding, followed by wholesome meal preparation, and blissful afternoons with the words "quiet time" inked in a two hour block (who are these mythical children who actually become quiet on a set schedule and why aren't we cloning them?)
 
I thought about a weekly rhythm chart. I even wrote out some ideas and talked it over with Zach. But in the end it's just not who we are. We're not good at repetitive tasks. We stink at schedules. We love the friend who calls and says, "Hey meet us in the park in 10 minutes." YES. We're there. Planning a lesson for the day on mammals? Forget it! But if they boy starts to ask me about Horatio Nelson over breakfast... BAM! We're off and spending the whole day in Britsh Naval history land.

Of course it's all jaunty and romantic to imagine a life lived completely by the seat of one's pants, but the reality is we do have appointments and classes and events on our calendar (wait, did somebody flip the month on the calendar yet?) And while we like to play it by ear, that can often lead to the butting of heads when a certain 6 year old is deep in make believe land and I need to get some grocery shopping done. And even though we lean heavily into the unschooling camp, we tend to get topic-ADD. After checking out every book in the library on cheetahs, he tells me he wants to learn about Saudi Arabia instead. Or after playing outside with friends until way after dark, a certain little boy comes in and asks for a movie night at 9:30pm.

So here's what's working for us. We sat down and created little cards with the hodge podge of activities that might make up our day. And we keep them in a wee basket in the main salon.
Each morning we both pick out and clip on the things we want and need to get done that day. Some days I actaully have to clip up "eat" and "get dressed", becasue yes there have been times where neither of those things happen until way too late in the day. And sometimes I lay out a full plate of things to do. And sometimes Zach picks all of the cards for the day.
And sometimes we go for days not remembering we have the darn cards at all. And that's ok too. They're there when we need them and can nicely be ignored when we're chasing the wind. It's just how we roll here.

18 comments:

The Ceol Mors said...

Awesome post! I too, am terrible with schedules and am married to the man who likes to make lists. Lists freak me out. This is a much more slacker friendly way of accomplishing the same thing!

Joy said...

I really appreciate the way you've made this compromise. It sounds like a happy medium for your personalities. :) I've been thinking alot about our rhythm lately too as it's getting ready to change dramatically. I haven't come up with a specific solution, but I'm sure I'll post when I do. I love the string for hanging the cards too. Very sweet!

Crystal@GreenMittens said...

What pretty cards, and a great idea! I have trouble with schedules too, though every day does seem to find it's own pace and rhythm somehown... and my children don't seem to understand "quiet time" at all. :)

Happiness is... said...

You crack me up. Love you bunches. Great idea. Is there one in the basket entitled "mommy crafts"? I want you to add one that says Zu Coffee too.

XO,

Super Jen

eidolons said...

Oh thank you! I've spent so long feeling like we were crazy for not being able to find a rhythm. The only constant thing that happens for us.. well.. the sun hasn't failed to come up each day yet. (:

anushka said...

i am so happy to read this post too because we really are spontaneous here as well. and i stay home like you 100% with my only child and could in fact enforce some kind of rhythm. i've tried. but, it's just not us. i'm hanging on to the waldorf concept of having an activity that is calm follow one that is more active and of course we have certain things that always remain the same - like stories at bedtime instead of having painting day, baking day, pool day, etc. we do these thing any and everyday whenever we want.

Annette said...

Great post! This part cracked me up:
In our home it's more like, "Oh crap it's Tuesday? Why didn't anyone tell me?! Hurry and get dressed we're late for (insert commitment here)."

And I love the idea of clipping up the cards.

mb said...

this is so great- we are a lot like you, seat-of-pants-follow-the-wind lol. oh crap it's tuesday- yeah. ;) i want to sit in on your unit on nelson btw!

serena said...

Yes! This is a wonderful compromise between me (listmaker, scheduler) and my husband (the take-it-as-it-comes SAHD who's in charge of the kids). Beautiful cards, will have to steal this idea...but maybe with pictures for the toddler!

softearthart said...

Looks all good to me, cheers Marie

JenP said...

I needed to hear this today! I am not a schedule or even routine type of person, and we are just beginning to homeschool ("kindergarten" starts in the fall!) My biggest fear is that my inability to keep a routine will hinder our learning. The card idea sounds like a great way to stay on track for the day. But more than that, thank you for the encouragement that us unscheduled types can succeed at homeschooling too!

soili said...

Looks like you are having a lot of fun, schedules or not. Cute idea.

gardenmama said...

I loved this post Cindy, I already know you and I would get along quite well! What a beautiful and fun idea!

mamaroots said...

beautiful and honest mama! I recently scored a cool old week chalkboard that has been working better for us but I still have those "oh blimey" moments of forgetting something! Enjoy those wind chasing moments too!

Baby By The Sea said...

I love this post -- and I might have to adopt the clothespin activity chart with my girls. Great way to place the day visually.

Lila said...

Hello! I have been following you from a far but i had to comment on this holarious and so TRUE post. We are struggling to balance our days in a perfect-for-us rythm and i often find myself browsing among blogs that i follow and think " how in the world they did all that with always happy seemingly kids in tow ?"
At home i made a family board... But never seem to find the time to actually make the cards to go with it... I always have a good excuse... Somehow i really want to make this family planning board to work but ... There is always sopmething in the way. I just need to acknoledge that there will be always something in the way...
Anyway, great post. I will probably write on the same topic and link it to your post. If this is ok with you.

Have a nice day,

MamaWestWind said...

I think it makes perfect sense. Here you are going with the flow and so is your little boat. Flowing, flowing. Maybe this IS your rhythm. I love the basket system. We have one of those lovely watercolor rhythm charts and much of it works well and some of it we really have to keep working on. Our quiet time for instance, not always so quiet.

Becca

Amanda said...

I'm more of a rhythm person that a chart person too. Thanks for resharing this!

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